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Much of the information presented about sex is not mind blowing. In fact, some of it may cause you to think, “Of course I know that!” But here’s the deal, there is a difference between knowing it and practicing it. So if you are struggling in the talking sex department, take these ideas out for a test drive instead of leaving them parked in the garage.
Create a Sexier You
*Define and identify what sexy means to you. What makes someone sexy? Is it the way they walk? How they smile? The way they talk? Go beyond the body parts and think about what attitudes create sexiness.
*Walk around naked as much as possible (and appropriate). It gets you more comfortable with your body.
*Strive to appreciate your genitals. People who feel better about their genitals report having more satisfying sex.
*Do your Kegel exercises. It gets blood flowing, creates stronger orgasms and makes you pay attention to your genitals.
*Masturbate. Privately (although you can do it together too). Masturbation teaches you what you like, what fantasies get you off and where you like to be touched.
*Talk about sex, your feelings, and your desires. Talking about sex and your feelings can help you feel more confident about playtime, discussing what you like or what you might like to try out.
*Stop saying “I Should” unless you really want to. “Should-ing” just leads to guilt and stress, which actually reduces the libido.
Kicking Up Desire
*Understand desire is different from libido or your sex drive.
*Masturbate (privately). Contrary to popular belief, masturbating actually increases sexual desire.
*Do Your Kegels. They are good for you. Stronger orgasms. Enough said.
*Exercise. Exercise gets the blood flowing, makes the body healthier and increases sexual desire.
*Get help with the household chores. It’s true, people who have partners that help out around the house report having more sex because they are less stressed.
*Use your cycle to your advantage. Chart it out. Certain times of the month can increase sexual libido. If you know ahead of time when your sex drive might kick into high gear, you could plan a fun surprise to heighten the experience!
*Think about sexy things throughout the day. Your brain is the most important sex organ there is. Work it out.
* Get rid of the term foreplay. Foreplay is part of sex; it’s not just something you do to get to sex.
*Hold hands, connect and touch your partner outside of playtime romps. Become sensual. Enjoy your partner’s body. Enjoy your body.
*KISS Your partner hello and goodbye. Really kiss them. Linger in your partner’s lips. Enjoy the sensations you sought when you were first dating. Kissing helps you reconnect with your partner, but if often gets taking for granted the longer a relationship lasts.
*It’s more than technique. Maybe you’ve read every book there is to being the best lover, but if your head isn’t into it, your body is going to have a hard time getting aroused. Good sex is about connecting, experiencing and feeling. Good sex is about playing, laughing, being fully present, feeling your emotions, connecting and experiencing the sensations that arise.
Kicking up sexual desire can be tough work, but the good thing about it is most of the recommended tips are free. So the next time, you’re bored or strapped for cash, you can work on your libido! Learning more about yourself, experience new dimensions and play, it’s all part of the course to having a healthy sexual persona.
Find more sex ed articles on sex advice by visiting FunLove.com.
Many women do. Other women could care less. And some haven’t thought about “wanting it” for years. We’re talking of course about sexual desire. Craving sex. Wanting to be touched. The desire we get to feel intimate.
The libido is such a primal urge, that any threat or perceived threat to our sex-drive cries out for a cure. As most people with access to a TV are now aware, the superstar of sexual pharmaceutical world is Viagra. The little blue pill, manufactured by Pfizer and now over a decade old, works by increasing blood supply to the sexual organs. To date, millions of men have rediscovered their libido thanks to this and similar drugs.
In the post-Viagra age, women’s sexual functioning has………..To read more, continue on to Fearless Press
1. Why is there such a disconnect between the “health” side of sex and the “pleasure” side of sex?
Talking about sexuality in America can be challenging for many folks. The medical “health” world tends to shy away from discussing sex toys, orgasms and sexual pleasure for fear of promoting “smut” or losing their professional nature. The “Pleasure” focused world is often bored discussing or reading about sexual health due to years of sex education that is fear based (you’ll catch a disease! You’ll be labeled a whore!) Due to the lack of early onset holistic sexuality education these two worlds don’t know how to work together and how much they support one another. Times are starting to change however. Sex toys companies, film producers and pleasure activists are starting to work with the medical field, consulting professionals to ensure health, safety and pleasure. The medical world is starting to conduct studies that recognize the importance of pleasure and it’s effects on our health. Sex Educators are gaining more access to discuss pleasure issues in school systems, which is crucial to help alleviate fear about the body, sensation and thoughts.
