Sex Ed 1965 Style

Stephanie Fritz, a good and observant friend, again tipped me off on something fun to write about. She spotted a record in the window of an indie record store while visiting Chicago. She took this picture and sent it to me with the fun and witty tag "You made an entire movie about what this claims to do in 25 minutes."

And so I have. Well, that's not exactly what the movie is completely about, and technically the movie hasn't been made. It's in the process of being made, but fair enough. I had to see if our movie had been trumped by this record.
Luckily, Stephanie found a recording of this on the internet, and I had the good fortune to listen to it. There was also a "Sex and Your Son" recording you can listen to, and I most certainly did. You can too here.

First there is about 9 minutes for only the parents to listen to. Dr. Sims talks to the parents telling them that they need to get comfortable with the subject so they can present themselves as people that their child could ask questions to without embarrassment. Good suggestion. Then he goes on to say that this record (the 19 minute part that the child will listen to) is such that your child will spontaneously turn to kiss you at the end of it. I find that to be a wierd and overly optimistic foretelling of the future, but I guess I can appreciate his emphasis on affection between parent and child.
The parents are supposed to be sitting with the child as they listen to the second part, and it is set up like a kind of play where the parents ask the doctor to stop by and talk with their child about sex. Dr. Sims rings the doorbell, greets everyone, and then there is a series of questions, answers and interactions between Dr, parents and child. It's pretty cheesy as you might expect, and I think the funniest thing is that the kids always seem to have a kinda Wisconsin accent.

All in all this is probably pretty progressive for the time, and in general gives good advice for parents. Be actively available for questions. Get correct information before informing the child. Don't make it wierd. Talk to your child throughout their life, conveying appropriate information for their age. The records even discuss masturbation - even if it is brief. It tells us that there is nothing physically harmful about masturbation, but there could be moral issues and your religious leaders are the best people to discuss that with. So it's not exactly a glowing review of masturbation (as I might have added in my sex ed record), but it doesn't ignore it either, so that's something. It discusses the egg-sperm deal, pregnancy, and even breast feeding, menstration, and wet dreams.
Only in the son's record do we ever actually hear that this whole marriage-love-conception thing involves an erect penis being inserted into the vagina. The girl does ask for more details about this, but even though her questions were scripted, the good doctor is still able to avoid it.
It's from the 1960's, so not surprisingly it heavily emphasizes the baby-nurturing part of the female reproductive system and is a bit old fashioned about the whole period thing. But the overall vagueness of the information is pretty much par for the course still today.
All in all, it's a pretty funny listen, and probably could even be used for a nice drinking game (everyone drink each time Dr. Sims says "That's right Bob!")



The super awesome Stephanie Fritz has been keeping me informed about what's going on in pop culture with female sexuality. I got a text from her Monday saying "NPRs talking about female desire." I checked this out. Turns out "Tell Me More" had 2 interviews back to back dealing with the issue of women's sexual desire in their "behind closed doors" segment.

The first (find it here) was a woman named Lorri Brocco. As the host said, "Lorri Brocco is a psychologist in Vancouver, Canada. She is considered one of the world's leading specialists in hypo sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women." Hypo sexual desire disorder is a disorder involving lack of sexual interest. The host began by saying Ms. Brocco was leading the effort to update the HSDD definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that will be updated in the next few years.

One point she made was that HSDD is currently officially defined as a lack or deficiency in fantasies or desire for sexual activity. She says, "the focus on the lack of fantasy is highly problematic because when we interview women...they don't necessarily talk about fantasies as being a hallmark sign of whether or not they have desire. In fact, many women will often say that they deliberately bring up fantasies in their mind as a way of focusing on the sexual situation, promoting desire, becoming aroused."

She goes on to say, "The second problem with the definition, desire for sexual activity, stems from the finding that there may be any number, in fact several hundred different reasons why women might engage in sexual activity, and very often it may have nothing at all to do with desire. It may relate to not being in the mood in the present but wanting to become in the mood, wanting to please a partner, wanting to experience emotional connection, and the list goes on and on."

