American Pie 🥧: Stifler's Mum, Premature Ejaculation and "This one time at Band Camp"
We've been celebrating Masturbation May at Staghorn Sexology all month and enjoying some pretty great cinematic masturbation moments. But if we were to pick the most infamous masturbation scene in film history it would have to come from the 1999 high school comedy throwback American Pie.
And when I say moment I really mean moments because there's pies, there's flutes, there's Ukranian international exchange students on webcam. So much to explore!
I know what you're thinking - another 90's throwback. What can I say, I'm obsessed! Know yourself and own your truth you guys.
But American Pie has so much to offer around masturbation, adolescence, relationships, friendships, high school, first times, and the uncertainty that lies behind all of life's transitional moments. Not to mention some of the most memorable one liners, gags, and awkward sexy moments in high school film comedy history.
So grab a bowl of popcorn, and a slice of apple pie if you're so inclined, and join us as we explore the comedic genious of a film that sparked a cinematic universe of horny teens, awkward sexcapades and, shall we say, creative ways to engage in sexual behaviour with food.
Written by Adam Herz and directed by Paul Weitz American Pie arguably propelled the acting careers for stars like Allyson Hannigan, Jason Biggs and Shannon Elizabeth with it's daubacherous, yet relatable, humorous teenage antics.
Set in a West Michigan high school the story revolves primarily around four seniors who make a pact to get laid before Prom night.
The plot follows each individual's intertwined journeys to acheive their goal of losing their virginity through their own, less than well laid out, schemes. There's:
Kevin Meyers (Thomas Ian Nicholas) who aims to bed long term girlfriend Vicky (Tara Reid) but their relationship is on struggle street due to her discovery of the boy's virginity pact.
Not to mention Kevin's inability to give her an orgasm.
Chris "Oz" Ostriecher (Chris Klein), the Lacrosse jock, who struggles with an identity crisis as he works to connect with jazz choir singer Heather (Mena Suvari).
Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) comes undone (and prematurely) again and again with some hilarous advice from Dad (Eugene Levy) as he chases foreign exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) and settles with our favourite flatutist Michelle (Alyson Hannigan).
And Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) who, despite a failed attempt at spreading rumours about his gigantic manhood, entwines himself in a hilraious Mrs Robertson inspired rendeavousz with Stifler's Mum (Jennifer Coolidge).
Ultimately the friends all acheive their goal but not in the way they expected:
Kevin borrows a hand-me-down sex "Bible" from brother Tom (Casey Affleck) and manages to give Vicky the big 'O' during oral sex. Ultimately though their focus on the "perfect" first time lacks intimacy and connection culmimating in their break-up as they head to different colleges.
Oz's focus on connection leads to self sacrifice and a more initimate connection with Heather than he had first anticipated.
Jim gets used by, a somewhat aggressive, Michelle in a one night stand turn around that leaves him in bed with an inflatable shark ... and some pretty good memories.
And Finch makes sweet, sweet sophisticated love with Stifler's Mum on the snooker table ... much to the horror of Stifler (Seann William Scott).
The four friends meet to debrief after prom night but the conversation is poignantly more mature and conservative - reflective perhaps of the growth the teens have engaged in as they prepare for, and cheers to, "the next step".
Disclaimer: I used to loathe this film.
I was in the middle of high school when it was released.
Like many of the characters - I was a bit of a nerd, a geek if you will. Struggled with the sports, good with the humanities, socially awkward, in the drama club, in the band ...
Yeaa, that's right. In the High School Band ...
And what instument, pray tell, did I play?
That's right. I was a flautist. A flautist you guys. And if I never hear the line "This one time, at band camp, I shoved a flute up my pussy" again, it will be too soon. I wasn't even into 'pussy' as it turned out and yet that one line of dialogue followed me everyday throughout my high school career.
Incessently taunting me.
My flute, no longer a woodwind instrument but a barbaric, cold and sterile masturbation device which I cannot beleive would enduce an ounce of pleasure no matter where it was insterted. And then the idea of bringing the embouchure back up to the lips after it has been descrated ...
I digress ... but safe to say this movie still produces a little bit of PTSD for me. But, trauma aside, this film uses some great cinematic techniques in storytelling that make it one of the most memomrable from the 90's high school genre.
One of the great aspects of any good 90's American teen Dramedy is it's arcetypal plot structure. It's pretty fixed and linear so the audience knows what to expect. We can just sit back and enjoy, focusing on the gags rather than any complex plot twists because we pretty much know what we're getting. Perfect for a film like this.
We can break it down like this - 3 acts with 2 stages per act:
Stage 1: The Set Up
Basically where we meet and greet the characters and learn the basic premise or problem to be faced. AKA the boys are virgins and wanna get laid.
Stage 2: The Situation
How are our characters to fix the recently laid out dilemma? AKA the pact to lose thier virginity by Prom. Fits perfectly with the typical 90's high school themes around transitioning from adolesence to adulthood, coming of age gear and overcoming high school adversity.
Stage 3: Progress
Early stages in plotting and planning to overcome said problem. AKA Oz joining the jazz choir, Jim and Nadia with the webcam scene.