2. How can a couple that has been mostly sexually inhibited break out of their rut and try new things without being embarrassed or self-conscious?
Breaking out of a rut is challenging! It can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and feel downright weird because it’s a new experience. Sometimes people forget that those sensations are normal reactions to experiencing a new activity. I like to compare it to the first time a person learns how to hold a pencil. It’s uncomfortable and awkward. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just NEW. So keep that in mind. You may find after a few tries that you really enjoy this new behavior or fantasy. You may also find that you won’t. But you’ll never know if you don’t try. So scootch yourself. Take a class on sexuality (many are held at sex toy shops, colleges or community centers). Purchase a book or watch a video on sexual fantasies and see what is arousing for other people. Think about what turns other people on and ask yourself, could this be a turn on for me? Then turn to your partner, tell them what you just saw or read about and say, “I just learned about ________. What do you think about that?” That gives you the opportunity to introduce a topic without disclosing too much information about how you feel. You are merely asking them for their thoughts on a topic. It’s a great way to start a conversation, especially about a behavior you might want to try out.
3. How should a couple go about experiencing with sex toys? Will they really make a difference in the relationship?
Sex toys can be a healthy component to enhancing a sexual relationship with yourself or a partner. The first study examining American’s sex toy use was conducted last year and found that almost half of the American population reports using sexual aids at some point in their life (52% of women and 45% of men) but you shouldn’t expect it to fundamentally change your relationship. Sex toys can make in difference in how you experience pleasure, foster communication, create a special bond between you and your partner, and assist in sexual expression if there are physical limitations. If you choose to experiment with sex toys, I would recommend starting small. Don’t necessarily go with what your best friend or magazines recommend, but rather discuss, what are we looking to get out of buying a sex toy? Is it to explore a fantasy? To cause (or intensify) orgasms? To stimulate a part of the body that may be difficult to reach? Then, start to narrow down your search. There are so many different types of sex toys out there; lubrication, vibrators, blindfolds, butt plugs, strap-ons, cock rings, etc. And each person is going to experience an item differently. So communicate with your partner about the experience and laugh. Sex can be awkward, weird and downright funny-it’s playtime for adults! Approach it that way: a fun expression of your creative sexual side.
4. You suggest that women celebrate menstruation! Why in the world would they want to do that? Explain your thoughts here, please and thank you!
How one feels about menstruation is correlated to their comfort or discomfort around sex, body image and sensations experienced. Menstruation is a taboo in our society. Labeled as “feminine hygiene” this phrase contributes to the fear that the vagina is dirty. In fact, if cared for properly, the vagina is the cleanest part of the body. No douches, sprays or chemicals need to take residence here, as they will only increase the chances of infections occurring. Menstruation is a natural, healthy function. To surround it in shame, dread or not publicly discussed contributes to individuals feeling disgusted or wishing for their periods to be over. For some people, their periods can be very painful, but they are not always that way! My suggestion to celebrate menstruation is an attempt to get people talking about it in a natural, normalizing way. Sexuality educators work hard every day to help make people feel more comfortable in their bodies and feeling comfortable about periods is another way to help people experience that.
5. What are your top sure-fire ways to keep things hot in the bedroom?
Communicate. Masturbate. Touch each other throughout the day (not just when you want to have sex). Laugh. Embrace the awkwardness. Try out new things. But most of all, have fun. Sex is playtime for adults!
As the chatter and giggles erupted throughout the auditorium, speaker Megan Andelloux banged on the table with a translucent green dildo with ridges of shimmering gold to call for silence.
Abby P. Sun ’13, co-president of Radcliffe Union of Students, the campus feminist group that sponsored the sixth annual Female Orgasm Seminar, helped hand out 1500 free condoms and cupcakes decorated with candied breasts and vulvas to the nearly 700 audience members.
“It’s a fun and communal event,” she said, trying to usher entryway groups, teammates, and groups of friends—spilling into aisles and standing in the back of Science Center C—into seats. “Hopefully it will get some conversations started, too.”
Andelloux, a sex educator and sexologist, launched into her discussion about what an orgasm is, how to have one, female anatomy, and safety.
“Sex is not just about having that climax; it’s about the whole experience,” she reminded her audience, noting that goal-focused sex can end up less pleasurable than just having fun. But that didn’t stop her from talking about how to reach that goal.
