Quibi’s ‘Sexology’ is full of patient sex advice. If anything, it’s not risqué enough
Casual yet informative, Quibi’s sex and dating show “Sexology With Shan Boodram” is an open conversation about a range of hot topics: What’s the best way to set up your dating profile? Are you and your partner ready to try BDSM? How about some old-fashioned, Cosmopolitan-style tips about how to perform oral sex? And it’s all handled by host Boodram with the calmness of an older sibling.
“A really big part of my platform has always been the inclusion of other people,” Boodram tells The Times. “I know how massively important it is in this space where there really is a singular narrative happening around what sex looks like for an American or what does dating look like for an American. You see the same story over and over again.” Realizing that helped Boodram open up about her own experiences, good and bad.
Boodram begins each episode with an introduction to the topic, addressing the viewer directly. Then her attention switches to the guests. In one segment, she invites a shy, curious couple to take their first steps into a dungeon full of sex toys before ducking out to give them space; in another, recurring feature, she is joined by a group of strangers — many of whom look like models waiting for their next gig — for a two-way Q&A that reveals the sheer variety of sexual tastes. At the end of each episode, which run from six to eight minutes apiece, Boodram returns to the viewer with a recap of the lesson’s bite-sized takeaways.
Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman run Quibi, a digital platform creating bite-size shows for millennials to watch on their smartphones.
The author of “The Game Of Desire: 5 Surprising Secrets to Dating with Dominance and Getting What You Want,” Boodram bills herself as a certified sex educator, dating coach and relationship expert, and she’s hosted and participated in other sex and dating shows before — like MTV’s “Guide to Sex” and Facebook Watch’s “Make Up or Break Up.”
But “Sexology” isn’t a dating game or scandalous explainer. Rather, the host’s style resembles that of a facilitator, asking questions or providing prompts to help her guests navigate the issues on their own: Boodram’s presence is relaxed and patient — necessary with guests of varying levels of confidence in speaking up about their sexual histories or experiences. Fortunately, in its zippy, condensed form, the conversations in “Sexology” don’t suffer from many awkward silences.
“One of the great a-ha moments I had in my early years of sex education was, there’s so much great information,” says Boodram. “But [it’s] really boring.” She noticed the opposite was true when she looked at popular media and porn where “the information wasn’t great, but the delivery was compelling.” “I refer to myself as the Walmart greeter of intimacy, and if I wanted to be that Walmart greeter who got the average person excited, I had to utilize the tools that popular media was using,” she says.
The show’s pastel graphics and modern, earthy set seem targeted at millennial viewers —or at least those who appreciate the “millennial aesthetic” — and while the subjects discussed so far seem very “Introduction to Sex,” Boodram says she gets a lot of ideas from her Twitter followers and readers, and that’s the audience she’s trying to serve. “People’s questions to me are always paragraphs long. So those are people that I had in mind when I’m thinking of topics.” And unless there’s an invisible boundary set by the platform preventing her from tackling more risqué topics, “Sexology with Shan Boodram” still has much to explore.
“This is an area that I think everybody should have confidence and competence,” says Boodram. “I hope that this show is not the place that you go to learn everything and be your one-stop-shop, but that it’s the catalyst for you to do more digging for information, to start conversations with the people in your life and to keep coming back every day to renew those conversations. I hope that this show makes everyone’s group chat super lit.”
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