Read This: An oral history of HBO’s Real Sex 

Read This: An oral history of HBO’s Real Sex 

Originally intended as a one-off documentary, HBO’s Real Sex unexpectedly caught on and ran for 33 episodes over 19 years on the premium cable network. Dubbed “the 60 Minutes of sex,” the light, sex-positive attitude of the show featured penetrating (heh, "penetrating") looks at all facets of human sexuality. At a time when oral (heh, "oral") history fatigue is running high, Vulture’s account of the series with segment producers and directors for the show gives an insightful look at how the show came together with a mostly female production staff and crew. It covers shoots that never made it to air, how closely HBO lawyers examined shots (heh, "shots") in order to maintain the self-imposed R rating, and how the show offered a welcome respite to HBO staff members producing “hardcore issue documentaries.” The piece doesn't include creator Sheila Nevins, but it does have fascinating information about how the popularity of the show that shined a light onto fetishes around the world allowed producers to make more adventurous documentaries they knew would have a significantly smaller audience. And some of the behind-the-scenes stories, like filming an orgy, or a "Bottoms Up" sex class, show how HBO lucked into a series that endeavored to provide a frank portrayal of sexuality without judgement.

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