Love, sex and interminable pop-culture references

Month: August 2020

Go play some video games…

In my early-to-mid teens, my sexuality had a tendency – and I can’t be the only one – to manifest itself in strange and unusual ways, which left me feeling frightened and victimised, specifically since I was utterly convinced at the age of 12 that I did not like sex and never would be interested. (There’s a blog post to be written about that, but this… isn’t it).

As time goes on, and Age™ begins to show its multiple, increasingly grey heads, my understanding of sex begins to show in more unconscious ways – less frequently, I will admit (pretty much every 14-year-old boy will walk around school with an erection about 75% of the time), but with more intensity. Some of these things are similar to the incidences of my youth – I’ll become aware of the mere existence of sex, and then I’ll realise that I’m aroused. Some are, now that I’ve had sex a few times and know what it’s like, more explicit and detailed.

And some are just straight-up random.

I had a nap this afternoon (because I, the typical lazy millennial, was out all morning following a night of almost zero sleep – so sue me!) with the full knowledge that I’m much more likely to have sex dreams during afternoon naps. I have a few overnight – some that I remember, some that I don’t, many of them involving public nudity… but, if I want to dream about sex, the much lighter sleep I get in the middle of the day is The Time To Do So. And so the dream I had, while not overtly sexual, was a combination of the situation, the fact that my daily reading is full of sexually confident women talking about wanking, and (this is the link to my youth) thirty or so years of playing video games.

For my dream was nothing more than a framing device. Dreamy ILB was playing a video game that Real ILB is fairly sure doesn’t exist. The graphics were reminiscent of Magical Starsign and Pokémon Sapphire (presumably Ruby as well, but since I haven’t played that), and the gameplay had some sort of top-down action puzzle element, like Indiana Jones Desktop Adventures (and if you remember that, you win a prize!). The main (male) character…

…and I need to point this out: the main character of the game had to be male. Given the choice of gender, I will always choose to play as a female character, often with the name Serra. Since I was playing the game, the main character had to be default male…

…was an archaeologist (maybe it’s Tomb Raider? No, that would be a bit too action-y.) The female NPCs were all part of the same team, and the puzzly bits were necessary to open doors leading to different parts of the game. I remember, quite clearly, the puzzle Dreamy ILB was playing; he had to navigate the balloon holding the bomb from Earthworm Jim 2 with the correct collection of food (cherries and bread) through some underground passageways that looked like the mines from Donkey Kong Country. At the end of the passageway was the (female) lead archaeologist, who would open the door through to the next level if you did this successfully.

Dreamy ILB did this on his second try. Lead female archaeologist NPC went mad with joy and was represented by a constantly jumping sprite. At this point, Dreamy ILB decided to talk to the other (female) NPCs before moving on. Any gamer out there knows that NPCs should always be talked to.

It was at this point that Dreamy ILB recalled that this was, in fact, a highly sexual game. All the archaeologists were sexually liberated and talked freely about sex. Real ILB can’t recall if the main character was at all involved, but all the female NPCs would constantly mention it. Flirtatious NPC #1 had brought her sister, Flirtatious NPC #2, who said something like, “I wish I was in your team!”. But it was Flirtatious NPC #3 who had the biggest impact.

“I’m afraid I can’t come with you,” she said, “but I was thinking about going to masturbate on the beach.” (The in-game map, part of the HUD, helpfully indicated where the beach was at this point). “What do you think?” At which point, a [yes/no] menu popped up. I chose yes, obviously.

“All right!” she said chirpily. “Let’s do it!”

At which point the screen went completely blank. My GBA had reset itself, but upon opening the game again, I found I could pick up where I’d left off. The masturbation scene, presumably, happened offscreen, and restarting the GBA was the way to show it.

Is my guess, anyway.

Real ILB woke up at this point and he had perhaps the largest and most throbbing erection he has had in many weeks. Several hours later, I’m still not sure exactly why. I’m no stranger to the concept of female masturbation and I’m also slowly coming round to the concept of it being thrown casually into conversation – although maybe not by archaeologists in video games. Early Teenage ILB would have been turned on by this, of course, but then again, Teenage ILB was in a relationship with a picture, so that’s not much of a surprise.

