“Am I Normal?” (1979)

When I was a young’un, and it came time to learn about bodies and sex and all that gross stuff, the boys in my class were herded into another room, while the girls stayed behind. We watched both the movies about erections and the movies about periods, while the boys only got to see the one about erections, because it was not considered important for a young man to have any more than the dimmest awareness of what a menstrual cycle was and how it worked.

Because this was the mid-80s, we got to see movies from the next wave of sex education films, those that encouraged young people to view sexual development as natural and healthy, rather than something to be feared and denied. Sure, by the time we saw them they were already hopelessly dated and more hilarious than educational, and sure, no one mentioned such phrases as “birth control,” but God bless ‘em, they were on the right track. I have no doubt that what I watched was very much like Am I Normal? (subtitled A film about male puberty), released in 1979 with 100% sincerity by the Boston Family Planning Project and Department of Health and Hospitals.

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