Are you in a tired relationship and looking to reignite intimacy? Or maybe you're stepping back into the dating scene and are looking to bolster your confidence in the bedroom. Whatever it is, a sex workshop may help offer a deeper understanding about sex and intimacy. While there are sex workshops for every interest, there are general guidelines to consider to make sure you get what you signed up for, as well as things to know to make the most of your sex workshop experience. Here, we curated everything you need to know about sex workshops, including how to find one that's safe and credible.
Types of Sex Workshops
Sex workshops are hosted in a variety of locations and formats. Depending on your life stage and demographic you identify with, as well as where you're located (cities may have more options than a rural town, for example), where you seek a sex workshop will depend on what you're looking for.
Wellness Centers and Yoga Studios
These locations sometimes offer sex classes on sexual health and wellbeing, while yoga studios tend to lean into the spiritual side of sensuality and sexuality.
Private, At-Home Events
These exclusive events typically focus on pleasure. For example, V.Club hosts private and group classes in-person in NYC and online, and Denver-based sex and wellness boutique, Awakening, hosts pop-up events and private workshops to explore your sexuality.
Sex and Intimacy Retreats
With the popularity of wellness travel experiences like yoga and meditation retreats, booking a getaway to get better at sex and intimacy isn't as unusual as it might seem. For example, the week-long Back to the Body, a female-only retreat held globally, incorporates yoga, group therapy, and sex coaching, reports Women's Health. IntimacyMoons is a couples retreat held in Barbados and hosted by a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist.
If you've been on the lookout for a sex workshop near you but options are scarce, you're likely to find a workshop that suits your needs in an online workshop format. For starters, try live-streaming platform O.School, which SELF magazine reports hosts free sex workshops on topics "including sex-toy cleaning, pelvic-floor health, sex with disabilities, and pegging." SELF also recommends the Lovehoney YouTube channel for an array of educational videos on topics like buying your first vibrator or using a strap-on.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Signing Up for a Sex Workshop
How Legitimate Is This Sex Workshop?
To avoid wasting your time and money, it's helpful to know whether the workshop facilitator has related training in what you seek, writes sex therapist Joe Kort, Ph.D., LMSW for Psychology Today. For example, certifications by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) or Modern Sex Therapy Institutes is a good start, writes Kort.
On the other hand, Stacy Rybchin, Certified Sexual Health Resource, and Sexual Health and Wellness Educator, says to be wary of free workshops. "If the workshop is free, you usually get what you pay for: a teacher who knows very little where their main goal is to sell you product or services," says Rybchin, who is also the founder and CEO of My Secret Soiree and My Secret Luxury, a resource for pleasure-based sexual health and wellness education, and discreet body-safe premium adult products. Angela Watson, a sex therapist and blogger at Doctor Climax, agrees. Relying on "too many products or just products from one specific brand means you might be going to a dressed-up sales presentation as opposed to a legitimate workshop," Watson says.
How Safe Is This Sex Workshop?
Just like you'd want a certified fitness professional leading your high intensity interval training (HIIT) class, or a certified nutritionist doling out healthy eating advice, attending a sex workshop by a trained and certified expert means the information provided is safe and personalized.
Asking questions relating to safety to gauge whether or not they really care about the advice they are giving should also be part of your vetting process, says Watson. "If they don't know that silicone-based lubes shouldn't be used with silicone toys or that oil-based lubes can degrade latex condoms, chances are they don't know very much about safety at all," Watson says.
Before signing up for a sex workshop, verify that the workshop facilitator is certified or trained in the area you want to explore. You're likely in sound hands with a certified sex educator or therapist, for example. Or in the case of a workshop about sex toys, ask the workshop host about their experience with the products they'll present—the more descriptive and specific they are, the better.
What Do You Hope to Learn from the Sex Workshop?
"Any person interested in a sexual education workshop needs to understand that the overall tone of the workshop will determine a lot about whether or not it will be useful," advises Watson. With that in mind, think about the top three takeaways you'd like addressed, and let that guide your workshop selection process, whether that's a course that will teach you 10 tips to improve oral sex technique, or a workshop intended to address intimacy after sexual trauma.
Whether you’re looking for straightforward tips and techniques to get your sex drive back or for an opportunity to share your sexual exploration experiences with a group, read the workshop website carefully; the frequently asked questions section is a good place to start. Or, reach out to the workshop facilitator with questions before signing up.
How Inclusive is the Sex Workshop?
"A sex instructor that has little tolerance for the wide range of ways sex can be enjoyed is also a red flag," Watson cautions. "Someone with a narrow-minded view of how two people can create intimacy with each other is not likely to be able to give you specialized tips should you have a unique situation you need answers for." And similarly, Watson advises to pay attention to a facilitator's overall demeanor. "The best sex workshops treat their attendees like adults who are capable of making their own decisions as well as presenting their information in a no-nonsense manner," Watson adds.