But, for what it’s worth, I’m very glad that it did happen.

Video games are amazing.

das Paket

By the time I got to year 10, what was originally a German course consisting of sixty people in two classes with different teachers (effectively a department in its own right) had been whittled down to one class approximating about twenty-eight. GSCE German was an unsettled affair; while year 10 was all right, year 11 was fractured in twain by our teacher leaving partway through the year, being replaced as he was by a woman who could barely speak English, never mind the language she was being paid to teach.

Our first teacher was excellent, although not much of what he did could really be classed as “teaching”. He relayed anecdotes about his wild youth in Heidelberg, he constantly reminded the ice skater (on whom I had a crush) that she wasn’t on skates during the lessons, and he made wildly sexist comments for shock value after which he would mime stirring the pot. He was rude, clever, witty, and whatever he said, or did, everyone came out of every lesson knowing a lot more German than we did when we went in – whether or not he’d spoken any.

I sat at the front of the classroom in a kind of reverent worship, surrounded by the others who wanted to do well in the subject – the flirty one, the cheeky one, the earnest one, the hormonal one, and the other one. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but one of them above was me! We laughed, we talked, we cracked jokes, and had a generally good time.

Jawohl.

One lesson was about baggage handling during international travel, because that’s the sort of language you’re really going to need. We leaved through our battered textbooks which still referred to “the Federal Republic of West Germany” and did a rough translation of the questions being asked, then answering them. In German, obviously.

“I’m having trouble with this,” muttered Lightsinthesky. “I’ve got as far as ‘what are the advantages of having a big…’, but I don’t know this last word.”
I scanned through my dictionary.
“Package,” I said. “That makes sense, since it doesn’t mean luggage or a suitcase or something.”
“What are the advantages of having a big package?”
Our teacher heard that and repeated it, in a loud, ringing voice that filled the whole room.
“Yes, I do wonder… what are the advantages of having a big package?”
“They’re easier to handle,” I translated freely from the sentence in the textbook, before realising what I’d said, at which point the flirty one hyperventilated from laughing too much. Our teacher had an expression hovering between nonplussed and amused – supposedly during his wild youth he had heard more – and Lightsinthesky looked as if Christmas had come early.

“I don’t understand,” lied Einstein as we relayed this to him over lunch. “What are the advantages of having a big package?”
“He was referring to the male genitalia,” the cheeky one squeaked. (I tried, at this juncture, to point out that not only males have big packages. Not that anyone heard me over all the laughter.) “I can’t really comment.”
“Neither can I,” I said, to more general hilarity. “But I’m certain it’s a package I could deliver.”
Einstein, who took French, finally managed to say, “…so, do you actually learn any German in the lessons, or…?”

The following day he taught us how to say “my girlfriend is gay” (which would be useful, I rationalised, if you were a girl) and “this lesson is crap”, which we would use a lot when his replacement teacher joined us the following term. I got his e-mail address and began a correspondence, but although we unsteadily headed towards a friendship from that point onwards, I was careful not to mention packages.

Soft Porn Sunday: Jennifer Behr & Paul Michael Robinson

Something I’ve always said – at least, that’s how I’m starting this post; I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually said it – is that one’s enjoyment of porn, as with all genres, is largely situational. Take into consideration setting, angles, music, cinematography, mise-en-scène and all the other things media students have to pretend to care about, and put it into context when you’re choosing porn – there’s a noticeable difference.

Don’t believe me? Okay, think of some porn you like. Why do you like it? Is it the actors, the situation, or the scenery? It’s probably well-lit. If it’s a sex act you like, are they doing it well? If you come, what makes you do so? And what makes this so different from the porn you dislike?

For me, character is the most important thing. I want to know who’s having sex, where they are having sex and why they are having sex – even if it’s just my favourite trope, “because they can”. It makes a genuine difference, and even the slightest of changes is the sort of thing I notice. Soft porn is an easy genre to do this with, because you get the same actors appearing in multiple films. My first thought was to choose two scenes to compare featuring “good ol’ Jason Schnuit” – but I really needed a scene featuring two actors together who have done another scene, playing different characters and preferably in a different setting.

COME THROUGH, JUSTINE!

