How to have sex
How to Have Sex
D.I., Delinkan Intellectuel, revue d'actualité et de culture, in Societas Criticus Vol. 26-01 : www.societascriticus.com
THEATRICAL RELEASE DATE : Friday, February 09, 2024
Three British teenage girls go on a rites-of-passage holiday, drinking, clubbing and hooking up in what should be the best summer of their lives. As they dance their way across the sun-drenched streets of Malia, they find themselves navigating the complexities of sex, consent and self-discovery. Captured with luminous visuals and a pitch-perfect soundtrack, Manning Walker’s directorial debut paints a painfully familiar portrait of young adulthood, and how first sexual experiences should – or shouldn’t – play out.
Mia McKenna Bruce
DIRECTED BY :
Molly Manning Walker
Comments by Michel Handfield, M.Sc. sociology (2024-02-08) - translated by Google translate from Comment faire l'amour / How to have sex
Ah, youth. There are some for whom it’s messing around. But after? We forget everything. Not sure, because it can leave marks and psychological consequences. It depends on each person's experiences, but some can be more traumatic for some than others. And, what can we say about the physical consequences, because it seems to me that I did not see the promotion of condoms at these parties.
In Europe, one of the places for these madnesses is the Cretan town of Malia. (1) We probably make our bread and butter for the end of the school year celebrations there. Everything is organized there, with sometimes degrading competitions, but if the young people have fun and this “sex” side of the party is profitable, it is sure to be exploited. As one of the three girls says in an evening scene: "Business. It's all business now. All. All the time." (± 11m 13s)
The three friends are therefore there to celebrate, but also to encourage, even push, Tara to lose her virginity, because this is the time and place to do so. She is therefore under pressure from her two friends, but she puts it on herself too.
For them, the sooner this stage is passed, the better life will be. However, this can have consequences, especially if you come across the wrong person. It's not fair to unlock a door. This mechanical vision of things is a utopia, because these things: virginity, sexuality and the act of losing it are intimate and psychological at the same time for the girl.
In a drunken evening like any other, Tara will lose sight of her friends, but will see one of her two hotel neighbors, Paddy. She wanted to go back to her room, but he suggested she go to the beach instead. (± 41 m 49 s) For him, it was a blow like any other and everything went well in his head. But, that's not what the girl wanted. It’s even less what she dreamed of for her first time. She doesn't need to talk, it shows. (2)
But he doesn't even realize it, because, for him and several young men, their vision of things is probably more sporting or mechanical than for girls. As for the notion of consent, for him as for certain others, if it remains there, it is because she must want it even if she says no once or twice. As if it were a game and sometimes no means yes.
Consent is really not clear to Paddy. This is a concept to be taught in sexuality classes for young people at school. But the right often opposes it, too often, for questions of morality. (3) But what morality is there in refusing to educate young people about sexuality? That's the question.
Afterwards, Tara will return to the party and meet other young people who are more caring than her friends. She won't come back until the next morning. When she told them, the important thing was that she finally had sex. They do not see the distress she hides as best she can. Yet it's clear, but she speaks too little and they don't even ask her how it went; how does she feel? It’s as if it was simply a “check” on the list of initiatory steps to take in a girl’s life.
day, another night, it’s always a party. But Tara returns earlier
than the others with Bagger who brought her back and put her to bed
(± 1h10) in a kind manner.
When her friends arrive still partying in the early morning of their departure, she says nothing and continues to want to sleep. But, Paddy will then join her in bed saying “I’m sleeping here”. (± 1h12m30s) We see that she doesn't want to, but he gets in there. And, when Bagger, who is more benevolent, goes to see her (± 1h12m50s), Paddy says to him "I'm not alone anymore, you see?" (± 1h13m05s) and she says nothing again. He will therefore continue his merry-go-round.
Could she have asked him out, gotten up and left, or called her friends nearby? But, she doesn't do it, so, for him, she is consenting. Then Skye and Bagger come to join them in bed and she tells him "I knew you would. I love you, girl." (± 1h15m25s)
Not consenting, asleep more than awake, she will have allowed herself to be done as if it were an obligatory step (a rite of passage) of her end-of-school-year trip. Em only realizes on the way home that things didn't go so well for her and is sorry for that. Tara will tell her that she should have spoken, but she didn't…
This film therefore raises interesting questions such as is the notion of consent well understood? And, the social pressure in all this? The marketing of bodies and pleasure, what role does it play? Are women a commodity in the marketing of these end-of-school year celebrations? These are questions that this film raises without saying a word, because the images speak for themselves.
A film that should be shown in secondary schools is no offense to conservatives, because education must come before ideologies.
1. « It is mainly visited by young people from the United Kingdom and Northern Europe. The prominence of Malia as one of the leading spots for nightlife in Europe is cemented by the attraction of big name DJs and events. The Main Strip is home to many bars, clubs, taverns and restaurants. This is supported by the many close-by hotels and apartments in Malia and the immediate area. » (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malia,_Crete#Malia_resort)
2. This is the first of two sexual scenes in the film, both with Tara and Paddy. Soberly shot and explicit even if we don't see any nudity. But here, as in the second sexual scene later in the film, there is no reference to condom use. This adds to the girl's trauma, because it can have consequences on her health and her future life.
3. Precisely, La Presse of February 7 tells us this :
"A Republican candidate for Secretary of State of Missouri is sparking controversy after burning a Quebec children's book dealing with issues related to sexuality with a flamethrower."
Une traduction de ce passage :
« Une candidate républicaine au poste de secrétaire d’État du Missouri suscite la controverse après avoir brûlé au lance-flammes un livre québécois jeunesse traitant de questions reliées à la sexualité. »
Henri Ouellette-Vézina, Sexualité chez les jeunes. Une candidate républicaine brûle un livre québécois avec un lance-flammes, La Presse, 7 février 2024 :