Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution!

I came across a post on Facebook last week detailing a woman’s reactions after watching the newly released Netflix documentary

“Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution.”

I was intrigued to see for myself what all the fuss was about and was blown away by what was shown. If you are in denial of the need for better sex education for young people then I highly recommend you watch this one! (Warning: This article contains spoiler alerts)


This documentary shows the experiences of American college aged men and women as they go away for spring break, with their feelings and behaviours when it comes to their sexuality explored. Spring break in the U.S is a coming of age ritual for many young men & women, with the holiday symbolising freedom from the responsibilities of college.


One Nighters
Hook-Up Sex

The first interviews we see are from a group of young men partaking in spring break celebrations. What I found tragic with these men were the beliefs they have around women & sex. Having sex with multiple young women was a way of these men finding validation from their peers, with the

“notch on the belt”

attitude extremely prevalent. Men were seen as “better men” according to how many women they slept with. Emotion and love was completely absent in the sexual interactions and even the mention of it was laughed at. One experience showed a man meeting a young women walking past his hotel room. Within a few minutes they were alone in his room having sex. He did not remember her name straight after the experience and had no intention of meeting her again. What was noticeable in these men was that they didn’t even know that there was a different way of being with women. Having these kinds of experiences was scarily the norm.


When the interviewer dug a little deeper speaking with some of these men in smaller groups, what we saw were confused young guys who felt enormous amounts of pressure to have sex despite their desires to do so. Men spoke of the shame of being a virgin when all their friends had lost their virginity & how they were teased because of it. Having sex was seen as a necessary part of being a man, with this sometimes leading to some regretful and unpleasant experiences for all involved.


Moving on to the women on spring break, we initially saw a very different perspective than with the men. The young women interviewed at appeared at first intelligent, articulate and very aware of the toxic culture they had grown up in. They realised that they had to go against some very strong messages that tell them to be a certain way in order to avoid falling into the trap of the social “norms.” It then moves on to a different scene on a spring break beach party, where we saw young women buying into the idea of emotionless and empty sexual encounters. There was a very prevalent attitude that many women were abiding to and that was one of sexuality being the only part of themselves that made them worthy. Appearing sexy was the most important thing in these young women’s lives and for them to feel of any value in the world, they needed men to validate this in them.


As the documentary continued, scene after scene of objectification & disrespectful mistreatment of women followed. We saw women’s breasts and genitals being groped by strangers as they walked past and heard accounts from countless women saying that this was to be expected as they went about spring break-in fact it happened in countless other environments for these women throughout their lives.


I would be lying if I said that the behaviour I witnessed completely surprised me because I grew up in the “hookup culture” and some of these behaviours were eerily familiar (Though it certainly has gotten worst from what I saw). What really shocked & devastated me was the huge extent of these behaviours and how normal detached sexual encounters, sexual abuse, rape and severe mistreatment of young women is for so many young people. A young women was raped whilst unconscious by 3 young men and there were hundreds of people standing around not doing a thing about it!!


This documentary highlighted the toxicity that occurs when young people are not taught about healthy sexuality and relationships. Pornography is one of the main ways that young people learn about sex and without an awareness of the context of this imagery, can lead to the normalization of harmful sexual behaviors. Although this documentary was filmed in the U.S, I believe it speaks loudly to what is going on in Australia too. Many things need to be done differently worldwide if we’re to see any lasting changes to the ways young men and women relate with one another.


Love From Stephanie – Oh Zone Consultant

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