Inside Her Sex began as a documentary looking at women as the end users of pornography – a simple exploration of which women watch porn, and why.
But very quickly it became apparent that there was nothing simple about the question, and that the answers were layered and complex.
Through numerous interviews with experts, pornographers, sex educators, historians, porn stars, addiction counsellors and sex workers there always seemed to be something just slightly out of reach, something subtle, yet constant.
Deep under the candid conversations about sex and sexuality was this thin film of shame.
This discovery of shame as the core of the story was also confusing, because it quickly became apparent that in one small word, ‘shame’, there were millions of stories.
So many people, men and women, seem to embody shame that impacts their sexuality, but to illustrate that in one short story seemed like an insurmountable challenge.
For a long time I thought the best path was to weave personal stories with experts, but after many attempts at this structure I was left with a big, weary mess that didn't provide story or a clear narrative structure.
One day, I threw out all of the experts and just focused on the stories of three women. Elle, Candice and Samantha. Three women who, on the surface, appear to have little in common, but whose many stories reflect a deeper narrative of societal shame.
It’s impossible to imagine sufficiently tackling this subject matter in one film. There are too many people, too many scenarios, too many stories. Everybody’s sexual experiences are different and so, too, are their shame stories.
It would not be overly dramatic to express the idea that this film, this exploration and the quest to tell these stories, has changed my life. I understand my own shame in a way I never did before and also my own sexuality.
The hope, at the end of the day, with the film and the process, is that by sharing these stories, we open up a place to talk about our shame and our sexual stories – to share more openly with each other, to begin a conversation and see where it takes us.