In any given month, there are about 20 sex workshops in Toronto catering to those with a burning desire to sate their burning desires. In May alone, you could have learned how to pleasure him, or pleasure her; you could have discovered burlesque dancing or the joy of a good spanking. And next month, should you wish, you can attend a workshop on vaginal fisting.
As an avid reader of the kinds of newspapers that report on priests and judges turning up in the ER with vegetables stuck in unfortunate places, I’m a firm believer that there’s always room for improvement in sex education. But I do wonder how you can be sure that what you’re being told in one of these workshops is helpful. I mean, how do you know the person teaching the class is any more of an expert than you are? So I went to one and asked.
“There isn’t a G-spot academy, so I’ve created it,” Tara McKee tells me as we wait for attendees to arrive at her workshop, G-spots and (Female) Ejaculation. We’re on the second floor of the Good for Her sex shop, and in about five minutes a half-dozen G-spot cadets, who’ve each paid over $30, will troop in and expect to be shown the route to this promised land of pleasure.
By day, McKee works in a sexual-health clinic giving out advice on how to avoid infections. By night, she’s a sex educator doling out advice on how to avoid bad sex. Recently, she graduated from formal therapy training at the Gestalt Institute, but McKee has been teaching about the elusive G-spot for more than eight years.
The one question I have come determined to ask is whether sex educators think they’re particularly good in bed themselves. But it’s surprisingly difficult to ask someone if they’re a star performer in the sack, so I instead opt for a bizarre analogy about skiing instructors and their students. Decoding the implication, McKee politely points out the difference between doing and teaching. “I read a lot of books on G-spots, I talk to people, I’m always interested in hearing other peoples’ experiences,” she adds.
McKee is a little distracted trying to get a new projector to work because one of the people whose experiences she is keen to share is Elaine, the star of the night’s instructional DVD. Sex workshops generally don’t feature live action demos, so it’s left to people like Elaine to show us how it’s done. And she sets the bar pretty high, proving quite adept at finding her G-spot with what McKee terms a “semi-vintage” vibrator, and proceeding to ejaculate—in dramatic fashion—multiple times.
Elaine isn’t the only educational aid that will be pressed into service. Anatomy will be taught with a vulva puppet, which is apparently anatomically correct, despite the G-spot being represented as a little flower. Dozens of G-spot-friendly sex toys will also make an appearance.
Though McKee is adept at the friendly-yet-professional thing, it’s clear that some of the attendees—particularly the men—aren’t that comfortable. While the women laugh at McKee’s jokes, the men sit in the consciously nonchalant way people do when they’re trying not to look consciously nonchalant. At one point, one man practices a technique for finding the G-spot with the fingers in the air, but otherwise the guys are immobile.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that many Toronto sex educators also offer private consultations. One of these is Stephen de Wit, who has a doctorate and works with clients on what he calls “sex communication.”
De Wit works with people— sometimes over Skype or on the phone—and helps them to figure out what they like in sex and whether that works for their partner, too. He says that a favoured technique is to get both parties to write down what hits the mark for them and then compare notes. (Presumably, you’d know if you were visiting the house of a de Wit client by the his ’n’ hers notebooks by the side of the bed.)
None of the sexologists I spoke to said they managed to make a full-time living out of it, and de Wit hints at a possible reason: “When people find out I am a sexologist, they start to talk,” he says. “I have had so many lunches and car rides where the person I’m with starts talking about what they like or what their partner likes and they want to know if it’s normal.” Now, I’m no MBA, but giving out freebies like that can’t be good for business.
Good for Her, 175 Harbord Street. #ANX 416-588-0900.