‘Nymphomaniac’: All the *real* sex scenes from parts one and two
We first heard of Lars von Trier’s ambitious masterpiece Nymphomaniac when it was released in 2013, starring familiar faces like Stellan Skarsgard, Willen DaFoe, and Shia LeBeouf in sexually provocative roles.
The film revolves around Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who struggles with sex addiction. Produced & distributed by Zentropa, the film invites us to travel alongside Joe as she narrates her seductive journey & recalls her sexual exploits.
The work of acclaimed auteur Lars von Trier, the film dives into every passionate excursion of Joe since she was a teenager (her younger self is played by Stacy Martin). We travel between the past & present Joe, after Joe is found unconscious in a dark alley. Selligman (Stellan Skarsgard), listens patiently as Joe tells him about her lusty life. Little does she know, he’ll take advantage of her story for his own pleasure.
Sex scenes: Vol I
The first sex scene in Nymphomaniac Volume I is the moment Joe discovers her addiction. In the flashback, Joe loses her virginity to Jerome (Shia LeBeouf), who decides to have sex with Joe to help her with her curiosities about sex. The scene ends “with no emotions or feelings of arousal” as TheCinemaholic described in their review. But as we see Joe get humped into oblivion, we get a taste of everything she desires.
Joe may have had a pleasant erotic scene with Jerome, but when Joe’s friend challenges her to a competition to see which one of them can sleep with the most men, Joe takes this challenge a bit too far. The scene on the train is competitive, and the sex just becomes a number. According to TheCineamholic, these “calculative” movements relate to future problems.
Then, Joe is shown sleeping with multiple men. These flashbacks include gruesome details of how Joe treats each man like a toy, quickly forgetting about them and moving onto the next. Like a vampire, Joe drains the passion & life out of each encounter, and then moves onto her next lover. Lying about her orgasms, she continues to search for more.
Sex scenes: Vol II
In Nymphomaniac Volume II, Joe decides to kick her addiction into gear, but her sexploitations begin to sour. Joe takes on more than she can chew with two lovers in a threesome. Unfortunately the scene becomes too much when an argument occurs. Just before Joe leaves, we enjoy another sultry bedroom scene.
Remember those tangled rope scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey? Unlike all sexy fantasy films, this scene might not be as inviting. In Volume I, we find Joe tied up and crying in excruciating pain. In the rope scene, her cries are her final screams of joy. She no longer wonders what turns her on. Joe enjoys being dominated in this uncomfortable scene.
The worst scene comes at the end of the film. We believe Selligan’s a nice man who looks after Joe and wants the best for her. We quickly remember he’s just a stranger and we know nothing really about him. The final scene escalates as Selligan tries to rape Joe. TheCinemaholic stated the scene concluded with Selligan getting shot and Joe going back to her nymphomaniac life.
In an interview with Stacy Martin, she told Digital Spy her role as the nymphomaniac teenage Joe was both “empowering” and “great”. Besides the dark pieces of the film, Stacy found the sexual adventure enticing & different. Stacy expressed: “You know what, we’re women, we give birth to people here on this planet so give us a break and let us have a bit of fun!”
Nymphomaniac Volume I & II teaches us about a woman struggling to understand her relationship with sex. Vulture reported film producer Louise Vesth had “a lot of explicit sex cut” so viewers shouldn’t believe sexual pleasure is the only takeaway of the film.