Many pages have been written regarding masturbatory dynamics. In Michele Foucault's "Histoire de la Sexualité", there is a thorough analysis of Victorian Age approach towards onanism. According to scientific minds of that era, this self-abuse practice would not only be physically perilous and thus deemed as a menace for a society who would seek healthier reproduction procedures, but also it would morally impeach whoever did it. After all, masturbation required fantasy, id est, one must fantasize about whatever it is considered enticing (which would greatly vary depending on the subject) in order to ensure this private act.
Much could be said about erotic reinforcement in masturbatory sessions, but it all boils down to one single element: fantasy. Sometimes, most of the times, fantasy is a social construct that reflects easily on a certain kind of man or woman. We're told what to desire, what to look for, and sometimes it becomes increasingly difficult to look outside pre-established parameters.
"Latch Key" revolves around two particular moments: The mutual masturbation that takes place between Sam and Thomas; and sexual intercourse between Lou (Sam's brother) and a girl. The two boys get together to watch a porno movie while masturbating each other. As one learns through the dialogue, this is an activity that has been going on for long. For Thomas it all comes down to one point "better than doing it myself"; for Sam, on the contrary, everything is about Thomas. Because Sam does not pay attention to the guy-on-girl sex tape, his eyes are glued onto his young friend's body. Watching the video provides Thomas with the right fantasy to carry on this activity. Sam's situation is more complicated, as he wishes a most intimate contact, his desire is to break the masturbation barrier and engage Thomas in more satisfying acts. Thomas presence then acts upon Sam as the reinforcement of fantasy, though it's not the fulfillment of fantasy, far from it.
On the other hand, Lou makes every effort to get the girl naked. All she wants is to know if they'll get back together and if he loves her or not. The only thing Lou wants is to have sex. To have fun before his mom arrives from work.
Nevertheless we must address this poignant nonchalant approach to teenage sex. In the first case, masturbation is a game of fantasies staged through different points of view. In the second case, sex is more akin to masturbation than anything else, after all Lou's major concern is to ejaculate in a warm body before it's too late. It's the selfishness of Lou's character that nullifies intercourse as a meaningful act. And it's the naiveté of Sam that transforms the shared hand job into the previous step before sex. Whether or not real sex will happen for either of them is something we can only guess at.
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