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Talking Points - What do YOU think?
Think of a nun and you might come up with Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, or Sally Field in The Flying Nun or Sister Wendy the eccentric art critic.

Modest, virtuous and devout, undoubtedly the nun has long been the ultimate symbol of female chastity... But what is less certain is how she has also become the world's number-one pin-up girl of subversive erotic entertainment; a hot little sexpot in a habit.

Christianity and especially the strict rituals of the Catholic Church have always been a source of inspiration for those wishing to explore religious-themed erotica. Images depicting naughty nuns behaving badly were often designed to be subversive or satirical attacks on organised religion.

The naughty nun figure, however, also became an underground sexual fantasy figure, emotionally and physically inaccessible to male coercion, whose intolerable purity invited defilement and innocence abused.

The Real Blue Nuns takes a look at the "nunsploitation" scene today on both the internet and DVD and meets the curious men and woman of hardcore "nunsploitation" cinema.


The Issues

The movie that launched a thousand "naughty nuns" was Ken Russell's controversial 1971 film The Devils. This tale of a sex crazed nuns and mother superiors launched the 1970's into a golden age of Nunsploitation cinema.

Inspired, cult filmmakers from Spain, Italy and Japan indulged their sexual fantasies in a series of movies typically set in convents populated by mischievous lesbian nuns, pervy priests and innocent new nuns who are ritually abused by power-mad nympho nuns.

But above all the most revealing re-occurring element in any nun movie is S&M. This programme explores bondage, discipline and sadomasochism, and how the fictional fantasies these represent now have a firm basis in reality, in particular a new church in America that preaches the word of the Lord with whips, ropes and sexual torture.

But while the critics argue that all pornography, including religious pornography:
  • is harmful to its (mostly male) consumers: for example, by corrupting their morals or by making them less likely to be able to have long-term, loving sexual relationships.
  • is degrading to women, without necessarily being overtly violent. This material depicts people (most often women) in positions of servility and subordination, or engaged in sexual acts that many people would regard as humiliating.
  • is offensive and blasphemous
  • is violent and encourages violence towards other people, especially children and women
The Real Blue Nun asks whether the image of "the naughty nun" has lost its power to shock, and what will take its place today as the ultimate taboo to be broken...

What do you think?

The image of the "the naughty nun" has fuelled many a sexual fantasy and inspired filmakers and media producers to create sophisticated films, magazines and websites dedicated to Nunsploitation.

But as the "the naughty nun" fantasy loses its power and images of girls in graphic pornographic scenes wearing the traditional sacred Islamic headdress; the burkha, hijab or tchador start to take its place, should we now consider banning all religious pornography? Or is it just another part of our culture? After all, if two consenting adults watch consensual religous pornography in the privacy of their own home, why should anyone have the right to tell them to stop? Or should we be protected from ourselves – should the government follow what the Polish government did in 2000, and ban all forms of pornography? Or would that merely push it under the carpet and create more problems than it solves?

You've read the issues but what did you think about the legal status of religious pornography? We asked you:

Should we ban religious pornography?

and you thought:

Yes: 33%
No: 62%

Undecided: 5%

Discuss the issues >


The Real Blue Nuns was first shown on C4 in October 2006.

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