Answers about female orgasms

Courtesy thefilmstage.com

Sex with orgasm. Sex without. Sex with emotion. Emotionless. Gendered. Genderless.

The film “Orgasm Inc.,” showing in Coral Gables this Saturday, encourages discussion about how the medicalization of sex has adversely shaped the way society perceives and addresses female pleasure.

A unique documentary about mainstream assumptions, “Orgasm Inc.” screams “You are normal!” to women blinded by typical beliefs about sex. The film opens Saturday and will run until Feb. 24 at the Coral Gables Art Cinema.

“I think most people think that good sex is just the achievement of an orgasm, and that’s not necessarily true,” said senior Andrea Venkatesan, who is majoring in women’s and gender studies.

Venkatesan believes students at UM are particularly ignorant about this topic, and that sex actually encompasses “everything in those thousands of heated seconds you share with a person,whatever their gender might be.”

The newly opened theater on Aragon Avenue nuzzles 10 rows of traditional cinema seating between a parking garage and the Colombian consulate in downtown Coral Gables. It is also located close to Books and Books, a convenient stop for lunch. Coral Gables Art Cinema hosts screenings of independent and international films, in the hopes of bringing pictures to Miami that aren’t available for viewing at mainstream venues.

Screening “Orgasm Inc.” is one of these attempts.

“I think it’s great to have a film… that really focuses on women’s sexuality in a way that isn’t leering or dishonest,” said Robert Rosenberg, the cinema’s director.

Brenna Munro, an assistant professor at UM with a focus on gender and sexuality studies, described how biology dictates the ways our society discusses and defines sex and sexuality.

“The idea that human sexuality is just about a series of physical mechanisms that can be fixed is a very reductive way of understanding human sexuality,” she said.

With light and humorous undertones, the film specifically addresses the pharmaceutical industry’s attempt to medicalize female sexual disorder (FSD), a condition which doesn’t allow women to orgasm, by means of attempts at creating new drugs. This begs ethical considerations- is there an economic interest in creating a new disease?

University of Miami bioethicist Robin Fiore explained that there is a market for sexuality, especially for women who are sensitive to criticism about their gender.

“Science and medicine do not work on the things that women want,” Fiore said. “They work on the things that men want.”

As of yet, no drug for FSD has received FDA approval, although several have come close. However, there is a market for drugs aimed at premenstrual syndrome.

“I think because we live in a culture that, as a whole, has this weird relationship that’s both hypersexual and puritanical at the same time,” Munro said. “It’s very difficult for there to be a widespread culture of open, fun, nonjudgmental learning about all of the incredibly varied possibilities of sex.”

“Orgasm, Inc.” is the exception.

If you go

Rating: ¾ stars

Directed by: Liz Canner

When: Opens Feb. 19

Cost: $9, or $7 for students with ID

Parking: Garage parking next door is $1.50 for three hours

For a schedule of screenings or for more information: www.cinemateque.org

February 13, 2011


Allison Goodman

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