Review: Dawn Porter’s Free Lover- Writhing in Oil is Cool but Free Love ain’t so Free

September 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

dawn-porter.jpgChannel 4, Tuesday 30th September, 10pm  Alert Me

Nothing in life or love is truly free.  That’s what Dawn Porter learns this Tuesday evening as she delves into the world of free love and polyamoury; having more than one lover.  And an oily hands-on lesson it is too.

The giggly courter of controversy known from such programmes as Super Skinny Me and Dawn Goes Naked is back and this time it’s with the aim of investigating how women live in different sorts of relationships all over the world.  The first of four documentaries, here she finds herself in America undergoing a touchy feely ritual involving chanting and genital touching to open her to the notion of free love before travelling to Germany to live in Zegg, a polyamourous sect, and get to grips with the multi-partnering way of life.

You have to admire this girl’s incessant curiosity even in the face of her own anxiousness.  Not only does she put up with a total stranger stroking her forehead telling her that he loves her and sharing a hot tub with a naked free-loving woman and her three somewhat identical looking lovers, but she also ends up stripping off herself and taking part in an ‘oil session’ (where the group is covered in oil and then writhes around touching each other as someone reads some pseudo-profound readings).  It’s intriguing to see her in the initial stages, worrying “this is so f*cked up? and then in post-oil sesh elation, proclaiming “I feel like they’ve made me into a real hippy!?

It’s not just about a personal journey for Miss. Porter though, she has some serious investigative journalism to do.  And her findings reflect a realistic take on the hippy dream.  A messy love triangle within the commune reveals to her that issues of jealousy, competition and abandonment are still a reality.  This is a particularly poignant strand within the show including touchingly frank chats from the people involved.

Free Lover demonstrates that it ain’t all a long-haired, dreamy romp outside monogamy.  The world of free love is simply another form of social order that has its own constraints.  Where mainstream western society might lay into a cheater, here, it’s the deserted that get told, “deal with it, love.?

By Susan Allen