Inside Her Sex is a thought-provoking, feature-length documentary that explores female sexuality and shame through the eyes and experiences of three women from different walks of life, each brave enough to chart her own course of sexual discovery.
While we live in a highly sexualized society, the messaging around sexuality, particularly female sexuality, is distorted and rife with shame. What we should look like, who we should want, what we should desire...in fact, who we should be, is dictated to us from screens and pages and people.
As if there is one correct answer.
Stepping outside the common narrative is never straightforward.
Exposing our deeper selves can be terrifying, even risky.
Candice, Elle, and Samantha have little in common. Not their age, not their hometowns, not their family circumstances. But they are all women. They are all sexual. And be it through circumstance or happenstance, they have each faced their sexual selves head on, and chosen to step outside the bounds of what society has dictated they should be to find their own way forward.
Societal messaging starts early.
“Are you having a boy or a girl?”
It is a loaded question.
From the moment we are born, we are started on a course of conditioning about what it means to be female. Dolls, Barbies, frilly pink clothes and girly things set a stage for us. And it’s on this stage that we learn how we will be expected to conform.
Within the confines of our childhood bodies, we start to feel the weight of that expectation, and before we know what it is, we are confronted with it. How to behave, to sit, stand, speak and smile; how to use our bodies, to be cute, coy, smart or sexy.
We are fast learners.
But soon, the messaging turns darker and more confusing.
We are to be sexy, but not too sexy.
Desirable, but not too desirable.
Responsible for how we behave, and how we are behaved upon.
We quickly start to become characterized by our sexual actions, or lack thereof.
Slut or Tease.
Virgin or Whore.
Frigid or Loose.
As though there is nothing in between.
The labels stick. They start to inform our values, our place, our path. They start to define who we are and how we will be seen.
Confronted with religious doctrine rather than education, with media and propaganda rather than open and honest conversation with people we trust, the messaging we receive about who we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to behave is powerful.
We blame media, music, pornography. We blame highly sexualized youth. We look for something outside of ourselves to help us understand what can only be found by looking inside.
Before we leave adolescence, before we have had the opportunity to discover our sexual selves, we are cast with judgment, externally defined. We don’t stand a chance to chart our own course…find our genuine sexuality, healthy desire, and individual pleasure. They get swallowed in shadows.
In the shadows is where shame grows.
Shame is subtle. Shame is insidious. Shame wraps around female sexuality like a noose and slowly tightens. As it constricts, it kills creativity, exploration, honesty, education, play and individuality.
The common experiences we had of childhood, of exploration, of changing bodies and curiosity about those changing bodies, are left behind. Our natural curiosity, stifled.
But what happens if we are able to tap into our innate sexuality?
To push beyond the bounds of societal structure and expectation?
To stand up to powerful messaging and divert from the prescribed course?
Inside Her Sex tells the stories of three women, Candice, Elle and Samantha. Three women brave enough to explore inwards, and fearless enough to face condemnation and intense scrutiny from outwards.
Candice grew up in New York City. The daughter of an absent mother, left to a jazz musician father whose confusing and inappropriate boundaries set her on an interesting sexual course from a young age – a course that would earn her a scarlett letter for her performances as a porn star in the 70s, and eventually lead to her pioneering work as a producer of erotica for women and couples. Now in her sixties and facing ovarian cancer, she reflects on a life that was outside the bounds of ordinary, and ahead of her time.
Elle grew up in a house where nobody spoke about sex. At 33, when Elle met her husband, she had only had sex five times in her life. She thought she was frigid. She thought that she was the kind of woman who just didn’t enjoy sex, that it just wasn’t for her. One day, in her early 40s, she watched a sex scene on television and a switch was flipped inside her. She threw back the covers, left her husband and set out on an explicit mission to find out what she’d been missing.
Samantha grew up in a Mormon family, and while she always identified as female, her external appearance informed otherwise. Determined to fit in, she repressed her identity and fought, unsuccessfully, to conform to expectation. Eventually, she found clarity, pushed aside the needs of others, and focused inwards, towards her own needs and desires. And what she discovered would eventually liberate her from the shackles of expectation.
Through the varied, candid and intensely personal stories of these three women this film will delve to the core of their sexuality to the deep, intimate, explosive, powerful place that is INSIDE HER SEX.