Thursday Trends: Censorship of Cunnilingus on Film

'Black Swan' cunnilingus (That Just Won't Do)

‘Black Swan’ cunnilingus (That Just Won’t Do)

With the announced remake of the 1973 film “Don’t Look Now” on the horizon, there’s a good chance that one of the film’s most controversial scenes will once again make the cut: Laura Baxter receiving cunnilingus from her husband John. (Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland played the roles in the original film.) But this time, it might not raise much of an outcry.

Movies began to be bolder about depicting cunnilingus around the end of the last decade. In the 2009 movie “Away We Go,” the opening scene shows Burt (John Krasinski) going down on his partner Verona (Maya Rudolph). Two years later, “Blue Valentine” showed Dean (Ryan Gosling) pleasuring Cindy (Michelle Williams). However, this depiction led to some pushback on the part of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which tried to give the movie an NC-17 rating. Interestingly, the 2010 film “Black Swan” was in theaters, which also featured an oral sex scene, but with two women: Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman. “Blue Valentine” star Ryan Gosling spoke out against the hypocrisy of rating a film with an oral scene involving two women an R, while a film that depicts the act with a heterosexual couple (as well as within marriage) would get slapped with an NC-17. “Blue Valentine” eventually received an R rating.

Within the past two years, more films involving cunnilingus scenes have been released: “Wild,” “Charlie Countryman,” and “The Counselor.” A very notable example occurred in 2014’s “Gone Girl.” Amy (Rosamund Pike) ecstatically receives pleasure from Nick (Ben Affleck) after their first date, which occurs within the first 15 minutes of the film. There was no pushback from the MPAA regarding ratings for this one (presumably, they didn’t need to fight that battle twice).

It’s great to see cunnilingus depicted as normal within the smorgasbord of sexual acts. Let’s hope media depictions of the act continue to grow so more people become normalized to it.

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