Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Sexual Heaving

*WARNING: some sexual references appear in this post*

As you may have gleaned, I haven't been working the past few weeks. In the odd, bug-stuck-in-amber world of unemployment, real life whizzes by you and inevitably you start to hear yourself starting sentences with, 'There was this thing on Loose Women the other day...' while your employed friends nod along in quiet pity. One of the least stimulating ways to pass the time is to stick on This Morning between 10.30 and 12.30 - somewhere between the buzzy morning segments of GMTV and the raucous hysteria of Loose Women, this bizarre two-hour festival of novelty news, low-budget props and D-list guest dominates daytime TV. I was a student in the heyday of Phil'n'Fern, and enjoyed their rapport - the giggling fits, the empathy of their interviews and a general feel of not taking it too seriously. I love Holly Willoughby, but she doesn't strike a blow in the name of female journalism. She's very blonde and made-up, playing to the dumb 'I can't cook and I sure as hell don't know where Finland is' persona and just not really having anything interesting to say.

So - picture a sofa-bound Monday 16th March, and nothing much to flick on to but This Morning. Harmless fun, I thought, but how wrong I was. Sex week. Great, I mused, it's a little odd at this time of day but I'm all for opening up the sex debate and making it more of a light-hearted, natural pastime that we should talk about freely. I'm no prude, but fluffy daytime TV in all its uncomfortably live glory managed to defeat me on this occasion. I only lasted about fifteen minutes before flicking over to The Wright Stuff (actually quite good morning TV: news analysis, discussion, some bizarre viewer phone-ins). I felt unbearably straight-laced for not surviving the 10am sexathon, but their pre-watershed 'frank discussion' demanded constant warnings about the delicacy of the subject and this combined with the awkward way things were demonstrated did not make for great viewing.

For those of your poor souls that missed it, the first sex-themed show involved the following: a young woman suffering from anorgasmia being coached in how to have an orgasm by a much older sex therapist, with the aid of a rubber vagina 'dummy' and a giant trunk of sex toys and lube. Their age gap and the neutral sofa setting gave the unnerving impression that we were eavesdropping on a bizarre mother and daughter lesson in masturbation. The poor girl was then plonked on the TM sofa where Phil and Holly eagerly asked how she had been doing with her home practicals since her pre-recorded consultation. Basically, 'Have you had one yet?' No pressure, dear. Then 'Sexpert' Tracey Cox (who seems to pop up everywhere like a pesky erection) talked Phil and Holly through the most common sex problems she wanted to tackle, using morning-friendly language and way too much emphasis on 'fun', of course. I half expected them to whip out the whipped cream and insert some swannee-whistle sound effects (don't laugh too hard - food/sex games are scheduled later on this week. Making me even more relieved to be back at work.)

The problem is, when it comes to palettable sex-focused TV, for me (and I'm not alone, I had facebook-status feedback agreeing that it was unwatchable) it has to be sciencey docu-style or late-night erotic advice. Any show centred around a sofa and a fruit bowl is not going to make successful strides in spicing up the nation's sex life. The dislike i'm registering here is not part of the Daily Mail Outrage school of thought - Sex Week didn't offend me, it just proved a massive turn off in all senses of that phrase. I know ITV is fielding complaints and Philip Schofield is defending the show's choice right, left and Twitter, but I stand firmly by my choice to avoid the saucy antics in favour of some traditional breakfast TV banter. Mine wasn't a disgusted channel change, but a 'I'd actually rather watch anything other than two sixty-somethings being told to get into the 'lazy sex' position' sort of impulse. Perfectly reasonable, I feel. Do let me know if you were disgusted, enthralled or if Sex Week is even on your radar, I'd be interested to know just where I feature on the Prudence McPrude scale of prudiness.

It might have been more 'frank' to make Phil and Holly demonstrate the sexual positions, perhaps with a Benny Hill-style musical accompaniment

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