As I didn't go to the screening myself, I have been trying to imagine the scene at the Apollo Cinema in Piccadilly Circus last Friday. Were there, I wonder, quite a lot of chaps buying XL popcorn buckets on their way in to watch the all new The Lovers' Guide?! And instead of the ritual post-cinema pub visit, where everyone discusses the funny/sad/scary bits, was there a lot of grabbing of partners' wrists and shouting 'TAXI!'?
Ha! What's more, given my evident juvenility, I wonder if I'll get through this article without any terrible double entendres...? We'll see.
Released on 7 February on DVD and Blu-ray, for the first time in 20 years, The Lovers' Guide 3D: Igniting Desire offers quite a promise in its tagline: how to have the best sex of your life. Question is, do we need to be taught how to do it? I mean, if we're ever stuck for ideas, there's a whole virtual world to scour for inspiration isn't there?
I was in my mid-teens when the original version came out. It sold 1.5 million copies and, while our parents might have been mature enough to buy it (to a collective 'bleugghh!' from all us kids who just couldn't stand the thought of our parents doing 'rudies'), I am from a generation who soon afterward had the internet at their disposal and, embarking on a meaningful (as opposed to solo) sexual existence, might well have gained initial bedroom tips by typing 'tits' into a search engine and watching Dick Dongle, or whoever, do his stuff.
At one time, you'd have been forgiven for thinking porn was what the internet was invented for. Certainly, some will have you believe all that online bumping and grinding was largely responsible for the success of the worldwide web in its fledgling years. While all sorts of e-commerce companies were trying and failing to make money online, the web was becoming flooded with easy-access pictures, videos, live sex cams and chatrooms, and – hey presto! – suddenly people were logging in, and the porn industry was leading the way in terms of 'monetising' this massive new medium.
Arguably though, the modern sexual revolution it contributed to – particularly among women (when we all went a bit Sex and the City's Samantha) – has not been an entirely good thing. Certainly women today feel more sexually liberated, and considerably less abashed about the fact that they enjoy sex, than they did 20 years ago. But on the downside, exposure to clips of all manner of exciting (depends on your viewpoint obviously) situations has also put people under a lot of pressure.
According to author and sex writer Emily Dubberley, who scripted The Lovers' Guide 3D, the somewhat unrealistic portrayal of sex and 'how it's done', means people end up questioning the normality of their bedroom antics. She says: "Some women feel, for example, if they're not up for a threesome, they must be a bit inhibited. The other side of that coin is that women expect their men to be the sexual aggressors; if their boyfriend doesn't want to pin them up against a wall three times a day, they think he must not fancy them enough."
I'd hate to presume what goes on behind closed doors but I would guess, for most of us, our sex lives do not entirely resemble what you might stumble across on XXX.com. Dubberley's point is that, if that's the case for you, it's nothing to feel bad about. Interestingly, she believes 'love' is the new four-letter word, particularly for young people: it's fine and perfectly acceptable to be getting in someone's knickers almost as soon as you meet them, but it has become almost embarrassing to fall for someone you have had sexual relations with. And so perhaps where the importance of The Lovers' Guide lies is in reminding people that love and sex (whether that's sensible but sensual sex, or wild, woe-betide-we-ever-tell-anyone-about-this sex) can be, and are, actually bedfellows.
On that basis, in a world where loving relationships that enjoy exciting and fulfilling sex lives are a bit under-represented, I think it'd be no bad thing for the nation's sexually active population to have a bit of an education/refresher course. Grandmother or otherwise, you can always learn a new way to suck eggs (gawd – sorry).