Better Sex and Deeper Relationships is part of the "Living Well with Montel Williams" series of life coaching programs. This DVD program presents three programs, one general motivational piece and two on sex and relationships.
"A Woman's Guide to Better Sex" runs 52 minutes, with Dr. Hilda Hutcherson
Hutchinson is a doctor and magazine advice columnist about sexual issues. She takes the approach of de-mystifying sex from the biological point of view as well as a relationship point of view. As the title of the episode indicates, it's definitely addressed to a female audience, focusing on female anatomy - the vulva, the labia, the clitoris, the vagina - with an emphasis on female empowerment. There's attention to male parts too, but from the point of view of the woman who may or may not know much about her partner's equipment.
This is definitely an explicit presentation, in which Hutchinson is frank about the experience of sex and things that viewers can do to enjoy sex more. She gives tips on how to have a better orgasm, and addresses issues of sexual confidence. Overall, her approach is "how to enjoy sex more": it has some elements that touch on the relationship aspect of sex, but as a whole its emphasis is on the physical act and how to enjoy the sensations of sexual intercourse more.
"Life Would Be Easy if it Weren't for Other People" runs 48 minutes, with Connie Podesta.
I'm not really sure what makes Podesta qualified to talk about relationships... she's advertised on the DVD case as a comedian and a talk show host. She does say that she's done marriage and family counseling, so presumably she has some qualifications, but it's not made very clear. Podesta is funny, without a doubt, but she plays very heavily on stereotypes as her material, for instance male-female and parent-child relationships. That said, she does make some good points here, but she bounces around a lot, touching on marriage, children, work, and dealing with other people. Overall, it feels like "relationships lite": there's a lot of what feels like sensible advice, but upon closer examination it seems to be a platitude that offers nothing by way of concrete suggestions for dealing with life issues.
"Who Owns the Definition of You?" features talk show host Montel Williams; it runs 35 minutes.
The program starts off with a testimonial about Williams' show; it goes on considerably too long and starts to feel cheesy. Fortunately, as soon as it shifts over to Williams himself, it feels much more grounded. He draws on his experience as a talk show host to identify recurring problems in peoples' lives, as well as on his own experiences as suffering from multiple sclerosis.
This program focuses on the obstacles to living the life you want to live, with Williams explaining the points and illustrating them with examples from his own life. He's an excellent speaker: he's passionate about what he's telling the viewer, and he's able to speak directly to the camera with conviction and energy, so that it feels entirely natural to be listening. The points that Williams makes here are very important: he discusses obstacles like fear, self-doubt, lack of knowledge, and emotional difficulties. The material is fairly general, but it works well as a general motivational piece, especially for viewers who are fans of Williams' show.
The main fault that I find with this program is that it's repeated on all the Living Well DVD sets, so that viewers are stuck with paying for the same disc several times if they decide to buy more than one of the Living Well programs.
The programs are oddly presented, as they're in a 4:3 image windowboxed in a non-anamorphic widescreen format. Colors look good, but there's heavy edge enhancement and a lot of artifacting, especially in the Hutchinson program. It's watchable but not particularly appealing.
The stereo soundtrack is clear and acceptable, with a clean overall feel to it.
The "Woman's Guide to Better Sex" disc has a 10-minute section of "deeper discussion" with Hutcherson, as well as 18 minutes of questions and answers. Trailers for The Montel Show and "Living Well" are also included on each disc.
Living Well: Better Sex and Deeper Relationships is a disappointment, even by the modest expectations I was bringing to it. There are only two new programs, as the Montel Williams program is repeated on other Living Well sets. The relationships program is very thin in its material, and the sex program, while informative, felt a bit shallow in its singleminded focus on maximizing physical pleasure. I'd skip this one.