Every Monday, The CSPH takes a look at a book or film focusing on an aspect of sexuality. This week we are featuring the film My Sexuality: A Sensory Experience.
Directed by Felicia Giouzelis, this documentary follows five women exploring their sexuality. My Sexuality was actually Giouzelis’ student project, and in 2010 won the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at CineKink. The women featured in this film all have different backgrounds, ages, and past experiences with sexuality. Through the film, they participate in five activities to question their preconceptions regarding sexuality, and they are: a sex toy workshop with Carol Queen, a sensual dance class, a pole dancing class, being fitted for a corset, and a makeover and photoshoot.
Opening with short interviews with each of the participants, the film tries to give the viewer an idea of each woman’s current sexuality landscape. For example, one question asks about their parents’ relationship and how that influenced their views of relationships. The first activity they do together—the sex toy lecture—especially promotes a sex positive way of thinking through increasing knowledge. Their next activity, a sensual dance class, focuses on a positive body image and lowering inhibitions, while the remaining activities—pole dancing, corset fitting, and the makeover and photoshoot—all center around a positive self-esteem and outwardly reflecting inner beauty.
Throughout the film, the women challenge their preconceived notions on various topics, such as stripping, and this invites the viewer to examine their own beliefs and why they hold them. This is very much a feel good film: the end includes some positive updates from the lives of the women and mentions how they feel more comfortable with their sexuality.
However, as all of the self-esteem building exercises were rooted in popular conceptions of femininity, it would have been more interesting to see how the women reacted to more androgynous or masculine self-esteem boosting experiences. Regardless, this is an interesting film, especially given the various ages of the participants, and their differing reactions to new information and experiences.