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Cinesexuality is a concept in film philosophy by feminist film theorist Patricia MacCormack [1] which attempts to explain why people sometimes feel an intense attraction towards film. MacCormack coined the term [1] and used it as the title of her 2008 essay to describe her philosophical speculation about film, which is similar in some respects to the poststructuralist philosophy of desire by contemporary philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. While the term is somewhat vague, she uses it to describe why there is a "desire which flows through all who want cinema as a lover," [2] why film can feel erotic, whether such intense feelings may be explained by a psychic model of "tension and release," [3] and why there is this "physical pleasure of cinema" which sometimes manifests itself in an "erotic and subversive" way. [4] Catherine Grant suggested that MacCormack has essentially reformulated the term cinephilia, a term in film criticism which denotes passionate interest in film. [5] Two reviewers suggest that MacCormack explores the "inherent queerness of film," [5] in the sense that the relation between spectators and a film is "inherently queer." [6] [5] According to reviewer Jill Crammond Wickham in Poets Quarterly, cinesexuality can explain not only why film audiences feel such a strong desire for what they see on screen, but why "our culture is so obsessed with movie stars." [1]

The philosophy of film is a branch of aesthetics within the discipline of philosophy that seeks to understand the most basic questions regarding film. Philosophy of film has significant overlap with film theory, a branch of film studies.

Patricia MacCormack is an Australian scholar who lives and works in London, England.

Gilles Deleuze French philosopher

Gilles Deleuze was a French philosopher who, from the early 1950s until his death in 1995, wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), both co-written with psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. His metaphysical treatise Difference and Repetition (1968) is considered by many scholars to be his magnum opus. A. W. Moore, citing Bernard Williams's criteria for a great thinker, ranks Deleuze among the "greatest philosophers". His work has influenced a variety of disciplines across philosophy and art, including literary theory, post-structuralism and postmodernism.

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Feminist film theory is a theoretical film criticism derived from feminist politics and feminist theory. Feminists have many approaches to cinema analysis, regarding the film elements analyzed and their theoretical underpinnings.

Erotic spanking

Erotic spanking is the act of spanking another person for the sexual arousal or gratification of either or both parties. It may involve very light and brief spanking or much more extensive spanking, including the use of implements such as whips or paddles. Activities range from a spontaneous smack on bare buttocks during a sexual activity, to occasional sexual roleplay, such as ageplay, to domestic discipline and may involve the use of a hand or the use of a variety of spanking implements, such as a spanking paddle or cane. Erotic spankings are commonly combined with other forms of sexual foreplay. The most common type of erotic spanking is administered on the bare buttocks, but can also be combined with bondage, in order to heighten the sexual stimulation of the experience.

Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer activists, such as the members of Queer Nation, began to reclaim the word as a deliberately provocative and politically radical alternative to the more assimilationist branches of the LGBT community.

Femme is a lesbian identity that was created in the working class lesbian bar culture of the 1950s. It is a term used to distinguish feminine lesbian and bisexual women from their butch/masculine lesbian counterparts and partners. In addition, it can be used to self-describe queer femininity for persons of any gender.

Hardcore pornography genre or category of pornography containing explicit depictions of sexual acts

Hardcore pornography, or hardcore porn, is still photography or video footage that contains explicit forms of pornography, most commonly including depictions of sexual acts such as vaginal, anal or oral intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, fingering, anilingus, ejaculation, and fetish play. Hardcore pornography usually takes the form of photographs, often displayed in magazines or on the Internet, or films and cartoons. Since the 1990s it has been distributed widely over the Internet, making it more widely available than ever before.

Radley Metzger was an American pioneering filmmaker and film distributor, most noted for popular artistic, adult-oriented films, including Camille 2000 (1969), The Lickerish Quartet (1970), Score (1974), The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (1974), The Image (1975) and The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976). According to one film reviewer, Metzger's films, including those made during the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984), are noted for their "lavish design, witty screenplays, and a penchant for the unusual camera angle". Another reviewer noted that his films were "highly artistic — and often cerebral ... and often featured gorgeous cinematography". Film and audio works by Metzger have been added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

Todd Haynes American film director and screenwriter

Todd Haynes is an American independent film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is considered a pioneer of the New Queer Cinema movement of filmmaking that emerged in the early 1990s. Haynes first gained public attention with his controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987), which chronicles singer Karen Carpenter's tragic life and death, using Barbie dolls as actors. Haynes had not obtained proper licensing to use the Carpenters' music, prompting a lawsuit from Richard Carpenter, whom the film portrayed in an unflattering light, banning the film's distribution. Superstar became a cult classic.

New Queer Cinema movement in queer-themed independent filmmaking

"New Queer Cinema" is a term first coined by the academic B. Ruby Rich in Sight & Sound magazine in 1992 to define and describe a movement in queer-themed independent filmmaking in the early 1990s. The term developed from use of the word queer in academic writing in the 1980s and 1990s as an inclusive way of describing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender identity and experience, and also defining a form of sexuality that was fluid and subversive of traditional understandings of sexuality. Since 1992, the phenomenon has also been described by various other academics and has been used to describe several other films released since the 1990s. Films of the New Queer Cinema movement typically share certain themes, such as the rejection of heteronormativity and the lives of LGBT protagonists living on the fringe of society.