Stage 4: Complications/major set backs
The trials and tribulations that make us, the audience, doubt our heroes will acheive their goal. AKA Heather pulling away from Oz because of his macho behaviour, Jim reluctantly pursuing Michelle because Nadia has lost interest.
Stage 5: The final battle
The climax of the film where we find out if the characters have acheived their goal or not. AKA Prom Night.
Stage 6: The aftermath and resolution
Did overcoming the obstacles, or not, meet the characters needs? AKA the diner scene post Prom where the lads are moving onwards and upwards with life.
Simple, clear, elegant storytelling and a definite win for this film.
(You're damn right we snuck a Schitt's Creek gif in!)
Know your audience
American Pie works so well because it knows it's audience - predominately horny heterosexual lads in their teens and early 20s. As such, the humour is targeted at a level some might perceive as crude and low brow, but others IE horny heterosexual lads in their teens and early 20s, really relate to.
Some of the more debase humour highlights:
- Stifler sipping on a beer with a little something extra courtesy of Kevin ... and by extra I mean jizz.
- the condom on the back of Jim's dad's pants after thier birds and the bees talk ... as if the talk itself wasn't gag worthy enough!
- Finch's explosive diarrhoea episode at school ... because it's not a high scool comedy without a poo joke you guys.
(We don't need a gif for this - watch the film folks! Explosive diarrhoea! You'll laugh ... you won't like yourself, but you'll laugh!)
It really is the relatability of the characters that makes this film successful. Sexcapades aside the film really is about young people trying to work out and navigate their sexual expression. And it's relatable because we've all been there at some point in our lives and in this film it's portrayed with gorgeous awkwardness.
It's awkward even for Oz the jock, as well as the characters you'd expect to struggle, which I think reinforces the reality behind the hubris of the gags and jokes. Everyone is just trying to figure it all out - lacrosse jocks included - and really, isn't that the true essence of the high school experience?
With a movie like this we're spoilt for choice when it comes to breaking down the sexological themes so we've split it up between the masturbation gear and the sex stuff.
That pie scene
Before we get into the ins and outs of why you shouldn't put your genitals into baked goods let's take ourselves back to the time where sex was still a mystery.
A discovery waiting to happen.
Let's have some empathy for Jim who was just wanting to have a taste, so to speak, of that elusive thing called sex.
And whilst curiosity didn't kill the cat this time around (although getting caught by your dad masturbating into an apple pie might elucidate a desire for the earth to open up and swallow you whole, thus ending your, now meaningless, existance) it could very nearly have burnt his genital skin right off.
Your genital skin is sensitive you guys.
Don't put it in food.
Especially potentially hot food.
I mean it seems obvious but when you're young and horny and wanting to experiment with pleasure sometimes you'll reach for whatever you can get your hands on to simulate a sexual fantasy.
Besides pastires fruit and veg always seems to be a popular go-to for some reason. From cucumbers and eggplants (the emoji is there for a reason you guys 🍆) to banana skin pockets and watermelons with a hole in it, young people have been sexually experimenting with food for time immemorial.
But again, can't stress this enough, genital skin = sensitive.
Citrus = not so sensitive.
Don't put your genitals in fruit.
There are so many options for sex simulation these days and instead of relying on what's in the crisper for sexual satisfaction consider the following products:
A great starting point. Tenga have a lot of dispossable options for one time use - not great for the environment but good for first time experimenters to see what it's all about. Their egg series produts are small and discreet with variable textured sleeves for different sensations. Also they don't attempt to replicate genitals in any way so ethically a better option.
A more permanent toy for the collection with both straight and gay orientated products. If simulation becomes your go to masturbatory practice these products are longer lasting, pleasure-centric, and easier to clean and care for. The down-side? Flesh products tend to attempt to replicate idealistic looking genitals, molded from the vulvas and cocks of porn stars, which can skew your view of what most genitals really look and feel like. Enjoy the fantasy but remember the majority of people don't have porn star looking rigs and junk ... and that's A-Ok!
For a more penetrative experience think about We-Vibe products. Typically smaller than your traditional vibrators and dildos these products come with the added bonus of vibration. Both aspects are perfect for first timers wanting to explore vaginal or anal penetration because they're less intimidating and more pleasure focused.
American Pie is packed full of scenes of people getting interrupted in the middle of a solo session - again tailoring to it's audience. Getting busted by the folks with your hand down your pants is pretty much every teenage boys worst nightmare and hence the relatable humour.
So if you're a parent and you happen to find your Jim trying to access illegal porn channels on your cable TV with his penis in a tube sock (also, don't put your genitals in socks - that's where your feet live!) consider your reaction and the impact this has on your Jim's sexual self esteem.
Privacy is important. Normalise masturbating and self exploration but reinforce boundaries around when, where and how often. But don't over do it. The scene where Jim's dad is sharing porn magazines, personal anecdotes about "stroking the salami" and stories about how Uncle Norm "pinches the one eyed snake 5, 6 times a day" is a hilarious demonstration of uncomfrtable oversharing.
Keep it to the basics and you'll do just fine.
