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  • Autoerotic | Review

    By | July 27, 2011


    Directors: Joe Swanberg, Adam Wingard

    Writers: Joe Swanberg, Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett

    Starring: Josephine Decker, Lane Hughes, Megan Mercier, Frank V. Ross, Amy Seimetz, Kate Lyn Sheil, Joe Swanberg, Kris Swanberg, Chris Hilleke, Josephine Decker, Rosemary Plain, Adam Wingard, Ti West, Brendan Kelly

    Havelock Ellis, a British sexologist, defined autoeroticism as “the phenomena of spontaneous sexual emotion generated in the absence of an external stimulus proceeding, directly or indirectly, from another person.” Joe Swanberg and Adam Wingard’s film Autoerotic focuses on four heterosexual couples as they contend with relationship-crippling sexual arousal issues; however, Autoerotic is not always about self-arousal. Structured in four mostly autonomous vignettes (all with unnamed thespians): the first and fourth chapters reveal perverse men who are grasping at straws to achieve sexual satisfaction, whether it be the desire for a significantly larger penis or a usable mold of an ex-girlfriend’s vagina; the second and third chapters portray women whose sexual desires are insatiable, one cannot have enough orgasms while the other is unable to enjoy a complete orgasm (their male partners are little to no help in quenching their thirst).

    Commencing with a good old fashioned iPhone-recorded spanking session, Autoerotic is just as much about watching others as it is about sexual gratification. (The male character in the first chapter is the only one who seems more satisfied while looking at himself in the mirror than at others.) Swanberg and Wingard’s focus on voyeurism places the audience in a somewhat awkward position. As we observe the questionable ways in which the characters observe each other in order to obtain arousal, we are forced to question what we are achieving from the footage. Are we becoming aroused? Is that okay?

    Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs, Uncle Kent, Silver Bullets) has never been one to abide by the overwhelmingly puritanical view of sex in Hollywood; and with Autoerotic, he and Wingard effectively comment on many cinematically taboo issues: male body issues, fetishes, the desire for orgasms, and the importance of communicating your sexual needs and desires to your partner. For Swanberg and Wingard, sex remains utterly confounding despite the openly frank conversation between partners and friends. Just as the characters are often not judgmental about their partners’ sexual idiosyncrasies, Swanberg and Wingard’s perspective is also quite open-minded. They merely seem interested in posing questions for their audience to ponder and discuss: Is autoerotic asphyxiation okay (what about erotic asphyxiation)? Is masturbation acceptable behavior (if so, how much is too much)? How do fetishes figure into romantic relationships? Is is acceptable to recruit a same-sex friend to help a pregnant woman enjoy a successful orgasm? How much kinkiness is okay before it becomes perverse?

    Rating: 6/10

    Topics: Film Reviews, News | 2 Comments »

    • http://www.videoconverterfactory.com/resource.html Pablo John

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    • Bargo1845

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