“Direct clitoral stimulation is how orgasms happen,” she said. “Trying to have an orgasm without clitoral stimulation for most women is like men trying to have one without touching their penis.”
In addition to talking about tips, techniques, and toys to make sex fun, she highlighted the importance of being comfortable in one’s body, noting that rather than feel self-conscious about their bodies, all people should embrace their uniqueness. She emphasized this with a clip from the film “Viva La Vulva,” which celebrated how varied female genitalia can be. She also showed a scene of g-spot stimulation to demystify female ejaculation, also known as squirting. The entire seminar was punctuated with laughter, questions, gasps, and audience participation.
After the presentation, RUS raffled off a variety of sex toys including an assortment of dildos, a rubber ducky vibrator, a vibrating butt plug, and a Hello Kitty massager. Audience members exploded with cries of “yes,” “oh my god,” and “I’m so happy,” as well as nonverbal expressions of delight, when their numbers were called.
“This is what winning looks like!” said audience member Ian H. Clark ’12, who won a butt plug shaped like Marge Simpson’s coiffure. His friend Anneika M. Verghese ’12, who also won a prize, noted, “I didn’t know vibrators came in this shape.”
The two were not only surprised by their prizes, but by the focus of the seminar as well.
“I did not expect to watch porn,” said Verghese. “It was uncomfortable, but interesting, especially because the focus was less on sex and more on different kinds of stimulation.”
Clark agreed that Andelloux’s discussion, and especially her focus on individual differences, was informative and fun.
“It was surprising that there was so much emphasis on how people are different and how to enjoy what people have to offer,” he said.
Brandishing the purple butt plug he won, Clark joked to his friends, “who wants to go home and practice?”
Among the straight women I know, most have said, at some point, “God, I wish I were a lesbian — it would be so much easier.”
This usually follows a bad row with a boyfriend or hubby.
But there’s an obvious glitch preventing many women from making this fantasy a reality: Straight chicks don’t dig other chicks.
But every now and again, that thin fence categorizing us as straight, gay or bisexual gets jumped.
Angelina Jolie has dabbled with both sexes, as has Madonna and Anne Heche. Actress Megan Fox recently revealed she once loved a female stripper, and Lindsay Lohan’s love life is heating up headlines over rumours she’s dating DJ Samantha Ronson.
Is this a case of “You’re not anybody until you’ve swung both ways?”
Maybe so, says Megan Andelloux, sex educator at the Miko Learning and Resource Center in Rhode Island.
“(With Megan Fox) my gut instinct was OK, she was named Hollywood’s hottest star, then you bring in the stripper — the ultimate sex fantasy — and it’s in Maxim magazine … It’s not like she revealed this for women in Curve or Out,” says Andelloux of the gay-focused lifestyle magazines.
While some female stars may hope to boost their ratings by driving forward male lesbian fantasies, other media messages are also playing a factor.
With everything from the TV drama The L Word and the prominence of lesbian sex scenes in porn, to mainstream movies such as Woody Allen’s new film Cristina Barcelona capitalizing on the theme, girl-on-girl action is popping up everywhere.
“It’s still pornified,” says Andelloux, “provided they’re attractive. You don’t hear much about Rosie O’Donnell and, as much as we love Ellen, she likely receives so much attention because Portia de Rossi is so beautiful.”
In recent months I’ve heard of numerous gals flying the straight-nest coop in favour of same-sex relationships.
After divorcing her husband, one middle-aged woman embarked on a year-long romance with a woman.
Then I was updated on a former acquaintance — a 30-something woman who wed her university boyfriend and had two children — who has since moved in with a female partner.
For many, the choice has nothing to do with being bored or fed up with men. Their desire stretches beyond the “one time in college” cliche or faux lesbian dance-floor kisses.
“Women are talking about being emotionally attracted to other women now, instead of just doing it to get men’s eyes,” says Andelloux. “They’re doing it more for themselves, and society is making it more acceptable.”
Growing up in a religious household, one woman says while she had attraction to other females as a girl, she’d never even heard of lesbianism as a way of explaining her desire.
Married at 17 to her high school sweetheart and two children later, she quickly found herself grappling with her sexuality.
One day, a light bulb clicked on.
The family had moved into a new home and a lesbian couple lived next door.
