By Emma McGowan
San Francisco-based filmmaker, researcher, and journalist Alex Liu has been on a mission since 2012 to cure a country infected with abstinence-only sex education. He took to YouTube with a series of 30 great videos under the name Science of Sin that are up front and honest about sex in ways that no gym teacher with a condom-wrapped banana ever could be.
The videos generally come in under ten minutes and cover topics ranging from the history of marriage to hooking up to “the lesbian brain.” After creating around 90 minutes of YouTube clips, Alex realized that he’d basically already made a full-length movie.
So now he’s aiming even higher, with a full-length documentary called A Sexplanation that is currently raising funds on Indiegogo. Or, actually, let me correct that: the project met its funding goal of $10,000 in under a week and is now pushing for stretch goals that will allow the documentary to become even more comprehensive. The film will cover scientific facts around sex and cultural attitudes about boning, as well as offer solutions to common intimacy-related problems.
The sex-negativity and heternormativity that pervades sex ed in our schools is one of the most infuriating hangovers that Americans are still nursing from the Bush era. Alex understands that making his work accessible on YouTube makes it accessible to teenagers everywhere.
Judging by how quickly A Sexplanation made its funding goal, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who had to Google “rhythm method” back in the day and thinks sex education in school should include more than a DON’T DO IT OR YOU WILL DIE! message.
The sex-negativity and heternormativity that pervades sex ed in our schools is one of the most infuriating hangovers that Americans are still nursing from the Bush era. And while Alex knows that his movie isn’t going to make it into schools (it does, after all, talk about the relationship between sex and pleasure), he understands that making his work accessible on YouTube makes it accessible to teenagers everywhere. He’ll also be pushing it to film festivals, networks, and “anywhere that people have TV access.”
“There’s a dearth of really good, scientific sex education,” Alex explained. “We think it’s important that people from all walks of life and all around the world see it.”
But don’t worry – these videos are way better than the ones you squirmed through in health class. Alex keeps things lighthearted and funny, even when he’s talking about bigger issues. His mission of reframing the way we talk about sexuality and teach sex ed is a big one – but, from what I’ve seen so far, he's nailing it.
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