PRIVATE PRACTICES: THE STORY OF A SEX SURROGATE (Kirby Dick, 1986)

There is no doubt in my mind that “Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate” is one fascinating study. Its a documentary that focuses on two sexually-frustrated men and the woman who helps them overcome these sexual issues. That woman is Maureen Sullivan, and she is a sex surrogate: a woman that uses sexual therapy to help her patients ditch their specific problems for good, helping them feel better about there own bodies, and enhancing their sexual performance.

Some moments of “Private Practices” hauntingly hold a major dose of humanity. A scene in which Maureen tries to help a twenty-year-old virgin rid of his shyness to touch other women is quite beautiful. At one moment she asks him to look into her eyes, and he only breathes: “Can I just look at your hair?” He’s nervous and its easy to tell, but she allows him, and a few minutes later, all he does is stare deep into her eyes without an ounce of fear. Moments like that don’t come in a fictional film.

The other patient of Maureen is a fifty-year-old divorced father whose self-esteem remains at a constant low when he blames his inability to perform great sex to his wife as the reason she left him. It’s heartbreaking to watch one scene where he faces his wife during lunch to have her explain the true reasons behind the divorce is deeply poignant and painfully real.

Now, while “Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate” has many authentic and human moments, and the soul of its studied subject is pure, the film really leaves the viewer wanting more. It’s a short seventy-four minutes and most of the scenes are composed of overlong stretches of conversation, and the film is practically doomed to not really find an actual finish. Its still a good film with an assortment of very wonderful, passionate moments that study with pure honesty: human nature in terms of sexuality. Leaving all personal views of Maureen Sullivan’s occupation aside, this story is a fascinating, worthy watch.

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~ by jerkwoddjh on May 13, 2009.

One Response to “PRIVATE PRACTICES: THE STORY OF A SEX SURROGATE (Kirby Dick, 1986)”

  1. Yes! I adore this film…I think it’s a poignant little slice of a reality that not many films offer. So many honest moments…the film is a true work of art.

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