Can good sex be taught? – Psychologies Magazine – September 2010
Sex classes are not longer just for those with problems – or exotic tastes. They can help anyone who wants to make good sex better, and more and more of us are signing up. Viki Wilson discovers why.
What’s a sex workshop really like?
Nicci Talbot, 35, a women’s health writer (inrudehealth.com), attended a workshop with her partner Matt at Shakti Tantra.
Our sex life had become a little routine, so when a friend recommended a workshop, I persuaded Matt to try it. I’ve tried sensual massage courses and was less embarrassed about the workshop, but it was out of Matt’s comfort zone to have a private session with just us and the instructors, Sue and Martin. I did feel nervous for him because I knew he was there on my behalf.
The workshop took place in a light-filled studio covered with cushions, rich colours and sensual art. Matt was wearing only boxers and I was wearing knickers and a top. We began with a hugging exercise, designed to help us explore how we liked to be held, before moving onto written exercises where we presented in a positive way what we wanted from our sex life, acknowledged current obstacles, such as too much TV, and agreed to a realistic plan to make changes, including making time for massage.
The most intimate exercise was called Directed Pleasuring – touching and saying how we would like to be touched, which the other person had to follow. We did this using different props – kissing, massage or using feathers and silk.
What was nice was that Sue and Martin did the exercises with us, which made us less self-conscious and intensified the session; I found it a turn-on to watch a couple who are really into each other. I could see they were very comfortable with the situation, which was inspiring. We were a little bit more inhibited, of course. But it was rewarding and quite arousing to see how they communicate and to watch them touch. Of course you don’t always have the time or energy to do a massage for two hours a night so we were given some sensual short cuts to try, such as ‘Meetings’ – (* see below), an effective way to stay connected and keep the energy flowing between the two of us.
The workshop revealed barriers in our sex life that we hadn’t thought were there. I realised that I find it hard to ask for what I want in bed. I tend to put Matt’s needs before my own, and this makes me feel frustrated, which build up to cause tension. If I know that he doesn’t enjoy doing something, like kissing for example, then it’s hard for me to ask for it and relax and enjoy the experience.
We’ve made practical changes since the workshop, such as fewer evenings spent working and more time relaxing together, but we’ve also started doing more physical things together, such as running, walking and going horse riding. The exhilaration and closeness that come from these activities transfer to our sex life.
A workshop is a great way to invest in your relationship and explore it. We do courses for our career but don’t think about investing in our sex lives, or in each other the same way.
* Meetings – after a day apart, simply greet each other with eye contact and a hug. It’s a small daily ritual that connects you physically and emotionally.