Produced by Joseph Kramer, Ph.D. Starring Annie Sprinkle, Betty Dodson, Juliet Anderson, Jwala, and more. Audio commentary by Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence. New School of Erotic Touch. 83 minutes. Available at Good Vibrations, www.goodvibes.com
If you like playing with pussies -- and who doesn't? Well, okay, gay men don't. And straight women. Although it seems like a lot of straight women are at least a little curious about other women's pussies. And even those who aren't, they still have pussies of their own that they probably like getting played with...
Sorry. Where was I? If you like playing with pussies -- or if you have a pussy that likes getting played with -- then you'll almost certainly find this DVD useful and fun. "The Best of Vulva Massage" collects female genital massage sequences from eight different "how-to" and documentary sex videos, made by almost a dozen sex educators. The widely varying sources and viewpoints give you a broad spectrum of pussy massage techniques and philosophies to draw from. And the techniques are all demonstrated explicitly, which is both informative and hot.
Now, don't be thinking, "I've been playing with pussies my whole adult life, I know what I'm doing -- what do I need this video for?" I'll bet you dollars to donuts that "The Best of Vulva Massage" has ideas and tips you hadn't thought of, no matter how skillful or experienced you are. My lovely testing assistant and I have been playing with each others' pussies for over eight years... not to mention the years of experience we've both had with other women. And we still got a huge amount out of this disc.
It was like visiting familiar terrain with a new guidebook. There were all these new approaches, different angles, ways of touching each other that weren't outlandish but that just hadn't occurred to us. The massage method forced us to be patient, too, to give ourselves time to tease and build each other up -- but the massage-y style also made the build-up relaxed and calm rather than fierce and focused. It was an unusual and welcome change... and it made me come harder, and with more of my whole body, than I had in quite a while.
Even the techniques that didn't work for us (the "pressure point pinch" made me hit the ceiling, and not in a good way) were still fun to try. When you've been with the same person for a long time, it's always lovely to realize how surprised you can still be by sex, to be reminded of how many things you still don't know about each other -- or about yourself.
But even if the DVD hadn't given us any new information, it still would have been inspiring. There's a splendid variety of human sexual possibilities displayed in this video -- doubly surprising given the rather specific subject matter. There are vulvas being massaged by men, and by women, and by the owners of the vulvas themselves. There are vulva massages done by long-term committed couples, and by trained massage professionals, and by hot chicks that never laid hands on this particular vulva until now. There's tender, soothing massage -- quite a lot of that, actually -- but there's also hard, fierce, dirty finger-fucking.
And there's a tremendous variety in the ages and body types of the performers. There's dishy young hipsters in their twenties and nicely ripened middle-age folks; blooming beauties in their thirties and well-seasoned libertines of sixty or more. If you'd like to see a sex video that reflects your own life and gives you a model of sexuality you can work with -- or if you're just sick to death of cookie-cutter porn stars and want some damn variety -- then you should have a good time with this one.
Like a lot of anthologies and collections, this DVD is a bit of a mixed bag. The segment with the most detailed and useful info is "Female Genital Massage." There are good ideas and insights in many of the other sections as well, but if you and your fingers want an actual specific plan for giving vulval pleasure, that's the bit you should watch first.
Many of the other sections are less detailed. They're obviously the "vulva massage" excerpts from longer videos: videos on female orgasm or Tantric massage, sacred sexuality or sex for folks over 50. And while these bits are informative and hot and even inspiring, they've clearly been taken out of context, and there are times when that context would have been helpful.
Oh, speaking of sacred sexuality: If you're going to watch this DVD, you have to be willing to deal with New Age-y stuff. A lot of New Age-y stuff. An awful lot. If you want the vulva massage theories and techniques that the disc has to offer, you have to sit through quite a bit of prattle about chakras and goddess worship, yonis and temple gates, ancient Tantric texts and the flowing of sacred waters. Sheesh.
As you may have guessed, I don't have much patience for this. I'm a pretty passionate skeptic, and while I accept the possibility that chakras and such are real, I think it's highly unlikely that the chakra theory of human sexual arousal has been rigorously tested and subjected to the independent scrutiny of the peer-review process. It always bugs me to see religious doctrine presented as literal fact -- regardless of whether that doctrine is "Jesus hates birth control" or "I stopped having female ejaculation because of a block in my fourth chakra."
And even if I weren't skeptical of New-Age Tantric theory, the tone of it just gets up my nose. If that's true for you as well, you may want to completely skip the "Tantric Journey to Female Orgasm" section, starring Jwala. The rest of the collection's spiritual meanderings I could handle with a minimum of eye-rolling... but this one was like having my bones scraped on a cheese grater. It was packed to the gills with mushy, California-style Tantric doctrine, entangled with enough anatomical info to give it an air of bullshit authority, and it oozed with unctuous, self-congratulatory "sensitivity." It made me want to smoke cigarettes and guzzle Manhattans and watch gory crime shows, just to wash the taste of it out of my brain. And I don't even smoke.
But I realize that lots of people aren't bugged by this stuff. Lots of people are into the New Age thing, or aren't into it but can handle it with a minimum of screaming. If that's true for you, then you should be fine.
Besides, not all the segments are like that. Betty Dodson's excerpt from "Celebrating Orgasm" is delightfully down-to-earth, with a clinical directness that managed to be both professionally detached and affectionately attentive. Annie Sprinkle's "megagasm" from "Sluts and Goddesses" may sound too New Age-y for words... but when you watch her scream for five minutes straight with a Hitachi Magic Wand shoved against her clit and two hot young dykes fingering her pussy like jackhammers, you stop worrying about these finer points. And Juliet Anderson's "Ageless Desire" segment is just flat-out raunchy. It's one of my favorite bits in the entire collection: a wonderful model of how to be lecherous and filthy in a loving, long-term relationship.
Finally, I shouldn't review this video without mentioning the extra audio commentary by Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence. Much of the collection's clearest insights and most useful information comes from Carol and Robert. I'm not always a fan of DVD commentary -- it often seems meandering and smug -- but it isn't this time, and you don't want to miss it. Their commentary is as hot and informative as the original videos they're commenting on.
And in some cases, more so.
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