?I love what I do,? sex educator Amanda Morgan says, as she reaches for a plush ?vulva puppet,? a prop she uses to talk about female sexual anatomy.
I?m sitting in a cozy theater at the Erotic Heritage Museum with three other women and three men; we?re there for a class on the ?Art of Cunnilingus,? one of several sex education workshops for adults taught by Morgan and open to the paying public. Morgan is standing in front of a screen on which dozens of slang terms for cunnilingus are projected: muff diving, going down south, eating at the Y, having a box lunch, lapping at the lint trap, and her personal favorite, ?yodeling in the canyon of love.?
She begins by emphasizing that there is no such thing as ?normal? when it comes to sex. Nobody is the same in terms of what they like sexually or how their body responds. Good sex involves learning what you enjoy, and finding ways to communicate this to your partners?something that for many people, Morgan acknowledges, is not always easy.
?We aren?t taught how to have conversations about sex,? Morgan says. ?People fear rejection, ridicule or being judged for talking about what they want [in bed].?
If the availability of ?how-to? sex guides, videos and workshops is any indication, the world of adult sexuality education is booming. Are you interested in getting a little kinky but aren?t sure how? There?s a book for you. Do you want to find your G-spot but don?t know where to start? Watch a video.
Progressive, women-run sex toy shops around the country offer how-to courses for patrons, from anal sex workshops at Good Vibrations in Berkeley to a primer in strap-on sex at Self Serve in Albuquerque. At a G-spotting workshop I attended at New York?s Babeland, a line of men snaked around the block in the hope of discovering what one friend described as ?the sexual equivalent of the Holy Grail.?
?Clearly there is a hunger for sexual information,? nationally known sex educator and author Charlie Glickman explains. ?If there wasn?t, Cosmo wouldn?t be able to sell so many magazines with stories about the G-spot.?
Morgan, a Las Vegas-based sexologist and sex educator, found her calling after watching the HBO documentary series Real Sex, which occasionally featured well-known sexuality experts offering practical, ?how to? advice for adults. She realized that she too wanted a career where she could help people learn about their bodies and have better sex.
At the workshop, I meet Maria, who works for a local sex-toy party company. She?s attended all of Morgan?s recent workshops, including classes on fellatio and self-pleasure, in an effort to learn how to talk about sex and better explain things to the women who attend her parties. She conducts at least one party a week, and 80 percent of them are in Spanish.
?In the Hispanic culture you just don?t talk about sex. If you say the word ?clitoris,? people look at you like a deer in headlights,? she tells me.
In the span of an hour, Morgan covers the basics of cunnilingus, including sexual anatomy and safer sex practices, and discusses a variety of oral sex techniques with easy-to-remember names such as ?ice cream licks,? ?snake licks,? and the ?suck, slide and twirl.? There’s even a section on tracing letters of the alphabet?with, um, your tongue.
I?m reminded that while sexy imagery is certainly not lacking in Las Vegas, there are few places where people can gather to talk frankly about sex and get reliable information. Morgan?s class isn?t a pickup joint; it?s an educational space aimed at improving people?s sex lives?a rarity here.
Soon Morgan checks a text on her phone and announces that her ?demo couple? has arrived. In a matter of minutes, there?s a makeshift bed in the front of the room, replete with red velvet pillows. To set the mood, Morgan puts on some background music that sounds an awful lot like something from a 1970s porno flick?nothing more than a musical coincidence, she assures us.
She introduces Sam and Julie, a lesbian couple in a long-term relationship who?ve volunteered to bring Morgan?s lessons on cunnilingus to life.
Julie?s underwear comes off and she lies down; Sam kneels in front of her. There?s touching, talking, caressing, and eventually, licking and sucking. Julie moans and Sam turns to us and says, ?She?s a fan of S’s and O’s.?
In the context of Morgan?s class, there is something surprisingly normal about the scene; it?s not salacious and, dare I say it, not titillating in the least.
?Sex is a lot like cooking,? Glickman, the author, explains when I talk to him about the world of adult sex ed. ?You can do pretty well with trial and error, but isn?t it easier to read a cookbook or watch a show on the Food Network that can help you cook good food? The same is true for sex.?
Amanda Morgan will be teaching the ?Art of Cunnilingus? at the Erotic Heritage Museum from 7:30-9 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Doors open at 7:15. $30 per person, $50 per couple ($20 per person if you pre-register). For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.