Home / Couples Therapy: This Web Series Offers Unique Spin on Sexual Self-Discovery
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The cast of Unicornland were outfitted by new Brooklyn lingerie label Thistle & Spire.

One of the first things you learn after a divorce is how much the rules of dating have changed — and how much guts it takes to plunge back in.

That’s the dilemma facing Annie, a 28-year-old Brooklyn divorcee, in the compelling new web series Unicornland, which debuted (somewhat ironically) on Valentines Day.

By nature a wallflower, Annie is too shy to express her desires but she’s determined to rise above her own passivity. With more bravado than real bravery, she plunges into the baffling world of sex-positive swinging to see what she can learn about herself. (Check your hang-ups and preconceptions at the door before you commit to this 40-minute ride.)

Unicornland is the passion project of writer/producer Lucy Gillespie, who based it on her own post-divorce experiences and funded the 8-part series with a successful Kickstarter campaign.

But her own sexual odyssey wasn’t aimed at just finding comfort or pleasure, it was a way to exercise some authority over her sexual self and, hopefully, see what kind of life can be had beyond her own self-imposed boundaries. On that uncertain journey, sexual self-empowerment becomes a path toward self-actualization.

If it were only that easy.


Over the course of Unicornland’s eight too-brief episodes Annie (played by Laura Ramadei) inserts herself into a succession of awkward hook-ups with couples, where she finds herself tiptoeing around the relationship baggage that her playmates inevitably bring into the bedroom.

Along the way, she explores bondage, erotic toys, role playing, a lesbian three-way, masturbating with a stuffed animal and, finally, a dizzying sex party where none of the behaviours seem familiar or even appealing.

“I spent most of my early 20s obsessed with achieving the alpha female trifecta of marriage, family and career,” Gillespie wrote in an article describing her reasons for becoming an online auteur. “Sexual exploration was what women did when they had neither a plan nor self-respect.

“The hardest part of joining the sex-positive scene,” she adds, “was facing the constant question: What did I want?”

That conundrum isn’t helped by the fact that dating protocols can seem superficial — and a bit demeaning — to the newly single.

“You’re divorced. You’re allowed to get slutty,” one of Annie’s pals tells her when they get dressed up one night and head to a bar frequented by “heteronormative fuckboys.”

“It’s 2016,” she replies. “Does a woman need an excuse?

“We have the sociological, psychological, neurological data to change the way we relate as a species but we still dress ourselves up like these wounded victims and throw ourselves at roofie-toting cavemen.”

Annie (Laura Ramadei) finds herself in some uncomfortable situations while exploring multi-partner sex in Unicornland.

What drew our attention to Unicornland was the fact that one of its sponsors is the Brooklyn indie lingerie brand Thistle & Spire, which launched its collection of strappy boudoir pieces last year.

Thistle & Spire founders Maggie Bacon and Lily Chen contributed all the sexy undies that make frequent appearances in Unicornland and which are a key part of Annie’s arsenal for seduction. Not that it always works to her advantage, however.

“You with your hoity-toity lingerie think you can come in here and steal my man?” one of her new friends blurts out during a role-playing scenario. Predictably, Annie can’t tell if she’s being serious or not.

Unicornland is fun to watch, a bit chilling and, like good sex, you’ll wish it lasted longer. Like Sex and the City or Girls, there’s a rich vein of material here that could easily be developed into a full TV series, and a feminist subtext about self-determination that would appeal to a broad audience of questing millennials searching for purpose and passion.

More, please!

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