Appearance: The Adventures of Justine 6: A Private Affair (1995)
Characters: Madame Souvray & Klauss Heinmann

The barman looks like he's ready to kill, frankly.
Justine, Klaus and a hella suspicious barman.

Since the last time I mentioned it, I’ve managed to battle my way through the entire Justine series and, oh boy, what a mission that was – although, once I got the hang of the Indiana Jones-lite escapades and the “it was all a dream” fake endings, it was quite an amusing endeavour in the end. I picked this scene because:

a) it’s a genuine sex scene which lasts more than 15 seconds
b) Paul Michael Robinson’s in it

I’ve featured Paul Michael Robinson and Jennifer Behr (pronounced “bear”, like the growly animal) before, as Haffron and Ursula in Emmanuelle. That scene, for what it is, is hot – and, what’s more, it’s grown on me over time. in Justine,, obviously, they play other characters… but they still manage to get their kit off and bang, so I’m completely justified in doing this doing this.

Behr plays Madame Souvray, one of the very few characters to appear in every Justine flick. She’s the fussy, stuffy teacher who nobody likes very much. Robinson plays several different characters, all named differently and who are, confusingly, all villains – so are we meant to know they’re separate characters, or are they just an evil Haffron changing faces? This one, in any case, is duplicitous Klaus Heinmann, with perhaps the most questionable German accent since ‘Allo ‘Allo!.

Bless.

The set-up for this one is fairly simple, although admittedly quite contrived. Everyone’s on a train for whatever reason, including Klaus, who is masquerading as a porter (check out his uniform!). Souvray, who’s horny all of a sudden, throws caution to the wind – “no names, no fake promises… just you and me, and the moment…” – and retreats into a luggage cabin to get it on with the guy who’s trying to kill her boss.

D'oh!
To be fair, he’s got the right idea.

I mean, if it works…

The scene starts (after the aforementioned dialogue) with the customary disrobing, which is – actually – unusual for ASP; they usually cut straight to the nudity. Souvray is taking the lead here, being the more seductive of the two – although we see her boobs long before Klaus so much as takes off any more than his hat – we also get periodical mixes to train tracks, too, to remind us that we are indeed on a train!

Plenty of kissing – not just lips against lips – preceded Klaus getting his uniform off – although Souvray does that most herself. He doesn’t actually take his vest off before the sex starts, either, so we get a semi-nude Klaus and a bestockinged Souvray doing it up against a rack full of suitcases. How bizarre – Haffron barely managed to put any clothes on to begin with. I suppose this is Robinson’s “difficult middle period”.

As sponsored by the underwear department at your local M&S.
Is this seduction? Or calisthenics?

The sex is approvable, if fairly routine. It’s all done standing up – well, it would be, this is up against the rack full of suitcases – and doesn’t really do anything you wouldn’t expect it to. We have some thrusting from Klaus and some bouncing from Souvray; occasional mixes to train tracks jump in to provide handy cuts to different angles. Halfway through the scene, they switch to a kind of standing doggy style, with Klaus doing Souvray from behind as she holds onto the top shelf for support… a nice touch, really.

He can certainly handle all her baggage.
Health & Safety would have a field day.

I’m also getting a standard early-’90s ASP vibe from this too. There’s a gradual but noticeable increase in speed, overlaid moans from both characters with greater volume as time goes by, and a very definite orgasm point, which – as was standard in Emmanuelle – is signalled by a single “uhh!” from Robinson. That’s basically it. We know what we’re getting, and what we’re getting is solid, a refreshing difference from the soft-focus dreamy sequences the series usually affords us.

So why don’t I like this very much?

It has all the ingredients I should like – two very attractive people having sex; the “just because they can” justification; somewhere unusual that isn’t just a bed in a hotel room; plenty of nudity and energetic, lusty sex. It even has acceptable music, which helps to carry the sex but isn’t too intrusive. By all rights, I should like this. It’s by far the best sex scene in A Private Affair and possibly the whole Justine series. What’s wrong with me?

I had to puzzle this one out for a while, before it hit me. It is completely to do with the characters.