“It was my birthday, and I got really drunk, and asked my neighbour to kiss me,” the 34-year-old recalls.
“Something clicked in my mind — I thought ‘This is not going away,’ so I made a decision to do something about it.”
She and her ex now share custody of their kids, and she’s been dating an “amazing” woman for the past nine months.
“It’s harder for my kids than it is for me. They were worried about being made fun of. But when my girlfriend and I are with them, we’re very low-key.”
As for her sex life, it has never been hotter.
“The first time I was with a woman, I thought afterward, ‘Oh, this is what it’s suppose to be like,’” she says.
“I actually left the bed satisfied, and that rarely happened with men.”
- Painter Frida Kahlo was married to artist Diego Rivera and known to have sexual affairs with both men and women.
- Writer Gertrude Stein shared her life with Alice B. Toklas.
- 1920s actress Marlene Dietrich is said to have had an affair with writer Mercedes de Acosta.
Megan Andelloux, 31, sits on a folding chair at the front of her classroom. In front of her sit 10 terrified people, smiling awkwardly. They play with toy spiders and other “fidget toys” that she has left on their chairs, as she crosses her legs, arranges her styled red hair, and tells them not to stare.
“If you just stare,” she says, “I’ll get nervous, and when I get nervous I get hives.”
Her class today is two middle-aged couples, five women of various ages, and a middle-aged man.
They have come here today, to the back room at Miko Exoticwear on Wickenden Street in Providence, because they have questions that they can’t ask anywhere else. They have come here to learn about sex.
“Laughing is good,” she tells them, and her students laugh uncomfortably. And then the lesson begins.
It is not a traditional lesson, and Megan, in her denim skirt and low-cut shirt, with her pierced nose and the crow tattoo on her left bicep, is not a traditional teacher.
Today’s class is called “oh, Oh, OH,” and it focuses on female sexual desire, pleasure, and orgasms. For two hours, Andelloux will show videotapes of people experiencing orgasm and of women fondly examining each other’s genitalia.
She will quote dozens of statistics and answer questions shouted out by her students. They warm to her witty, familiar teaching style shortly after she tells them that she is a certified sexologist — “That means I get to talk about sex all day, and I love it.” Andelloux notes she is a gynecological teaching assistant, providing hands-on modeling and feedback to medical students performing their first gynecological exams, and that about once a month she goes to parties where men pay to admire her feet.
Her partner, Derek Andelloux, explains clinically that she is the best small-group educator he has ever watched. As a third-year medical student at Boston University, he says, he’s seen a lot of them.
Know the body beautiful
But Andelloux has not only mastered the art of teaching people. She has become an expert at making people feel at ease with one of the most uncomfortable facets of everyday life. As the director of the Sexuality Learning and Resource Center at Miko Exoticwear, a sex store (disclosure: it’s a Phoenix advertiser) that seeks to educate customers, talking about sex is part of Andelloux’s job description, and she has undergone years of training to learn how to do so.
Andelloux not only talks about penises and vaginas without giggling, she talks about them in a way that makes other people want to talk about them. This is why, minutes into the workshop, her students put down their fidget toys and start talking.
When Andelloux explains that there are changes that take place during menstruation that cause a woman to become more sensitive to sexual pleasure, one of her students shouts out, “Oh!”
“Is that why!” the woman exclaims. Her face lights up and she jumps halfway out of her seat. “Me and my husband,” she explains, smiling, “well, we do it in the shower . . . ”
The class nods, knowingly. Andelloux is teaching them that this kind of talk is good. It is educational.
The tools that Andelloux uses for her brand of education include a confetti assortment of sex toys, a bookshelf full of binders and titles like The Guide to Getting It On, a giant Benchtop toolbox filled with birth control devices, and a vulva puppet made of purple and red satin that she has affectionately dubbed “Veronica.” Veronica’s counterpart, a more realistic model of the female vulva and internal reproductive organs, rests on a shelf in the orange room. Her name is Fanny.
Andelloux and Fanny have been everywhere together. Once, Andelloux brought Fanny to a restaurant with her niece, Becky, where she mortified the 13-year-old by snapping out the uterus and discussing menstruation the way someone else might discuss a recent victory by the Patriots. More recently, she used Fanny to point out to her 69-year-old mother the placement of her cervix and clitoris.
The making of a sexpert
Andelloux’s parents were not always willing to listen to these attempts at education. For a while her father referred to her as a psychologist, and scratched out the line on her business card that listed her real profession.
