Cast: Nina Hartley, Randy Spears, Marie Luv, and Alec Knight in sex roles, and Adrianna Nicole in a speaking role.
Director: Ernest Greene
Videographer: Ralph Parfait
Production dates: 11/28/05–11/30/05 (taping), 5/8/06 (DVD)
Length: 108 min.
Extras: A 30-min. behind-the-scenes featurette, a 15-min. interview with Nina Hartley, a 25-min. bonus scene from Carmen's Dirty Secrets, 11 min. of trailers (O: The Power of Submission, Tailgunners, Carmen & Austyn, Jane Blond DD7), and a 7-min. slide show.
Audiovisual quality: The camerawork is professional and fluid, skillfully incorporating mirrors for a subtle multi-angle effect. The lighting in the first scene has a tungsteny golden hue. That's not necessarily a bad thing—it just gives a cozy-homey feel. The location is essentially noiseless; dialog is easily heard and understood. A 15-minute piece of electronica backs Marie's striptease and massage. Otherwise, there's no music to interfere with the "mmm mmm mmm" sounds that happy people make.
Screenshots: At the time of this writing, an image gallery is available at adameve.com.
Ratings note: Nina Hartley's Guides are, of course, an instructional series. So the "Plot" rating above reflects my evaluation of the educational content and overall flow of the commentary.
Intro Nina Hartley and Adrianna Nicole start with a 17-minute discussion about massage. Topics include the differences between therapeutic and erotic massage, the physical and mental benefits of loving touch, tips for creating the right atmosphere, the importance of communicating and touching with confidence, a checklist of common equipment, and a few types of strokes appropriate for specific body parts.
Scene 1 Nina Hartley and Randy Spears pair up for a demo segment. They're both in their 40s and still attractive. Nina dons a cute natural look with a ponytail and a blue sarong tied at the waist. I like the way she drapes Randy's groin with a towel and doesn't immediately reveal all. The demo includes a special massage candle which melts at a low temperature as well as traditional oil. Nina strokes Randy's back with her hands and a triangular tool, gives playful attention to his buttocks, and climbs atop to press her knees into the backs of his thighs (having experienced this myself during a shiatsu session, I can confirm that it feels great). He turns over for more build-up, which includes his chest, hips, inner thighs, hands, and, of course, the whole genital area. They switch from the massage table to a roomier platform bed for intercourse. Randy and Nina trade expert oral stimulation and fuck both vaginally and anally, with lots of smiles and authentic playfulness. Time: 22:24 for massage, 6:47 for intercourse. Rating: 5 stars.
Scene 2 Marie Luv and Alec Knight know how to set the mood for great sex. Marie slowly unbuttons her ethereal white gown and performs a few stretches, rightly admiring her tight young body in a mirror. Alec finds her patiently waiting on the massage table and greets her with kisses. Alec shows how well a novice can do with only a little training and a lot of sensitivity—he has an excellent instinct for pacing and pressure in his massage strokes. He rubs Marie's legs, back, buttocks, arm, hand, feet, breasts, and vulva. Marie's clitoris gets special treatment with two types of vibrators: battery-operated and plug-in. She has several orgasms before turning her grateful attention to a deep, sweaty, mascara-smearing blowjob. Their sexual positions are noticeably "porny" (widely spread for the camera), especially the reverse cowgirl anal. But eh, I'm just biased toward regular cowgirl since I enjoy watching my man's face rather than his feet. Alec and Marie are clearly having a good time. Like Randy, Alec squirts a generous, sparkling load onto his woman's butt. Time: 20:46 for massage, 24:15 for toys and sex. Rating: 4 stars.
The extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette which covers two programs: this one, plus Nina Hartley's Guide to the Ultimate Sex Party. There's a nice look at the preparation process for both movies, and Marie Luv comes across as a real sweetheart. In her interview, Nina shares her personal experiences with giving and receiving massage, addresses the common emotions and concerns which might arise for newbies, and helpfully expands the information presented in the main section.
The bonus scene features potty-mouthed Domino dominating Scott Nails in a bathroom. Alas, this scene reminds me why I no longer watch standard porn—I've become a complete pervert and only get off on subtlety and finesse. The slide show is unusually generous in length, containing 70 photos of good quality, accompanied by easy-on-the-ears soft rock.
Thumbs up: Two words: female orgasms. Okay, so I'm not really going to limit myself to two words, but aside from the excellent educational content of this movie, that's what I really love. Big, laughing aloud from sheer joy, trembly-legged, glazed-eyed orgasms. If those aren't real, I don't even want to know about it. Everyone just seems to be having so much fun.
Both couplings are a pleasing blend of softer and harder sex. They are fundamentally tender and romantic scenes, and yet they do include anal sex. I appreciate the treatment of anal sex as something that's perfectly normal within a caring context, as opposed to something that's dirty and degrading. Randy's two-fingered warm-up for Nina is a joy to watch.
One more small yet important detail: it's refreshing to see a male star embracing the female star on the box cover. My husband perked up and immediately wondered if it might be an older movie (a huge compliment from him, since he rarely glances at anything except the classics). All of the box cover info (running time, cast list, synopsis) is correct, as well. Adam & Eve has had a few problems with this in the past, but everything I've seen this year has been perfectly accurate.
Thumbs down: Adrianna Nicole seems miscast. I know that Nina's friendly with her in real life, and I'm sure Adrianna has many charms and talents, but she neither looks nor sounds enthused about this particular subject. In fact, she leans away from Nina with a slight slouch for the majority of the discussion segment. Maybe she was just really new and inexperienced at the time of this taping? Anyhow, it just about kills me to see this. There are few things in life that'd thrill me more than the opportunity to sit next to Nina, my leg pressed flirtatiously against hers, eagerly discussing the many merits of massage.
While Nina provides a fantastic overview of the material, I wish there'd been just a little more coverage of anatomy, which is normally one of her strongest subjects. Here are the two additional points that I would've considered worthy of inclusion. (1) Deep pressure mechanically affects the circulatory system as well as the muscles. For this reason, it's a good idea to direct any heavy strokes on the limbs toward the heart. (2) Along with the bony parts and tendons (which Nina mentions), there are several places vulnerable to deep pressure due to the presence of nerves and blood vessels (particularly the back of the knee, the crease between the abdomen and the thigh, the inner upper arm and armpit, and the neck). I can't fault Nina too much for not emphasizing these aspects, however, since she does a fine job of highlighting the importance of intention, attention, and communication. Most massages will be perfectly safe and thoroughly delightful if you've got those three aspects working for you.
Themes: Massage, pairs (M/F only), tease, undressing, kissing, mutual masturbation, oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex, toys (massage tool, vegetable wax candles, vibrators).
Condom use: None. I truthfully prefer to see condoms, but I've made an exception for Adam & Eve. I can say with confidence that their "condom optional" policy is exactly what it should be (as opposed to "we're officially condom optional, but in reality, we much prefer that our performers go without"). Randy does wear a glove on his hand for good hygiene when he stimulates Nina anally.
Juice-o-meter: High. Very high for Nina and Randy's pairing, in fact. That scene was supposed to be an educational demo, but it made me want to jill off.
Final analysis: If it's not obvious by now, I'm a total massage slut. I've given and received a number of 'em over the years. I wasn't sure how much I'd learn from this movie, but it definitely held my attention. It served as a big, happy reminder of why massages are so fun and pleasurable. For newbies, Nina Hartley's Guide to Erotic Massage supplies a number of helpful tips and techniques for incorporating whole body touching into loving sex. The flow of the introductory discussion is a little awkward, but there's plenty to enjoy in this classy production.