Sex Stories 3: Sexual Freedom (2013) – By Roger Carpenter

Begun in 2009 with the original Sex Stories, and followed up in 2012 with Infidelity, Sexual Freedom marks the final film in Ovidie’s trilogy about sexual exploration. In Sex Stories Ovidie tackled various sexual dysfunctions using flashbacks as various characters told stories about their sex lives. Infidelity addressed how men and women think differently about monogamy and casual sexual relationships. Sexual Freedom explores the concept of free love and open relationships. While each film contains mainstream drama and a touch of comedy, they also contain pornographic sequences involving the actors. Breaking Glass Pictures have chosen to release each film uncut and unrated.

Sexual Freedom concerns a reporter who directs and produces documentaries. Dissatisfied with her latest endeavor, she embarks upon an exploration of a nearby commune comprised of four couples who live together and share everything, from cooking to housework. They also happen to believe in maintaining completely open relationships and have figured out how to love and live with each other without the typical feelings of betrayal and jealousy.

Taking her cue from the popular trend of handheld films, most of Sexual Freedom is seen through the camera lens of the director and her team of filmmakers. Interspersed with interviews of the lovers are explicit scenes of graphic sexuality of almost every kind. The filmmaker has complete freedom to move about the house and her subjects have absolutely no qualms about her interrupting them during their lovemaking. An early interview between two of the males and one of the females ends in a threesome while another, seemingly urbane evening interview sitting in the living room ends in a raucous game of Twister and finally a lengthy orgy scene involving all eight roommates. One of the girls becomes excited about being filmed and borrows the camera one night, waking up each of her male lovers one by one so she can film herself having sex with them. Another scene sees the women participating in a contest–it is made clear this contest is held rather frequently–to see which one can have the most orgasms using a vibrator, while in yet another scene the winner of a contest is blindfolded and has to guess which roommate is licking her. This group seems to have figured out how to carry on totally open sexual relationships in a healthy manner and with none of the emotional baggage that one might naturally attribute to a group dynamic such as this one.

However, the group is not without dissent. In one scene that occurs during breakfast, one of the guys becomes offended by one of the girls who is eating beside him while going bottomless. He is annoyed at the "lack of hygiene" and she informs him she has some irritation of her own due to their vigorous sex the evening before, thus her reason for going panty-less that morning. This is a seemingly innocuous but nevertheless important scene because it gives the film a level of authenticity it would otherwise lack if these eight people lived and loved together and were never anything but gloriously happy. This scene injects some realism and humanity into what could have been simply a highbrow porn film.

As the filmmaker moves from her questions about loyalty and the morality of what the group is doing, she begins to learn more about the formation of the group. She learns that there are rules the group follows. While each person is free to engage in sex outside of the commune, they have stopped bringing people into the home because of the misinterpretations that were occurring. When asked about the potential to spread disease, it is explained that condoms are always worn (Ovidie, herself an adult film actress for several years, always insisted on condoms being worn during her sex scenes) and that every two months the group was tested for STD’s. But as the results of the latest round of tests are delivered, one envelope contains a surprise that threatens to destroy the very fiber of the group. The film takes a dramatic twist as the group has to deal with something they hoped would never happen.

Ovidie is well-known as a rabid feminist and I felt like her strong beliefs crept into the first two installments of Sex Stories a bit too much. Her portrayal of men as selfish, amoral cretins and women as oftentimes powerless, simpering before turning the tables and seeking revenge on the callous males who mistreated them, became a bit hard to swallow, especially in Infidelity. But while the women are all portrayed as strong, free-willed, intelligent people in Sexual Freedom, Ovidie’s treatment of men is also generally positive, making this final installment a bit more palatable and balanced.

Sex Stories 3: Sexual Freedom has just been released by Breaking Glass Pictures. The film is in French with nice English subtitles and includes a 90-minute behind the scenes documentary with star Liza Del Sierra. For more information go to breakingglasspictures.com.