Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Film Review: "Sex Education Films" on Amazon Prime

A few weeks ago, Jim and I were sitting on the couch, looking for something to watch on one of our multiple streaming services, when we came across a video on Amazon Prime entitled Sex Education Films. The description read, “A collection of sex education films from the 1950s and 1960s.”

Jim and I enjoy ridiculing the hard work of others, so we thought we’d have fun watching the old sex ed films and making fun of the weird, old-fashioned advice we believed they’d contain. I don’t know what we expected, but the videos were surprisingly comprehensive. We learned all about the development of primary and secondary sex characteristics, how babies are made, what menstruation is, and what’s the deal with those racy dreams about naked ladies.

The videos weren’t all about puberty, however. Some of them were about growing and maturing into your role as a well-adjusted, heterosexual adult, preferably by the age of eighteen so you can get married and move out of your parents’ damn house, already. More than one of the videos concerned itself with the young protagonists’ baffling urges, and the roles they would one day be expected to play in society.

Here are some of the things we learned:
  • It’s normal for a red-blooded, maturing young woman to have [dramatic pause] desires. But you mustn’t act on those desires, or else you’ll end up like poor Elise – ostracized from polite society, whispered about by her former peers on the school paper, and raising a baby in a cramped, untidy apartment with the grudging help of a young husband who shows his unhappiness with his body language, and good thing, too, because he never actually speaks. That said, just because you get a little hot-and-heavy with a boy in the back seat of his car on Saturday night, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad guy who doesn’t care about you. It might also mean you’re a bad girl who doesn’t know when to put on the brakes. You’d better hope your best friend Betty wasn’t lying about that Coca-Cola douche.
  • When a boy asks you out for a swimming date at the reservoir, and you accept and respond with, “I’ll bring some food, what would you like?” be prepared for him to respond, “A whole chocolate cake.” This is an appropriate and acceptable item to include in a picnic meal, and, for that matter, to request that your date, whom you are taking out for the very first time, spend all evening making from scratch because you know her uptight mother refuses to buy box mix.
  • It’s perfectly safe and even encouraged to take a bath every day during your menstrual cycle. Daily hair shampooing is also extremely important.
  • Adolescence is an exciting time in the life of a young girl, when she learns about herself and the world, gets to know many fine young men in an entirely chaste and appropriate fashion, brushes her extremely clean hair, listens to records, and wears a sanitary belt.
  • You could catch cold if you go swimming during the first few days of your period. How you’re supposed to swim while wearing a sanitary belt was not discussed. 
  • A menstruating girl or woman should wear her prettiest dress, spend extra time on her hair, and generally try to look her best while the Communists are in the fun house. But don’t worry, girls, no one will know that you’re on your period. When someone asks, “What’s the occasion?” just tell them you’ve got a cake-eating date with Fat Ben.

All in all, Jim and I (and Mark, who showed up about half-way through the video collection) enjoyed watching Sex Education Films. We’re still not sure why they’re available on Amazon Prime, but maybe it has something to do with the appalling lack of any sex education in many schools nationwide. So, if you live in one of those districts that teaches “abstinence-only” sex education or no sex education at all, and you want to give your pimply, clumsy, self-centered, and emotional teenage children the same uncomfortable, vaguely misogynistic sex education that your parents received, Sex Education Films is for you.