I’ve been living vicariously through other bloggers lately. Many of them are going to CatylstCon, a sex and sex ed related conference that touches on a little bit of everything. I’m reading what they’ll be doing, who they’ll be meeting, what panels they were on in the past. Part of me really wants to go. On the other hand, I know traveling doesn’t sit well with me. I mean that. I get panic attacks and have been known to break out in hives. I only travel when I absolutely have to, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish I was there with the educators, manufacturers, and other bloggers. I’ve been working on getting my anxiety under control, and although I’m getting better, I’m not ready for such a trip. If only it would come closer! I wanted to meet, communicate, and learn.
For the past few years, I’ve been collecting lots and lots of adult sex ed books. Over time, I learned which authors are full of crap (give great fellatio while standing on your head? Are you SERIOUS???) and which ones are leaders in their fields. I’m so glad I learned the difference, since aside from anatomy, all I learned in sex ed in school was how to put a condom on a banana and the trillion ways you can die a horrible death if you have sex. For all my information gathering, I still really wished to be able to have open conversations about sexual issues with someone besides Husband.
As I was sitting one evening, scanning Twitter and following CatalystCon chatter and wishing there was something I could attend closer, I saw it. Renown sex educator Ducky DooLittle would be giving her Pop His Rocket class in my area. It would be hard to get to as the class wasn’t exactly close, our only standby babysitter had moved, and our occasional one was now often busy.
“Make the reservation,” Husband said. He knew how important this was to me. “We’ll find a way.” In the end he ended up taking the kids himself. He had a friend that lived close to where I’d be having class, and the friend had a child the same age as our children, so they all had a playdate that evening.
That night, Husband dropped me off at the sex toy store where the class was being held. I was a little anxious from the change in routine, but determined to not give up this opportunity. I had never attended an adult sex ed class. Come to think of it, I had never been to a sex toy store before, either, unless you count that time I wandered into Spencer’s as a teen. This was the closet sex toy store to me, and even this was a pretty far hike from my house just to do some casual shopping. I know, I know. A sex blogger that has never been in a sex shop. Weird, right? But seriously, it’s just a matter of location.
I got out of the car and approached the building, but was faced with a row of covered windows and no door. I walked around the building and eventually found a large set of red doors. I took a breath, and pulled them open, not sure what I was expecting.
I was pleasantly surprised. The employees were dressed nicely, everything was clean and well-lit, and there was everything from sex toys, lingerie of varying styles and qualities, shoes, games, typical novelties, a huge wall of lubricants, and on the second level, a pretty massive porn collection. I’m not much of a porn person, so I stuck with the first floor. One of the employees asked if they could help me (dollars to doughnuts, I guarantee I was looking lost), and I said I was there for the class. I realized that I was horribly early. Like, half an hour early. She suggested I go do some browsing. So I did.
I really enjoyed browsing the collections. Since by necessity most of my toy shopping is online, I was glad for the opportunity to see so many of the toys in person. A whole basket of Tenga Eggs. The Stronic Drei looks waaaay better than my Stronic Eins. Oooh, look! Tantus toys! And then I found a small book section and thought I would see if there was anything I wanted to buy. Unfortunately, all of the books were shrink wrapped, so I couldn’t thumb through them to see if there was something I want. In no way do I ever buy a book just by what it says on the back. I learned that lesson already.
As I made maybe my fifth lap around the first level of the store, feeling a little more ridiculous with each lap, I saw Ducky DooLittle arrive. I wanted to go up to her and introduce myself, but the anxious introvert in me said that since she didn’t know me and I didn’t know her, it would be rude and awkward. She probably would think me pushy. Did I mention I carry a lot of anxiety and always jump to the worst case scenario? I think I may have mentioned that. I continued my equally awkward browsing instead.
While I was at the back of the store, I saw people being shuffled into a side room near the front. I figured it was time and went to join them. I sat next to a well-dressed woman in really nice shoes (seriously, you guys, she had really nice shoes. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them) and wondered if I should have dressed a little better than my jeans, sneakers, and V-neck tee. Eh, too late now.
The woman and I were chatting pleasantly as half of my brain was wondering why Pop His Rocket had seats left, while the Girlgasms class happening on a different day had been sold out for a while. And then I heard the woman say it: “I don’t know why a class. I thought, ‘It’s a penis. How much is there to learn?'” Ding ding ding! We have a winner, folks! That’s why the female orgasm class was sold out, and this one was not. We have this idea that female orgasms are mysterious, hard to attain things, while men, well, have a penis. I remembered one of my first reviews for a company before I started blogging was on a book about fellatio. In the comments someone had said something like, “You need a book for THIS?! It’s simple!” Fellatio technique was something I’d been struggling with for a long time, and that commenter’s words had been hurtful. If penises are so very simple to understand, what was my problem? Fortunately, I eventually let go of the idea that I was somehow to blame, like not automatically knowing proper techniques was somehow a failing that I carried, and set out to learn instead. Which brings us back to the present.
“Actually, educators like Ducky DooLittle and Violet Blue have written some really great books on the subject,” I replied.
When Ducky started the class, I hung on her every word, except of course when I had to take a 10 second mental break to work on my breathing, since my brain would just not let go of the idea that I was not in my comfort zone. I was amazed to actually hear someone talk about sexuality so openly. She was funny and insightful. She talked about erogenous zones, where men are usually more sensitive, communication, which lubricant to use for what.
“The sex toy industry is unregulated,” she said. “Anyone can put anything in a bottle and call it lube.” I wanted to stand up and freaking cheer. Everyone needs to know that. Bloggers and reputable toy companies have been saying it for a long time now, and to hear someone say it to a group that may not know this, it was like the clouds parted and there were little birdies and rainbows and unicorns.
When the class was over, I finally got up the nerve to introduce myself. She remembered me from a few passing interactions we had on Twitter and hugged me. I asked some questions and got a few recommendations. Another woman approached and asked me to repeat the name of my site to her. When I did, she said she had read me a few times. Oh, the validation! We chatted for a while as I did some shopping, and made plans to maybe get together on another day.
When Husband picked me up a little while later, I was glowing. I had a bag full of new goodies to try and I was just buzzing with new information. For all of my research, I didn’t know everything. I never claimed to. But the class hit on issues that he had tried to tell me before. Maybe he wasn’t clear enough when he told me, or maybe he was just explaining it in a way that I couldn’t understand. But now? Now, everything just clicked. We talked, really talked. We experimented with what I had learned. In the end, declared the $10 registration fee for the class to be, “The best $10 I’ve ever spent.”
If you get the opportunity to go and see Ducky DooLittle give a class, I highly recommend it. She’s a well-respected and seasoned sex educator that really knows her stuff. Check out her tour dates to see if she’ll be in an area near you.