April 23, 2014

Playboy TV Has Swingers, Lesbians and Real Couples Naked

hollywoodnews.com: Playboy presented their very first ever panel to the Television Critics Association last week. Launching their TV for 2 brand, they focused on the first two reality shows designed to get real couples watching together. “Swing” allows monogamous couples to enter the swinging community, and “A Brooklyn Kind of Love” documents real couples in the New York borough. Because it’s on Playboy, you get to see all the hookups explicitly.

“The men do get to have sex with lots of women but so do their wives get to have sex with lots of women and men,” Playboy TV VP of Development Wendy Miller said of “Swing.” “So it’s pretty even. In fact, the women have more sex, but nobody’s really keeping score.”

The format of Swing is that each week, a new couple gets to visit the swinger compound. They establish their ground rules with Anna David, a sex, dating and relationship expert. Then they explore the group of swingers and meet with a therapist to discuss their feelings.

“No elimination stuff, no tribal councils, no craziness,” Playboy TV Senior VP and GM Gary Rosenson said. “Just really people hanging out, having fun, goofing off and eventually it gets hot because that’s what they’re there to do.”

At first people may think the swing community is a crazy world of debauchery. David found many of her expectations subverted. “I thought I was going to encounter a group of people that skeeved me out,” David said. “I thought that they were going to be a bunch of creepy nymphomaniacs. I was completely shocked. I became friends with a lot of those couples. They were just like everybody else I know. They were a little bit more open minded perhaps than my parents’ friends, but they’re incredibly smart, incredibly thoughtful, have given a lot of thought to this. Also, I’m sober. I expected to find a bunch of drunks. I thought everybody was going to be partying. That was so not a factor. At least three of the couples didn’t drink at all and the ones who did barely did.”

Some audiences may be skeptical of the swinging community. To them, the idea of sharing sexual partners sounds like adultery. “Swinging is different from cheating because swinging is consensual and almost always driven by the woman,” Miller said. “Women are kind of the gateway drug into this with other women and it’s always very much about a couple communicating, deciding together. You can’t convince anybody. This is a decision you have to make as a couple so it’s all about adding another level to your personal relationship and opening it up to having sex with other people.”

David herself found that communication was deeper among swinging couples than many of the monogamous couples she’s worked with. “From what I’ve seen in couples out there in the world, a lot of the fights are about things that are under the surface,” David said. “They’re about jealousy and control oftentimes that’s not being communicated. If you’re going to embark on a situation like this, you have to be so open. You’ve got to be honest. That’s sort of an ancillary benefit to the swing lifestyle is that they can’t leave these issues undiscussed.”

Brooklyn is a more traditional reality show, only the cameras will stay on the couples when they go into the bedroom. Co-producer Joe Gantz discussed the explicitness of their show.

“I think that a lot of reality shows and TV shows in general are about sex but they dance around sexuality in such a way that it’s all innuendo and there’s no authenticity,” he said. “I think that gets so weir that women end up getting vampire shores and men get the Saw series. Real sexuality is left out of there. Well, most sexuality in a way that feels authentic is missing. So it was nice to be able to do a show where you didn’t have to worry about things being too real, too authentic.”

Some of the real couples featured on the show include lesbians Bek Allen and Erin Williams. They agreed to do nudity for Playboy TV with no hesitation.

“I think that’s a normal part of a relationship, is sex. So we all have sex,” Allen said. “There’s a lot of other things that go with having a relationship but that’s a very important one.”

The couple felt this could also be an important step in gaining social acceptance for gay couples. “Our decision to do this show was primarily to show that gay couples go through the same stuff as straight couples go through and that we’re not all that different from anybody else,” Williams said. “Doing the show and being somewhat forced to spend a lot of times together and really dissect our relationship definitely brought us closer.”

Allen added, “To have a once in a lifetime opportunity to kind of be a spokesperson for homosexual couples was just a blessing for us. I think we’re a really great couple. I think it’s been interesting to do this for the past four months. We learned a lot about each other and our sex life, our relationship, to communicate.”

Brooklyn couple Frances Ramcald and Braniff Pinzas were also comfortable with nudity. “I decided to do the show because not only am I proud of who I am,” Ramcald said. “I’m bisexual and we’re very open with our sexuality. You will see on thes how, we bring other women into our bedroom. We’re just proud of who we are, we’re not ashamed so to let the world see that, we’re proud of it. And there are other couples who secretly desire what we have. What we have is honesty, communication and an openness to explore things together. I want other couples to see that and say, ‘You know what? I want to be like them. How can we get that?’”

So not only will Ramcald and Pinzas bare all on Playboy TV, but the partners they invite in will too. “Frances and Braniff, they’re open to threesomes but the way we show this is not in a way to glamorize it,” Gantz said. “When you see them dealing with that, it’s not without issues. It brings some positives to their relationship and it brings some confusion. You’re right in the middle of it. You would not necessarily look at it and say, ‘Oh wow, that’s for everybody.’ You would look at it and say, ‘Whoa, there are some good sides to this and there are some pretty confusing sides to this.’”

Threesomes and lesbians will certainly tantalize viewers, but that wasn’t the mission statement for the show. “As we were interviewing couples, we felt that sexuality is a spectrum and I don’t want any hard distinctions,” Gantz said. “It’s a continuum and it’s a lot of overlapping. We just went with the most interesting couples that we found and we feel great about the four couples that are on there. I think that all the couples share a lot of issues. Relationship issues aren’t that different. Even sexual issues are very similar. So we just went with the four strongest couples.”

Once you tune in for the sex appeal, you might just be hooked by the drama. “The sexuality really is kind of a small part of the show,” Gantz said. “It’s about all their relationships. It’s not focused on the sexual side of their relationship. It’s on every aspect of their relationship but when it’s about the sex, it’s just right out there. You don’t have to worry about pulling it back for Playboy. Our goal is to capture life in progress in the most authentic way possible. You can’t show relationships authentically without including the sexuality. Over the years, we’ve developed the ways that we show that and present it, that you see everything but it still remains graceful.”

And, also, you’ll get to see people who look more like your neighbors than the people in Playboy magazine. “I think the fact that it’s not like over siliconed, not like fake orgasms, it’s all of these things that are actually real,” David said. “I think that gives you way more of a bird’s eye view of this. Women, not that men aren’t, but women are very aware when something looks fake and there’s nothing about this that was fake. I was there.”

A Brooklyn Kind of Love premieres January 15 on Playboy TV, followed by Swing in February.

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About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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