I started watching the documentary ‘Dawn Porter: Free Lover’ with a number of misconceptions. I put it on as a bit of fluff in the background, recognising her vaguely from Balls of Steel (a pretty awful programme, I’m sure you’ll agree). I thought, ‘Ah, here’s a poor man’s Daisy Donovan.’ And a poor man’s Daisy Donovan is very poor indeed.
Not so! I can’t stand Daisy Donovan, finding her an un-heady mix of dull and chronically unfunny. Dawn Porter, as it turned out, was quite lovely. Cute, sarcastic but nice, and most of all, brave.
She went to investigate polyamory, first in the US and then Germany (where else?) These weren’t people who had five or six wives, but just people who liked to share their love (i.e. shag around). All the men had ponytails.
In the US there was rather too much emphasis on ‘spiritual healing’ and dumb roleplay (and not of the dressing up like a nurse kind) for my liking. Still, Dawn threw herself in with aplomb, and came across charming, funny and very likeable.
In Germany they lived commune-style (like in a cult but without God, paedophilia and the expectation to commit suicide at the end of it). Dawn got under the surface of the place almost by accident and found out- what do you know?- that jealousy ran rife through the compound. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest that there was a price to pay for all that endless shagging. Still the lure of three cocks or fannies on the go made the Germans stick around, endlessly seething that their partners were getting it off someone else.
So far, so predictable really; but Dawn herself really made the show something to talk about in the end by doing something I think Louis Theroux would have balked at. You always think you know where the line is in these kind of shows; i.e. Dawn was probably not going to join the sex cult and take on a few lovers herself. But about halfway through the show I thought, ‘hold on’ when she sat in the hot tub (what is it with sex and hot tubs?) with a bunch of them with her top off.
Then one of the German’s told her about the ‘oil party’ when they all pile into the basement (literally) and get covered in oil. He said something along the lines of ‘you end up not knowing who or what you’re touching, and we just become one mass.’
To my great surprise, Dawn decided to take part in it. And it really was a revelation; it looked very sexy somehow, and God knows how, because these Germans were not too pretty. They must have thought Christmas had come early when Dawn rolled up. There was no actual sex or penetration, but they basically poured oil on each other and themselves very slowly (I think someone was chanting or reading something too, it wasn’t like a foam party exactly) and then gradually they started to touch each other and it looked all slidey and arty and peculiarly horny. It did seem to challenge the very question of sexuality as these people writhed together not knowing who they were touching but getting off on it anyway. It also looked very cool.
Afterwards Dawn looked in a state of shock but buzzing as she told how some woman felt her crotch and she took it with good grace. I thought she was incredibly brave to have gone ahead with that; especially when documentaries of this sort are often so keen to stitch the participants up, or treat them with contempt. These people have invited you into their home, the least you can do is get naked and oily with them! Ha.
Is Dawn the new Louis Theroux? No. Would Louis have got stuck into the oil party? No. Therefore, Dawn wins.
I will be watching this again next week!