British Columbia

Female desire: stereotypes challenged in new documentary

A 67-year-old married woman who, with her husband's blessing, meets her lover every week and a Toronto divorcee who tries to boost her sexual confidence by signing up for an oral sex workshop are just some of the women profiled in a new documentary.

New documentary profiles women's journeys to pursue and own their sexual desires

Documentary The Truth about Female Desire airs on CBC TV's Doc Zone on Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. (Bountiful Films )

A 67-year-old married woman from B.C.'s Fraser Valley who, with her husband's blessing, meets her lover at a hotel every week and a Toronto divorcee who tries to boost her sexual confidence by signing up for an oral sex workshop are just some of the women profiled in a new documentary by a Vancouver filmmaker to set the record straight about female desire.

The Truth About Female Desire, which airs on CBC TV's Doc Zone on Thursday night, was originally meant to explore how far women have come since Helen Gurley Brown's 1962 book Sex and the Single Girl. But filmmaker Maureen Palmer says she thought the film took on a different kind of urgency by the end of 2014.

"We saw [Jian Ghomeshi], we saw [Bill Cosby], we saw the Dalhousie dental students, we saw the ongoing issues with missing and murdered women in 2014," she told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff. "I felt, by the end of 2014, sort of a retrenchment about our need to protect women again … and I felt that that was counter to what a lot of women feel in Canada.

"As much as we want to be protected, we want to have our own sexual agency and we don't want to be shamed for our sexuality anymore and if you attach it back to being portrayed as a victim all the time, that further entrenches that."

Watch a trailer of The Truth about Female Desire on Youtube

Palmer says filming the documentary forced her to confront her own biases, such as the notion that older women aren't sexual anymore.

The Truth about Female Desire airs on CBC TV's Doc Zone on Thursday at 9 p.m.

To hear the full interview with Maureen Palmer, click on the audio labelled New documentary challenges stereotypes about female desire.

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