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Do Communists Have Better Sex?

Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Majade, MDR, Arte Television Suisse Romande
Directed by Andre Meier
DVD, color, 52 min.
College - Adult
Women's Studies, Education, Political Science

Reviewed by Jessica Schomberg, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Date Entered: 12/20/2007

This documentary explores the idea that women in communist Eastern Germany had better sex than those in the West. It compares sexual mores in post-war Western Germany, tied to concepts of family, womenís duty to their working husbands, and a taboo against speaking about sexual matters publicly or in front of children, with those in Eastern Germany, where women were members of the workforce, sexuality was discussed in schools and on television, and sex was tied to love rather than marriage as a matter of policy.

Many of those interviewed discussed the relationship between the public power women held with the power they held over their own sexuality. Included in those discussions were reactions within each country to such topics as the pill, abortion, pornography, and womenís identities based on or separate from their husbandís. (Though not discussed by the interviewers, films clips implied that same-sex relations were taboo in both countries.)

Animated characters, interviews with historians and sex researchers, archival news and sex education films clips from post-war Germany provide an often humorous, always informative comparison of Western and Communist sexual mores. This documentary would be appropriate for those studying sexual politics and sex education. Only because of the price do I give this a recommended rating rather than highly recommended.