You know how to put on a condom. You know the names of all your naughty bits and you think you’ve got a good grip on how to use them. In other words you’ve mastered the basics. So where do you go from here?
There’s a whole new world of sexual education designed to enhance even the biggest sluts’ sex lives. And it’s not all just about learning how to give a better blowjob or how to hit your lover’s G-spot just so. It’s about how to reach a deeper intimacy, too.
Single or coupled, monogamous or poly, there are lots of options available for those looking to spruce up their sex lives. With more and more workshops and parties popping up in Toronto, finding sexual intimacy might just be the great goal of this century.
Based in Oakland, California, Body Electric has been offering courses in erotic education and bodywork for more than 25 years. Workshops are held in the nude and often involve full body massage including genital and anal massage.
“Basically we’re about sex ed for adults,” says Body Electric director Collin Brown. “Learning how your body can express erotic energy in ways most of us have no experience with.”
According to Brown, Body Electric “recognizes the holistic connections between mind, body, and spirit and offers opportunities to explore those connections in safe and supportive environments.
“Most western cultures understand that if you have achieved ejaculation you have achieved erotic potential. We’re teaching what’s possible without ejaculating that tends to be more powerful than ejaculating. We teach breathing techniques and how to prolong ejaculation and what to do with your body so you don’t have ejaculation as the end goal. It helps people rewire their energy systems so they can have different experiences.”
Body Electric currently offers one workshop in Toronto, Celebrating The Body Erotic, a men-only genital massage course taught by Toronto coordinator Paul Barber.
“It teaches Taoist erotic massage,” explains Barber. “In a nutshell it is breath-work which moves energy. Participants share two roles equally, being an erotic masseur and receiver of loving touch.
“The concept is that this workshop is not about sexuality, it’s all about eroticism.”
Barber is hoping to expand Body Electric’s Toronto offerings to include mixed gender classes. “In the broad sense my goal is to bring this work to gay and lesbian participants in the same workshop. Although we may not be able to relate to each other sexually we can totally relate to each other erotically.
“My other passion is to work with transgendered FTMs [female to male]. The issue is the complexity of where they are and having a man in the room teaching them. It’s something I’ve identified.I want to give them information that they can embody, give themselves pleasure and relate better to others.”
The next Toronto Body Electric course for men will be offered Sat, Oct 22 and 23. A course will be offered in Montreal on Fri, Nov 12 and 13. Contact Paul Barber for more information at (416) 598-3775 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having attended a number of Body Electric workshops, psychotherapist Pat Parisi and Good For Her’s Carlyle Jansen developed Vulvalicious, a weekend retreat where women can explore and celebrate their sacred erotic selves.
“There is an emotional component – who are we as sexual beings,” says Jansen, “and a physical component – how do I give and receive pleasure, let go of inhibitions, be more present in my body, negotiate boundaries or discover where they are?
“It also includes a technical aspect. Sex is a skill, and no matter how long you have been pleasuring your body, there is always something more to learn. We become habituated to a few ways of having sex and pleasuring ourselves. So part of it is to give women a new set of skills to use on themselves and/or a partner.”
“Using the practices of Tantra, conscious touch, breath-work and soulful discussion, we’ll use erotic energy to explore our feelings, to let go of thoughts and emotions that hold us back,” says Parisi. “We will give ourselves permission to ask for what we want and to break through our stuck places. At the peak of the retreat, we’ll have the opportunity to both give and receive a full-body Tantric massage.”
Vulvalicious started out as the private explorations of a closed group of women. “This circle of women gathered for two years until it came to a natural end,” says Parisi. “There were several lasting friendships that came out of that, and a few temporary lovers as well. After that, Carlyle and I formalized Vulvalicious into a workshop format and started offering it, originally modelled on Body Electric.”
In the past few years Parisi has taken over the operation of Vulvalicious, which now offers a number of weekend retreats including erotic massage and embodied sexuality, which Parisi describes as “process therapy that looks at a perspective of your whole person and everything you do in your life moves you to that wholeness.”
