Eye For Film >> Movies >> 1 Billion Orgasms (2018) Film Review
1 Billion Orgasms
Reviewed by: Jane Fae
“How is it all these nerdy science guys end up making sex toys?”
Good question, and one that gets asked around halfway through documentary 1 Billion Orgasms - the story of one man's quest to inspire erotic nirvana on behalf of the women of the world. How indeed? It's not the first time I've wondered this. Across the years I have written about product launches at various “sexpos”, including Erotica, at one time the UK's premium adult, consumer exhibition.
I have watched, bemused, as masturbatory technology has progressed from simple vibrator to a range of bizarre gadgets that would not look out of place in Star Trek or Men In Black – though as exotic alien weaponry, rather than erotic stimulus. Not infrequently, the back-story includes some lone male engineer, chipping away at his workbench on a heroic quest to deliver bigger, better, more frequent orgasms.
In the end, that is the question this documentary does not quite answer. Along the way, though, it delivers some interesting, disturbing insights into the mind of one such pioneer. Aaron Headley is a man on a mission. At some point in his long and liberal sex life he discovered the phenomenon of “squirting”. That is, female ejaculation, associated with a particular intense form of female orgasm. Or rather, he discovered a technique for delivering this particular outcum, whereupon, like some born-again sex missionary he just HAD to go forth and preach!
But lo: no matter how hard he tried, most men were unteachable. They could not grasp the simple two-finger technique required to bring bliss to their partner. So engineer Aaron scratched his head, tinkered around a bit and came up with a wristband movement detector, aka the “G-spot Squirt Watch”.
Then it's off to Las Vegas and the AVN Adult trade show for fame and fortune!
Because in all sorts of ways, 1 Billion Orgasms documents futility – creepiness, even. And the worst of it is that Aaron does not get this.
The first half delves into Aaron the man (and engineer). Praise from past teacher and parents: he was clearly a clever guy much given to coming up with clever solutions to technical problems. Slightly less positive a picture is painted as the camera pans across the surface of his family and relationships. Two daughters for whom dad comes across as a distant and not entirely supportive figure. Two wives (though not at the same time), a wistful romanticism delivered through his creative writing.
And – i'll confess to having suffered from guys like this – a determination to “fix” things for women through his amazing insight into how their bodies work. Goal-oriented, to the point where maybe he misses the bigger picture. And there it is, on screen, accompanied by some truly cheesy cartoon representations of his discovery. Look: here is how to give women the ultimate sexual experience. Now gather round everyone and learn how to do it.
And when that fails, the second half sees him off to Las Vegas, accompanied by Kat, a woman with high ideals round creating a more liberated take on female sexuality, to sell his product.
It is at this point that the essential tackiness of his endeavour becomes clear. Middle-aged intensity, bookended by representatives of a slick (in every sense!) industry designed to sell us enhanced pleasure. He is both at home and fish out of water: a real-life counterpart to Randall Peltzer, the enthusiastic, incompetent inventor who sets the events of Gremlins in motion.
There is a sadness to a swingers party attended by about four guests and something disturbing about the way in which Aaron's associate Marcus sets up the filming of an ad for the squirt watch: “Without any more ado get your panties off and let's get you primed up and ready to go”...
And then there is Kat, increasingly at odds with Aaron's project, commenting, after one ill-judged intervention: “I feel like a prostitute and it's not my favourite game”.
And then it becomes clear: this is not success story but its diametric opposite. The likelihood of Aaron ever being responsible for mass ecstasy is slim.
That said, Directors Brent Kinetz and Terence Mickey have produced something quite insightful. Not, as it suggests on the tin, a tale of a billion orgasms but, as the tally of embarrassing situations mounts up and creepy image succeeds creepy image, the conclusion that this must be what was intended.
I did not enjoy this film. Its basic premise, which seems to view female sexuality as akin to a slot machine - insert finger here; press hard; extract orgasm – is wrong-headed. Its protagonist is sad and misguided: his quest not just doomed to failure but mired in broken dreams and sadness.
Yuck, yuck and yuck again!
But if you want to understand how some people can get sex very wrong, worth watching.Reviewed on: 07 Feb 2019