Review: The Principles of Pleasure

women look at brain scans in The Principles of Pleasure

The Principles of Pleasure is a three episode docu-series about women’s sexual health and pleasure. It features scientists, educators, therapists, and many interviews with ordinary women. This isn’t schoolyard gossip or the mythology of the patriarchy – this is the real info.

Michelle Buteau narrates The Principles of Pleasure. Niharika Desai directed. Everything about it is matter of fact, scientifically correct, and meant to dispel shame and dysfunction. It is very well done and probably should be watched by every adult in America.

Two hands touching in The Principles of Pleasure

Each of the three episodes has a focus. The first, “Our Bodies,” looks at how the body works, orgasm, and the myths and misconceptions that surround the idea of normal or desirable that our culture has subjected us to.

In each episode, women are interviewed. These women include young, old, straight, queer, nonbinary, and trans individuals. There are a mix of races, religions, and body types. It’s representative of all women.

Each episode uses experts who share what they know to help destroy some of the mythology about women’s sexual pleasure and desires.

Episode two, “Our Minds,” looks at how the brain works in terms of sexuality and sexual desire. Hormones are discussed and explained. There are so many myths and cultural misconceptions about women, their emotions, and their hormones that this episode is really informative.

The final episode, “Our Relationships,” talks about the importance of consent, of communication, and of listening to your partner.

Charts, animations, photos of bodies, photos of all sorts of relationships, and a look into the scientific research of some of the women who share expertise all add to the presentation. It’s an education in what’s real. It’s full of help for overcoming shame, trauma, and lack of permission to be who you are.

In a perfect world, women should learn these things from family, or in school. But the fact is, in our society, women do not. Here’s a chance to make up for that lack of education and replace it with knowledge.

The series can be found on Netflix.

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