Life

Long Shot: why Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen’s sex scene is so important

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen’s new romantic comedy The Long Shot features a surprising orgasm scene. Here’s why it matters so much. 

Sex scenes rarely mimic what sex is like in the real world.

Softly lit bedrooms, the handiwork of a complete hair and makeup team and – how can we put this delicately – climaxes swiftly and easily reached. Sex on the silver screen is often about as far from real sex as carob is to chocolate.

Which is why Charlize Theron fought to include an important conversation in her new romantic comedy Long Shot in the aftermath of one of her character, presidential hopeful Charlotte Field’s sex scenes with her speechwriter Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen). The scene, which features the very common cinematic occurrence of both characters orgasming very quickly – within about 90 seconds – is dime a dozen in romantic comedies. But what comes next is a conversation between both Charlotte and Fred about why a fast female orgasm is so rare, and that’s what elevates this sex scene from mere titillation to vital conversation starter.

You may also like

This Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen rom com proves that the genre isn’t dead

“There’s a scene where we both orgasm very quickly,” Rogen explained on The Graham Norton Show. “That’s the joke of the scene.” 

Rogen continued: “We commented on that in the scene, it’s not like we’re like ‘Oh that was normal, that happens all the time,’” he said. “We’re like, ‘Oh that was weird. That doesn’t happen very often.’”

For Theron, it was important to reflect a sexual experience that, though rare, can occur a small portion of the population.

“I think it happens very rarely for us girls,” Theron added. “But it does happen in the one percentile. We wanted to represent that. You’re going to enjoy it maybe three times in your life, and we wanted to represent that.”

Long Shot: Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron find love in Long Shot

Theron stressed that it is important to remember that what happens on screen in movies won’t always reflect real life. “It is only in the one percentile, so please go to work,” Theron said. “You have to work. This happens very rarely but it is very hard to achieve.”

“Bucket list stuff,” Rogen joked.

There have been many who have commented on the impossibility of the scene, including one viral tweet that read “did the Feminist Rom Com Movie last night have a scene in which a woman orgasms after like 90 seconds of penetrative sex and no other foreplay or stimulation, or was that just a terrible dream I had?” (Rogen actually replied to that tweet, saying “believe me, I had my doubts and Charlize demanded it was possible much to the shock of myself and director. We went with her suggestion.) Vulture even took to the streets, asking women if it was possible to orgasm in less than two minutes without a single, er, stroke of foreplay. The women laughed. 

Long Shot: Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen on the red carpet

But this is missing the point, somewhat. The orgasm itself may or may not be representative of a real, albeit rare, sexual occurrence. But what comes after – so to speak – in terms of the conversation between Charlotte and Fred about how rare it really is, is much more significant.

Sex scenes are full of clichés. They progress quickly and always end in an orgasm, even though some 75% of women never climax during penetrative sex. There’s also the fact that, because film directors are overwhelmingly male, these scenes are usually shot through a male gaze and feature a greater focus on the woman. 

Cue: “orgasm face”. You know what we’re talking about, the tight close up on a woman as she receives pleasure, eyes closed and head thrown back in raptures. “I kept insisting, ‘Why have I always got to do the orgasm face?’” Ruth Wilson has said, in reference to the fact she was always shown climaxing on television series The Affair. “There should be a male orgasm face. Why is it always the woman who’s orgasming?” 

Long Shot: Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen in their new movie 

Why, indeed? This is what makes Long Shot so important. Sure, it features many of the sex scene clichés that movies should seek to avoid. But, finally, a mainstream movie is addressing the varied and nuanced nature of female pleasure and orgasms. Long Shot skewers the stereotype of the ease with which orgasms are doled out – as seen in, say, the Fifty Shades franchise – while also educating viewers at the same time.

All in less than 90 seconds. 

Images: Lionsgate, Getty

Topics

Share this article

Author

Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

Recommended by Hannah-Rose Yee

Life

Charlize Theron gives a lesson in consent after TV host kisses her interpreter

And the internet is here for it

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
Published
People

Charlize Theron opens up about being “hit hard with depression”

The actress’ mental health suffered during the filming of Tully.

Posted by
Susan Devaney
Published
Life

This Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen rom com proves that the genre isn’t dead

She’s just the Secretary of State. Standing in front of a political reporter. Asking him to love her.

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published
Life

Charlize Theron’s The Addams Family reboot just got a spooky trailer

The Oscar-winning actress is about to take on one of pop culture’s most iconic roles, and now there's a clip.

Posted by
Hannah-Rose Yee
Published
People

Charlize Theron denies Hollywood has an ageism problem

Because she's okay

Posted by
Anna Pollitt
Published