Growing Up: A New Approach to Sex Education, No. 1 (1971)
23min | Short, Documentary | 1971 (UK)
From the impenetrably euphemistic to the breathtakingly explicit, this intriguing anthology takes us through 60 yearsof sex education in Britain from the 1910s to the 1970s.All ‘unmentionable matters’ pertaining to sex are dealt with, from the WW1 warning to soldiers about the dangers of cavorting with loose women in London’s West End, Whatsoever a Man Soweth (1917), to puberty pep-talks for girls on how to avoid pregnancy in Don’t Be Like Brenda (1973).
Watching a group of UK short subjects about sex education, I was surprised at the graphic content of this one. It’s very nearly triple X, and very closely approximates the porn level of the circa 1970/71 theatrical porn “docu” releases.
But it’s all in a good cause as narrator Martin Cole presents some severely dated notions of maturation to adulthood. Though he throws in a sop to Women’s Lib by noting “old ideas of male dominance are disappearing”, Cole does his best to recycle and amplify the old misogynistic shibboleths, ranting on about how men become stronger and women basically are built for child-rearing. Were this clunker to be screened today, the pickets would be complaining about its male chauvinist slant, not its porn scenes.
Full frontal nudity of both sexes is shown, from children right through to developed adolescents and adults. Suspect is a couple of scenes of explicit masturbation, and later there’s several closeups of erect cocks, one almost comically in the Ron Jeremy “throbbing out of control” mode. There’s no penetration in the sex scene and no ejaculation is included, but this is still pretty raunchy stuff.
Punchline of the dumb-dumb movie is predictable: don’t make love without taking precautions. These films don’t tread on the still hot-button issue of abortion, but unwanted pregnancies are always lurking as the bogeyman.
Director: Arnold L. Miller (uncredited)
Writer: Martin Cole
Star: Martin Cole