I don’t mind Madame Souvray too much. I mean, I like Jennifer Behr and I’m quite fond of the way she plays the character. Her other sex scenes in the series are quite good, too. It’s also quite nice to see a main named character having sex, as that doesn’t often happen in Justine. The problem I have, I think, is with Paul Michael Robinson. I’m aware that he is playing a completely different character here, and a villain, to boot… but I’m so attached to the idea of him playing Haffron that it’s jarring to see him doing anything else – like a bum note in a familiar song.

I should be above such petty comparisons, but as we know, I take my softcore seriously and I like what I like! I like Emmanuelle in Space and I especially like Haffron. I don’t particularly like Klaus and, as I’ve said before, the Justine series could have been better than it actually is (which is a shame). The scene I’ve just looked at isn’t bad – it’s just disconcerting. I spent half the time trying to get into it and the other half wishing I was actually watching the other sex scene between Behr and Robinson from Emmanuelle!

Which just goes to show two things, really.

One: Character is important.
Two: I’m not difficult to please… I’m impossible!

Sing a song of sixpence…

Though I don’t think I’m ever going to achieve my life ambition, I’ve been on stage a couple of times. Chekhov, Beaumarchais, Plautus, Wilde, that sort of thing. I even got to sing a couple of times, which seems like decades ago now. That may be because it was, but nevertheless.

At the age of 23 I appeared in a fringe production of Forget-Me-Not Lane by Peter Nichols, which turned out to be the last ever play the company I was in performed. I wasn’t, initially, cast – which is understandable, given the fact that practically everyone else who turned up to the audition was a lot more talented than me – but in the end I filled a rôle that I knew nobody else would have been cast in.

I didn’t even need to go to rehearsal much. My memory tells me that I went to two of them, maybe three. I also didn’t need to go to every performance – I went to two out of four, in fact – on account of the fact that my character appeared in a recording. (I engineered the recording, which is how I got into the play. Don’t judge.) There was even a song involved.

The main problem with Forget-Me-Not Lane is that it’s not very good. I knew this, and I knew my director wasn’t directing it particularly well. I did put up a little poster in the staff room at work (“if anyone wants to hear my four lines in this, ask me for a ticket!”), and I took my parents and dear friend H along to see it, but overall, I wasn’t really expecting anyone to enjoy it.

Shortly before seeing the opening night, I had recently managed – through what probably involved a lot of pleading – to get a girlfriend. My parents were pleasantly bemused by my enthusiasm for the whole thing, and H was delighted. Once I’d assured her that my new relationship involved sex, lots of sex, and that it was fantastic sex to boot, she was even more satisfied. My girlfriend didn’t actually come to see Forget-Me-Not Lane – it’s not something I wanted to subject her to in the first few days of a nascent relationship – but nevertheless, she was on my mind all the way through it.

Probably a good thing I didn’t have to be on the stage, really.

“How did it go?” her cheery text went as we drove home from Camden.
“Went well, thanks,” I lied. “Almost a full house, which was good for opening night. My parents hated it…”

I paused for a while to listen to my parents bitching about how bad the production was.

“…but it could have been worse. How are you?”
“I’m good! It’s a shame you’re not letting me come to see it!” She followed this up with a number of kisses, which assuaged my immediate worry that not wanting her to see the badly-written, poorly-directed play I was in was grounds for being dumped.

There’s something in that. Realistically this is going to be our last production. I mean, I’m going to do some other things. I’m sure I’ll do some other things. But if this is something I’m going to do, she should at least see the bit I’m in. Oh, hang on…

“I’ll send you the recording of the bit I’m in,” I texted back. “When I get home.”
“You’ve got that?”

She was slightly more impressed that I also appeared in An Education, to be honest. But I didn’t talk about that much.

Well, not too much.

99.9%

I was told once, by a friend who had recently become sexually active, that one of the greatest aphrodisiacs was male sweat. It had worked, he attested, on his new girlfriend, and they were both enamoured of it when consummating their relationship, taking each other’s virginity when doing so.

I wasn’t entirely certain of the validity of this. I’ve become equally uncertain in the last few weeks of debilitating, sticky heat. Adding sweat to the unintentional beard I’ve managed to grow without particularly wanting one, the itchy red spots forming on my back as a result of whatever skin condition I have, and the sullen and complete lack of motivation that’s plaguing me right now, is not the greatest of combinations.

It’s not even as if I’m entirely sure that what he was telling me was the truth. I’m not overly a fan of the scent of sweat myself (male or otherwise) and I’m loath to test its attractiveness by skipping showers and deodorant and then turning up to somewhere full of hot people and waiting for the bonk-fest to begin.

There’s something to be said for the scent of sex, however. That has a little bit of sweat in the mix (although I’m more disposed to liken it to the scent of pee – you’re welcome for that connotation), but then it’s a very distinctive one, and usually as a result of a very pleasurable activity. You may be sweating during sex, but then if you’ve got that far, somebody probably already does find you attractive, so…

There’s nothing wrong with sweating, of course. It’s natural, and it happens all the time. I just don’t see the attractiveness. I don’t like the way it looks, or feels, and I certainly don’t like its scent.

ILB can’t speak for everyone, but nevertheless.

Anyway. I hadn’t quite formulated this post in my head until an hour ago, when I took it upon myself to don rubber gloves, get my arse outside and haul huge black sacks of refuse down the road. (Sexy, I know.) Half an hour of struggling with rubbish bags, throwing things into metal and walking back and forth… in the heat and the humidity…

…and I was definitely reminded what I didn’t like about sweat.

It gets everywhere.

Frequency Dip

Blind upon blind
Frequency dip
Blind upon blind
Frequency dip
Working in different mine shifts
Working in different minds

I’m waiting for a thunderstorm. We were due one last night; it didn’t happen. We were due one this morning; it didn’t happen. People are sharing pictures of storms on Twitter, and Quinn mentioned the fact that ze had been getting dressed during a storm outside. For whatever reason, and probably the fact that the meteorologists themselves may not know, the promised storm – the one that will shatter the oppressive heat and bring us much-needed convectional rainfall – is not happening.

I’ve not been sleeping well. I mean, I never do. I’m finding that, in these days – and bear in mind that I have no daily routine at the moment – of oppressive heat, stillness in the humid air, and climate change, very little compels my body to sleep. I’m not tired at bedtime, and sometimes I entertain myself with Red Dwarf on Netflix, a book in the armchair I’ve just cleared in order to read books on, or Super Mario World on the Switch.

[Sidenote: This post was originally meant to mention Beneath a Steel Sky. I did, however, finish this on the same day I got it, so I’m not sure it really counts.]

I tend to lie on my bed, naked, on top of the covers if possible, with the window wide open and the valiant fan that my dad found in his loft grinding away. Exhaustion is usually what makes me fall asleep, and then I’m just as exhausted when I wake up, with the net result of ending up lying in a pool of heat on my bed, often slipping back into an uneasy, hazy sleep with more vivid dreams. I even had a dream with Rose in it last night. Sex blogger dreams are odd.

Sex is out of the question and has been for years. My dickbrain has the tendency to come up with improbable, but believable sexual fantasies at times – from the simple yearning to the narrative – and, more often than not, it’s in these quiet periods that they come. On the rare occasions in which I take a nap in the middle of the day, I will invariably realise at some point that I am hard, and that there’s a picture in my brain to go with it.

This hasn’t been happening for the past few weeks. Lying in the morning haze, sex hovers above me like a piece of tangible glory just out of reach. Senses tell me that I could reach out and take it – in all fairness, I could pleasure myself and bathe in the gold sparkles of orgasm – but common sense tells me that this would be

(i) exhausting
(ii) dehydrating
(iii) yet another half hour or so spent in bed and I really ought to be getting up at some point
(iv) probably the source of incredible salinisation of my mattress
(v) not involving soft porn, or a toy, or a person, or something else which is better content that just “had a wank, innit”
(vi) those bottles aren’t going to recycle themselves

And, frankly, I can’t. It’s too hot and I’m too uneasy. I’d rather just watch, from a distance, than partake. I mean, isn’t that the idea behind porn, that you watch?

And so I commit myself to the haze. I won’t move, or touch anything. I’ll just lie there and let my thoughts go wherever they go. If I can’t move, then I’m obviously not meant to be. So I don’t. Let the world turn without me for those lazy, hazy, heavy semi-conscious hours.

And, for what it’s worth, I do enjoy the quiet.

