Sex remains a taboo conversation, regardless of age: the stigma alone can be psychologically and physically harmful. Lucky for us, Hulu’s new movie Sexual appeal has no shame when it comes to the subject. In particular, teenage virgin Avery (Mika Abdalla) is bold when it comes to questioning her peers and asking what she wants from her partners. Abdalla stars alongside Jake Short, who plays the character of Friends with Benefits Larson. Together, they spoke with POPSUGAR about the premise of the show and how it can empower teens.
“[The movie] breaks the barrier of taboo to talk about sex. Avery is very comfortable talking about sex to everyone – I mean, not really her parents – but she talks about it. It’s not a taboo thing; it’s never a thing where like, ‘Avery, you’re not allowed to have sex,'” Abdalla explained. “Change your experience.” Short also added, “And I think you said good too with, there’s absolutely no layer of shame. It’s about the freedom to explore and get to know each other, especially in a intimate storyline, and being willing to talk about it. I think that’s very, very valuable to anyone who watches a movie, whether they’re teenagers or not.”
“I also hope it will only provide young women with information on how to have safer sex, where to get your sex information and what is important in a partner.”
The positive sex message is also easily digestible as it is comedy and leans into the idea that yes it can be awkward. “It’s very easy, smooth and comfortable,” said Abdalla, adding that it would be great to watch with friends. “I think it’s funny and I hope people laugh and enjoy it and have a good time and not get too caught up in the underlying drama of the story of what happens to Avery and whatever. .”
Generally speaking, conversations about female pleasure are pushed aside in coming-of-age films. Both Abdalla and Short discussed how Sexual appeal goes all out in centering women. “I don’t think a lot of movies have a female perspective on their own sexuality, and I think that comes from a very male-dominated view. [industry]. . . It’s refreshing and enjoyable,” Short said. Abdalla added, “I also hope it will only provide young women with information on how to have safe sex, where to get your sex information and what which is important in a partner. . . and what is important in a sexual experience in terms of what you like, where you are, and who you are with. Sexual appeal hits Hulu on January 14.
— Additional reporting by Njera Perkins