The Phenomenology of Desire and Orgasm

How eroticism defies chemistry, identity and time

In 20th century and contemporary film and television, the experience of orgasm is almost invariably depicted by images of waterfalls and fireworks. The classic example is probably the scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955) in which a romantic dialogue between the two main characters, played by Grace Kelly and Cary Grant, is cross-cut with images of multicoloured fireworks. Many recent productions present analogous images. In The Notebook (2004) by Nick Cassavetes, the two lovers fall into one another’s arms in a pouring rain; and massive waterfalls frame crucial romantic encounters in several popular movies, such as Roger Donaldson’s Cocktail (1988), Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and James Cameron’s Avatar (2009). They allude to sexual climax, which thus appears as an explosive or overflowing event that falls upon us like natural upheavals and mechanical eruptions.

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Join the conversation

nawzad jamal 24 November 2021


Dahdee - 31 July 2018

Hi Sara and all,

For me personally, the real thing is the spiritual experience
which comes together with insight;
However the physical and the spiritual cannot be separated;
They enrich each other;
Each exists only due to the other.

David Goren (Dahdee)