When Andelloux first decided to go into sex education, she chose to tell her parents over a meal at McDonald’s. Her mother was eating a hamburger. Right before she took a bite, Megan said, “I’m gonna be a sex educator.”
Her mother said, “Girls can’t do that. Girls can’t talk about those things.” Her father said nothing.
“I didn’t know about it,” her mother says. “It was not even a thought in my head. I just didn’t think that there was such a thing. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life heard someone say they were a sexual health educator. But I do now.”
What didn’t surprise Carol Anderson was the fact that her daughter found a job doing something she really believed in. “If she believed in it, she took a stand on it,” Anderson recalls. “It may not have been a stand that everyone went along with. But it usually came out okay.”
Growing up with her parents and her much older brother and sister in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Andelloux remembers, “No one ever talked to me about sex. My mom didn’t even give me ‘The Talk.’ ”
Four months before Megan’s first period, someone put a box of menstrual products and books outside of her room. No one spoke to her about it.
This silence around sexuality was part of what made her want to talk to others about it when she grew up.
And when she got a little older, Andelloux did talk. She talked a lot. She protested for environmental justice and animal rights. She stood on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. She plastered her room with pictures of oil spills and baby seals being clubbed to death for their fur. When her high school didn’t have an environmental group, she started one.
“She was into things that were right, but that no one spoke up about, really,” her mother says.
She spoke up for those who couldn’t speak. And she knew, better than most teenagers, what it was like to feel like she didn’t have a voice.
The power of talk
At the age of 17, Megan was raped by a classmate in the woods near her home. She speaks now, in a voice that is even and distant, about how she didn’t feel clean afterwards, about how she showered in very, very hot water, and how she felt like there was something wrong with her skin.
For eight years, Megan did not speak about what had happened. When she was 25, she finally told her roommate. And then she told Derek, one night, when he wondered why she was crying after he had grabbed her neck during oral sex.
She talks about it now, and she has found, in her job, a way of “acting out,” of showing that she is managing it. For Megan, the crow tattoo on her arm symbolizes her ability to deal with the situations that have made her feel powerless.
She always wears shirts that reveal the tattoo when she teaches. It is a kind of communication. It doesn’t matter that her students don’t know exactly what it means. She knows that it means she is working hard, every day, to handle it.
“I think that going into this field was my way of acting out my stuff,” she says. “So I didn’t verbalize that I was assaulted, but I did talk about sex in a very open format. I talked about it so much that I contributed to other people talking about it. Even though I wasn’t talking about my stuff, I was opening a door for others to start talking about their stuff. It is almost like, you assaulted and silenced me and I don’t want that for other people.
“I think that if sexuality had been discussed in my family, I would’ve been more likely to say that I was hurt when I was. But it wasn’t, so that was the hand of cards I drew. I think this was probably the healthiest way I could have dealt with my stuff, you know? Instead of focusing in on me, I wanted to change the format so that things weren’t hidden, for the more that they are hidden and whispered upon, the less likely that problems will be noticed.”
Megan opened the door for others constantly. Tim Ashton, a close friend and ex-boyfriend who met Megan at Mitchell College in New London, Connecticut, says it was her openness that made their relationship special.
He remembers that the two of them would tell each other everything. Megan listened. She made others want to talk. One night she and Tim stole chairs from the TV room in her building so that Megan, who was a resident advisor, could set up a therapist’s office in her dorm room. Everyone used it.
A post-modern love story
In college at the University of Rhode Island, where she attended school after two years at Mitchell College, Andelloux continued to exude what her partner Derek fondly calls “some kind of moxie.”
Derek Andelloux remembers when he first knew that she was something special. One of their college friends threw a bash, and Megan convinced the friend to make it into a drag party. Most of the girls just wore baggy pants, but Megan went all-out. She duct-taped her breasts down flat and wore a flesh-colored bandage over them. She drew on fake nipples and fake chest hair. She wore a Budweiser bandana.
“She looked just like a biker,” her partner recalls. “It was amazing.”
Though they knew each other in college, the pair didn’t start dating until 2002, after Derek came back from the Peace Corps in Senegal. At the time, Megan was working for Planned Parenthood of Connecticut. He was and remains proud of her for educating people about sexual health. He is also supportive of her work as a gynecological teaching assistant, and of her role as a foot fetish model — a job that both Megan and Derek view as a form of education.
