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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Sex Show Lets It All Hang Out

Alexander and his wife like group sex. He picks up women on the streets. "When we get bored, we practice anal sex, sadomasochism and take videos of each other," says Alexander, sitting cross-legged and hiding behind sunglasses before a studio television audience. Alexander's first child is definitely his, but he's not sure about the rest. That doesn't bother him. "Human nature is much more comprehensive than what marriage offers," he says.


Karina never has orgasms. Clad in a see-through blouse and high heels, she climbs on the lap of another man and masterfully demonstrates how she fakes it, playfully petting him on the head while basking in the attention of the onlookers.


Some among the diverse audience, which includes students, pensioners and transvestites, gasp and exchange looks of disgust. Others cheer and clap, while a few shrug their shoulders.


They are watching guests on Russia's first weekly sex talk show, "Pro Eto," or "About It." The program debuted earlier this month and airs shortly after midnight on Saturdays. Taking up topics such as "what men and women expect from sex" or "sexual fantasies," the show is the latest addition to NTV's racy broadcasts, which include "Playboy Late Night" and the strip quiz show "Empire of Passion."


"It might seem weird that a person would want to come out and tell the whole world about his intimate problems ... but it is sex and not politics that everybody thinks about these days," says the show's host, Yelena Hanga, who declined to reveal her age. The program aims to be like "an open chat between girlfriends" to help people deal with their complexes. "A girlfriend's experience is always more valuable than a sexologist's," Hanga says.


Hanga also hopes to offer practical information about sex. "There are some things that every woman should know, for instance, oral sex," she says. "I hope our men, too, will learn not only the secret of the mysterious woman's soul, but the secret of her body too. And all mothers who teach their children that sex or masturbation is bad, should see the show."


Hanga, who began working in television in the late 1980s as a correspondent for the news magazine program "Vzglyad," decided to host "About It" partly because of her interest in psychology, which she studied last year at New York University's School of Social Work. She has already seen some odd behavior.


"One woman said she gets sexually excited counting piles of dollar bills while she is naked. Today I'm meeting with sadomasochists and their slaves," she says. "Whatever turns you on; as long as it doesn't harm anyone."


Hanga's cosmopolitan background may account for her open mind. Her grandfather, a black American communist, came to Russia in the 1920s. Her Russian mother married a Tanzanian government official who was killed in a local putsch. She has published a book on her family history, titled "Soul to Soul: A Story of a Russian-American Family." "I have a mixture of blood in my veins, but my soul is very Russian," she says.


Participants in "About It," according to the show's press release, are "regular people who think of sex as a celebration and believe that no aspects of this area of human relationships" should be banned from discussion.


So far, guests have lived up to that description. Yunna, a plump woman who appears to be in her 30s, introduces herself as someone who helps boys become men. Oleg Gvozdev, a 17-year-old military academy student sitting in the audience, thanks Yunna on behalf of all men, adding that he first had sex at age 13 when he was at a Young Pioneers camp.


But "About It" hasn't satisfied everyone. "It's a timely program, but a bit prudish," says Arkady Shpen, author of erotic novels and a writer for the soft-porn tabloid "Yeshchyo!" or "More!"


"The biggest problem is that conversations about sex often substitute for sex itself, and this show is a good example of that."