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Sexual Scenes


Film, according to cinema theorist Christian Metz, “is too evidently a communication for a person to presume that it is coded,” as the message is both a reflection of the culture it is intended to represent and the source of new meaning. Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También and American Pie are two movies that present sex in really different ways. Although Y Tu Mamá También utilizes sex to explore deeper themes like class, politics, and relationships, American Pie is a crude sex comedy that objectifies women and limits sex to a purely physical act. This movie may seem the same as any other teen sex comedy, road movie, or coming-of-age story when you examine the premise, but its execution and aesthetic style are anything but typical. With its unmatched meditations into machismo, homoeroticism, and self-discovery, this colossal masterpiece from renowned Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón continues to surprise spectators twenty years after its initial release. This essay shall discuss the differences between the sex scenes in Y Tu Mama Tambien and other American films and provide a commentary on the essentiality of the scenes to the film. Additionally, it shall provide a comparison of the ideology between Mexican and American films.

Sexual scenes comparison

One of the most frequently used plot devices in movie history is sexual desire. Cinematic narratives can evoke sexual desire in a variety of ways, such as through the enticing, palpable sexual conflict among two characters, the tantalizing appeal to an immaculate body on display, or the general arousal of a clandestine, covert, and seductive moment (Vanderberg and McKenzi, 2016, 2). Tension is a natural byproduct of sexual scenes, not only the sassy type. These scenes are required so that we may all understand one another greater, not so that viewers can relate to the characters. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, well-done sex scenes may be some of the most pivotal points in a narrative or a character’s development. They may present the ideal chance to say or convey things that verbal exchanges are unable to. This can be used as a tool to pass a certain message or just might be used to create arousal in the audience, confining them deeply in the film.

Although Y Tu Mamá También might be correctly categorized as a “teen sex comedy,” one aspect that sets it apart from movies like American Pie is how it treats its characters. Characters like Tenoch, Julio, and Luisa convince us they are actual people instead of merely verbal bodies with scripts to say. These attributes are authentically articulated throughout the script (Dorado, 2021). The way the story is delivered rather than the content itself gives the movie a realistic feel overall. The majority of the shots were handled and captured in real time, giving the work a documentary-like appearance. When a sex scene is not accompanied by slow-motion effects and an emotional soundtrack, it can feel as clumsy or uncomfortable as a genuine sexual experience might. In contrast, American Pie lacks a rather realistic feel, instead, the sex films are used to provide a feeling of pleasure and eye candy to the audience, with a lot of editing techniques to make them raunchier.

Whether or not the viewer chooses to approach the film with a queer interpretation, homoeroticism permeates the entire picture and never exits the narrative. It is challenging to avoid, I believe since Tenoch and Julio are spending considerably more time being honest and open with one another than they might possibly be with their throwaway women, whom they repeatedly deceive and cheat on. The guys hang out and swim in the pool at Tenoch’s father’s country club during the day (Dorado, 2021). They grapple and hurl each other offensive gay insults as they make a mockery of each other’s penises while masturbating next to one another on diving boards and in the shower. The homoerotic aspects in American Pie mostly aim to illustrate the characters’ unease with same-sex attraction and are primarily used for humorous effect. Despite certain depictions of male closeness and bonding, the movie ultimately supports heterosexual desire and traditional gender standards. Stifler calls out individuals for acting in a “gay” manner. Moreover, when Stifler realized he was in a gay bar, he was mortified to the core.

The sexual sequences in Y Tu Mamá También have a very specific narrative function. They make clear the intricate emotional and psychological connections between the characters, particularly when they deal with questions of privilege and class. When Luisa has sex with Tenoch and then Julio, for instance, it draws attention to their disparities in class and the power dynamics at work in their relationship. The characters’ personal development and evolution are also explored through the sex scenes. For instance, Tenoch’s dread of maturing and repressed impulses are on display when he masturbates while fantasizing about Luisa. Contrarily, American Pie pays little attention to character development or social critique and instead uses sex mostly for amusement and shock effect. The objectification and gratuitous nature of the sex scenes often reduce people to cartoonish tropes of gender and sexuality.

Several on-screen sex scenes seem to serve little purpose other than to satisfy viewers’ desire for visual candy. Nonetheless, there are some excellent depictions of sex in movies. Frequently, this is due to the film’s focus on sexual liberty or education. The movie makes excellent use of sex scenes to depict character growth and deepen connections between characters (Taylor, 2014). As a result, the sex sequences in Y Tu Mamá También are crucial to the story, allowing the director to explore deep topics and create fully realized characters. They are neither needless nor superfluous, but rather essential to the creative and narrative concept of the movie. The film, which begins with a youthful and raunchy sex scene, is an uncompromising exploration of the significance of sex in the psyche of two arrogant teenagers. The audience follows these young men and their more seasoned traveling partner as they journey through Mexico, constantly learning, through the numerous sexual scenes (Luc, 2018).

The different attitudes to sex taken in the two films represent larger cultural and ideological divides between prominent US cinema and Mexican cinema. While American popular cinema frequently places more emphasis on economic appeal and sensationalism than creative and storytelling integrity, Mexican cinema has a long history of investigating complicated societal topics and presenting actualized characters. In modern Mexican culture, sexual scripts are communicated through movies, a potent socialization tool (Aguilar, 2014). In contrast, commercial appeal and sensationalism frequently take precedence in mainstream US movies over creative and narrative integrity. American movies frequently utilize sex for a humorous or titillating purpose, with little thought given to character development or social critique. This however does mean that there lack of some American films that can pride themselves in artistic merit and social commentary.


Y Tu Mamá También’s storytelling and thematic development continue to be delightfully distinctive. This movie has a sophisticated, expansive approach to realism, depicting lavishly detailed settings in their most vivid manifestations. The scenes hold a deeper meaning and are just not raunchy. Moreover, the story and character growth in Cuarón’s movie depends on the sex scenes, with the sex scenes playing an integral role in defining how the characters interact and develop. The images are not obscene; rather, they are perplexing flashbacks to our pasts and representations of a potent human need. Additionally, the variations in approach reflect the various cinemas’ beliefs and messages, with Mexican cinema stressing aesthetic and narrative integrity and American mainstream movie frequently emphasizing economic appeal and sensationalism.


Aguilar, C. (2021) When ‘y tu mamá también’ changed everything, The New York Times. The New York Times. Available at: (Accessed: April 15, 2023).

Dorado, M. (2021) ‘y tu mamá también’, masculinity, and homoeroticism, Medium. incluvie. Available at: (Accessed: April 15, 2023).

Luc, E.I. (2018) Sex in film is not necessarily gratuitous, Epigram. Epigram. Available at: (Accessed: April 15, 2023).

Taylor, C. (2014) Y Tu Mamá También: Dirty happy things, The Criterion Collection. Available at: (Accessed: April 15, 2023).

Vanderberg, McKenzi A. “The Search for Agency: Female Sexual Desire in US Sex Education and Coming-of-Age Cinema.” (2016).


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