Megan says she is educating men that it’s okay to love feet; Derek says she is educating herself about different kinds of people.
Derek Andelloux is an ex-football player, and he is built like one. He is blonde and blue-eyed with high cheekbones, and, like all blondes, Megan says, he smells like candy. He is husky, and Dutch-looking, and enjoys chopping wood. And after a few years of dating, he wanted to propose to Megan.
But Megan refused.
She gave him a hundred different reasons why marriage was antiquated and sexist. She pointed out that her gay friends couldn’t get married. She didn’t want to lose her identity, to be introduced as Derek’s wife, to be seen as a ball and chain instead of a sexual being. But she did want to spend the rest of her life with Derek.
The couple agreed to have a commitment ceremony instead, and after exchanging rings in front of 135 friends and relatives in September 2004, they merged their last names — he went from being Derek Mailloux to Derek Andelloux, and she added the French suffix to the first two syllables of “Anderson.”
Megan’s parents, who have been married for 49 years, saw her refusal to get married as a personal blow. “They took it as a slap in the face to them,” she says. “They thought they had done something wrong.”
Her mother says, “I think she has more ideas that I find are different from my ideas. It’s okay. It’s not harmful. It’s just different. The world is different . . . It’s a different world today.”
All in the family
Though Andelloux does not plan on having children of her own, she loves the sassiness and angst of teenagers. She often picks her niece Becky up in a town outside of Worcester, Massachusetts, and takes her out to dinner or shopping for shoes. Although Becky’s parents, Andelloux’s sister Amy and her husband Michael Zakarian, don’t approve of her attempts to educate their children, Andelloux finds ways to spend time with her niece and her nephew, Tommy.
When Becky, who is now 15, got her first period, Andelloux made sure her first experience with menstruation would be different from her own. She told her niece that menstruation was nothing to be ashamed of.
“I used to be uptight about my period,” Becky Zakarian remembers. “She of course, wasn’t.”
Becky says her aunt wanted to show her that menstruation should be something that is “out in the open.” So Andelloux threw Becky a party. She rented out the auditorium at University of Rhode Island. She looked up 230 different euphemisms for menstruation, and plastered them all over the wall. She made a CD of music about periods. She found Lysol douche ads from the 19th and early 20th century, educational videos shown to sixth-graders in the 1930s, and old-fashioned menstrual products and vibrators.
She decorated. “When I do something, I do it hardcore,” she says. She invited friends. She told Becky to buy a dress.
Becky Zakarian says her aunt has “shaped her a lot.” Becky has gotten into environmental activism, women’s rights, gay rights, and vegetarianism, picking up on the causes her aunt began to speak up about at a young age. But the most important thing that Becky has learned from her aunt, she says, is to be open.
“Her main thing,” she says, “is that it’s okay to talk about things.”
The openness that Megan inspires has also extended to Becky’s brother, Tommy, and to Derek Andelloux, who now regularly strikes up conversations about things like prostate gland stimulation with his friends.
Tommy, who is a first-year at University of New Hampshire, says sometimes he and Megan just sit and talk for hours. He says he feels like he can tell his aunt anything. All sex questions go automatically to her. “She’s funky and spunky,” Tommy says. “I love her.”
He still remembers Megan’s campaigns to “brainwash” him as a small child about the need to protect the animals and save the whales. Tommy bought it. He is now majoring in environmental engineering.
Winning converts and influence
Andelloux has started to spread her openness and activism to the general public and, more recently, to her parents. An article she wrote about the menstruation party she threw for Becky was published in a feminist anthology, We Got Issues. She was surprised when Carol and Fred Anderson showed up to a reading.
“My mom walked out of there so happy,” she says. “My dad just said, ‘You talked really well.’ ”
Her parents have begun to understand that talking and helping people talk is an important part of Andelloux’s job. And even though people sometimes have trouble understanding what she means when she tells them her daughter is a sexual health educator, Carol Anderson knows that conversation can help clear these things up.
“It’s good to have the talk there,” she says.
Two summers ago, Carol and Fred Anderson saw Miko Exoticwear for the first time. Her father, who believes that pornography is sick, carefully avoided the shelves full of adult-themed DVDs. He called the rest of the store “classy.”
