Today I am speaking with science researcher Alex Liu who has produced a documentary called “A SEXPLANATION”. He aims to change the silence that occurs when it comes to talking about sex and how schools teach sex education. Also, he believes it’s very important for parents to have the conversation about sex with their children.
Hello Alex, thank you for taking the time out to speak with me. I have to tell you I absolutely loved your film “ A SEXPLANATION”. What inspired you to make it?
When I was 18, I thought coming out as gay would solve all my sexual problems. But when I turned 30, I still felt massive amounts of shame around sex—shame that had nothing to do with being gay. So, with that as my starting point, it soon became clear that my sexual shame stemmed from poor sex education.
Why do you think some people are embarrassed or may feel shame when talking about sex?
The sexual shame starts early. Parents teach kids the names of body parts but often skip over the proper terms for genitalia. Young kids naturally explore their bodies but are often told—directly or indirectly—that it’s wrong with no context. These messages teach us to be embarrassed about our bodies and sexual pleasure.
What would be different for you if you had been able to talk about sex with your parents when you were younger?
I would have come out earlier, probably, for one. I also think my first sexual experiences would have been more connected and pleasurable because I would have been more comfortable talking about sex with my partner.
What did you learn about yourself making the film?
Interviewing a wide variety of people about sex helped me understand that my sexual hang-ups are normal. Talking about my sexual thoughts and feelings for the first time released a lot of my shame.
What were some obstacles you had making the film?
A small part of me is still terrified that my parents will be embarrassed by my making this movie. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly overcome worrying about what my parents think.
What was the most rewarding part in making the film?
I was surprised how my relationship with my parents has grown stronger. We talked about sex for the first time on camera; it was excruciating at first, but it turns out they are a lot cooler than I ever imagined. It feels like there’s nothing we can’t talk about now.
Do you have any future projects you will be working on?
I’m working on more films about the parts of the human condition that are universal—prejudice, discrimination—but we don’t talk about. While the topic is heavy, I’m hoping I can use humor to diffuse some of the tension around these topics so people feel comfortable listening to all kinds of perspectives.
If you can go back in time what would you tell your teenage self?
The only thing “normal” about human sexuality is that we’re all different. Compare human sexuality to the human appetite for food; some people are very adventurous with food, and some stick to a handful of meals. Neither is “more normal,” they are simply different.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
That’s a huge question! I mean world peace through massive investments in scientific research (à la Star Trek socialism) is the goal, right? But I’ll just say, I want as many people as possible to do the difficult, introspective work on examining their biases and hangups. I hope “A Sexplanation” can be a tiny part of that.
Thank you for your time. What are some words of wisdom to all the readers?
I hope audiences find the baby steps of courage to enable them to talk about desires with the people they love. And it bears repeating, if you’re really brave, do the deep, uncomfortable work of seeing how you contribute to a culture that shames sex and try your hardest to change that in yourself. Hope you all enjoy the film! More Info: WEBSITE
Photos: Courtesy of Alex Liu