There was a time that sex didn't come with a how-to guide. Let's face it: if all of us looked back on our sex education, most of us learned about sex from friends, classes in school, looking at porn, or random bits of information we found on a usually forbidden topic. And if we really want to be honest, some of the sources of that learned information were packed with misguided attempts and well-intentioned guesses. A how-to or, at the very least, a fact-based guide was needed.
One man decided to make his business doing this very thing; his name is Robert Page. In his homeland of England, Page began filming sex as education, not as pornography, when no one else did. Sex, or even the mention of it, is something most people are obsessed with. I believe that is partially due to the scarcity of actual sexual materials, that are educational and not pornographic.
Page started his career teaching about babies and he had some "how-to" guides on parenting, nannies and rearing children. A strange assignment crossed his desk; he was asked to make a video on how to properly put a condom on. He asked the powers that be in Britain if he had permission to do that. Since his purpose was education versus titillation, he was granted said permission.
After this, an idea was born. What if you could film sex, but not pornographically? Page has made it his business to show people having various types of sex on camera, but he does it for science not scandal. "We are taught everything else. Careers, math, but not really anything about sex," says Page.
I asked him to explain to me the difference between his films and pornography: "Porn is about straight-up sexual titillation and what we do is develop people's erotic intelligence, their relations with their partners, so it's not just sex. It's sex and relationships. We think that that's a very honorable cause." says Page.
Page's DVD's are called, The Lovers Guide and they are now a 10 part DVD series as well as two books (ranging from sexual positions, to better orgasm). Men are the main consumers of pornography, but Page's audience consists mainly of couples and women. One of the biggest complaints from women in regards to pornography is that they are male fantasy-based, with no real focus on female pleasure. A Lovers Guide is about pleasure and understanding what people need and desire.
Page began all of this a little over 20 years ago, and not everyone was a fan. He was almost arrested and charged with obscenity. I asked him if he felt that attitudes toward sex were changing. "I don't know. I'm finding it very difficult to understand that a few geeks in Palo Alto are doing a lot of censorship on the internet. We want to do an app with Apple, based on our sex positions DVD, and they won't allow it. (Because) they have a no nudity rule, Apple says absolutely not," says Page. So, while he sees certain changes, he still feels America and the world at large still has much too conservative a view about sex and educating people about sex.
Page hopes that the world will become much more comfortable with themselves and how they think about sex. "When people are satisfied in their relationships, then they seem to be confident and happy in themselves. People who spend more time on their intimate lives have a much better life. People with active sex lives live longer and have less stress-related illnesses. It's good for your heart and it helps you sleep," says Page.
The world of sexual habits could be a better place if people were able to seek out a quality sex life without having only pornography as a guide, some now say. Pornography is fantasy, but let's face it: how many people actually have sex the way you see it in porn? One of the most common emails I receive as a sex writer is from people seeking information. We should not be ashamed to have questions about sex, and we should have safe avenues to view it, because sex is a part of life. It does not come with instructions, but thankfully, people like Page are now taking on the role of helping people navigate their sexual way.