There was not really much more to the interview except an acknowledgement that there is surprisingly little data-driven knowledge about women's sexuality even in this sex saturated culture. Ms. Brocco also stated that the 1998 approval of Viagra probably started the increased interest in studying female sexuality and that she believes the tides are changing for the better.

I thought that this interview fell into the same category that most well-meaning media tidbits on female sexuality fall into. It acknowledges that there is a strange discord between a feeling of ignorance about how women experience/express sexuality and a feeling that there is actually too much female sexuality in the media. It acknowledges that men and women experience sexuality differently. Then it vaguely references emotion as a missing link for women's differences to men, women's sexual problems, and for our culture's strange disaccorded feelings about female sexuality. However, it never articulates anything beyond these very general ideas.

As you might imagine from my other blogs, I think any current discussion of female sexuality that doesn't investigate our culture's utter ignorance of the physical female orgasm, is not even scratching the surface.

The second interview (find it here) on "Tell Me More" was with a woman that wrote a play called "In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)" set in the Victorian Era when women used to be treated for "hysteria" by getting their vulva stimulated (manually or with the newly created vibrators made for this particular medical problem). The play seems interesting, and it got good reviews - and that was mostly what the interview was about. However the host did briefly delve into more general questions about female sexuality though. He asked, "But what do you think it is that people are responding to in this play? Do you have a sense that for all of our talking about sex and having it all in our face all the time that we really haven't advanced that much at all?"

There was no reference to the fact that our cultural understanding of how a woman physically obtains and experiences an orgasm is ridiculously similar to our understanding in 1945. No, the answer came back to - no surprise - a vague notion involving our inability to completely deal with the emotions of sexuality.


Thanksgiving - A little late

We're a little late on this since the appropriate holiday for this has already passed, but I thought I'd write about a couple things AnC is thankful for - well thankful for in relation to this movie at least.

1. Cast and Crew

We recently sent out questionnaires to all the cast and crew so we could get some info about them for their pages on the Science Sex and the Ladies website. Barnaby is putting together the bios, and after he read the first few he mentioned that he missed everyone, and we all reminisced about those crazy people that for some reason decided to work with us.
The truth is we had very little money, no fame, we were shooting all the way up in creepy warehouse in Anderson, and frankly - it wouldn't have been crazy to think we were tricking them into shooting a nasty, low budget porno - but they showed up anyway.

2. Digital
Strange to say now, since everything is digital, but when AnC first started making movies in late high school and early college (gems, these movies were), we were shooting on SuperVHS and editing from VCR to VCR. There were no consumer digital cameras. Let's just say, things shot on VHS look like they are shot on VHS. The only real option to make a quality movie was to use film - which is super crazy expensive. Luckily, during college, movie quality digital cameras started becoming relatively affordable. We hatched a plan to save and buy a Canon XL1. We now have a new baby that shoots in HD, but our first born digital camera will always be close to our hearts. It was sold 2 years ago to a couple shooting wedding videos in Rhode Island.

3. Mild Spring Weather
The first shoot for this movie was fairly cold (especially for Chris West and Brandi Payton who had to sit half naked on a pedestal with a fan blowing directly on them...sorry about that you two). The last couple shoots were pretty hot (especially for the dancers in layered clothing busting a move in 80 some degree weather with lights beating down on them...sorry about that too, but I didn't enjoy it either. I realized later I has a 102 degree fever that day). The days in between were just right though. In the past we have shot in some of the hottest and bitterly cold places I could imagine, Since we were shooting in a non heated or cooled warehouse, we tried to plan this in mild weather. In the long years and months of pre-production we were never sure if we could get to the shooting part at the right time, but somehow the stars aligned, and we got about the best weather period we could hope for.