(A)sexual Review


Genre: Documentary
Year Released: 2011
Distributor: Arts Engine/Big Mouth Productions

Origin: USA
Running Time: 76 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: 15+
Related Films/Series: N/A

For Fans Of: Taking the Cake
-If you would like to know more about asexuality, I would check out http://AVEN.org.
-There’s a major spoiler involving the infamous Pride Parade scene in this documentary. This part will be controversial.
Fun Facts:

-David Jay is the first person to create an online asexual community online with AVEN, and it’s the largest online community dedicated to the Ace community.

-One percent of Americans are openly asexual.

Society is way too obsessed with sex. I don’t believe that anyone would argue with that. Just look at movies, television, magazines, and especially the internet.

However, not everyone wants it. 

I stumbled upon (A)sexual as I looked for documentaries to check out and decided to check it out. It was certainly an eye opening experience seeing the concept of asexuality as a legitimate sexual and romantic orientation.

The film focuses on some people in the asexual (or ace for short) community across America as they get interviewed or show what they do in their everyday lives. The main focus is on David Jay who is the leading asexual activist in America. He came out to his parents during his college years and he wanted to raise awareness of this orientation through AVEN (Asexual Visibity and Education Network) and through different events. The other people who get camera time are YouTube personality Swank Ivy who makes videos talking about ace-related issues with her Asexual Top 10 videos and the Letters to an Asexual series. The people that stood out to me were Brian and Elizabeth who are an asexual couple from Austin. Both of them met online and they started living together and declared their love without resorting to any sexual intercourse. Despite that, a lot of the people shown in this documentary are people that you would never guess were like that until they told you. Sure, there are some eccentricities, but nothing too major.

Seeing the people in (A)sexuality and hearing their stories just fascinated me like how they felt way too much pressure to get laid, being discriminated against, or feeling like no one believed them when it came to their orientation. People of both genders get treated like they are just gay or lesbian in denial or that they are too lame to be in a relationship. Seeing them trying to rise above the ignorance and misunderstandings from the rest of the world gave me some hope as they didn’t cave to mainstream pressures.

Speaking of being discriminated against, there’s a controversial scene that must be talked about. In the middle of the film, David Jay and several people in the ace community got a spot at the San Francisco Pride Parade. They’re all decked out with signs and shirts that reference AVEN and the asexual movement. They are met with a bunch of insults from both straight people and the LGBT community during the parade. There are jokes about budding, confusion about chastity or celibacy, saying that asexuals shouldn’t be respected, and so on. The one part that made my blood boil was when a group of lesbians tell the asexuals to say at least twenty feet away from them. Wow. Just, wow. They just used the same talking points that homophobes have used against sexual minorities. No one ever apologized to them. Unbelievable.

As much as it was informative, I didn’t think that every part of the movie was perfect. Dan Savage’s interview scenes came across as ignorant and condescending. I also would have liked to see more explanation of the ace spectrum and related romantic orientations. Sure, they make brief references to aseuxality, gray-ace, and demisexuality, but I would have liked it more if they showed people who self-identify as any one of those fields.

(A)sexuality was a nice change of pace to watch. It gave great stories about a type of people that never get covered in mainstream media. I learned a lot more about asexuality and how the ace community should be treated. Highly recommended.

-Great interviews/testimonies
-Very informative, yet rarely ever didactic
-The story arc with Brian and Elizabeth

-Dan Savage
-Lack of thorough explanation on gray-aces and demisexuals
-The Gay Pride parade backlash might turn off some viewers

Adjustable Point System:

Subtract 1-3 points if you feel uncomfortable about concepts involving sexual minorities

Final Score: 8/10 Points

Content Warnings: I’d say older teens and up. The concept of sex is talked about a LOT including some off-color commentary from some of the interviewees. There’s also some strong language in certain parts of the movie which would be more than the typical PG-13 stuff.

-Curtis Monroe

Photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.

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