Here’s the text I sent to Nina Hartley on Friday, March 3rd: “Hey! Would you want to demo for the vulva massage portion of my Hand Sex class at Stockroom?”
Spoiler alert: she said yes.
I’ve taught this class many times, but this was the first time I had an internationally acclaimed adult performer, activist and educator as my demo model. Nina and I have worked together before, shooting educational videos and just hanging out because we’re friends, but Saturday’s live demo was a new step in our collaborative process. It. Was. Awesome.
You might be thinking, a live demo model for a sex ed class? Is this some kind of creepy sex show? No, it’s not. I’ve been teaching sexuality education classes for ten years now, and never used humans for sexual technique demonstrations until September, 2015. Up to that point, it was either verbal descriptions of the techniques, or demonstrations on dildos for hand job and blow job classes. I have also used a puppet for vulva pleasure and g-spotting classes, while classes on anal relied heavily on diagrams. In April of 2015, I was a demo model for one of Monique Darling’s classes, and I loved it. That experience helped me see the value of attendees being able to watch techniques and partner communication in real time.
This particular class focused on hand sex: vulva massage and g-spot stimulation, penis massage (hand jobs) and anal/prostate stimulation. My lover, B, was my demo model for the penis and prostate portion of the class. I originally had a different model for the vulva demonstration, but she had to cancel last minute due to circumstances beyond her control. Nina popped into my mind as a possible replacement, as she’s not shy about her bits, but I also knew her schedule is quite demanding. Fortunately, she was somehow available and I’m so grateful for the value that she added to the class, giving insights and supplementing the lesson plan with her own experiences. She’s been having sex professionally for longer than I’ve been alive, so it was incredibly validating for me to describe a particular technique and have her exclaim, “Ooh, I just learned something!”
Since you couldn’t be there, here are a few of the tips you missed:
- Use lube. I cannot overstate this. It doesn’t matter what genital configuration is in front of you, any hand sex experience will be vastly improved by using lube. I prefer silicone lube because it’s hypoallergenic, long lasting and safe to use with condoms. I honestly carry a small bottle of silicone lube in my purse, just in case. You never know!
- If you’re playing with a vulva, you don’t need to immediately jump into clitoral stimulation or penetration. Spend time giving the entire area (inner thighs, pubic mound, inner and outer labia) an actual massage. Use your fingers and fingertips, the palm of your hand, and your thumbs. If you happen to live in CA or CO, get a bottle of Foria lube. Apply 6-8 sprays and give it 25 minutes to absorb. Don’t forget, you cannot use latex or polyisoprene condoms/barriers if you use an oil-based product!
- Communicate with your partner, both as the giver and receiver. If you’re receiving, tell your partner when something feels good and ask what they’re doing. This is important because it allows you to ask for it again later, do it on your own, or share that info with a future partner. For the giver, check in frequently: “How’s that pressure? Speed? Do you need more lube?”
- For butt stuff, start with lots of warm up, use copious amounts of lube and breathe deeply and slowly. Anal play should never hurt. If it hurts, something is wrong and you need to stop and make adjustments. Don’t endure. My colleague Charlie Glickman wrote a helpful article on the reasons people tend to endure unpleasant touch, and why it’s a problem worth fixing. Also, never EVER use numbing creams. Pain is your body telling you that something is wrong, and you can cause serious injury if the pain is numbed out.
Would you ever attend a live demo sex ed class? Why or why not?