A study by The Ringer substantiates the fact that stars of Marvel Cinematic Universe get less sex on-screen after donning the superhero cape
Do you remember Robert Downey Jr and Heather Graham’s steamy 3-minute 11-second sex scene in 1997 film Two Girls and a Guy? Or Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Dormer’s hot montage from 2013’s Rush? Or maybe more recent on-screen sex hot scenes by Paul Rudd in They Came Together and Chris Evans in Playing It Cool?
Whilst everyone knows Marvel Studios’ owned by Disney, which has strict family viewing policy hence MCU stars contractually needs to maintain their superhero persona on and off-screen. While it seldom interferes with their work, a trend has emerged for sexiest stars (looking at you Chris – Hemsworth, Evans, and Pratt) on the planet to abstain from sexual practices on screen. This makes some even claim that MCU lead actors are rather asked to abstain from having on-screen sex.
Writer Carrie Wittmer in her study for The Ringer about the male Hollywood stars has concluded that indeed the MCU actors are not allowed to have sex on-screen after joining the superhero league. She describes the purpose of her study as,
The primary purpose of this research was to figure out which actors have the most (or the fewest) sex scenes. The secondary purpose was to prove that MCU leads are not allowed to. And now we can say with relative assurance that they aren’t.
In four month, Wittmer analyzed 30 movie stars and over 128 sex scenes. She listed the Hollywood’s top paying actors like Downey Jr, Evans, Hemsworth, Tom Cruise, further adding popular starts from the recent years and Academy Award nominees like Timothée Chalamet, Mahershala Ali, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio. She topped it off Internet’s boyfriends like Oscar Issac, Tom Hardy, Keanu Reeves.
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She then judged them based on the number of movies, the number of sex scenes and the total time of these scenes. Actor Keanu Reeves tops the list with 568.92 seconds of on-screen sex. Followed by Batman actor Robert Pattinson (410.95), Jake Gyllenhaal (404.51), Brad Pitt (392.07), and Robert Downey Jr (337.14) and more.
Further, Wittmer breakdown the list by the rate of sex by deriving the percentage of an actor’s filmography in which they have sex scenes. Interestingly, Timothée Chalamet topped the list with 50 per cent. Next to him are Robert Pattinson (36.36 per cent), Jake Gyllenhaal (30.30 per cent), Keanu Reeves (24.00 per cent), and Bradley Cooper with 23.08 per cent.
The Undersexed On-Screen Life Of An Avenger
Most sexualized Marvel movie until date has been the first Iron Man. Soon after the movie’s success, Disney took over with their strict family viewing protocols. The first movie with Downey Jr flaunted Tony Stark’s ‘play boy’ image. Stark is seen taking a reporter home that is still there in the morning implying the deed without any visible intercourse of course. Further, Joe and Anthony Russo exploited Steve Rogers and Natasha’s ‘flirt & kiss’ theme throughout the Captain America: Winter Soldier movie.
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Going forward, Natasha was again subjected to romantic theme with Bruce Banner/ Hulk with subtleties like ‘I would have joined you in the shower.’ However, this sub-plot from Avengers: Age of Ultron never materialized rather confused the viewers.
Interestingly, the study found in the Marvel superheroes Bradley Cooper who voice Rocket Raccoon has the highest sex rate on-screen, 23.08 per cent. This on-screen sex rate is followed by Vin Diesel (18.18 per cent), Chris Hemsworth (13.64 per cent), and Chris Evans (12.50 per cent). Followed by Paul Rudd (10.81 per cent) and Robert Downey Jr at 9.43 per cent respectively.
Both the top contenders’ Cooper and Diesel play voice characters Rocket Raccoon and Groot respectively. So compared to Evans, Rudd, Hemsworth and Downey Jr have performed sex scenes in movies released in the last two years. Whereas, MCU actors viz Rudd and Evans performed on-screen sex in 2014 and 15 respectively. Except for brief make-out session with Leighton Meeste in 2014, The Judge Downey Jr performed his last sex scene in 2006’s Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus where Nicole Kidman’s Arbus rides him (hard) for 56 seconds.
While Marvel steps towards a more inclusive movie environment it’ll be interesting to see how the studio handles the sexuality of its superheroes.