Cartographornication

Last week, because I am a wild rebel who leads a life of extremity and excitement, I bought myself a new diary from WHSmith.

Hold your applause; I’m not quite done yet!

For those of you who have yet to discover the delights of WHSmith diaries, they contain – as well as, you know, days and shit – a tiny, almost unreadable map of the London Underground (a Herculean task to decipher at the best of times) and – and I was surprised to find this – the skeletal National Rail map which, if you’re not aware, both displays all the major stations in the UK and makes some very dubious suggestions as to what counts as a major station.

Something I’ve been meaning to do for about seven years, and only remembered to this morning, involves going through the National Rail map and circling all the places I’ve had sex. Inevitably there will be some places NR scandalously left off the map, but then I need to use my memory for those, eh? So let’s go…

…and, just to make it that little bit more difficult, let’s go in order of frequency.

National Rail
If you squint and twist your head it looks like a bunny.

London
This isn’t actually on the map, as they’ve only listed the major termini (terminuses? No, that looks wrong.). It doesn’t list all the bits of London in which I’ve had sex – Barnet, Brent, Camden, City, Croydon, Enfield, Harrow – but then again, the tube map lists all those more accurately. Maybe that’s another blog post.*

(*No, it isn’t.)

Oxford
OXFORD! THIS IS OXFORD! THE TRAIN NOW AT PLATFORM TWO CALLS AT DIDCOT PARKWAY, READING, SLOUGH AND LONDON PADDINGTON!
Though I love Oxford – the atmosphere, the shopping, the architecture, the eateries, the bikes – and the fact that I must have had sex hundreds of times in Oxford – the thing I’ll always remember about it has to be the announcement on the platform. I did start formulating a story in my head about the Oxford announcer guy banging the Paddington announcer lady… but it never got any further than what I’ve just told you. Ay me.

Birmingham, et al.
Birmingham’s on the map, but the bits of Birmingham I’ve had sex in aren’t. I never managed to do so in the city centre, but I did so numerous times in Walsall, and once in Sutton Coldfield, so… you know… there’s that.
I don’t actually mind Birmingham as a place. It just looks unfinished. I took the coach up practically every week for a year and a half, and the area around Toys “Я” Us continued to look like a bomb site. But maybe that’s part of the charm.

Leeds
Is the closest I can get, because the little town (with a Leeds postcode) isn’t on the National Rail map. It consists mostly of charity shops and estate agents and was a bus ride away from Leeds train station.
I cried in Leeds train station after a particularly difficult time in which I was convinced I had done something terrible. I’ve never been back there since.

Bath
Now we’re into make or break territory, really, because I’m not entirely sure which of these places I’ve had sex in a few times is the most numerous…! But let’s go for Bath.
Bath is perhaps my favourite place in the UK. I can’t really pinpoint why, but I love it. On account of the fact that I went there at least twice with a highly sexual girlfriend, I’m betting that it’s next down my list. I’ll probably end up back there at some point, of course.

Brighton
Is probably next, mainly due to the same girlfriend. I like Brighton too, even though my most recent sojourn was a bit of a washout. Still, I saw Parasite there, so. Trivia tells me that it’s the only place where I’ve successfully had sex standing up, so that’s certainly worth a mention.

Bristol (Temple Meads)
“TAKE A GOOD LOOK, BRISTOL!” I shouted, standing completely naked at the window in the Radisson Blu looking at the lights twinkling around the Western night. Almost exactly twenty-four hours later I was having probably the best sex of my life in exactly the same room.

York
The last place I can think of, and the northernmost, in which I’ve had sex. I spent a week there in a hotel room with a hot girl who, at one point, woke me up in the middle of the night for sex. I mean, we did it a few times – once a day, if I remember correctly – but I remember the middle-of-the-night sex a lot more!

And the rest…

Cambridge, Canterbury (East), Marlow, Manchester (Piccadilly), Newport, Nottingham (I spent three years here and had sex only once!), Skipton, and Taunton all deserve a mention too; I think that I had sex once in each of these places, but I remember them all for more reasons than that!

Brandon and Stratford-upon-Avon aren’t on the map at all, but I’ve had sex there too!

Provence, France
Probably doesn’t count.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Definitely doesn’t count.

