Too intense. That's often the reason that sex scenes have to be censored in a film that wants to have the "R" rating. That is an experience that director Jill Soloway had to make when she tried to get the MPAA rating for her independent film Afternoon Delight. Even though her friends advised her to show the film about a disillusioned mother/housewife with a female stripper in cinemas with an NC-17 rating, she was contractually obligated to deliver an "R"-rated cut.
In order to get that classification, she censored the film prior to submitting the film to the MPAA but that still wasn't good enough:
And you know, when I showed the film at Sundance, I also felt like some scenes were too intense, and I cut them down a little myself for the theatrical version before the MPAA even got involved. Which I sort of regret, because this is a political process and in a way if I had started with a more intense version I could have kept in what I wanted in the end, maybe.
She had to cut out much more eventually:
Soloway [...] was forced to cut quite a bit from certain scenes. In one case, she had to cut words, or expressions of enjoyment — “oh yeah” type-stuff — from a scene in which Rachel watches McKenna do her job. “They wanted it to be less intense, less uncomfortable,” Soloway says. “And I went crazy trying to get that done.” In another, there was a problem with the length— which was under ten seconds— of a silhouetted sex scene, which was apparently too much for the MPAA folk.
As so many times before, Soloway thinks that the female perspective of sex was a problem:
I think it’s about the sexual agency of female characters. The scene portrays two women in a sexual situation connecting emotionally with one another. That might be what was “uncomfortable” for the MPAA.
In the US, a Blu-ray is scheduled for release on February 18th, 2014. Unfortunately, it will only contain the "R"-rated version.