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Grandma and Sleeping With Other People Open Today, Approach Abortion and Masturbation Honestly

NEW YORK, NY Today, the films Grandma and Sleeping With Other People debut nationwide. In different ways, both films challenge the stigma around sex, sexuality, and safe and legal abortion. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) provided information and support to the filmmakers of these funny and heartfelt films to ensure that they accurately and sensitively handled issues related to abortion, in Grandma, and masturbation, in Sleeping With Other People.

Abortion and Grandma
“The film Grandma portrays a young woman who decides to have a safe and legal abortion because she isn't ready to be a parent,” said Caren Spruch, senior advisor of arts and entertainment engagement at PPFA. “The film highlights the need for every woman to have full, accurate information about all of her options so that she can make the best decision for herself — as well as the need for skilled, respectful providers who can ensure that she is treated without judgment or shame.
“When it comes to abortion, every woman’s situation is unique, and every woman’s decision about her pregnancy — whether to parent, choose adoption, or have an abortion — should be respected and valued.”

For many women, including the character in Grandma, cost is a major obstacle to accessing abortion. The unfortunate reality is that too many women in the U.S. face barriers to sexual and reproductive health care and safe, legal abortion — including TRAP legislation, waiting periods, the availability of providers, and cost. For nearly four decades, the Hyde Amendment has banned the use of federal funding for abortion services, except in the case of very narrow exceptions. The fact is that every woman — no matter where she lives or how much money she makes or who provides her health insurance — deserves access to health care without barriers or political roadblocks.

Masturbation and Sleeping With Other People
Sleeping With Other People also tackles an often taboo topic with humor and honesty: masturbation.

“The film Sleeping With Other People is a romantic comedy that addresses very real aspects of women’s and men’s sexuality, including masturbation, virginity, and sex addiction,” Spruch said. “The movie also features a scene that depicts female masturbation, a topic that’s still relatively new to the big screen. This lack underscores the need for more understanding and openness about this healthy and normal aspect of sexuality.”

Masturbation is a normal and common activity for both men and women, yet many people feel shame or guilt about masturbating. Studies show that about 7 out of 10 adult men and more than 5 out of 10 adult women masturbate. Some people masturbate more than once a day, some people masturbate once in a while, and some people never masturbate — all are completely healthy and normal. Masturbation can enhance our physical, mental, and sexual health and the health of our sexual relationships. It is one of the best ways we can learn about our sexuality: by helping us explore what we like and don’t like, it can make sex with a partner more enjoyable.

“At Planned Parenthood, we support the people who come to us for high-quality, nonjudgmental, medically accurate information and care; we help patients make decisions for themselves; and we work hard to make sure they do not face financial hardship because of their decisions,” Spruch added.  “It’s why one in five women in America has come to us for care at some point.

“Honest portrayals of sexual and reproductive health topics like abortion and masturbation in film and television are still extremely rare, and that’s part of a much bigger lack of honest depictions of women’s lives, health, and sexuality,” she said. “Film and television can help challenge stigma and change the conversation. We’re thrilled that the filmmakers behind Grandma and Sleeping with Other People recognize this fact.”


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


September 18, 2015