Independent films of the 80s and 90s like Edge of Seventeen were the petrie dish for taboo topics of teenage and gay sexuality, according to a new documentary series on SBS.

Indie Sex features interviews with directors such as Jamie Babbit of But I’m a Cheerleader and John Cameron Mitchell of Shortbus.

It also explores how teenagers learnt about safe sex, and the just say no agenda through mainstream films during that period.

Gay and lesbian actors, such as Ari Gold and Heather Matarazzo, revealed how they watched heterosexual on-screen sex because it gave them the freedom to explore their own sexuality without being outed.

And directors debate the line between empowering teen sexuality and exploiting it.

You can’t have a coming of age, losing your virginity movie and not show the sex, Another Gay Movie director Todd Stephens offers.

Indie Sex screens on SBS, Fridays from 4 January.

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