Hold it back: mental health confusion

For the past month or so, I feel like I have been holding back the tears. Sometimes it seems as if the floodgates may be able to break and I’ll let it all out – collapsing as I do into a screaming, crying heap. Maybe on the bed, or on the sofa. For dramatic effect, maybe on the floor, since it’s recently been hoovered. Who knows?

Silly, really, because I don’t really have anything to cry about. My mental health has never been the greatest, but I’m not particularly sad about anything, or going through anything tough or have any major worries. I’ve even been okay throughout the pandemic, keeping myself safe while I do the shopping, et ceteri; I have, today, a pressure headache, but that’s about it. Paracetamol is helping there.

I do, however, feel as if there is something desperately wrong – something I’m not aware of. My girlfriend is in a constant state of agitation (she has been made redundant and has no idea how to make herself more employable), and tells me all the time about how sad she is, and part of me is wondering why I’m not equally as worried or sad. I can’t really bring anything up, because it doesn’t really compare, but then I don’t have anything to bring up, so wouldn’t be able to anyway.

Most of my problems are memories from my past. Yes, memories can be helpful; there are some wonderful, special ones and they’re a fantastic source of content. Then again, I have some very bad ones too, and they’re the ones that stick. They come to me when I lie in bed unable to sleep, and niggle at every inch of my brain. They’re very difficult to explain, and more so to visualise, so there’s not much I can say about them. But they are there.

Everything seems better in the morning (apart from today, where – as I said – I had a tension headache). I rarely get up in time for breakfast these days, but I can throw some clothes on and have some coffee, and that seems okay. Sometimes – most of the time – it seems like I am doing, if not fantastically well, reasonably so, given the circumstances.

But, in my quiet moments, I sometimes get the twinge. My eyes well up, and I feel my breath hitch in my throat. I sniff a little. Maybe, I think, maybe I am about to cry. I don’t know what about, really. Maybe it’s all too much, but then again, what is it?

Perhaps it’s true that, despite having the patience of a saint, I can’t really cope. But I’d very much like to know what it is I’m not coping with.

It doesn’t make it any better. But it makes it easier.

Soft Porn Sunday Special: The Adventures of Justine

Let me be the one, Justine
Let me be the first, Justine
To have you, and hold you…

Blue DVD case with several film titles listed. Justine is there, but she doesn't look like she does in the flick.
Justine doesn’t actually
look like this.

It’s been a while – in fact, it’s been so much of a while that I can’t put a number of years to it – since I first watched the Adventures of Justine series. It was shown all of twice on L!VE TV in the late-’90s, and I once accidentally got sent a copy of a Justine flick when I’d actually ordered Emmanuelle. (I watched the sex scenes and then sent it back.) The fact that I’ve been re-watching it recently has me thinking… was I assuming it was anything other than what it actually is?

Time for AN INVESTIGATION!

For those of you who aren’t aware what Justine is – and relax, it’s in no way based on the book by de Sade; I had to look that up too – it’s another series of seven erotic adventure(ish) films made by the same people (almost exactly the same people) who made Emmanuelle in Space. By which I mean, without hyperbole, it’s got the same directorial team, same crew, same sets, same cast (with the only variation being the principals, and even then there are some returning actors), and even some of the same music, which I hadn’t noticed until rewatching the second in the series the other day.

Justine follows the traditional ASP line of having seven volumes with pretentious names, some of which being known by alternate titles because actually I have no idea why. According to the DVD cover, they are:

Volume 1: In The Heat of Passion
Volume 2: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (presumably with apologies to Bill)
Volume 3: Object of Desire, also known as Wild Nights
Volume 4: Exotic Liaisons, also known as Exotic Liaison
Volume 5: Crazy Love
Volume 6: A Private Affair (written by Brian Clemens OBE, although how he got involved…!)
Volume 7: Seduction of Innocence

while Wikipedia lists them as:

Volume 1: Exotic Liaisons
Volume 2: A Private Affair
Volume 3: Wild Nights
Volume 4: Crazy Love
Volume 5: Seduction of Innocence
Volume 6: In The Heat of Passion
Volume 7: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

and there’s even some ambiguity as to when these films are dated – some are 1995, some ’96 and even some as ’97. I’m going to guess that ’95 is the closest bet, as Emmanuelle in Space is from ’94 and it’s quite clear there was very little break between filming both series.

