"Dan, how does one swing?" asks Jane Malzone (Honey Wilder) of her husband Dan (Paul Thomas) as they sit at the bar on their first visit to the Sex Spa (a kind of Plato's Retreat-style swinger's club).
"I don't know, Jane," he replies. "How does one swing?"
Their question will be answered as the movie progresses.
But first lets backtrack and find out what has led them, along with the other primary characters, and indeed, ourselves, to this point.
What has led me to this point is the misunderstanding that this movie is about a health club. Since I'm planning to write a blog post on the sexy side of gyms, workouts and health farms, I thought this would be a good film to watch and review. After all the IMDB synopsis says : Brooke Fields builds up a sweat, but it is more than your normal exercise workout. Losing weight, getting/staying in shape has never been this much fun in this classic porn title. But this Sex Spa is as much about getting fit as a gay bath house is about getting clean. They have a pool, but nobody really swims in it, and there are no treadmills or exercise bikes. But, what the hell, I thought I'd just swing with it and review it anyway.
The film is the work of prolific porn director Henri Pachard (born Ronald Jason Sullivan in 1939). He directed some softcore sexploitation movies under his own name in the sixties and seventies including the porn parody Video Vixens (aka Black Socks) (1975). The alternative title is a reference to the fact that actors in old stag movies often wore nothing but a pair of black socks. But by the end of the seventies, Sullivan had become Pachard and was directing hardcore movies. A couple of his early ones - The Budding of Brie (1980) and Matinee Idol (1984) were produced by David F. Friedman. But by the nineties he was making videos with titles like Earth Girls are Sleazy (1990), Vagina Town (1993) and TV Toilet Challenge (1993). He died in 2008 at the age of 69.
The film was scripted by Rick Marx, who, after writing porno chic classics like Roommates (1981) and Wanda Whips Wallstreet (1982), would go on to script b-grade action films like Platoon Leader (1988) and Outlaw of Gor (1989).
The film begins with two married couples, a pair of lovers and a brother and sister. Each pair are brought to the Sex Spa by something different.
Ted Raddicks (Joey Silvera) is a successful engineer and his wife Leslie (Annette Heinz) is a dental hygienist. They are deeply in love. One night, Ted is trying to tell his wife just how much he is in love with her. She insists that she too really loves him. But he asks how they can really be sure if they have never put their love to the test. He suggests that they need to be somewhere where people are nude and having sex in front of them and where they have the opportunity to join in and maybe themselves have sex with another partner. The thought clearly turns him on, and his wife is at least amused by it. He suggests that they go right away.
What leads Dan and Jane to try to learn how to swing is sexual boredom, brought on by poor communication.
"Oh, God. The same thing every night," bemoans Jane's inner voice as Dan climbs into bed with her. "I wish he'd try something different for a change."
"Just my luck," grumbles Dan's inner voice. "I marry a woman with no imagination. Every night the same time, same place... What a bore!"
"We can make love now?" he asks aloud nudging his stiff cock towards the entrance of his wife's pussy.
"All right," she replies.
But then she winces.
"Dan," she complains, "I am not a hole in the wall."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he answers, "I was just under the impression that a woman was supposed to lubricate."
"Well, you know, foreplay - fore - play - get it," she complains.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he apologizes, "I'll try again." Then he tells her, "Don't move, don't move," as he sets up a controlled, barely perceptible rhythm.
"Does that feel good?" he asks.
Her internal voice is back, complaining, "Why can't I have a man who is into all kinds of things? Likes to play with dildos and vibrators...who'd like to eat me and wrestle with me... and watch me pee?"
And Dan's inner voice is thinking, "Why can't I have a woman who's got all sorts of different interests? Who likes to play with sex toys... who's able to give me blow jobs... and to wrestle with me and to let me watch her pee?"
A short while later he says, "I think I'm gonna cum now."
"Please, go ahead," she tells him, sounding infinitely bored.
Afterwards she tells Dan that their sex life is boring. He says he was going to say something but didn't want to hurt her feelings. Then he suggests very tentatively that they visit a swing club. To his astonishment, she agrees. They get out of bed and get ready right away.
Best-selling novelist Joe Clinton (Jerry Butler - the Robert Downey, Jr. of porn) drops off his latest manuscript to secretary Mary (Brooke Fields), and, since her boss is out, he fucks her in the office. But when the cleaning lady interrupts them they have to leave.
"How 'bout we go to a place where you could have sex at your whim," he suggests. "Now listen, you could have any man you want, O.K. You could have your pussy serviced in a hundred different ways. Really! You reach orgasm time after time and you cum with gut-wrenching delight, pouring out buckets and buckets of sizzling woman-jizz." He's a smooth-talker.
"I don't have to do anything I don't want to, do I?" she asks, doubtfully.
"No. No," he reassures her. "Your orgasms... they're purely optional. And mine are essential."
Sandy (Taija Rae) has dragged her brother Sam (David Scott) along with her to the Sex Spa. She wants some girl-on-girl action, but her husband mustn't find out, so Sam is posing as her partner. He's not very happy about it.
