Unlearning Sex

A film by Zanah Thirus

United States | 2020 | 81 minutes | Color | DVD | English | Order No. W211261  |

38 minute educational version included on the DVD. For the DSL version, please email [email protected].

Told through a deeply personal lens, this film explores sexual assault and trauma – and how these experiences intersect with race, class, and sexual orientation – with complexity and sensitivity. 


Sexual assault and trauma -- and how these experiences intersect with race, class, and sexual orientation -- are rarely discussed in our society. Zanah Thirus’s bold new film, UNLEARNING SEX, explores these topics with complexity and sensitivity, simultaneously raising awareness and opening the door for important conversations. Thirus bravely takes us on her six-month journey through sexual trauma therapy and the reclamation of her body in hopes of lending strength and inspiration to others. While told through a deeply personal lens, including intimate audio recordings of Thirus’s therapy sessions, the film tells a story that is at once unique and universal. The addition of video interviews with a neuroscientist, sex educators, and therapists lend expert insight into sexual trauma, misconceptions surrounding sexual assault, consent, intersectionality, and sex education. This film will inspire people of all backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, and races to speak candidly about this sensitive issue.  


"Powerful and personal"


"A helpful movie for the purposes of destigmatizing therapy and giving sexual assault survivors a figure to relate to...Highly recommended."

Video Librarian


  • Best Human Rights Film, Toronto International Women Film Festival 2020 
  • Best Poster, Toronto International Women Film Festival 2020 
  • Silver Award, Spotlight Documentary Film Awards 2020
  • Best Short Doc, NY Inspirational Film Fest
  • Social Justice Film Festival 2020
  • Seeds and Parks Festival 2020
  • North Dakota Human Rights Festival 2020
  • BedStuy Film Festival 2020
  • Chicago South Side Film Festival 2020
  • Toronto International Women Film Festival 2020
  • Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival 2020
  • Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series 2020
  • International Social Change Film Festival 2020
  • International Black & Diversity Film Festival 2021
  • The Women’s Film Festival, 2021


Zanah Thirus

Zanah Thirus is an actress, producer, writer, and director from Chicago. She received her master’s degree in cinema production from DePaul University at the age of twenty-two and began her career in independent filmmaking and content production in 2015.

In 2016, Zanah won Best Female Director for her short film Hourglass at the Cineplay Film Awards. Her festival credits as a filmmaker include Official Selection - Chhatrapati Shivaji International Film Festival (2016), Best Student Documentary - London Independent Film Awards (2017), Semi Finalist at The German United Film Festival (2018), and Finalist at Cinema Los Angeles Film Festival (2018).

Since launching her brand, Zanah Thirus Productions LLC, Zanah has shifted her focus to merging arts and activism through documentary and narrative storytelling. Her films explore subjects such as gender, race, politics, and mental health. In 2019, her feature documentary Black Feminist was an official selection at the Bronze Lens Festival of Atlanta. That same year, her short film Demons was also nominated for Best Short Film at the Content Creators of Atlanta Awards. Shortly afterwards, Zanah was named one of Diversity in Cannes Top 10 Filmmakers of the Decade. (09/20)



Written, Produced, and Directed by – Zanah Thirus 

Produced by Marquelle Young 


Cinematography by Bria BrownBlake BoddenColbie FrayJessica Tolliver  


Script Supervision by Michael Chris 


Sound Mix by Batsirayi Zesaguli 


Gaffing by Jon Benson  


Edited by Zanah Thirus 



Anisha Cooper  

SahDol Jones  

Claire Horner  

Denisa Millette  

Thalia Chicojay 

Angela Townsend  

Gregory Geffrard  

Saed D. Hill  

Melissa Carnagey  


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