By Ellen Barnard
I’m one of those women who defies the generalization that women don’t like visual erotica. Erotic movies always have held a fascination for me. Ever since I found my father’s stash of adult videotapes ( I was 17), I’ve enjoyed watching other people have sex. When I was going through my politically correct phase I still rented videos, but I’d drive to the other side of town where no one was likely to see me, and I never watched them with a partner.
Now I watch videos to get turned on, by myself and with a partner. I like the fact that I can see my fantasies enacted, and I replay the scenes in my head whenever I want to intensify my arousal. I like to watch a video with a partner and use it to start a conversation about fantasies and sexual acts we might like to explore together.
My job is to watch lots of adult videos and decide which ones to keep for rent and for sale in our store. It’s a long way from my early days of watching anything I could find. Now I watch the videos for plot, acting AND sex. My perspective has certainly changed. I no longer get intensely aroused at the first sex scene. Many times I don’t get aroused at all. Most of what is available these days is poorly acted, badly scripted (if at all), and formulaic in sexual content. Strangers, man and woman, meet and start groping. He has cunnilingus with her using poor technique; she has fellatio with him using pretty good technique. They fuck in a variety of positions -- from behind, woman on top facing away from him (called the reverse cowgirl), anally, and then he squirts semen on her face or butt or chest. He comes, she doesn’t.
So when I watched Marilyn Chambers’ new video, Still Insatiable, I was pleasantly surprised. No, the plot is not much. The acting ranges from pretty good to so-so. The quality of the video is good, as is the sound -- a rarity these days. And there, in all her glory, is a 47-year-old Marilyn Chambers, having the sexual time of her life, just as she did in the original Insatiable. Director Veronica Hart, a former erotic actress herself, knows how to film women enjoying sex. In fact, this video is about women enjoying sex. The men have some pleasurable moments, but the women get juicy and swollen and come all over the place.
What story there is involves Marilyn as the conservative Senator Ballworth (Hello, Warren Beatty) -- a woman on a crusade to wipe out porn. When she finds herself getting turned on watching the videotape she’s supposed to be reviling, the fun begins. She seduces her 20-something aide and enlists him in helping her live out her fantasies. They watch erotic videos together, murmuring "Would you like to do that?" and "I’ve always wanted to try that." and fuck every way imaginable. We get to revel in Marilyn’s luscious body, no longer waif-thin, with her gorgeous full thighs, breasts and butt.
Why did this video turn me on, when so many leave me (literally) dry? The shots of wet pussies were answered by wetness of my own. Often adult videos show dry, unaroused women’s genitals, and when I try to put myself in the actress’ position I cringe in discomfort. In this video, there are realistic masturbation scenes, another rarity in the video world. The women aren’t masturbating for the camera, fucking themselves with whatever phallic object they can find, and moaning and groaning with false arousal. They are stroking themselves until they are wet and swollen, and they seem to have orgasms that are realistic, if not real.
The obligatory girl-girl scene shows a connection between the women, and they have sex the way lesbians have sex. They are playful, taking their time to arouse each other, and using their fingers and tongues and toys in ways that lesbians do in real life. The fantasy-come-true scene with Marilyn and two black men also felt realistic. Her boyfriend sets it up but is uncomfortable participating, exclaiming, "I’m not that way" and lurking in the hall. The two men are a bit awkward at first, wondering what to do, just as it is in life. Finally, Marilyn enthusiastically engages both of them in a lusty three-way that she really seems to enjoy.
The women who shop in my store in Madison, Wisconsin love this video. They come in to buy it after they’ve rented it. They talk about how nice it is to see a real woman’s body on the screen, having great sex. They can see themselves somewhere in it and they like that. The video arouses them without making them feel dirty or ugly or too old. In that way it’s revolutionary. Veronica Hart doesn’t sacrifice her sex scenes to make a point; she makes a point by shooting sex that is juicy and lifelike for everyone involved.
While this is not a perfect video, it is a vast improvement on what’s being made in the mainstream of the adult video industry. If you like glitzy shots, with perfect women who have balloons for breasts, this won’t be for you. But if it turns you on to see women truly aroused and fully enjoying sex, this will be a treat.
Ellen Barnard is one of the owners of A Woman's Touch sexuality shop in Madison, WI.
(Marilyn Chambers Is) Still Insatiable, directed by Veronica Hart for VCA Platinum Plus. 140 minutes. Starring Marilyn Chambers, Juli Ashton, Kylie Ireland, Stacy Valentine, Julian, Nikita, Vicca, Chloe, Steve Hatcher, Tyce Bune’, Jack Garfield, Mr. Markus, and Julian St. Jox. Golden Age stars Ron Jeremy, Bobby Neuwave, Georgina Spelvin, Gloria Leonard and Veronica Hart also appear in non-explicit roles. $34.95