Nina Hartley's Advanced Guide to Sex Toys - dvd by Adam & Eve - review by Kat Shanahan

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Nina, Nina, Nina...we need to talk.

Nina Hartley has always been a fantastic filmmaker and has done fantastic work as a sex-positive, feminist filmmaker. But this foray into sex toy reviews falls short in light of all her other accomplishments, and will not give anyone any new information about sex toys. Especially since the toys used in the film are beyond the price range of most typical users.
The toys demonstrated in the film look like they would be fun to use.
Amateurish production values; no variety of sex toys; last scene didn't even seem to fit the film.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
First off, just let me say that I am huge fan of Nina Hartley. Her sex guides are especially fabulous, and so I was looking forward to seeing what her "Advanced Guide to Sex Toys" had to offer. Who better to offer a guide to sex toys than a veteran pornstar?

In this video, couples demonstrate the use of two "advanced" sex toys, the Bungee Weightless Sexperience and the Love Swing. Guided by Nina in exactly how to use the devices and the variety of positions they allow, the couples then demonstrate the ways in which the toys can be utilized during sex.

The first thing I noticed was a typographical error in the first title sequence. "Demonstrait"? Really? I know this is an adult film and not a Shakespearean production, but don't these companies have editors of some sort? It made me question the professionalism of the production, and raised a bit of a red flag. Would the production values of the rest of the film be up to snuff?

The second vignette of the film features Sindee Cox and Baz, in a demonstration (or "demonstraition", as the title card reads) for the Love Swing. The sequence follows much the same format as the first, with Hartley showing the actors exactly how to use the swing, then leaving them to their own devices.

Again, this vignette really didn't say "sex toy guide" to me. It almost seemed as though the use of the sex toys was secondary; the film was really just your average, run-of-the-mill porno with some fancy devices thrown in. Even Hartley herself seemed secondary to the purpose of the film, as all she did was introduce the actors, give some assistance in getting the actors into the devices, and finally, joining in the action a little bit (and to be honest, her participation in the action seemed rather unnecessary, as the actors were doing fine on their own.) And Hartley's repeated use of the phrase "Golly gosh!" drove me crazy. You're a porn star. Either swear or don't, but for the love of all things dirty, pick something less irritating than "Golly gosh." I kept thinking I was watching some screwed-up version of Scooby-Doo, with Hartley in the role of Velma.

The third and final vignette of the film, however, is the one that really left me disappointed. This scene features Hartley, Keisha, and Mark Davis in a "film-within-a-film" scene. Hartley and Keisha are apparently supposed to be two old friends from college having a reunion of sorts, in front of a table covered with a variety of dildos and vibrators. They blabber on a bit about their careers, and suddenly (gasp!) the doorbell rings! Who could it possibly be?

Enter Mark Davis. And what follows is a ridiculously predictable threesome that left me wondering, after the first few minutes: "Where are the toys?" And it isn't until the last five minutes of the scene that a toy is actually used (the Hitachi Magic Wand), and let's just say that there is absolutely no reviewing of this toy in the scene (although it is quite obvious that Keisha is enjoying it.)

I have been watching porn movies for quite a number of years now, and I can honestly say that this is the very first one that has ever actually left me bored. I was surprised, since I've enjoyed every other Hartley production I've seen. She's usually a very capable and entertaining instructor when it comes to various aspects of sex, and to see her fall down on the job when it comes to sex toys is disappointing, to say the least.

There was an amateurish feel to the entire production, which was surprising to me considering the production values of some of the other Hartley films I have seen. This struck me as something that could be shot in someone's basement with a hand-held camera. Take away the fancy sex swings, and this is something that any amateur could produce. There is, unfortunately, nothing to distinguish this from any other porn movie on the market. It may be touted as a "how-to" guide, but it won't give any important knowledge to anyone seeking advice on which sex toys are the best. All you're going to get is porn stars having sex in fancy swings, and you don't need to buy this movie to see that.

I really cannot overstate my disappointment with this film. Nina, what have you done?
I already know quite a bit about sex toys, so I wasn't looking for basic information when I started watching this film. It is, after all, supposed to be an "advanced" guide, so I expected to get some information on toys that were a bit more complicated than your run-of-the-mill plastic vibrator. But in my opinion, the toys demonstrated are most likely beyond the price range of most typical sex toy users.

Nina Hartley's involvement in the movie doesn't really add anything to it, in my opinion. She does offer some brief introductions of the actors involved and instructions on how to get into the sex toys presented, but for the most part she is simply an off-camera presence (except when she joins in the action, and even that is completely unnecessary.)

I really did not get anything out of this movie that I wouldn't have gotten out of any other adult movie. As a matter of fact, most of the typical movies I've watched have utilized more toys than this one did.
Follow-up commentary
After having watched this movie a few more times since my initial review, I am still of the opinion that this is the furthest thing from a "guide" as there can be.

I feel as though this movie is really little more than your run-of-the-mill porno dressed up as an instructional guide, and that it lends little to the reputation that Nina Hartley has built as a sex expert.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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My Nina Hartley's Advanced Guide to Sex Toys tags
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Everyone
  • Where
    [ ? ]
    Where / what types of places can this product be used?
    • Bedroom / on a bed
    • Campus/roommate living
  • Features
    [ ? ]
    What kind of features does this product offer?
    • Travel friendly
  • General
    [ ? ]
    Other tags that are useful and descriptive for this product.
    • Guides
    • Toys
    • Video
This review was edited by
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Do you like this review?
  • Jul!a
    I'm sorry this was so disappointing for you
  • Kat Shanahan
    Yeah, it was a big letdown, but then....I can't expect every review to be positive, I guess! The worst thing was that I thought to myself: What if someone actually bought this to get some insight into sex toys? This would be useless to them.
  • Brandi Rouxxx
    Great review! Sorry it was a let down for you.
  • Kat Shanahan
    Thanks for the comment, Brandi (and the follow!) Yes, it was a bit of a letdown, but I'm glad I was able to review it. At least I could let others know that it might not be what they need if they're looking for help with choosing sex toys.
  • toxie m
    Awesome review I've been meaning to pick up some of Nina's videos and I guess this definitely will not be the one!
  • liilii080
    Sounds like this one missed the mark in a big way. Great points in your review (demonstrait would make me batty!)
  • Kat Shanahan
    @txymxy: Thanks for your comment! I definitely would not recommend this one; skip it if you're looking for something that actually offers useful information. If you haven't seen it already, one of my favourites is her Guide to Female Ejaculation.

    @liilii080: I was soo disappointed in this one; it was actually difficult for me to write the review because I had so many things that I disliked about the video. (And btw, it's good to know I'm not the only one for whom 'demonstrait' is enough to drive me crazy!)
  • TheHardOne
    Too bad it wasn't better for you.
  • Nkev
  • Rey
    I enjoyed Keisha's appearance, brings back memories;D
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