The films analysed so far in Part III of Sexcatraz show characters transcending the outmoded sexual beliefs that trap us in the destructive behaviours seen in Parts I and II. This begs a question: what might a society with significantly less sexual shame resemble? This is the quantum leap glimpsed at the beginning of Sexcatraz. As a major change in human social structure, it cannot be achieved with a single step or the wave of a magic wand: you can’t cross a chasm in two small steps. Escape from Sexcatraz occurs one day at a time and one person at a time, just as Philip Marlow gradually processed and released his lifelong, traumatic sexual baggage over the course of The Singing Detective.

Sexual shame is a structural component of patriarchal societies. As such, authorities with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo have traditionally acted to ban, discredit or marginalise portrayals of how a more sexually open society might function.

As the Intermission showed, sexual shame is a structural component of patriarchal societies. As such, authorities with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo have traditionally acted to ban, discredit or marginalise portrayals of how a more sexually open society might function. Consequently there are few films that explore these historically dangerous waters, but they do exist. Oscar-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1996 film Stealing Beauty portrays a tiny, self-contained community making the journey towards sexual openness.


Start: Sexcatraz Pt. 1 – Welcome to Sexcatraz
Previous: Sexcatraz Pt. 44 – The Singing Detective (TV series)
Next: Sexcatraz Pt. 46 – Stealing Beauty


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