More of my guest lecture via chat:
BS: Dynamic sex scenes that aren't boring or porno?
AE: Okay, dynamic sex scenes...
AE: ... long pause...
CS: Hmm, what ARE you thinking?
AE: You can have a sex scene so long as it is REALLY about something dramatic. It is part of the story. HOW do they have sex. What are they getting from each other? What are they not getting from each other? In other words it's a dialog scene in sign language; not an action scene. Actually, John Rogers on his blog Kung Fu Monkey made the brilliant observation that even a good action scene is not about the action, it is a "suspense scene that is RESOLVED by the action." Likewise sex scenes: what is resolved? What is unresolved? What does she want than he doesn't give her? What happens when he gives her what she wants? What's the aftermath? Otherwise if all you want us to know is that they’re having sex, cut away after a sentence or two.
CL: But what if the movie is a simple, boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl. You're in the boy gets girl scene, they are in bed, they're happy--how do you make it tense? Or the sex scene in Don't Look Now. It just seemed like a steamy scene.
AE: There is no such thing as a simple boy meets girl story, or we would stop telling them! The answer is that they are in bed but they are NOT happy. Or, they are happy but they're afraid it won't last...
CL: OH, wait, a light is coming on.
AE: It's like any dramatic scene. The moment everyone is happy the movie is over, unless the moment he is happy he loses his soul and becomes a demon...
AE: ... or they are happy and OH MY GOD THERE'S A GUY IN THE WINDOW POINTING A GUN!
CS: I know a few people that happened to!
AE: The gun thing or the demon thing? ... But frankly I prefer when there's an edge to it. Even if someone’s going to shoot one of the lovers, let them be having incompletely satisfying sex. Otherwise we know something bad is going to happen because the happiness is so boring.
RG: so keep the sex scenes until the end so everyone is happy?
AE: You can have a sex scene, just not everyone is getting what they want.
CL: So there is always a subtext, yes?
AE: Look at Friends: Rachel and Ross got together, but that wasn't the death of the series because Rachel still didn't think Ross was cool... and Ross still didn't think Rachel was smart. So the show wasn't over. There are a million things that can be going on WHILE they're having sex... emotional things... dramatic things. 6:20:01 PM
CL: How do you show those emotional things without spelling them out?
AE: Spell them out!
CL: Really? Wait, no, you don't mean the girl should say, "I hate it when you don't talk-" Or do you?
AE: "She's lost in passion ... but he seems like he's just trying to get her there, he's not into it at all."