This article explores trash erotic productions in 1970s Turkish cinema. What was popularly referred to as the “sex influx” (seks furyası) was the result of persistent economic and political crises and symptomatic of the ends of certain cultural and economic modes dominant in film production. Although Turkish film producers first adapted European exploitation films (particularly Italian erotic comedies), in time they created a trashy and irregular film practice addressing the specific needs of its assumed audience: young, unemployed, underclass men with rural backgrounds. The article investigates how Turkish sex films identify and discuss the social oppositions upon which desire is manufactured. It also engages these films’ repercussions, whether in terms of cinematic and social influence or how they affected moral codes regarding female sexuality. Moving from Alan Soble’s Marxist analysis of contemporary pornography as compensatory fantasy, the article suggests that the actions of the working-class heroes of exploitation films symbolize revenge for powerless masses of the working class and underclass. It also argues that sex films, which started out as exclusively sexist and misogynistic narratives, eventually worked to legitimize women’s sexual desires. As sex-segregated screenings of Emmanuelle (dir. Just Jaeckin, France, 1974) tell us, feminist impulses are embedded in perhaps unexpected places.

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