A gynoid, or fembot, is a feminine humanoid robot. Gynoids appear widely in science fiction film and art. As more realistic humanoid robot design becomes technologically possible, they are also emerging in real-life robot design.

Non-heterosexual sexual orientation other than heterosexual / straight

Non-heterosexual is a sexual orientation or sexual identity that is not heterosexual. The term helps define the "concept of what is the norm and how a particular group is different from that norm". Non-heterosexual is used in feminist and gender studies fields as well as general academic literature to help differentiate between sexual identities chosen, prescribed and simply assumed, with varying understanding of implications of those sexual identities. The term is similar to queer, though less politically charged and more clinical; queer generally refers to being non-normative and non-heterosexual. Some view the term as being contentious and pejorative as it "labels people against the perceived norm of heterosexuality, thus reinforcing heteronormativity". Still others say non-heterosexual is the only term useful to maintaining coherence in research and suggest it "highlights a shortcoming in our language around sexual identity"; for instance, its use can enable bisexual erasure.

Laura Mulvey British filmmaker

Laura Mulvey is a British feminist film theorist. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She is currently professor of film and media studies at Birkbeck, University of London. She worked at the British Film Institute for many years before taking up her current position.

Lesbian erotica female homosexuality in any erotic media

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Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photographs, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, writing, film, video, and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. The primary subjects of present-day pornographic depictions are pornographic models, who pose for still photographs, and pornographic actors or "porn stars", who perform in pornographic films. If dramatic skills are not involved, a performer in pornographic media may also be called a model.

Sexual capital or erotic capital is the social value an individual or group accrues, as a result of their sexual attractiveness. As with other forms of capital, sexual capital is convertible, and may be useful in acquiring other forms of capital, including social capital and economic capital.

<i>Cannibal Apocalypse</i> 1980 film by Antonio Margheriti

Cannibal Apocalypse is a horror film directed by Antonio Margheriti. The film combines the horror genre with a forerunner of Margheriti's Vietnam War films.

Queer pornography depicts performers with various gender identities and sexual orientations interacting and exploring genres of desire and pleasure in unique ways. These conveyed interactions distinctively seek to challenge the conventional modes of portraying and experiencing sexually explicit content. Scholar Ingrid Ryberg additionally includes two main objectives of queer pornography in her definition as "interrogating and troubling gender and sexual categories and aiming at sexual arousal."

Colin Gardner is a British film and media studies theorist living in Santa Barbara, California.

In feminist theory, the male gaze is the act of depicting women and the world, in the visual arts and in literature, from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer. In film and photograhy, the male gaze has three perspectives: (i) that of the man behind the camera, (ii) that of the male characters within the film's cinematic representations; and (iii) that of the spectator gazing at the image.

Shine Louise Houston is a filmmaker and the founding director and producer of Pink and White Productions, an independent production company creating queer pornography in San Francisco. Houston makes feature-length pornographic films in addition to producing, directing, and shooting hundreds of installments for her queer porn membership site Houston distributes her own work and that of other indie adult filmmakers through, catering to different sexual communities.


  1. 1 2 3 Jill Crammond Wickham, April 2010, Poets Quarterly, An interview with Kate Durbin: Part I, Retrieved Aug. 18, 2014, "...Critic Patricia McCormick, who coined the term cinesexuality, ... cinema has the ability to produce intense pleasure in a viewer... why they have this strong desire [need] for cinema... why our culture is so obsessed with movie stars...."
  2. Joanna McIntyre, June 25, 2014, Culture and the Media, Cinema Studies: Cinesexuality by Patricia McCormack Archived 2014-08-21 at the Wayback Machine ., Retrieved Aug. 18, 2014, "...Cinesexuality is the desire which flows through all who want cinema as a lover. It knows no gender, no sexuality, no form, and no function. It describes a position of supplication before an unresponsive element. ... we are all already cinesexual’ "
  3. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Volume 26, Issue 4, 2012, DOI:10.1080/10304312.2012.698032, Adrian Martina, pages 519-528, A theory of agitation, or: Getting off in the cinema, Retrieved Aug. 18, 2014, "... this essay proceeds to ask: is there a model of tension and release,... structure of psychic agitation,...."
  4. Huntley, Tim (2010), "Abstraction is ethical: The ecstatic and erotic in Patricia MacCormack's Cinesexuality" (PDF), Irish Journal of Horror Studies, 8: 17&ndash, 29, the erotic and subversive haptics of spectatorship. ... cinephile viewer’s love ...Cinesexuality offers a brilliantly argued thesis on affectivity and the physical pleasure of cinema ...
  5. 1 2 3 Catherine Grant (book reviewer), (review of: Patricia MacCormack's Cinesexuality, published 23 July 2008), 18 DECEMBER 2008, Times Higher Education, Cinesexuality: Encounters with a big screen lover -- Catherine Grant explores spectators' desire for the cinema and the new universes that it opens up, Retrieved Aug. 18, 2014, "...Cinesexuality, Patricia MacCormack's ambitious and avowedly experimental work on film spectatorship, explores the "inherent queerness" of spectatorship....Cinesexuality is, in part, a reformulation of "cinephilia", the excessive love of or for cinema.... "
  6. December 20th, 2013, Hili Perlson, Sleek Magazine, The Iron Lady No More, Retrieved Aug. 18, 2014, "... Patricia McCormack’s idea of “Cinesexuality”, which argues that spectatorship in itself is inherently queer. ..."

Further reading