The documentary movie “Sex Positive” explores the life of Richard Berkowitz, a revolutionary gay S&M- hustler-turned-AIDS activist in the 1980s, whose incomparable contribution to the invention of safe sex has never been aptly credited. Berkowitz emerged from the epicenter of the epidemic as a community leader, demanding a solution to the problem before anyone else would pay attention. However, it was not Berkowitz’ voice alone that sparked contention.
Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, a controversial virologist and AIDS doctor, postulated that AIDS was more complicated than just a new virus. With Sonnabend’s theory in tow, Berkowitz fought, alongside beloved activist and musician Michael Callen, for safer sex practices without giving up on sex altogether.
The movie “Sex Positive” explores the explicit bravery of this unrecognized triumvirate, and their dire quest to save lives in the midst of unwavering dissent. Now destitute and alone, Richard Berkowitz tells his story to a world who never wanted to listen. Through the eyes of Richard Berkowitz, the audience is made witness to a graphic testimony of sex, death, and betrayal, while placing the invention of ‘safe sex’ in a fresh and compelling context.