Do Communists Have Better Sex? is a gem of a film that explores the startlingly different notions of sexuality and romance on either side of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War.
When the Iron Curtain was running through Europe, people in west-Germany believed that life was a bit grim in East Germany. Yet studies showed that this was not the case in the bedroom: East Germans had twice as much sex, started younger, had more partners and achieved the Big O more often than their capitalist counterparts.
We’re so used to thinking of our capitalist society, with its constant stimulation, pop-culture boundary-pushing and focus on beauty and selfish pleasure, as the epitome of freedom and sexual liberty. So why were East German women happier in bed?
It turns out there’s a scientific answer to that question, and it may surprise you. The history covered by the film is profound, covering clashing political ideologies, morality and feminism, for starters. But it doesn’t leave out the fun. Enjoy!
East Germans were very frank and unabashed about sex and personal pleasure, and so is this documentary. With its wonderfully brazen vintage clips of sex education films, softcore porn and nudist home movies, let’s just say it’s not quite safe for viewing at work.
As the film is both informative and very entertaining, educators can use it in a variety of classes, sociology, history, sex-education, political science.
Background of the studies
In 1945, after defeating the Nazis, the Western Allies and the Soviets divided war-torn Germany. Germans were suddenly separated into opposing political spheres and stayed that way for decades, until 1989.
West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany) was the epitome of capitalism and the postwar “economic miracle”; behind the Iron Curtain, the German Democratic Republic was a highly controlled, centrally managed Stalinist state. When the wall was torn down, the reunited nation became a sociologist’s dream – a country sharing a language and fundamental culture but with a lifetime of sharp differences in economies, media, education, religion and women’s rights, all now available to be studied in detail.
Among the mountains of sociological data based on interviews with Germans that emerged in the following years, there was a recurring theme: East German people – especially and very significantly East German women – consistently reported that sex was better for them and that their romantic lives were happier and more satisfying