Some movies do require sex to tell their stories effectively... and it's always nice to see someone having a good time, if only as an aide-memoire
Old folks like to go on and on about explicit sex in today's movies, saying things like, "Why, oh, why does everything have to revert to sex?" When people like Barbara Cartland were young, a little cinematic peck on the cheek was all it took. Oddly enough, the next scene usually involved a newborn baby.

Bogart and Bergman didn't need to roll naked on the floor of Rick's Cafe Americain to make Casablanca a classic. Even the notion of Bogie and Bergman "doing it" is about as tenable as the thought that your parents still, well, you know. Films didn't always rely on graphic sex to put bums on seats.

Despite the fact that actresses are always saying they won't do nude scenes unless it is essential to the storyline, the truth is that some movies require sex and nudity to tell their story effectively. One such film opens today. Photographing Fairies, a stunning English drama, tells of a young photographer whose life is irrevocably changed after the death of his beautiful bride.

The young widower (played by Toby Stephens, son of Dame Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens) is a sort of 1913 version of The X-Files' Fox Mulder: he wants to believe "the truth is out there", that he will see his wife again. By seeing their graphic and erotic love-making, we understand why he would give anything to be with her.

Of course, there are other good reasons for sex in the movies. For one, it's fun. As more people end up single, separated, divorced or otherwise non-partnered, it's good to see a love affair in action. It's nice to see someone having a good time, if only as an aide-memoire.

Women, especially, get a nice sense of schadenfreude when big stars like Julia Roberts use "stunt butts" for nude love scenes. Even if she really doesn't need a body double, the fact that she thinks she needs one is gratifying. There's always someone somewhere with better legs, better hands or a better set of rear cheeks, no matter who you are. These are the kinds of truths that sex in the cinema brings home.

If you still aren't convinced that sex in the cinema helps keep public order, consider the fact that ABC Cinemas is giving a test run to 90 sets of "loveseats" in t heir cinemas in Edinburgh and Norwich. These double seats - apparently popular in the 1960s when everyone was testing out the birth control pill - are there for courting couples. ABC Cinemas' director of marketing, Ray Wallis, says it's time to "bring back romance to the cinema".

Watch this space to see just what kind of romance the loveseats bring back ...

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