You’ve seen people do some humiliating things on reality TV. But nothing quite tops the opening scene of a Discovery Life special airing Monday night.
“I’m 40 years old. I drive an eight-year-old minivan… I have a three-bedroom house, three children and a sexually unfulfilled wife,” a man says by way of introduction. “My name is Greg Lawrence, and I’m lousy in bed.”
The program, titled “How to Make Love to My Wife,” is fairly self-explanatory. Lawrence tells viewers that he just learned after 20 years of marriage that his wife, Kathy, has never had an orgasm during intercourse. “Now I’m beginning to think my entire sexual history as a lover with Kathy has been based on a lie she told me to spare my easily bruised manhood,” he says sadly. Then he asks the question that will inform the one-hour special: “Is it all men? Or is it just me?”
Lawrence goes on a journey to learn about how he can please his wife, a mission that takes him everywhere from a sex therapist to an erotic toy shop. Kathy details his sexual deficiencies: “It’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it. God bless Greg, he’s not doing too much with his.” By this point, viewers are likely pondering some questions: Why is this on TV? Who would do this to themselves? Is this real life?
We are here to inform you that, according to Lawrence, this is very much real. A TV comedy producer, writer and stand-up comedian from Toronto, Lawrence came up with the idea about eight years ago when he and his wife were struggling with their sex life. After learning about the dismal orgasm situation, he started doing research and found some startling statistics. For starters, only 20 to 30 percent of women have orgasms through intercourse only, according to the special. He realized he still had some serious misunderstandings about sex — and was willing to gamble that other long-married couples did, too.
Lawrence created the special through his production company, and a Canadian TV network aired it in the spring of 2008. It debuted as short episodes posted online, and then was cut together as an entire special. Fast forward to 2015 and the distributor successfully pitched the special to Discovery Life, the first network to air it on American television. It is the final program in the network’s Labor Day weekend “Sex-A-Thon” programming block.
But seriously, wait. Isn’t Lawrence even a little mortified that his abilities in bed — or lack thereof — are about to be seen by quite a few people? Lawrence, a stand-up comedian who says he’s “fairly open about everything” in his daily life, has no qualms.
“There are very few things in life that embarrass me. [Sex] is a normal human thing, right?” he said by phone. “This is just talking about a guy who had one perception of what sex was supposed to be, and [the] realization that it’s rarely like that for any married couple.”
Though the special is tongue-in-cheek and exaggerated at times (at one point, Lawrence sits outside with a poster that says “I’m not good in bed and I need help!!!”), it offers sex-ed for anyone that might be curious. “Maybe it’s not as much a case as me being a bad lover, but an uneducated one,” Lawrence concludes as sex experts offer advice. It’s also solidly PG-13 — you don’t actually see anything on camera, and even the sex toys are blurred out.
Ultimately, in addition to biology lessons and attendance in a seminar called “A Guide to Women’s Orgasms,” Lawrence learns that one important way to have a fulfilling relationship in bed is to focus on making his partner happy outside the bedroom, such as sending his wife to a spa for a day so she can relax.
Plus, spoiler alert: Lawrence and his wife are still happily together — they recently celebrated their 26th anniversary. In the special, she upgrades his bedroom performance from a 2.5 to a 7.5.
And no, he is really not embarrassed about airing this on television. He admits that his wife was a little uncomfortable at times and his children were sort of horrified, but eventually they found the humor in it all.
“At the end of the day, it’s a lighthearted show that deals with a couple that’s been married for a couple of decades that struggle with things that all married couples do,” he said. “What’s the worst that comes of it? Understanding that marriage isn’t perfect, but we love each other anyway.”
“How to Make Love to My Wife” (one hour) airs at 10 p.m. on Discovery Life.
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