"You never double clicked your mouse?" - Jessica (Natasha Lyonne)
Natasha Lyonne is great in this film (and basically everything she does) and she makes a valid point in questioning Vicky about her lack of masturbatory habits. Masturbation teaches us how to expeirence pleasure. Where we like touch, how hard we like it, how warm or cold we like it, what ryhthym and pressure we like it at. Self awareness of your body is important becuase not only does it help you help your partner direct your pleasure but it gives you insight into a personal and pleasurable relationship with yourself and that's pretty great.
Masturbation aside this film speaks a lot about partnered sex. It's a coming of age story so we get plenty of naive, exploratory, angsty adolescent sexy mess ups.
In a nutshell - none of them have any idea what they're doing.
And frankly, it's entertaining. Mostly because, here's that word again, it's relatable!
Here are some of the stand out themes when it comes to the sexy stuff in the film.
The virginity pressure
Why on God's green and blue and gorgeous Earth do we as a society put so much pressure on our first time?! It boggles the mind. If you think about anything we do for the first time, chances are we're petty useless at it. For good reason - we've never done it before.
And, like anything with sex, the more pressure you put on yourself or your partner the more likely the experience is likely to be less than satisfying at best and at worst lead to sexual performance issues.
It was really interesting to explore the different character's sexual experiences in this film and I'm glad they explored the issues of virginity loss so diversely.
Aside from the pressure to make the first time the 'best' time there's also the pressure to "lose" your virginity and not be a "virgin" anymore.
The film explores this as the pressure of the pact gets to the characters - to the point where most of them have opted out from it by the end ultimately resulting in sexual experiences, some unexpected, removed from pressure.
Striving for perfection and rushing into your first time ultimately leads to shame. Hang back a bit, there's no hurry. Delay is usually better than regret.
Premature Ejaculation (PE)
Some of the best comedic relief is given by Jim and his propencity for finishing before the act has begun.
A lot of guys approach me for counselling around PE when really they sit within what sexology would consider a relatively normal penetration to ejaculation latency time.
Jim on the other hand, shooting before he's even on the court, sits within a more classical definition of PE ... does that make it wrong that we're laughing at him? ... We probably shouldn't be laughing at him.
Jim has PE on steroids in this film but it's exagerrated and framed as an issue of sexual inexperience mixed with teenage hormones and social embarassment, less so as a sexual dysfunction.
That said - if you find yourself or your partner shooting before the game begins check out our upcoming Instagram posts at @staghornsexology where we'll be covering some of the behavioural techniques to prolong the match, such as the Stop/Start and Squeeze techniques.
🎵 Here's to you Mrs Robertson 🎶
Finch has my favourite sexual storyline in this film. Sure it's a rip off of The Graduate but it's portrayed so well by both actors involved.
There's something fascinating about the power dynamics of the older/younger relationship - moreso when between an older woman/younger man because of the challenge to socially expected gender norms. The ladies always lose out in these situations - they're either framed as the younger "gold digger" or the older "cougar".
Gender norms aside these relationships are often drowning in myths around sexual primes peaking for men in their 20s and women in their 40s with limited evidence to back this up.
And whilst the dynamics portrayed in the film are fun, comical and lighthearted these types of relationships usually raise some ethical concerns for me. I worry about the emotional impacts on the younger person in such relationships and how future relationships will be framed.
It's a historically typical dynamic. We've seen older/younger relationships for centuries across countless cultures. Often framed, as in this film, as a teaching moment - the older participant educating the younger in the world of pleasure. And all things being well as far as consent, and age of consent, being met - maybe there's something in this hands on approach to sexual introduction ... but I'd say these relationships often do more harm than good.
Summary and Ratings
This film, despite it's traumatising throwback to my highschool experience, does spark joy. It was a huge success at it's debut and sparked up to 7 more films (and counting I'd say) to create a franchise and space that explores coming of age in a comedic but relatable fashion.
Comedy designed to meet the needs of teenage boys and of adults, with distant memories of being teenage boys. Entertaining in it's awkwardness - it took me right back to high school ... and for that it lost a point. Thanks but not thanks!
Comedic genious 4/5.
Always a delight when sex is portrayed openly and, in this case, brutally honestly. The film hits some real coming of age issues despite the comedic focus and paved the way for realer depictions of sex and all of it's potential awkwardness. But the biggest take home message ... Don't 👏 put 👏 your 👏 penis 👏 inside 👏 food!
An awkwardly sexy 4/5.
#TheStagGeek #americanpie #comingofage #tbt #throwback #stiflersmum #jasonbiggs #jennifercoolidge #shannonelizabeth #alysonhannigan #chrisklein #eugenelevy #natashalyonne #thomasiannicholas #chrisowen #thesherminator #tarareid #seannwilliamscott #eddiekayethomas #menasuvari #90s #MovieCritique #FilmCritique #SexTherapy #sexology #StaghornSexology #blog #BibliotherapyBlog
Disclaimer: All material posted is the author's opinion and should not take the place of tailored advice, unique to your situation, from a medical or healthcare professional. Where information is sourced elsewhere it is referenced in the source list. All images and gifs are sourced through wix.com, Canva, and the author's private photo collection unless otherwise stated.