May 31st, 2005
I had a really pleasant surprise last night. I tuned in to Channel 4’s broadcast of ‘Sexual Intelligence’ presented (and produced) by Kim Cattrall who played ‘Samantha’ on Sex and the City.
Like most sexologists I wasn’t all that keen on Cattrall’s previous forays into sex publishing. Her book ‘Satisfaction: the art of female orgasm’ wasn’t exactly contemporary – and totally out of kilter with her saucy character Samantha.
So I expected that ‘Sexual Intelligence’ would be more of the same – dollops of outdated, safe, and stereotypical ideas, most of which wouldn’t be accurate.
The programme overturned all those expectations. It was very good. In an era where we’re used to our sex programming either being shocking, depressing, pseudo-scientific, or heavily medicalised, ‘Sexual Intelligence’ was a breath of fresh air. As well as covering art, history and philosophy (admittedly with a bit of convenient historical reinterpretation), the show also discussed myths, legends, gods and goddesses.
Experts and members of the public shared their thoughts on issues like desire, passion, and spirituality. They discussed the pleasure that their bodies could give them and even touched on how the body is a link to the divine for some people. Not a mention of pills, potions or brain scans. Just cheery accounts of sex as a whole mind, body and spirit experience.
True, it was the sort of programme that you’d already need to be pretty sexually confident to act upon. Most of the contributors to the show clearly had excellent insight into their own sex lives, and were able to articulate this. Something that many people aren’t able to do (although this programme did provide some ideas to try).
It was at times a celebration of the liberal, which is okay in theory, but in practice stating ‘everyone can do as they want providing it doesn’t hurt anyone else’ only works if all your friends, family, neighbours and lovers sign up to the same sexual code as you. Otherwise you may find yourself and your sexual values out on your ear.
Okay, I’m nitpicking. It was a good show. Experts featured were for the most part those respected within the sexological community (i.e. people who actually knew what they were talking about). The programme balanced humour with beautiful images and upfront accounts from guests. And Cattrall was perfect as presenter. Moving away from the stereotypical Sex and the City Samantha character she managed to deliver complex ideas with flair.
For once we had an intelligent programme about sex, that taught us knew things and got us to re-evaluate our relationships. I don’t expect to see many more programmes in a similar format, but let’s live in hope.Tweet