Healthy sex took place here, assures the comforter and pillows, but nothing vigorous or strange

Healthy sex took place here, assures the comforter and pillows, but nothing vigorous or strange

But the funniest thing about the No Strings Attached poster is that it may be the most anal-retentive portrayal of casual sex in history

And what good reason is there for him to be wearing not only a shirt and underwear, but half a pair of trousers? Portman is flouncing around in only a shirt (she might be wearing underwear, but given her posture, I think it’s meant to be naughty), but he’s fishing for socks and shoes. What gives? Is he in a hurry? Or did they think two bare legs and boxer shorts sent a dangerous message? Notice too how his arms are covering up both leg holes of his boxer shorts. No peeking, girls misstravel coupon! This is also why we covered up his pectorals, gave him the anatomy of a Ken doll, and painted dark boxer shorts. Good girls don’t gaze on the male flesh. But don’t doubt his virility. Look at his coyly exposed limb. It has muscle definition, and a dusting of hair, so you know he has testosterone. Why, is that also a cosmetically approved amount of chest hair? I think it is! (What’s even more disturbing is that I think they added it. Kutcher waxes. Don’t ask me how I know this.)

It’s so carefully arranged! The bed is rumpled just so. They didn’t even knock the dangerously tilted picture frame off the bedside table. The shirts of Portman and Kutcher are so crisp and starched that they were clearly not removed or flung away in a fit of passion, but unbuttoned carefully and put on a hanger. They ed them sometime in the night.

This disturbing tidiness extends to all of their clothing. One of the biggest jokes about American film and television is that both parties always have their vital clothing at hand after sex. Women lie in bed in bras. Men emerge from the sheets wearing pants and a belt. If they’re really desperate, they yank the comforters or the sheets off, fashion a toga, and go to the bathroom to hide until a t-shirt is found. You know you are watching a European film if they get out of bed stark naked and walk — full frontal! — to their cigarettes, underwear, bathroom, or window. You know, like people who have just been naked and sexually active together actually do. It’s sort of rumpled and unattractive, but it’s real, as opposed to those desperately clinging to a duvet. Who does that?

Portman’s character can have sex without consequences, but if you caught sight of the Kutcher leg void, your thoughts might be impure

But in America, sex is the No Strings Attached poster. It’s devoid of reality. If you’re a woman, you wake up with beautiful I’d-wear-it-to-a-party bedhead and unsmudged eyeshadow. Men need only a pair of socks and they’re set for casual Friday. It’s perfect. No sweat, no unseemliness, no skin. No wonder Americans are confused and build up all kinds of unrealistic and weird expectations. This is how we end up with 16 and Pregnant. Young people think hey, I can have casual sex and I’ll wake up crisp, clean, and stunningly gorgeous. If we were just open about sex and Kutcher’s boxer shorts, we’d have a happier and healthier society. Our paradoxical need to sexualize everything (oooh, Portman’s bottom!) makes us crave sex, but we portray it with such a Puritanical and inconsequential sheen that we’re fearful and insecure about it. In our dreams, we wake up like this, but in reality we experience something a little more human and uneven.

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