SALTBURN (and that one period scene)
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the movie Saltburn. Watch the trailer for Saltburn here.
Saltburn was just one of those films that electrified the public zeitgeist, leaving the more average cinema goer feeling like a 19th century priest who just saw ankle for the first time. A scandalous, voyeuristic thriller that had more people searching up Jacob Elordi’s bathwater than his girlfriend was probably comfortable with.
However there was one scene that maybe shouldn’t have been met with such shock.
The scene involves Oliver (Barry Keoghan) hungrily going down on Felix’s (Jacob Elordi) sister, Venetia (Alison Oliver) while she’s on a particularly flowy day of her period. It is framed as a seductive power play and by the time the scene ends, the audience can plainly see that Olivers face (as well Venetia’s nightgown) is covered in menstrual blood.
Most people seemed to think so with some viewers left feeling ‘repulsed’, proclaiming their ‘disgust’ and how the scene will ‘haunt them’ moving forward.
Period sex, especially oral period sex is still very much a taboo topic and it isn’t something most people discuss in polite company let alone watch next to their grandmother as they eat their Christmas lunch. However, should it really rank as high on the scale as some of the other controversial scenes in the movie such as the ‘grave scene’ or the now iconic ‘bathtub slurp’.
In fact there are multiple counts of on screen murder within the film, so why is it the enthusiastic, consensual sex that seems to have many of us clutching our pearls?
“Menstrual blood still is something that people are squeamish about,” Director, Emerald Fennel states in TIME (2023) “But I think actually, it’s an incredibly effective sex scene because he’s worshipping her body, and everything that her body produces, and that’s not something that anyone has ever done for her before.”
So if you were one of the people who looked at Oliver Quick feasting like a vampire and thought, ‘am I attracted to do this?’ then don’t let the haters get you down. It is an extremely normal desire to feel wanted in all stages of your cycle. (It's also extremely normal to look at Barry Keoghan and think this in general)
Studies even show that oestrogen and oxytocin, hormones that work together to increase sex drive, rise during this period. A 'menstrubation' study (Menstruation and Masturbation combined) in collaboration with Dr. Jones was conducted in May 2020 that claimed that 70% of their participants claimed that masturbation had an impact on the intensity and frequency of their period pains.
So overall, if you want reenact this scene with a partner, maybe lay down a towel, play ‘Murder On The Dance floor’ and don’t let the stigma get you down because desire itself isn’t something we can control and acting on it may even make you feel better during your ‘time of the month’
So while maybe not something I would feel comfortable seeing on my mother watch history, Saltburn is a win for period positivity overall and has people actually vocalising their thoughts on period sex , sparking an important conversation on women bodies and menstruation. So pro vampire feeding or not, there isn’t any need to shame ourselves or others on their desires, especially when we could be enjoying this viral TikTok of Jacob Elordi being hot instead.