Imagine if Fifty Shades of Grey was a documentary with multiple plot threads, and you would arrive at something resembling Channel 5’s My Secret Sex Fantasy.
The ‘sex experts’ are summoned to examine the cases of four individuals with different sex fantasies, before proceeding to tell them the deeper meaning behind these erotically inclined thoughts. This is followed either by a nod or shake of the head from the person if they agree or disagree respectively.
The format is exactly the same for the four individuals, whose fantasies are played out on-screen by actors who look absolutely nothing like them. That being said, since the camera shots have incredibly warm colours and edges softer than Mr. Darcy’s touch, perhaps nobody would be able to tell.
The scenarios differ, raising issues such as domination, age-gaps and romantic getaways, but sadly all feature these distracting cutaways. Focusing purely on the person telling their story in their own words would have been much more effective, allowing the audience to share in the fantasy-holder’s process of imagination and the pleasure that this triggers. There is no solid guarantee that what viewers see is what the fantasy-holder thinks, which makes the whole show harder to take seriously.
In addition, there is the evaluation given by the experts – of whom, it is worth pointing out, only one is a psychologist. It is not that their opinions are especially disreputable or worthless, especially when the fantasy-holders agree or disagree and then explain in detail why they feel that way, but some of the things they come up with border on the implausible. Anyone who knows about the shortcomings of Freud’s psychology will immediately sniff these out. Statements such as: ‘that means you have confidence issues’, or, ‘if you find that sexy, you are going nowhere in life’, have a distinctly Freudian stench to them; it seems that they are trying to extract too much from too little.
Equally, however, there is a strange pull to this show. No-one can deny that these are four individuals who are frankly brave enough to come out on camera and describe their fantasies in impressive detail. By about the third one, viewers will find themselves attempting to furiously calculate what on earth the current fantasy may mean – even if they do look back later and decide that this was an exercise in unqualified idiocy.
Ultimately, people like hearing other peoples’ secrets, a truth that this show makes somewhat effective use of. What some call ‘use’, others may call ‘exploitation’, of course, but that is the kind of thing that comes down to individual opinion. My Secret Sex Fantasy can just about hold an audience despite a never-ending stream of flaws.
Image: James Lee via Flickr