Kizz & Tell is a combination of item #17 on my Life List (Develop an erotic fiction web site) and a continuation of the G-spot column I used to write at The Women's Colony. From fantasies to frank discussion I'm just trying to re-create a really great conversation with your friends. I hope you'll join in!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


When people ask for my top five movies they don't, I think, expect me to say, "Secretary." It happens every so often that I read or watch something that just makes perfect sense to me on a nearly physical level. The first time someone asked me what I thought of the film I said, "It's a fairy tale written just for me." Which I suppose could be taken a number of ways. When the credits rolled it seemed that, of all the romances I'd seen on film this one felt the truest.

Quick synopsis: Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Lee Holloway, a young woman recently released from an in-patient mental health program. While trying to reintegrate into her old life and perhaps even improve on it she gets herself a job. That job is with James Spader's character, Mr. Grey, an exacting local lawyer. Over time they discover they have something in common.

OK, from here on out I can't promise there won't be spoilers.

Similar to some of what I said about re-meeting Mollena, the best part of Secretary is how accurately we see the strength and power in submission. That thing the characters have in common is BDSM. When they are true to the parts of themselves that feed off their dominance or submission they are happy, productive, able members of society. When they hide their core needs they are klunky and uncomfortable, they don't fit in the air space allotted them by the world.

Lee isn't a gorgeous woman objectively. She becomes shy and retiring when trying to hide her need to submit. When she's able to let that shine through she can do anything, ask for anything, be anything she wants to be. It's not Mr. Grey who transforms her into someone beautiful and intelligent, it's finally insisting on showing her true self that does. No one else could possibly do that for her. The writers and director never once stray into a construct that suggests women are weak or easily manipulated.

There are a lot of acts Mr. Grey and Lee perform that don't turn me on and yet the depiction of them is thoroughly panty-soaking. There is a sexual tension in Spader's every move that, even when his character feels shamed, doesn't bring the same feeling down on the audience.

Now, I'm no expert on the BDSM scene so I suppose there might be things that are improperly depicted or even offensive to real life practitioners. I sure hope not, though, because this life style is the perfect framework for a story about finding common ground and being brave enough to show one's tender underbelly to the world.

What's your favorite mainstream movie with sexual content?


  1. Belle Epoque. It's been years since I've seen Belle Epoque, but some of those scenes still stay with me. Fun and frivolous at times, but sexy in a way only Spanish movies can be.

  2. I liked the movie Secretary, though I'm not sure if I'd say it's truly my favorite. I'm having memories of the first time I saw it right now. It was with some people who CLEARLY thought it was really out there. It was pretty funny.

  3. I actually love Secretary, too. And I'm kind of a prude, so I can't really think of another sexual content movie that is a favorite. -- CPG

  4. Secretary is in my top three movies ever. I am not a practitioner of this life style so I do not know how accurately it is portrayed, but the theme of finding your soul mate transcends the bounds of simply being a film about BDSM. The actors are so true to these characters that I can't help but love them and root for them throughout the movie even though Lee and Edward are very strange individuals. In fact their sexual preferences are not what makes them seem strange or different from the norm, but it IS the freeing nature of finding someone to love as you are without the necessity to change that allows them to find the happiness that their lives lacked. This in turn allows them to free themselves from all the baggage that caused them to seem so unusual.

    To me this is Maggie Gyllenhaal's finest performance of her career. It is also one of James Spader's best performances right up there with sex,lies,and videotape for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989. It is just such a delight watching these two wonderful actors, who had such tremendous screen chemistry, going about their business.

  5. I have not seen many movies with sexual content so I don't really have an answer.

    I remember you bringing up Secretary on the WC. And ever since, I've been meaning to borrow it from the library. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Glad to find so many other lovers of this movie. I have a friend coming into town this weekend. We've been talking about what we'll watch while we sit around on the couch catching up. I might have to put Secretary on the list!