Justine, a blonde college girl, is completely obscured by the word "JUSTINE" in obtrusive white text.
It’d be more impressive if you didn’t have your name obscuring your entire face during the opening credits.

I’m not entirely sure what Justine is meant to be – perhaps an erotic spoof of Indiana Jones, perhaps a college girl tale with fantastical elements, or probably just “a way to use up ASP’s budget” – but the resulting product is incredibly episodic, so it doesn’t seem to matter what order you watch these films in (I’m going by the order on the DVD cover). Internally the films are also a series of individual adventurey vignettes, so one could achieve the same effect by broadcasting the Justine series as half-hour episodes. Only nobody would watch that.

So, yes. Justine Wikenson (Daneen Boone, who also appeared as “Girlfriend” in Emmanuelle) is a smart and precocious, yet incredibly innocent, college girl at an academy for gifted students (Topacre). Her best friend Ursula (Kimberly Rowe, Angie in Emmanuelle) is smart and sassy, but also incredibly sexually active – the only one to have scenes like this – while Madame Souvray (Jennifer Behr, Ursula [confusingly] in Emmanuelle) is a female teacher… possibly the head of the academy, who cares?

Robson, a tall man with dark hair, embraces Justine. They are both naked.
Robson and Justine as a medieval queen. Don’t worry, it’s all just a dream.

The male lead – Professor Paul Robson (occasionally pronounced “Paul Robeson”, amusingly – is played by Timothy DiPri, who also played Theo in Emm… you get the idea. Robson is meant to be a bespectacled, yet handsome archaeology lecturer who just can’t resist getting his hands on some random historical McGuffin, throwing him into a world of intrigue. Justine interferes and gets captured (yes, in every single film! This girl gets captured seemingly as a hobby!); Robson manages to rescue her and…

…okay, here’s the other series trope. It was all a dream.

I’m not making this up. Justine’s adventures are mostly dreams she’s having either in the middle of Robson’s lectures or while writhing on her bed in sheer négligée. They genuinely don’t need to write endings to these storylines because they’re all actually dreams!

Justine, asleep in bed, which is basically the only place we ever see her.
Oh, Justine! Wake up – you’ve written an adventure film in your sleep again!

So what’s Justine studying, then, sleep? I’ve never seen her do any actual work or take an exam or anything… not like she pays attention in class, either, as she suddenly slips into an archaeological adventure seemingly completely at random!

Originally I intended for this to be a standard SPS review, where I took a scene and analysed it in-depth. I can’t bring you one, however, because the other thing I’ve managed to discover is that there’s very little sex in this sex series.

Justine is a virgin and manages to remain so throughout the entire thing (fetishisation much?), while all the kinky sex with random guys is the remit of Ursula (slut-shaming much?). While there’s meant to be a little “will-they-won’t-they?” between Justine and Robson, this never actually happens, so there’s no pay-off. There’s plenty of inoffensive nudity from Justine, as she’s particularly keen on changing into nightwear at the drop of a hat… but there isn’t an awful lot of sex.

And when there is sex, it’s often brief, poorly lit, and cuts off before any actual penetrative sex is meant to be happening! It’s very frustrating!

I suppose one positive thing about this (apart from Paul Michael Robinson, formerly Haffron, who plays a villain in this with the most lacklustre German accent I’ve ever heard – always a gem!) is that, in what was clearly quite a short space of time, ASP managed to wring seven adventure films out on what was also probably quite a limited budget. Daneen Boone tries her best, but she doesn’t have the inherent sexiness of Krista Allen as Emmanuelle, and frankly she’s such a drip that it renders her character quite unlikeable.

Justine, in very revealing nightwear, masturbates while having a dream. She has a lot of dreams.
At least she has the impressive ability to masturbate while sleeping.

But the adventure aspect is good. I’m sure I’d appreciate this more were it not for the “it’s all a dream!” epilogue, but at least they’re trying something different with it. I’m not sure it works, coherently, as a whole – they get lost a few times with what they are trying to do – but at least it has the bare bones of a series all in place.

I just wish there were a little more sex, that’s all!

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