POLL DANCING: Do you think sex education films are helpful?

"Kärlekens språk" (Language of Love), a 1969 Swedish sex education film.

"Kärlekens språk" (Language of Love), a 1969 Swedish sex education film.

In 2007 the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) held a 4-day Swedish Erotica Season where they screened, as the name suggests, erotic films – both education and porn – from the 60s and 70s.

I attended the screening of “Kärlekens språk” or “Language of Love” (1969) by Swedish director Torgny Wickman, a scandalous sexploitation film passed as a sex education film that sparked world-wide scandal, demonstrations and bans in the 70s. The film was so graphic (at the time) people saw it as pornography, or a “white coater” film. I like Wikipedia’s explanation of “white coater” films: a doctor dressed in a white coat would give an introduction to the graphic content [of a film], thereby deeming it educational.

Well if that’s all it takes…

The film was, like most vintage 70s films, very funny (mostly because of the clothing) even though it clearly was trying to be serious and address important issues. It featured a panel of Sexperts smoking cigarettes and discussing different sexual issues and scenarios.

I did find the film quite educational; funny, but educational. Most of the discussions are still relevant today. I was, perhaps because I am from America, shocked it was so blunt. For example, when explaining masturbation, it showed a woman actually masturbating. It showed couples having sex – but within a scientific-lab environment with men in white coats. It also discussed the various forms of birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, personal relationships and it even touched on religion.

A still frame from "Language of Love."

A still fram from "Language of Love."

Had I seen that film when I was in high school, I think I would have found it very helpful and it would have answered lots of questions and probably made me feel more comfortable with my body. It was pretty graphic, though.  

Yesterday, the British Film Institute (BFI) will be released “The Joy of Sex Education,” a 16-film anthology on a two-DVD set of Britain’s sex education films from 1917 through 1973. The collection boasts:

  •  “Whatever a Man Soweth:” Warnings to WW1 soldiers of the dangers of “cavorting” with the loose women of London’s West End
  • The Mystery of Marriage:” compares the birds, bees and human mating.
  • Puberty pep talks
  • Scare stories to avoid teen pregnancy

I’m certain the films are just as amusing as “Language of Love,” and are made in an effort to educate and help people have safe and healthy sex lives. However, as “The Joy of Sex Education” producer Katy McGahan stated in an interview with the Daily Mail, “While most people accept that formal sex education is necessary the question over who should teach it, how it should be taught, what information it should impart and what moral and social values it should inform remains ever contentious.”

This brings us to this week’s Poll:

– JD


One Response to “POLL DANCING: Do you think sex education films are helpful?”

  1. Yeah, I think such films are very helpful.

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