This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
Hitting puberty was tough. There was all that acne and awkwardness, not to mention the sex scenes you had to sit through with your parents when they took you to the movies. Of course, sex scenes were fine with your friends, but with your parents those sounds of puffing and panting became unbearable. So unbearable that you probably remember it to this day.
We decided to ask some people at Melbourne film festival Shimmerlands to recall a time they sat through a sex scene with their parents. As you'd imagine we found some stories. Lots of gruelling, terrible stories.
VICE: Hi Will, I'm curious to know, what was the first sex scene you ever watched with your parents?
Will: Oh my god, it was Brokeback Mountain with my Mum in the cinemas. At the time, I was just coming out, but I still hadn't announced it to the world. I was about 14 when it came out and she knew I was gay by then, so she was like "let's go see this together!"
And then the sex scene came on?
It was such an awkward sex scene, even though she was trying to be supportive. It was the scene where Heath and Jake get it on, with Heath fucking penetrating Jake bareback—I mean, let's be real here: they used no lube. It was awkward for me to watch with my mother.
Did she try and give you some kind of sex talk after?
Well, I don't think she really understood the gay sex. She couldn't really give me the sex talk about gay men, I mean, it was like, "what do you do?" I don't think my Mum has ever had anal sex so… yeah. What could you do?
Was Brokeback Mountain the first movie you saw with your mum after you came out?
No way. When I first came out she asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, and I replied, "I want to see Mean Girls." So we watched Mean Girls, and I kinda wish it stayed at that.
Hey Dakota, so what was the first sex scene you ever watched with your folks?
The first sex scene I ever watched was when I was 11, where I watched The Notebook with my Mum. We both went into it thinking it was going to be romantic. It was, then there was their first actual sex scene when they were both reunited.
Did you understand what was happening?
I didn't really understand what sex was back then. I think when they were going to—you know, when they're in that big house—I think that was the first time I had seen it. I felt awkward and I thought my Mum would be too, but she just started explaining to me, "they're going to go have sex. They're going to lose their virginity."
Did she explain what virginity and sex was because of The Notebook?
Totally, my Mum was really open to it. She explained what virginity meant and I knew a little what sex already was as a concept. I couldn't imagine it, of course, being that age, I just assumed he was going to place his body on top of her and they were doing sex, whatever that was.
In a way, watching The Notebook became informative?
Yeah, it was. It kind of reaffirmed other ideas I had about sex. I'm a romantic, so watching The Notebook contributed and added to the whole romantic side of me. Throughout my whole life though, my parents always told me true facts. When I asked about sex, they took me to the Melbourne Museum and that's how they explained the human body. From there, things popped up and sex in The Notebook was one of them.
Howdy Campbell, what was the first sex scene you remember watching with your parents?
Oh, shit. I mean, that's actually hard to tell. My parents have let me watch random stuff since I was very little, so I've had the cool parents. From memory, my first scene was in Terminator. There's a sex scene between Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor.
What happens in the scene?
Kyle comes back in time to save her from the Terminator and they have sex, leading to them having a kid together, which turns out to be the kid in the next film. I would have watched that sex scene when I was six, so I didn't really understand the full extent of what was going on.
So from there, was sex ever a big deal?
My parents never gave me the sex talk and didn't make a big deal about the scene. I read a lot as a kid and they assumed I would figure it out, which I did. I had science encyclopaedias and I was into anatomy for a while, so those all explained it instead of the movies.
Hi Sandra, can you remember the first sex scene you ever watched with your parents?
It was a scene in the movie Black Swan where the main character basically masturbates in the tub. It wasn't too long ago when we watched it, since the film was made about five or six years ago.
It's a pretty dark film, but it's very erotic. How did the scene go down?
It is very erotic and dark. I think masturbation is a pretty normal thing, but it's just really awkward watching something like that when your Mum is super religious. My Mum is catholic, so I was unsure on how she was going to react. Luckily, she was totally chill—it was just very hilarious and weird to be watching it knowing her beliefs.
Was there a way you both relieved the tension?
We were definitely laughing. It was a funny moment between us and when you're watching the film, sometimes you don't know what's happening until halfway through. I'm glad it was Black Swan though—I think it's very poetic and pretty—it's a nice film that just happens to have masturbation.
So would you say it's the perfect film to watch with a religious mum?
Oh yeah, the perfect film.
Hello Raquel, can you tell me about the first time you ever watched a sex scene with your parents present?
That's a really good question! It could have been a Filipino movie because I grew up in the Philippines. The closest sex scene, from memory, would have been two people kissing—it's the closest thing to a sex scene by their standards during those times. I don't remember the film, but it was definitely a Filipino flick.
Were your parents very reserved when it came to these scenes or did they speak about sex with you?
No, they just sort of pretended it wasn't happening. I think for them, it was definitely awkward even though I was just a child. It's the only way I can describe.
For them, how did kissing on screen measure up?
I think by Filipino standards—especially in the '90s—two people kissing on screen would be akin to a sex scene in Western movies. If I remember it right, they just stayed silent and they waited for it to finish. They didn't give me a talk on sex from that scene, nut definitely in future there was media that inspired them.
If you sat down with your parents today and a sex scene came on, how would they react?
They live in Australia now so they're used to what Australian and Western movies serve. Back then, if a proper sex scene came on, they'd say "why did you choose this film?" and pretend it didn't happen. I'm grateful the first scene we watched was a Filipino film instead of something more raunchy—if we watched something by today's standards back in those days it would be akin to watching porn.
Hey there Zinzi, what was the first sex scene you watched with your parents?
It wasn't a film, but I remember watching Sex And The City with my Mum. I would have been about 17 and I walked into the living room, deciding to sit next to her. I had no idea what Sex And The City was, but suddenly it cut to an intense sex scene and it was really awkward. I was shocked and tried to play it cool.
What happened when the scene came on?
My Mum laughed and I just kind of sat there. Being 17, I was at that age where I didn't want to be in the same room. It was strange seeing a bunch of white women get it on, but before I left the room I have to admit it was pretty hot—the women in Sex And The City aren't all bad, don't you think? That aside, if a sex scene came on today, it wouldn't be awkward: my Mum and I would just laugh and get over it.
Did watching Sex And the City at that age lead to any kind of sex talk?
No, I've never had the sex talk. I think my Mum just assumed I'd work things out eventually.
So you still don't know how babies are made?
I have no fucking idea. Are there babies in Sex And The City?
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