Does Helena Bonham-Carter's fake orgasm rival Meg Ryan's?

When it comes to canned moans, audiences love variety.

By Hank Hyena

Published November 16, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Nov. 16, 1999

Do great orgasms last longer than Oscars? American actress Meg Ryan and
British thespian Helena Bonham-Carter have never nabbed Academy Awards, but
they'll both be immortally cherished for their caterwauling, cinematic

Ryan's charm and humor etched itself intimately into public memory when
she launched loose with a wholesome, cheerful and (of course) perky orgasm
in her hit film "When Harry Met Sally." Her buoyant-blond persona was
exuberantly expressed in this sweet, artificial sexual surrender that's
been touted ever since as the Ultimate On-screen O. Actresses since then
have wailed but failed to top Meg's moaning masterpiece.

Comparisons are unfair, though, when the challenger screams in a decidedly
different tone. In "Fight Club," Helena Bonham-Carter delivers a Gothic,
angst-ridden medley of grunts, gasps and shrieks that are wondrously
uninhibited and thoroughly un-Ryanesque. Both stars are passionate, but
Bonham-Carter produces decibels of pain and nihilism, rather than nice and
(of course) perky.

Different roles obviously demand distinct vocalizations. In "Fight Club"
the normally cherubic Helena plays a "psychotic sex machine," notes the
Toronto Sun, which praised her "purely physical, unfettered, animalistic
encounters" with co-star Brad Pitt, "that put the primal scream back into

Filming skin-scenes with buff-Brad was not as steamy as the shrieks
indicate. "Brad had white dots all over his body ... so the computer had
data to reproduce [us]," Bonham-Carter informed the Mirror in an
interview Sunday. "We assumed different positions ... surrounded by white lights
and a still camera that took photos. On the count of three we had to, ah,
orgasm," she shyly concludes.

Loud lovers who think they climax as convincingly as Meg or Helena can
exhibit their ecstasy publicly now, notes an article Sunday in the
Independent (London). SuperClubs, the Caribbean resort populated by
international swinging singles, offers a Hedonism II "Be Wicked for a Week"
vacation with an abundance of sexy get-aquainted games, like the "Fake
Orgasm Contest." An informal clapometer determines the best erotic
communicator of the universal language of lust.

Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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