The Great 30-Year-Old Virgins Debate
Before taping the show, Lisa's team had the women attend therapy sessions with sex expert Dr. Laura Berman. "We had them work with her for four to five weeks to try to figure out really what's underlying," Lisa says. "Why can't they let themselves go? Why can't they allow themselves to love? Why can't they allow themselves to be loved?"
Lisa, producer Eric and co-producer Jen skim the dating pool for candidates, and Shayla picks a man named Ryan. "She liked him," Lisa says. "And the last I heard is that she went to Ryan's apartment."
The next day, associate producer Lindsey finds out that Shalya stayed at Ryan's apartment until 2 a.m. and they kissed—passionately. "In one night, she was embracing her change," Lisa says. "I felt in that moment, 'You know what? No matter what happens with the show, with both of these girls, I know that we have affected their lives.'"
Oprah couldn't remember having ever approved the topic. "What's wrong with being a 30-year-old virgin?" Oprah says. "It's OK if you're a 30-year-old virgin."
Watch Oprah debate the producers
When the meeting ends, the producers understand they don’t see eye-to-eye with Oprah, but the more important question is what this means for the show taping in 12 hours. "If Lisa and Eric have booked guests with depth and layers, it's going to be a home run," Sheri says. "If we don't do that, it's not going to be a pretty story."
Lisa also preps their expert so she's aware of Oprah's viewpoint. "The virgins show needs to be at a serious, deep level, so I'm going to check in with Dr. Berman to set the tone with her," Lisa says.
Before taping, Lisa also stops in to say hi to Shayla, who is blushing and smiling when she hears what Ryan had to say about their date. "There was a transformation in this girl," Lisa says. "That felt good."
To her surprise, the audience sides with Lisa and Sheri—they also thinks it's unusual to be a virgin at 30 years-old. "The majority thought it was odd," Lisa says. "It is odd today."
After the show, Oprah compliments the team on the depth of the show. "I liked the women who were on the show, and I understood that their stories were much deeper and fuller and richer than the salacious title," Oprah says. "So that show became more to me about women and their sexuality—how an unfortunate experience at an early age can really have an enormous influence on the way you think about yourself as a sexual being."
The team is thrilled. "I think they feel validated," Sheri says. "They believed in these guests and they believed in their stories and they believed in this topic."
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