Vulvalicious workshops are intimate, with six to 12 women, and offer a depth and intensity that Parisi says just isn’t possible in a two-hour class.
For women looking to focus more on the emotional side of things there’s the Shalom retreat, which looks “compassionately at what blocks people from loving and sees loving as an art and a skill that can be learned. A Shalom retreat is suitable for a wide variety of emotional issues. It can accelerate ongoing therapy.”
For more information on Vulvalicious check out Windhorseworkshop.ca.
While workshops and organized retreats offer directed exercises with a particular goal in mind, sex parties can offer a unique opportunity to put all that learning into practice.
Ishwar Persad began organizing regular sex parties about a year ago under the name Ghandarva Creations.
“Part of the party is a space where like-minded people can meet each other,” says Persad. “It’s not exactly anonymous sex. We do activities. We meet. It’s a place where people can explore or engage in activities that they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to.”
Persad, who works a straight job as a diversity trainer, currently hosts approximately five parties a year. He says his interest in the project is about building community, exploring sex and sexuality, the politics of sex as a political force and, of course, having fun.
“I am a queer person of colour organizing. I come from that political place. Each party there are more people of colour and we’re excited.
“Parties are mixed gender and orientation, fluid. Certain principles are built into the business: equality, anti-oppression, inclusively, community building and a sense of love and care. They all come together when you end up with a six-page invitation.”
Parties are invitation-only with previous participants encouraged to recommend new additions to the group. Guests are screened directly or indirectly by Persad before being invited to join. It’s a long-term project and each party builds on the last one.
The parties are designed to encourage fun, erotic interaction. Persad hopes to leave people feeling warm and connected. Intimacy, rather than anonymity, is what Ghandarva sex parties are about.
“The parties come from a queer perspective. That will eliminate homophobic straight men. It will also protect women. All genders are expected at these parties.”
Each party begins with a group introduction, where everyone states their names and has a chance to clarify their gender and/or sexual orientation and talk about what they’re interested in on that particular evening.
After the introductions, participants divide up into small groups for intimacy-building exercises designed to break the ice. It’s at this point that people have a chance to connect with strangers or friends and that the party really begins. There is a social area with food and drink. There is normally one room designated for SM play.
“Half the people come as couples or groups, triads, people who form relationships of four or five. Some people are part of a couple but come singly. Others are single. Most parties there are more women than men. Anywhere between 40 to 50 attend.”
For more information e-mail Ghandarva@sympatico.ca.
The Cuddle Party
The Cuddle Party is the newest addition to Toronto’s roster of intimate events. Facilitated by Cecilia Moorcroft and assisted by Barbara Brown, it is described as a place where everyone brings pajamas to change into and keeps those pajamas on. It’s not a sex event so much as an opportunity for close physical contact, held in a cozy space filled with pillows and blankets, complete with relaxing music and snacks.
“There is a 45-minute introduction period and people get comfortable during that,” says Moorcroft, who recently completed her Cuddle Party Facilitator Training in Los Angeles. “Nothing is going to happen that you don’t want to happen. If you’re a yes say ‘yes,’ if you’re a no say ‘no’ and if you’re a maybe say ‘no.’ It’s a safe space to practice saying ‘no’ which I think is huge for women. Some people have come to Cuddle Parties to get used to saying ‘no.’ In the end they’re rewarded with cuddling.”
Moorcroft now has three Toronto Cuddle Parties under her belt. “The first one I did was for women-only and it was very sweet and turned in to a big nap time with a whole bunch of women spooning in a row.
“The second one was mixed gender and a lot of people knew each other. I didn’t, and it was a really nice party with a wonderful vibe…. Some people think they have to be lying in a pile with strangers. It can be just touching feet or lying together reading a book to full on spooning. All that’s required is a verbal yes.”
“I’ve done women only. I can’t do men only so I’ve also done mixed gender and orientation is not an issue. The queer sexuality is so fluid these days that it’s hard to tell.”
The next Cuddle Party is a mixed gender event and takes place Tue, May 17 from 7pm to 10:30pm. For more information check out Cuddle-toronto.com or e-mail Moorcroft at email@example.com.