Epilogue: Class is dismissed
Megan Andelloux ends her workshop by offering take-home packets full of diagrams and tips. She presses her hands together and says, “Yay! Thank you for coming to female sexual pleasure!” Her students get up and clamor for packets. Many of them ask to take home two. A few women gather around to ask questions. They tell stories.
“I’m on this medication . . .” one woman begins.
Andelloux listens. She directs her to the bookshelf.
“I heard about these things called Smartballs,” says another student. “For exercising your Kegel muscles?”
Andelloux nods. She points to the shelf where Smartballs hang like pieces of colorful candy. The students mill about in the store, looking at the carnival of sex toys, lubricants and lotions, books and brassieres. They smile at each other. They reach out to touch things they have never seen before. They talk.
They can be scary, dark, bizarre, creepy, ridiculous and even downright outrageous.
They are our sexual fantasies, and what happens when we let our minds freely wander could cause even the most liberal, experimental and open-minded folk to blush.
Recently at a cottage getaway, a group of us were playing a board game called Lovers and Liars when one couple revealed they never fantasize about anyone other than each other.
Truly, I was shocked.
“What? Seriously? Yeah, right … there’s no way!” I protested.
The man I am dating also balked.
“So when you’re watching two chicks going at it in porn, you’re telling me you’re not fantasizing about it?” he asked.
“No, I am not thinking about them,” the guy stated flatly.
That he’s not considering what it would be like to be the sandwich meat pressed between the smoking hot faux lesbian porn stars is a tough pill to swallow.
But, after chomping on the topic for some time, we put it to rest.
According to a Sexual Well-being Global Survey conducted by Durex, less than six out of 10 Canadians are comfortable telling their lover what they enjoy in bed.
Most willing to spill the beans are Mexicans at 80%, followed by the Greeks at 76%, and at the bottom of the list for being the most bashful is the British at 49%.
Meanwhile, a study out of the University of Montreal released last year found that women are more likely than men to visualize current or past partners as well as celebrities for their erotic material. Men, however, veer toward imaginary people.
“For some people, discussing their fantasies with their partner is very, very scary,” says Megan Andelloux, a sexual educator with the U.S.-based Miko Learning and Resource Centre.
“They worry about, ‘Oh, what will they think of me?’ ” she explains.
There may be good reason for that.
Andelloux says a common fantasy for a woman involves being sexually overpowered against her will.
At first you might find this information disturbing because why would anyone in their right mind want to imagine a stranger carrying out such a deplorable act?
Fact is, it’s just fantasy, explains Andelloux.
“That’s the prime example of her fantasizing about something that she would never really want to happen,” she offers.
“Fantasy is great because it allows us to explore things you might not necessarily ever do in life. That’s actually what most fantasies are about … for instance, many people fantasize about having sex with people of the same gender, but they don’t identify as gay or bisexual.”
However this can be especially problematic for men, she notes.
“For men, to step out of the male role in society can end a relationship … (his partner may) think he’s gay — and he’s not. A sexual fantasy does not determine who you like and who you love.”
Still, despite the risks, Andelloux says fantasy swapping can boost the sexual intensity in a relationship.
So why do some shy away from it?
“Fantasy is a very healthy behaviour, but some people will still freak out and repress it,” she admits.
“It can be really hard, especially for women, to take that step and admit that they’re sexual because society’s message is that you’re either a bad girl or a good girl. Sometimes people don’t like what they see, or they’ve been told by society that they’re doing something wrong or bad.”
Dr. Alina Wydra, a psychologist practising in Vancouver, says revealing fantasies can be beneficial.
“It’s very delicate,” she stresses.
“But when you’ve established a trusting relationship, you can use fantasies to enhance your sexual relationship.”
However, Wydra says in some cases the magnetic pull of the make-believe can go too far.
One example is patients who are grappling with Internet porn addiction and find themselves unable to connect with a real-life partner.
Issues can also arise when erotic thoughts hit too close to home.
“If you’re fantasizing about a famous Hollywood movie star, that’s one thing, but if you’re thinking about the next-door neighbour and are about to go over there for dinner, that can be a problem.”
OPENING THE FANTASY DRAWER
Make a list of fantasies and share them with your partner
Try to identify the things that make you feel erotic, such as certain scents, clothing, music and atmosphere
Help open the creativity vault by renting a video that highlights your a sexual fantasy you’re curious about
Read naughty bedtime stories to each other that stir your imagination or contain scenes you’d like play out