Oprah begs for mercy


By Andrea Nemerson. View more columns here. Email your questions to Andrea:


Dear Readers:

"Oprah begs for mercy" sounds so much like the title of one of the S/M fantasy stories you can read online that I just couldn't resist it, but honestly, read this:

Dr. Berman: ... and this is a little holster that the guy can wear so this goes around his penis.

Oprah: Oh, please.

Dr. Berman: Yeah. Around his penis for hands-free clitoral stimulation during intercourse.

Oprah: OK. You have just crossed the line with me.

Dr. Berman: OK. Are you ready?

Oprah: No, you have crossed the line with me. I don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Dr. Berman: All right, look. Here is the penis. (Makes shadow-puppet gesture.)

Oprah: I swear. I'm not ready for it. I'm not ready. I'm not ready for it. No. I am not ready for it. Let's move on.

The doctor is Laura Berman of the Berman Institute in Los Angeles, where, between Laura's therapy and her urologist sister Jennifer's research, anyone female with enough money and not enough orgasms can get her bits seen to. They do excellent work. I'd be tempted to go myself out of curiosity if I lived more southerly and had more money and less doctor-phobia. Doesn't Laura, usually so nice, seem to be getting something of a kick out of playing "torture the media mogul" there, though?

Funny, actually, since these appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show have sold gazillions of her vibrators and carried Berman's name, credentials, and well-tended features with them into bed with viewers nationwide and further.

These are mostly not the penis-mounted marital aides the doctor is describing above, but the Berman Center brand's workhorse, the Aphrodite. It's a Magic Wand-type rechargeable nicknamed "the sure thing." How sure a thing is it, and is there anything about it that should automatically win the trust of an audience presumably tuning in more for makeovers, lifestyle tips, and celebrity gossip than for "Look, Oprah, here's the penis ... ?"

I've been getting floods of press releases for new toys meant for a mass audience of sex-toy newbies (it's almost always the Aphrodite — good press that Goddess gets) and I politely reply that I'd be happy to examine one but they'll have to send me something, and I finally found satisfaction. The Earth did not move, but, the rather sober-sided, therapy-oriented sex toy store that acts as Berman's sales outlet, sent me a selection of hot new gear, including the Aphrodite.
I have to admit that my initial reaction to the Goddess of Desire's pleasure wand was not "Oh, oh, oh!" but simply, "Oh." It is a dull opaque purple and quite large — a lot of purple — and not much to look at. (Check out the industrial design at Jimmy Jane or Lelo for contrast, or wait till they show up in MOMA's permanent design collection.) I set it to charge and went away and forgot about it till deadline, at which point I discovered that the vaunted infrared feature does not work on the "high" setting, which seems like kind of a cheat. Does the vibrator itself (a large round head on an articulated neck with three interchangeable silicone sleeves) work? Yes. Yes, it does.
I am not at all convinced that it's enough better than anything else to cure an Oprah viewers' anorgasmia all on its own merits. Rather, I bet it's the Aphrodite's innate vibey goodness combined with Dr. Berman's cred and that of the kind of sexy-sounding Dr. Sandor Gardoz, MyPleasure's resident sexologist, plus Oprah herself, combined with the awareness that thousands of other relatable married-with-children afternoon TV watchers are using it too, that's causing (or allowing) all the orgasms. It's an excellent beginner's vibrator, but I seriously do believe that a lot of those women are finally getting off with this one because so many other women are. If you think about it, this is sort of revolutionary in a way that the feminist-ish sex toy industry has been claiming but not quite earning for quite some time.
I also received an unpleasantly mauve (I sense a theme here) and flowery but otherwise nice-looking insertable thing called, redundantly, Blissful Pleasures, which is very pleased with itself for having five settings — but several of these are literally snore-y, taking long, slow breaths before revving up again, which ... yawn.
And there was a "Liv" from Lelo, the gorgeousness people. It is indeed gorgeous, slim and curvy in princess pink with chrome and iPod white accents. It also has a click wheel like an iPod, though, and a learning curve as well as a G-spot one, and I am not entirely sure that it likes me. I think it would make a great gift for a geeky femme with a lot of time on her hands, but it seems a bit high-maintenance — and also, it turned itself off. This is a sex toy's equivalent of getting up to take a phone call, and it will not be forgiven lightly.
The homely therapeutic model would never do you like that.
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