I've actually been considering adding a reviews section to the Symtoys site, because, y'know, I don't have enough to do to keep me busy as it is... Anyhow, I said yeah, sure, why not?
So he sent me a DVD, The Better Sex Video Series, Volume I; Advanced Sexual Techniques & Positions.
I'm not even close to the target demographic for this DVD. I snuggled down to watch it, nestled on the couch between my sweeties Shelly and S, and the three of us checked out the video that promises "the most pleasureable and exciting way you and your partner can learn in the privacy of your own home." Already, we're starting with the assumption that a person has only one partner...but considering that's generally the accepted norm for relationships, we'll let that one go. Shelly spent some of the time working on her homework, occasionally looking up to say things like "r sine theta equals one," which I think is totally hot...but I digress.
The DVD, which is about an hour and a half long, was produced by a Ph.D. at an outfit called the Sinclair Intimacy Institute and bills itself as "advanced sexual techniques and positions." Personally, I would say that anything that starts off with a discussion of basic anatomy ("This is my vulva") is more "beginning to intermediate," but then I suppose "avanced" is a relative term--my own definition of "advanced" sex techniques tends to be anything that involves the use of Japanese rope bondage, requires a wall outlet, or that needs more than six hours of prep time, so what do I know?
Honestly, the video was a whole lot better than I expected it to be. I halfway expected to find myself cringing halfway thorough, but it's remarkably cringe-free.
.Pros: Very high level of technical polish. The DVD is well-designed, with good navigation. The filming and production values are consistently high--surprisingly so for a sex instruction video.
The video uses real couples, showing them talking to each other and having sex, and emphasizes the value of communication in a happy sex life--something I think can't possibly be more important. The video features a wide range of different couples, intersperced with blurbs from various sex educators. For the most part, the couples come across as genuine and unscripted.
Overall, it's well-paced, lighthearted, and realistic.
Cons: Some time long ago, back in the early, misty prehistory of the human race--say, about 1977 or so--someone somewhere decided that smooth jazz was the ideal accompaniment to motion pictures of people having sex, and that fateful decision has exerted an evil influence on every depiction of sex to this very day. I don't know why images of sex must always be accompanied by smooth jazz; last time I was in San Francisco, Shelly and I accompanied my friend altenra to Power Exchange, where we watched a porn flick with a thrash metal soundtrack. It worked surprisingly well; in fact, I went out and bought the soundtrack afterward...but again, I digress.
The extra features on the DVD could be a lot more comprehensive. Yeah, I know, the idea that a sex instruction video even has extra features is pretty cool--but the extra features (which covered everything from sex toys to interviews with sex researchers) were disappointingly short. Spending two minutes talking about sex toys hardly does justice to even the relatively narrow range of toys they discussed.
I'd like to have seen a little bit more on sexual techniques that didn't involve positions. That's probably just a reflection of my own tastes; the mechanics of putting Tab A into Slot B are not nearly as interesting as the stuff going on between the ears of the people doing it. One of the couples in the video mentioned a couple of times that they really liked roleplaying, which is something the video could easily have spent a little bit of time talking about, but didn't. (Of course, that same couple said at one point that they'd pretty much done it all; I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone who believes he's "done it all" when it comes to sex has precious little idea just how much there really s to do. I figure that a person who lived to be, oh, five or six hundred years old, and did something different in bed every day, never repeating the same thing twice, he might be able to get a good overview of the entire range of human sexual experience, though he still wouldn't have time to do it all.)
Overall, I'd give it four stars out of five, even though it clearly wasn't intended for me. Anyone whose bedroom furniture includes a St. Andrew's cross like mine does, or anyone who goes shopping for sex toys at Home Depo and Radio Shack, or anyone who's ever owned a single sex toy costing more than two hundred dollars or spent more than four hours building something intended solely for sex probably won't find a whole lot of novel information in this video.
On the other hand, anyone whose idea of "kinky" is letting her be on top, or who says things like "Gee, we've been dating for six months now and our sex life is getting pretty boring; what else is there to do?" would definitely benefit from this DVD.
At some point in the future, when I actually get the sex reviews page up and running, I'll post a review of the Glowing Digital Carrot Vibrator that feorlen gave me.