In his new documentary “A Sexplanation,” Alex Liu travels across the United States and Canada to unpack the failures of modern sex education and attempt to discover what proper sex-ed looks like. According to Liu, a freelance science reporter, making the film was the result of him reflecting on his own experiences and hang-ups about sex, particularly as a gay Asian man.
“I’ve lived many careers, and a lot of it has been around science, communication, health reporting, but ultimately what drove me to those fields was helping me understand who I was as a queer person. How do I understand my biology in a way that makes me happy, fulfilled, have a meaningful life? Because what I was being told by the culture at large was the opposite,” Liu said. “The first time I came out of the closet, I literally would’ve rather killed myself than do it, but it was a life-or-death thing. And now, 20 years later, saying ‘I’m gay,’ I don’t even think twice about it, it’s very natural to me. I thought coming out of the closet was the end of that process, but I think it was just the beginning when I look back. Ultimately there are a lot of things we all need to come out about if we want to be fully expressed, not just in terms of in the bedroom, but in the world.”
Liu spoke to Variety deputy editor Meredith Woerner for Variety’s “Doc Dreams” series, presented by National Geographic. When asked how the film changed his own perspective regarding sex education, Liu said it caused him to broaden his understanding of what purpose sex education serves, and who the audience for sex education is.
“Sex education can really start from birth to death,” Liu said. “It is not a one class, one-talk thing. Your body is always changing, your relationships are always changing, your understanding of the world is always changing. It’s something that you should be checking in with all the time.”
In the film, Liu visits a family sex education class, one that featured very young children. Although he admitted that he found sitting in on the class to be initially uncomfortable, Liu said the experience was revelatory for his own views on sex-ed.
“In the beginning, I was so tense and uncomfortable being there, but that was really my own problem,” Liu said. “These kids already were having tons of questions that they just kind of already understood that none of the adults in their lives were comfortable asking. So when they had the opportunity to, it was like rapid-fire questions. This is something we all think about very early, so we do ourselves and our culture and our society a disservice if we don’t answer these questions as early as possible.”
“A Sexplanation” originally aired on Fuse TV and is available for streaming on DirecTV.
Watch the full video above.