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Sex Workshops

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Updated May 20, 2014

Sex Workshops
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If you’re looking to learn more about sexual practice or technique or if you are partnered and you’re looking for a way to broaden your sexual horizons together, a sex workshop can be a fun way to learn. There are many different kinds of sex workshops and the differences between workshops depends on several factors.

Knowledge and Experience of the Workshop Facilitator(s)
Some sex workshop facilitators will be trained in human sexuality and have years of teaching or group facilitation experience. Others will have no experience beyond selling sex toys or wanting to hear themselves speak. The success of a workshop depends largely on the person leading it and you should see if you can get a referral from a friend or a trusted source to a good workshop facilitator.

Organization or Business Hosting the Workshop
If the workshop is being held at a sex shop you can expect some element of selling to be involved, but it should be secondary to the educational experience. If you know the sex shop hosting the workshop, it’s a good idea to do some searching around about them, ask friends if they’ve ever attended a workshop there, etc… The politics and clientele of the shop may give you some idea of what the workshop will be like. If it a company that only holds workshops like this you should speak to someone from the company first and ask questions about who usually attends, are there any restrictions to who can attend (based on age, gender, sexual orientation or identity). Searching online is an easy way to do some research.

Workshop Goals
A workshop that offers to teach you 10 tips for giving a great blow job will be very different than one that is designed for people who have experienced sexual abuse and want to build a healthy sex life for themselves. Knowing as many details about what the workshop offers is one way to prevent disappointment. Asking about the level of participation expected and whether or not it will be easy to bow out of participating in an exercise can be helpful. Once you know the goals of the workshop you can decide if its right for you. If you’re looking for straightforward tips and techniques from a teacher or for an opportunity to share your experiences and learn with a group you may want very different workshops.

Workshop Length
What you’ll get from an hour and a half workshop will be very different from an all day or weekend retreat. It’s a generalization but you can probably expect less depth and sometimes more of a sales pitch from any workshop that’s an hour or less, particularly if it’s happening in a sex shop. Be sure you’re comfortable with the cost of the workshop given the length of time it is. Otherwise you may leave feeling unhappy and ripped off.

Workshop Cost
The price should depend on the length of time the workshop runs, the experience of the facilitator, and the location. A workshop that’s 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours will usually cost between $20-$35. Full day and weekend workshop retreats will cost in the hundreds of dollars (costs may depend on whether room and board are included if the workshop is more than one day). If you are unemployed or underemployed it’s reasonable to ask if there is a sliding scale in the fee. Good sexuality information and education shouldn’t be only accessible to people with a lot of disposable income and, hopefully, progressive sex positive organizations will agree.

What Can I Expect from a Sex Workshop?

Most of the short sex workshops held in sex positive sex shops are clothes-on. Some will involve hands-on exercises, although usually these aren’t explicitly sexual. Others will be based around a Q & A with the facilitator, and in these cases it’s important to get up the nerve to ask your questions lest the whole workshop be taken up with one talkative person asking what’s only important to them. Sometimes the best part of a sex workshop is what happens after you get home. Even if you aren’t wowed by the facilitator or the group, if it gives you a little inspiration or burst of creativity it may have been worth it. One thing to be aware of is that many, in fact most, sex workshop facilitators have not been formally trained as teachers or group leaders. They probably have an agenda and they may not know how to answer everyone’s questions. Attending workshops at a center or school will often give you a better quality group and educational experience.

Questions to Ask Before Signing Up

Ask about their refund policy. If you are not satisfied with the workshop but attend the whole workshop, will they offer anything?

Ask about their policies around discrimination. If the facilitator or someone attending a workshop makes a comment that is discriminatory, ask how that is dealt with. The last thing you want is to put yourself out there by attending a workshop and then be confronted with other people’s prejudices that are not challenged by the facilitator. Some might say that it is always our responsibility to speak for ourselves, but in a group of strangers talking about sex it can be difficult to interrupt and explain why something someone said is making you feel unsafe or not welcome at the workshop.

Ask about who the workshop is geared to. Is it for a certain gender or orientation? Are there any restrictions on who is allowed to attend?

Ask about the range of topics. If you know you don’t want to hear about a certain topic, or definitely want to hear about it, ask if it’s likely to be included.

Where Can I Find Sex Workshops?

There are a few organizations and schools in the U.S. that have an ongoing schedule of high quality workshops run by seasoned facilitators. These include:

More and more sex positive sex shops host sex workshops after hours in their retail stores. Most of the sex shops on our sex shop reviews page host sex workshops.

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