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The film making us face the idea disabled people have sex

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‘Yes We Fuck’ is an uncompromising look at the reality that disabled people have sex lives too. We caught up with director and disability activist Antonio Centeno to find out more

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Yes We Fuck

As a society we’re becoming more accepting of sexuality in all its guises and forms – and rightly so. 2015 could be seen as the year when trans issues finally broke through into the mainstream after decades spent on the margins of society, while more and more women in particular are joining the sexually fluid revolution. And yet for all of our talk, there’s one conversation that we’re not having – about how disabled people have sex.

Spanish director and disability activist Antonio Centeno wants to tackle this prudishness head-on. His film Yes We Fuck (which is co-directed with Raúl de la Morena) is a no-holds barred look at the world of disabled sexuality, with uncompromising visuals (of people having sex) and a strong sense of moral purpose. Centeno shows human intimacy in all its forms, and what strikes you from watching the film is that the issues faced by disabled people when it comes to their sex lives aren’t so dissimilar to those faced by the rest of the population.

Watching the film, which recently showed at the British Film Institute’s Flare festival, at times makes for uncomfortable viewing. You’re discomfited by the fact that the sexuality depicted on our TVs and in popular culture almost uniformly represents one experience: that of heterosexual intimacy between two able-bodied, cis-gendered people.

Yes We Fuck is an uplifting, refreshing corrective to the narrative that disabled people are in some way sexless, made noble by the struggles they undergo to assimilate into a society that is in many ways ableist. The film isn’t perfect – sections are too long, and while Centeno wants to depict the reality of disabled people having sex, at times the camera lingers too long or in a way that feels intrusive. It’s clear that this is very much a passion project from the fledging director, and one which could perhaps have profited from tauter editing. Nonetheless, it’s rare to see a film which so profoundly makes you confront your own prejudices to recognize that we all of us share a common humanity and a common desire to express that humanity through the most natural act of all – the act of fucking, of course.

To find why we need to get on board with the fact that disabled people fuck like the rest of us, Dazed caught up with Centeno at the BFI. Below is the transcript of our conversation, which has been edited for flow and clarity.

 

Can you give us a bit of background as to why you made Yes We Fuck? Is this an issue that’s particularly close to home for you?

Antonio Centeno: By background I’m an activist and I’ve always advocated for helping disabled people, or those with functional diversity as we prefer to call them, to lead independent lives wherever possible. For us, this is a political issue. If we want people with functional diversity to have real lives – not merely to survive – then we need to be visible sexual beings. We need to break this infantilised image of us as children, to show that people with functional diversity are sexual beings, people who desire and are desired. So by giving them a sexuality, we politicise the issue.

You depict real-life intimacy in the film in a lot of detail. How did you get the participants to trust you?

Antonio Centeno: Many of the people in the film I’d met as activists throughout the years, so they trusted in me and what I was doing. And they understood that the film wasn’t just entertainment, but a political tool to help the change the realities of our society. I mean, of course it was difficult, to expose yourself and put your body out there. But it was only possible because of the trust I enjoyed from them, and the fact they understood what political message we were trying to put out.

What’s the reaction been like?

Antonio Centeno: In my native Spain and internationally there’s been a huge amount of interest and it’s generally been very well received. Some people find it too direct, maybe  there’s too much exposure, and some people thought there were some stories missing as well. But it’s been more difficult getting it out to a wider audience, outside of LGBT and specialist film festivals. And I think this reflects the way in which people with functional diversity live in our society. You know, we live away from the masses, from the general public. We live in ghettos. And by ghettos, I mean special residences, or with families that look after us. We go to special schools, because we have to. We work in special centres. So basically, we live in a parallel world, segregated from other people.

Would you like to see this segregation broken down so everyone is living side-by-side?

Antonio Centeno: Well, I’m not sure about ‘everyone’. I don’t like most people! [Laughs].

The title of the film is quite risque…

Antonio Centeno: In Spain, we have a motto which roughly translates as ‘Fuck as you live, and live as you fuck’. Which means that you can only have your own independent life if you have a sex life which is free, which is independent, which is rich. And you can only have a sex life that is free if you personally are free. If you have a free sex life, you can have a good life. You can fight for your freedom, for your independence. So the film is about how you can show, through sexuality, that people with functional diversity want to live like others, independently, not being cancelled out and made to delegate their decisions through family members or professionals.

What I found interesting about the film is that a lot of the sexual issues that people faced, like guilt or shame, are common to everyone, not just those with functional diversity.

Antonio Centeno: Well, our intention wasn’t just just to show weird people doing weird things. We wanted to deal with general issues, like desire, pleasure, our relationship with our bodies. But basically by focussing on this group of people with functional diversity, we produced this magnifying glass effect…I mean, the issues that they have aren’t so dissimilar from those the rest of the population have. But it’s just magnified in this group.

It’s historically very difficult to depict sex on film. Was this a concern for you? Wanting to show sexuality in a way that was honest without being gratuitous?

Antonio Centeno: Well, I want to start by saying that reality doesn’t exist, as such. We were constructing a reality. And that’s the powerful thing about porn, not that it represents reality but that it constructs reality. If we think about what people think about those with functional diversity, they think that we don’t have sex. So we wanted to put images in the heads of the viewers, so that those images were incompatible with the prejudices that they had.

Is there a danger that we risk sensationalising the issue?

Antonio Centeno: It’s a risk we take, definitely. But if the problem before was people with functional diversity being invisible, and now it’s us being sensationalised, that’s okay with me. For me, it’s important that we construct narratives which don’t just place people with functional diversity between two opposite poles. You know, we have the pariahs, the hopeless people, and then on the other end of the spectrum there’s the hero and it’s all very inspiring, but…I mean, no one actually believes that. It’s reductive. So there are lots of stories that have to be constructed in the middle about people with functional diversity. And that’s what I hope to do.

