HBO airs new sex documentary
Americans in Bed, a new HBO documentary, puts couples (including some same-sex) in their beds, turns on the camera and has them all pillow-talk about their intimate experiences. Those familiar with HBO will recognize the tone as similar to Real Sex and Taxicab Confessions series, with a hint of Woody Allen thrown in. The 10 profiled couples range from Jersey Shore-ish Joe & Patty to 6-foot-6 polyamorous Leon and his 4-foot-10 girlfriend Blanca to the elderly, randy Helen & Red, wed 71 years.
You’re likely to react, as I did, to each couple uniquely. A few (Fatima & Kevin, Antonio & Roberta) don’t leave much of an impression, even when the emotions they express are sometimes uncomfortably honest. Leon seems like an ass, while Randy & Julie (especially Julie) seem shallow (“Sex is the most important thing in our relationship … and I think I’m speaking for every woman in the world,” she announces).
It’s refreshing to see a Muslim couple (newlyweds Yasmine & Mohamed) profiled, as it is lesbians Linda & Margie and almost charmingly old-fashioned gay men George & Farid.
“Either you sleep with each other right away or you don’t,” Farid says — but he and George waited a while … almost to no end. (“The first time we had sex was terrible,” they agree. “Even though the sex was bad, I thought maybe it will get better,” George says. “But I didn’t just see him as a sexual being. I saw him as a partner. I don’t know what changed, but it got better.”) When Farid tears up talking about children, you’re touched by the depth of their feelings.
Perhaps the most interesting element, though, is listening to the hetero couples work out their issues. Gay couples (especially men) are accustomed to coming up with their own relationship rules about fidelity and openness and sex; watching Farid & George profess their monogamy while the straight men (and women!) disparage it tickled me. It just goes to prove deep down, we’re all the same … because we’re all different.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2013.