In most parts of the western world, sex and sexuality can still be considered a taboo topic, and frank and open discussions, especially when it comes to things like fetish, kink, and anything other than what has been deemed “acceptable” within the confines of traditional gender and relationship roles. Historically, art has always played an important role in peeling away such taboos and getting a dialogue rolling about these types of topics. Documentary film making is no different in this regard, especially given its intimacy as an art form–made even more intimate when that camera lens is turned towards subject matters like sex and fetish.
Here’s a look at some of the most intriguing and fascinating documentaries geared towards breaking silences and taboos; laying bare (often literally) the world of sex, kink, and fetish in entirely new ways.
Inside Deep Throat (2005)
No discussion about sex entering the common vernacular would be complete without acknowledging the incredibly important role played by pornography in the average sex life. Deep Throat remains, even years later, the most important and influential pornographic film ever created, and this doc does a fantastic job of not only walking you through the process of creating the movie, but also contextualizing the culture of its time period and the absolute seismic effect it had on America at the time. Wondering how a single porno could gross tens of millions in theaters–including mainstream theaters–in America in the 70’s? This doc will break it all down for you.
Not for the faint of heart, Zoo is the story of a man who died from internal injuries sustained after having sex with a horse. Often categorized along with pedophiles, zoophiles lack even the divisive advocation arm of those–creating a secretive underground and tightly knit community amongst themselves.
Speaking without revealing their faces to hide their identities, friends of the deceased man share his story and talk about their activities as part of a zoophile club. Much of the film is recreation that avoids graphic depiction–making it an artful, at times troubling, brilliant look at a world not many get to see.
Filmmaker Nick Broomfield takes viewers on a wild ride inside Pandora’s Box–one of NYC’s most infamous fetish clubs in this fascinating look at sex behind closed doors. The club is divided into eight distinct sections, each specializing in a different fetish and its enthusiasts, as the film explores what it’s like to get off to things that might be considered “outside the norm”. From Dom/sub play to sadomasochism and even infantilism, the entire film takes a nonjudgmental approach of genuine curiosity. Who knows, you may just discover something you never knew you always wanted to try.
Sexy Baby (2012)
Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, the talented pair behind the other feminist documentary Hot Girls Wanted created Sexy Baby in 2012 as a fascinating peak into the lives of three women of various ages as they explain how social media, pornography, and pop culture have shaped their view on their own feminine identity and female sexuality in general.
La Bare (2014)
After staring in Magic Mike, actor and film maker Joe Manganiello headed to Dallas to a male strip club to delve even deeper into the world of exotic dancing from a man’s point of view. La Bare exposes some of the stories of the city’s most prominent dancers in a surprisingly intimate way.
Christian Grey’s rather dull “Red Room of Pain” has nothing on the Kink.Com Armory. Kink examines in great detail the intimate, exciting, and often shocking world of fetishism and fetish porn–as told by those who work for the famous (and sometimes infamous) Kink websites.