Complete Article HERE!

More SEX WISDOM With Katie Querna — Podcast #427 — 09/10/14


Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

As you remember from last week, this week marks the end of my podcasting career. I’ve done 427 shows in just under eight years and I’ve decided that’s plenty. While I am exceptionally proud of the quality programming I’ve brought to you, my international audience, it’s time to call it quits. But I’m happy to report, all my podcasts are archived right here on my site and they will remain so for the foreseeable feature. So I hope you will visit often.

For my last show I welcome back my good friend, colleague, social worker, and real life neighbor, Katie Querna for Part 2 of her appearance on this the SEX WISDOM show.IMG_6200

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of this conversation, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because, like I mentioned above, all my podcasts are archived here. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #426 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Katie and I discuss:

  • Sex pairings and sex role stereotyping;
  • Gayle Rubin’s “Charmed Circle”;
  • The disparity in access to reproductive and sexual health care for women and men;
  • Fear of sex and sexuality;
  • Children, teens, sex, and gender;
  • Learning is a lifelong process.

Katie invites you to visit her on her site HERE!

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes they will remain archived there as well. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.

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More of The Erotic Mind of Sacchi Green — Podcast #425 — 07/14/14


Hey sex fans, welcome back.Sacchi Green001

The brilliant and big time award-winning author and editor, Sacchi Green is back with us today for Part 2 of her turn on this The Erotic Mind show. Sacchi and I had such a good time together last week and since I had so much more to discuss with her, I invited her to come back today. And she agreed, so YAY for that. I’m also pretty certain she’ll read for us again this week because I plan to beg and beg.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our chat, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #424 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Sacchi and I discuss:

  • Her nom de plume and writing under her real name;
  • Her beginnings in science fiction and fantasy;
  • What sparks the images that become her erotica;
  • Women With Handcuffs, a little pervy, but oh so believable;
  • The fascinating history of this volume;
  • A straight guy’s interest in lesbian erotica;
  • The appeal of fetish and BDSM erotica;
  • Transgender and gender queer erotica;
  • A person’s sex life being enriched by erotica;
  • Time Well Bent;
  • The people who inspire her and her sexual heroes;
  • Upcoming projects.

Sacchi reads from the Introduction of Women With Handcuffs.

Sacchi invites you to visit her on her site HERE! Her Facebook page is HERE! And her LiveJournal page is HERE!

(Click on the cover art below to enjoy some of Sacchi’s outstanding work)

A Ride to Remember and Other Erotic Stories Girl_Crazy girl-fever-69-stories-of-sudden-sex hard road Lesbian_Lust lesbian-cowboys-erotic-adventures wild-girls-wild-nights-true-lesbian-sex-stories time well bent women in handcuffs

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.
Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

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The Erotic Mind of Sacchi Green — Podcast #424 — 07/07/14


Hey sex fans, welcome back.

I have a tasty treat in store for today’s edition of The Erotic Mind show. We travel to the wilds of western Massachusetts to hobnob with an award-winning author.

Sacchi Green

As you probably know, this is the series where I chat with noted erotic artists, both visual and literary, from all over the freakin’ world. Today I welcome one of the giants of the world erotica scene. My guest today is none other than the brilliant author and editor, Sacchi Green.

Sacchi and I discuss:

  • Shout out to Cleis Press;
  • Her most recent award for Wild Girls, Wild Nights;
  • Being a strict, even ruthless editor, but always welcoming new talent;
  • The difference between writing for a series and editing a series;
  • Startling book covers;
  • Her mountain retreat;
  • Appearing in Penthouse;
  • The Lambda Literary Awards;
  • Writing from memory, writing true stories;
  • Getting turned on by the stories, an important part of judging erotica;
  • Her bibliography and her favorites among them;

Sacchi reads from “Pulling,” which appears in Lesbian Cowboys.

Sacchi invites you to visit her on her site HERE! Her Facebook page is HERE! And her LiveJournal page is HERE!

(Click on the cover art below to enjoy some of Sacchi’s outstanding work)

A Ride to Remember and Other Erotic Stories     Girl_Crazy     girl-fever-69-stories-of-sudden-sex     hard road     Lesbian_Lust     lesbian-cowboys-erotic-adventures     wild-girls-wild-nights-true-lesbian-sex-stories     time well bent     women in handcuffs

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s podcast is bought to you by: Dr Dick’s Stockroom.

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More SEX WISDOM with PJ Raval — Podcast #422 — 06/23/14


Hey sex fans, welcome back.

Award winning filmmaker and documentarian, PJ Raval is back with us again today to continue our discussion of his PJ 01groundbreaking move, Before You Know It. Like last week, he’s here as part of the SEX WISDOM series because his film shines a spotlight on an often-ignored segment of our youth-oriented culture, LGBT seniors and elders. And the result is nothing short of stunning.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our conversation, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #420 and Voilà! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

PJ and I discuss:

  • Difficulties faced by LGBT seniors and elders;
  • His earlier film, Trinidad;
  • Dennis, his alter ego, Dee, and his coming out story;
  • Rainbow Vista;
  • Ty and his work with the Harlem chapter of SAGE;
  • Robert “The Mouth” and his Texan drag bar;
  • Intertwining the three stories for the greatest effect;
  • Collaborating with other artistic people;
  • Sex and aging;
  • Queer Bomb;
  • Christeene.

PJ invites you to visit him on his movie’s site HERE! And be sure to like his film’s page on Facebook HERE! His movie even has its own twitter feed. You’ll find it HERE!

(Click on the movie poster below to find out more about PJ’s movie.)

before you know it

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Fleshlight & FleshJack.