As our main characters gather in the club, a live sex show is going on on stage. The act ends with Georgie (George Payne) cumming on the girl's tongue.
Then the MC comes on the stage. He's played by Fred J. Lincoln (director of such titles as Furburgers (Home of the Box Lunch) (1987), Friday the 13th : A Nude Beginning (1987), Willie Wankers and the Fun Factory (1994), Trannie Claus (1994) and Prettiest Tits I Ever Came Across (2004).
Is it entirely a coincidence that he looks a lot like this guy?
That's free love encounter group guru, Paul Lowe. To find out more about him watch the excellent documentary The Workshop (2007). That film and Sex Spa USA have a few things in common. Each is about a bunch of people looking for some improvement in their lives who gather around a long-haired bearded dude in a particular location, take off their clothes, engage in some orgiastic activities and end up feeling liberated. Well, actually, that last bit is more the case in Sex Spa USA than in The Workshop. Some of those people just went back to being ordinarily neurotic when they got home. But what's with the similar look? Did Paul Lowe once watch Sex Spa USA and decided to model himself on the great Mr. Lincoln? Or is it something to do with evolution that makes group grope entrepreneurs adopt the same kind of tonsorial decoration?
Anyway, the MC announces that there will be a contest to find the hottest couple in the joint. Of the judge he says, "Big Brother is watching you. If he's not too busy jerking off that is."
The Contest Judge (Jose Duval) flits around the club like Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, watching all the fucking couples.
The first couple watched by the Judge, and also an excited Joe and bored Mary, are Sandy and her blonde hook-up, who make love sensuously on zebra skin cushions to the sweet sounds of a chanteuse singing a song called Fantasy Lady on the soundtrack. During their post-orgasmic pillow talk they discover they have a lot in common. Not only are they lesbians, but they both come from Scarsdale and have husbands who are in computing.
Our next couple, both strangers to us, are into incestuous age-play. Daddy (Bobby Astyr) is talking to Little Girl (Renee Summers) about her day at school, how she did well on her test, how she played with her best friend, and how they played with each other, until they got caught by her friend's mother. All the while Daddy is undressing and fondling her her.
"That's obscene!" objects a watching Dan.
"I know!" his wife responds. "Isn't it wonderful!"
Next Ted and Leslie discover a couple making love on the side of the pool. At first they are shy, but then they strip off and lay in the water watching.
Meanwhile Dan and Jane meet up with Joe and Mary in the undressing room. Mary is still having doubts and Joe is cajoling her. But when Joe and Jane set eyes on each other there is an obvious attraction. Jane is a little shy but she lets Joe help her get out of her clothes.
On the way to the "mat room" they bump into Ted and Leslie.
Once at their destination, Joe and Jane start making love. Dan asks Ted if he can kiss Leslie, whose towel at this point is covering only one of her boobs and none of her pubic hair. They agree that that is all right since it is "only a test." Ted asks Mary if she wants to "get it on". She says, "No thanks, it's already on."
Ted asks if he can watch Joe and Jane, but Joe says that there is room for him to join in.
"You got that right," sighs a delighted Jane. "Two guys at once? Let me tell you how I imagine it."
She gets Joe to suck her tit and Ted to suck her clit. Then she asks them both to play with themselves. It's one of the sexiest scenes in the film, because we can feel Jane's excitement that she is finally able to live out her sexual fantasies.
As the orgy gathers steam, Georgie is in his dressing room with Little Girl. He's disgusted with himself for being a live sex performer. It makes him feel dirty.
Little Girl decides that, if he is feeling dirty, she should give him a bath. She bathes him tenderly. She washes his cock and then sucks it. She washes his butt and then licks his butthole. Then she gets in the bath with him and he cums over her boob.
When we return to our main characters, Jane is really letting out her inner slut, sucking Joe voraciously while being fucked doggy-style by Ted.
As he slides his cock in and out of Leslie's mouth, something snaps in Dan and he calls his wife a "slut" for "sucking that asshole's dick".
Ted starts spanking Jane's ass as they get close to climax. And Dan unleashes his fury as he fucks Leslie doggie-style.
But Mary, who had just been watching, walks off looking bored.
She goes to the pool and watches other people having fun.
There she makes a tentative connection with Sam, the other person who doesn't really want to be there. He responds to her glance and comes over and sits next to her. Meanwhile a woman sings another lush pop song on the soundtrack.
"I suppose there's not much to do here but swim and talk," says Sam.
"I haven't seen much swimming. And I haven't seen much talking either," Mary replies.
"Me neither," agrees Sam.
"I don't like promiscuous sex," explains Mary. "I think people should know each other... have some kind of feeling. I think it is important for them to have emotional understanding between them."
Sam agrees and asks to kiss her.
As they climax it causes a sensation and....
...they win the prize. A life membership each to the Sex Spa!
Joe wonders if there really is much to this whole swinging scene. When two gorgeous girls join him at the bar he decides maybe his doubts were premature.
Sex Spa USA is no classic. But it is worth seeing for fans of 80's porn mainly because it has characters one can identify with and care about, and also because it has a wry sense of humour to its look at sexual relationships, particularly within marriage.