Over the course of one weekend, I sat through nine films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
culminating in an all night tribute to him on his 70th birthday at The New Beverly Cinema in
Los Angeles. I noticed something I never noticed before. No. Not that I’m crazy for enduring
such a feat. That’s evident. This is crazier.
In every single film, Arnold portrays the big virile hunk of manly machismo flexing his
bulging sweaty muscles and yet, he never unleashed any wanton lust or hedonistic impulses
of the popular held notion of a man’s primitive desire to conquer and lavish women
unsparingly. He was depicted as quite modest in almost every film.
As a woman, I am not impervious to his protecting chest of popping pectorals or his
galvanized chin of decisive action. He is any woman’s dream come true and yet, I was
shocked to see that he although he may have been highly sexualized in these films, with the
exception of Conan the Barbarian, he wasn’t able to consummate any of his affairs onscreen.
Friday, July 29th, My first night, I ogled him in The Running Man and Total Recall.
Saturday afternoon, July 30th, I chuckled through a particularly sexually charged matinee
screening of The Villian. Saturday night, July 30th, I survived a sexless Predator, Kindergarten Cop, Raw Deal, Red Sonja, The Terminator and finally, Commando. I’m no Sex heathen. I just find this a complete oversight given his personification of the male ego.
Another important thing to note when discussing Arnold movies is the unique pairing of him
with women that are the epitome of strength and assertiveness. Also, unique to the times,
featured Women of Color. This is incredible when examining other action films from the 70s
and 80s. What does this mean? Well, if I were to take a guess, I’d say that Arnold himself
suggested these women for the roles. He worked with Jesse Ventura and Bill Duke twice.
Maybe he was instrumental in bringing these actors onboard. Either way, I find it fascinating,
that so many WOC and POC show up in his films in positive ways. How cool is that?
On my own, I have seen all of his films except for the documentary, Pumping Iron, responsible
for developing the world’s obsession with the 20 year old Arnold, training and competing for
the Mr. Olympia title. As I poured through his extensive filmography, I have prepared a sexual
dossier of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Villain (1979) – Arnold is treated like an object of desire from the start, an older, bawdy,
sex-starved Ann-Margret fondles and seduces Arnold much like women in cinema were
objectified in that day. Sadly, despite grand gestures, Ann Margret never grabs the attention
of the stud.
Conan the Barbarian (1982) – The first and last film to show a graphic sex scene with Arnold.
My guess: Once producers of future films saw Arnold’s awkward love making face, they
knew never to show it again.
Conan the Destroyer (1984) – Having done the nasty with a crazy witch in the first Conan,
you’d think they’d go all out for the sequel. Wrong. All we get is some sex education talk
from Zula played by Grace Jones. At least it’s pro-feminist.
Jehnna: How do you attract a man? What I mean is, suppose you set your heart on somebody.
What would you do to get him?
Zula: Grab him! And take him!
The Terminator (1984) – The star of the ham handed sex scene in this film is Linda Hamilton.
Arnold is a chaste cyborg, silly.
Red Sonja (1985) – After matching wits (not really, there aren’t even good one liners in this
one) and duking it out with Red Sonja, played by Brigitte Nielsen, Arnold shares a luke warm
Commando (1985) – Father figure. Not the George Michael kind.
Raw Deal (1986) – Unrequited lust. This one is painful. A sexy woman after Arnold’s body
Predator (1987) – Just as Jesse Ventura doesn’t have time to bleed, Arnold doesn’t have time
The Running Man (1987) – In matching spandex, Arnold and his co-star, the sensual Maria
Cochita Alonso, keep the heat contained.
Red Heat (1988) – Steamy sauna sequence with naked men standing around talking.
Twins (1988) – Kelly Preston pops his cherry. Such a strange scene for a man considered an
international sex symbol.
Total Recall (1990) – Even in this sleaze fest, Arnold can’t seem to get lucky. Not with Sharon
Stone who’s filmed tickling him on their marriage bed or the demure prostitute he’s picked
from his fantasies.
Kindergarten Cop (1990) – His female partner gets all the nooky.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) – For that type of cyborg see A.I.
Last Action Hero (1993) – No action of that kind. A family film.
True Lies (1994) – Here, the object of desire is Jamie Lee Curtis.
In conclusion, the list seems more like a beginner’s course in sex education than a liberation. I
guess, what kept Arnold Schwazenegger scared, likable and suitable for all types of roles,
(before the housekeeper scandal) was his squeaky clean image. I will never truly understand
how he has evaded sex scenes in all but one film. Well, now we know, he is fun for the whole
Written by Julianna Brudek