I just saw the film Orgasm Inc. You must see it. It’s a powerful expose of the medicalization of female sexuality, specifically the development and marketing of female sexual enhancement drugs based on a made-up “disease”: Female Sexual Dysfuncton (FSD). The “disease” was created by drug companies so that they could sell drugs and procedures that have not been proven to work and have not been proven safe!
Filmmaker Liz Canner was hired by one of these drug companies, and what she learned was so apalling that she went on to make this expose. I was stunned by it. Some of the reviews call it funny. Though there were some hilarious moments, the aftertaste isn’t funny.
How did the drug companies invent a disease? They asked women questions designed to unearth if they ever had trouble becoming aroused or reaching orgasm (duh, who hasn’t?) and labeled those dysfunctional who said yes to any of the questions. Although women’s sexual responses are complex and based on relationship, health, energy, worries, other medications, and emotional issues as well as physical function, these issues were neither addressed nor ruled out.
The result: a new dysfunction and a drug to address it, both of which were then promoted by highly paid health “experts” on TV news and talk shows. I’m itching to name a visible, well-known “expert” who — although she denied any financial interest in the drug — was paid $75,000 a day for her media appearances on Oprah and other shows. You’ll see her identified in the film.
Below is one video clip — see the official trailer here (I couldn’t embed that one).
6/7/10 update: When I wrote this post a few days ago, Orgasm Inc. was available on Amazon, and today when I checked it, it has disappeared from the listings. This is odd indeed. I’ll keep checking for its return. It is listed on Netflix, but the available date is unknown, as a reader commented. How frustrating — I really want you to be able to see it. I’ll update the info when this changes — keep checking back.
Inge (brilliantly acted by Ursula Werner) has sex with her husband (Horst Rehberg), with herself, and several times with her lover (Horst Westphal). The film is graphic by US standards — you see all three characters’ naked bodies, both during lovemaking and just standing or sitting. The film seems to say, “These are the bodies we wear all day, so what’s the big deal? Why hide them?” The sex scenes are tender and erotic, and I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed them.
I have to applaud this film, not only for its refreshing and realistic treatment of senior sex and love, but because they didn’t make Inge an aging sex bomb. Rather, she’s a plain, frumpy woman with a chunky body and pendulous breasts, who sings in a choir and never seems to comb her hair. She’s not beautiful by any means, but she is radiant when she’s sexually turned on — which happens throughout the film — or laughing.
I’m skirting around the plot details because I don’t want to spoil it. Please see it. I welcome your comments (but please don’t give away the ending.)
You won’t find this film in your local movie listings, but Netflix has it, and so does Amazon. Hurray.
A Single Man takes place over the course of one day, supplemented by flashbacks.George is planning his suicide as neatly as he has lived his life: He sets out the suit he wants to be buried in, writes letters to the few people in his life who matter, cleans out his office, buys ammunition for a gun, and experiments with different positions for doing the deed.
Life interferes with his plans — people, really, but I dont want to reveal more. I’ve read several reviews, and I have to warn you that although the reviewers avoid spoiling the ending, the online commenters have no such compunction. I advise you to see the movie before learning how it ends.
Although this is clearly Colin Firth’s movie, other actors deserve recognition: Julianne Moore who plays Charley, his best friend, who is still trying after all these years to get him in bed again (they tried it, before Jim); Matthew Goode, the appealing Jim in flashbacks; Nicholas Hoult, a beautiful young man, a student of George’s who yearns to connect with George.
A Single Man was directed and co-written by Tom Ford and was based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, which I’m now eager to read.
If you’re looking for fast action and flashy scenes, A Single Man isn’t for you. It’s a film for people who are willing to watch, absorb, listen, and feel. I loved it.
View the trailer: