Cast: Christian (XXX), Eric Masterson, Evan Stone, Justin Magnum, Kris Slater, Nick Manning, August (Night), Faith (Leon), Kimberly Kane, Lucy Lee, Monica Sweetheart, Sandra Romain. The performers are uncredited on the DVD; the cast list appears only on the box cover.
False Advertising: Grant Michaels and Voodoo are named fairly high on the cast list, but they perform only in brief nonsex roles (I'm assuming it's them—the long coats and sunglasses pose an identification challenge). Shayla LaVeaux and Jack Venice are also credited but are found only in the behind-the-scenes segment. This is a problem, since Shayla and Voodoo were two of the three performers (along with Christian) whom I most wanted to see.
An even worse offense is the misleading movie title. There is no tantra. There are no secrets. There is some rather conventional sex. Hey, one out of three ain't bad, is it? I've deducted one star from the overall rating, since Tantric Sex Secrets includes virtually no content that's even remotely related to the box cover title or text.
Director(s): None credited. This DVD looks like a compilation of unrelated scenes.
Videographers: None credited.
Production dates: 05/28/07 (DVD), 6/18/07 (box art), and 4/21/04, 6/5/04, 1/19/05, 3/30/05, 8/17/05, 3/3/06, 3/21/06, 4/4/06, 11/5/06 (individual vignettes and bonus material).
Length: 108 min.
Extras: A 28-min. male solo (with Josh Weston), a 14-min. bonus scene (Gangsta's Paradise with Kris Knight and Cassie Courtland), a 7-min. behind-the-scenes featurette (Massage with Jack Venice and Shayla LaVeaux), and a 3-min. slide show with 23 photos.
Audiovisual quality: The visual quality is pretty good, although it often has that gauzily filtered look common to romantic porn. Not every scene includes much (or any) penetration, but the majority do have hardcore footage, more commonly shot from medium range rather than severe close-up. Care has been taken to help the performers look good. The soundtrack is lame, though. It loops. A lot. Even when it doesn't, it's grating. I finally had to turn down the volume. There doesn't seem to be much location sound, anyhow, once the sex gets started. If you're a fan of the tantric practice of hearing and harmonizing with your partner's breath...well, forget that here.
Matrix: Christian XXX and Lucy Lee Lucy sizes up three men in a drainage ditch. She sends two away in her sports car. She and Christian kiss frequently (nice) while rock instrumentals annoyingly repeat over and over (not so nice). Christian and Lucy stand close and masturbate. The camera moves around a lot—the performers don't. Christian comes on his hand; Lucy doesn't appear to come at all. Time: 18:32. Rating: 1.5 stars.
Thespian Love: Kris Slater and August Night The actors get the hots while rehearsing silly lines and sweet kisses. The sensual pacing includes eye contact, assisted undressing, and toe sucking. They have oral and vaginal sex on a squeaky couch. The cuties make a quick yet skilled transition where they stay connected between two positions. Kris climaxes on August's tummy. Time: 26:14. Rating: 3.5 stars.
Janitor: Justin Magnum and Sandra Romain Justin apparently can't resist the charms of Sandra's unusually skimpy janitorial uniform. They get straight to business with no dialog. Brief oral for him, brief oral for her, two quick vaginal positions on a bar stool, mostly softcore, with several strange speeded-up edits. His ejaculation is almost invisible in the dim lighting. I needed three attempts to spot it. Time: 8:18. Rating: 1 star.
Working Overtime: Eric Masterson and Kimberly Kane Kimberly's had a long day at work, and Eric helps relieve the tension with a shoulder rub. There's a pleasant exchange of affection, and she pops the buttons off his shirt as she disrobes him. The vaginal positions aren't exactly the epitome of tantra—they're the usual spreads for the camera. But at least the performers have good enthusiasm. I like the way Kimberly clutches the phone cord in a moment of excitement. Time: 13:10. Rating: 4 stars.
Office Room Romp: Evan Stone and Faith Leon Evan and Faith go oral with gusto. They play a bit with each others' hair. A vigorous but typical porn star fuckfest follows, with lots of splayed postures for the benefit of viewers at home. I have to fight through layers of weirdly oversaturated colors and random lite jazz, however, to feel the heat. Time: 18:28. Rating: 3 stars.
Breakfast Is Served: Nick Manning and Monica Sweetheart Nick gently awakens his sleeping beauty. They sit in bed and take turns spooning and caressing. Cunnilingus, fellatio, doggy, mish, done. Standard stuff, but it's nice that Nick orgasms from thrusting rather than jerking, and Monica is looking pretty as always. Time: 21:25. Rating: 3.5 stars.
Thumbs up: The boobs are natural, the kissing is ubiquitous, and the sex is thankfully not insane. The men and women are featured with nearly equal emphasis. The sets, props, and wardrobe are decent.
Thumbs down: Again, where's tantra? Real tantra includes an extensive set of practices (as well as a state of mind) aimed at circulating breath and energy. I can't speak for a performer's state of mind, but I do know that tantric techniques are far richer and deeper than simply smooching a lot. To be fair, the foreplay in the final scene includes a teensy bit of sensual ritual in the form of food sharing. It's pineapple chunks, though, rather than the traditional offerings of mamsa (meat), madhya (wine), matsya (fish), and mudra (grain).
Let me put it this way. Imagine that an anal aficionado has decided to get a brand-new DVD from a studio whose movies he hasn't yet seen. The cover of Butthole Sex Secrets certainly sounds appealing, with its glowing promises of "the gapes of heaven opening." Alas, he soon learns that there's no anal action whatsoever, except maybe 25 seconds of fumbled finger penetration. Do ya think he'll want to watch anything else from Raincoaters R Us? My reaction to Tantric Sex Secrets is pretty analogous.
Themes: Pairs (M/F only), kissing, foreplay, romance, undressing, masturbation, office sex, outdoor sex (one scene).
Condom use: Most vaginal intercourse appears to utilize a condom, although I can't quite peer through the third scene's murk, and I'm pretty certain that Evan is latex-free in the heavily filtered fifth scene. I'm pro-condom (seriously), so I'm disappointed about that last one. I was hoping that since Playgirl is distributed by Wicked, the sex would all be the safe(r) type. Eh, wrong again.
Juice-o-meter: Medium to low, depending on the scene.
Final analysis: So aside from the fact that Tantric Sex Secrets has no tantra, is it any good? Sorta. The quality is uneven, but three or four of the scenes are alright. Overall, the DVD might rate a little above average for couple's fare. Viewers who prefer exclusively straight sex without anal intercourse and without facial ejaculations are the audience members most likely to enjoy Tantric Sex Secrets.