Hot Docs 2017: Ask the Sexpert Review

Singular Sensation(s)

Ask the Sexpert features Dr. Mahinder Watsa, a former gynecologist and current sex therapist in India. He also happens to be 91 when the film was shot and is (thankfully) still alive today. A good complement to The Education of Shelby Knox (about a teenager who attempts to change the Texas sexual education system), Ask the Sexpert has us appreciate a man’s lifelong work towards decreasing ignorance and stigma towards human sexuality.

Dr. Watsa gets a lot of questions on a day-to-day basis. Some are what you would expect. Does size matter? What is causing one’s erectile dysfunction? What to do about spouses unwilling to participate in sex? Others are quite out there, such as the one about whether lemon juice could act as a contraceptive, or the one about finding excitement in peeing in guests’ tea. You build it, they will come, and it seems like everyone in India has a question for the good doctor. To his credit, he takes each in serious consideration, whether it be by e-mail, over the phone, or in person. In person, he has handy diagrams to show men what a proper erection should look like, and often counsels individuals in matters related to stress and anxiety, conditions that can affect the sex drive.

Dr. Watsa has a nemesis as well–a moral crusader who believes that the doctor’s advice column is the equivalent of a smut rag that will lead minors to sin. She pursues censorship through the courts. Meanwhile, Dr. Watsa continues plugging away at the insecurities and woes found within the private lives of Indian citizens. One man indicates that he wishes he knew about consent earlier, as he is now focused on ensuring that communication takes place between himself and women he’s interested in. The sexpert is not perfect by all means, but he has paved the way for women to have more agency during sex, and it’s refreshing to watch women of all ages compete over who gets a photo with him next.


The final scene is a masterwork on how to concisely conclude a film while also acting as a summary of what the protagonist stands for. Dr. Watsa speaks with a 27-year-old woman about the differences and commonalities in their lives. The millennial wants to run home and get her phone for a photo-op, and he offers to wait like the gentleman he is. That done, he asks her if she will get married soon. She says no. He asks why, she says que sera sera. 91, and he’s still learning about the world he calls home.


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