Review of Sex Games for Couples

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Sex Games for Couples is an educational videotape by Kathryn Grosz, the same woman who used to be involved in creating the National Sexuality Symposium events and Passionate Living magazine, and who also created the videotape The Art of Extended Orgasm (which last year was part of an informal SHS movie night)

In Sex Games for Couples she teams up with Walter Shelburne, the author of For Play: One Hundred Fifty Sex Games for Couples (Waterfall Press, 1993) to illustrate some simple "sex games" that couples can use for fun and sexual growth.

I liked this tape. Like The Art of Extended Orgasm, it does drag in a few places, and the hosts and guests sound like real people rather than polished actors (i.e. it's clear they don't spend most of their lives in front of a camera). It's also true that, like The Art of Extended Orgams, if you've been exploring sexuality for a while and have been reading plenty of books you may find a lot of the information it presents to be a bit basic (in general, the sophistication level of books tends to be higher than that of videos, both in terms of sex education and in terms of erotica). However, on the whole I felt that this tape provided valuable information in a fun and tasteful way, and enjoyed watching it.

After some introductory comments by Walter and Kathryn, the tape proceeds by demonstrating about three of Walter's suggestions for "sex games" in 15 minute segments featuring two different male/female couples. Each new "game" was preceded by some discussion of some of the ideas and issues unique to it, mainly by Walter. Each one was followed by discussion and chat between both the hosts and the couple featured in that segment; I actually found the open discussion following each segment to be one of the most charming aspects of the tape.

One thing I liked about this tape was how well-chosen the particular "games" were, and how together they covered some of the basics of good sex. The first game essentially has to do with creating a space for your partner to talk about what he or she finds erotic or would like to try. The second game consisted of having sex while blindfolded to focus attention away from body issues and on the sensations of sex itself. The third game was about being able to talk about what you want and don't want during sex.

I've ranted on this mailing list before about my distaste for mainstream het porn, and about how my central complaint is that its lack of realism destroys my ability or inclination to imagine myself in the situation the actors are in. Sex education tapes are another matter, however. They actually have a stake in the sex they show being "realistic," and so it is ultimately easier to imagine yourself in the role of the people being shown on the tape. For this reason I found parts of this tape to be very erotic, especially the second game where both partners were blindfolded. That was just wonderful. The fact that the couples shown on the tape are couples in real life, playing out the various sex games just as they probably would have even if they weren't being filmed (i.e. the communication, emotions, actions, etc. seemed genuine to me rather than staged) was another refreshing bonus.

One thing that I found to be especially valuable was in the third segment of the tape, during the game concerning "asking for what you want." I appreciated and enjoyed the fact that the tape showed how a person can ask that something be stopped or done differently, and for that to be accepted, without anything seeming stilted or weird or anyone getting offended.

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