The first sex tip I received was whispered to me in the school hallway. It was passed down from a friend's older sister who had in turn sneakily read it in a magazine under her duvet with a torch. It was all very hush-hush, illicit, secretive. We had sex education classes in school, of course, but these were scientific; they taught you the definition of sex with the end goal being a baby, and "pleasure" a secondary, if ever mentioned by-product.
As I grew up I would, like every other person born in the nineties or noughties, search corners of the internet for guidance. For a time, I foolishly thought pornography could offer some sort of enlightenment (it could not). Finally, I received my first sex tips from a "pro" in my mid-twenties, when a well-meaning maid of honour booked one for a hen do. It was a blow job lesson or, more accurately, an hour-long exercise in embarrassing the bride-to-be with a series of photographic moments involving a banana, a condom and some whipped cream. I can't remember any useful tips from that session but I can recall the instructor advising us to use popping candy for added drama.
But sex lessons and workshops are no longer reserved for light entertainment or secretly hidden away in dark meetups. In the last few years sex workshops have popped up all over London with one noticeable change: there's no shame attached. The classes often come with a community and thriving social media account where creators proudly share their face and their tips with the world.
Alongside this revelation comes another; when I think back to the tips I read in magazines, found on the internet or gleaned at awkward hen dos, they were never about me and what I wanted, but about impressing or pleasing a man. Now most workshops are about exploring your own pleasure and figuring out what it is that you like.
At a recent workshop I attended the room was surrounded by sexual items: packets of lubricant lay across the bar, whips, paddles and clamps were spread on a table by the padded walls, and a large tentacled dildo sat comfortably alongside a fluffy vulva sculpture. I assumed we’d jump straight into kinky tips on how to hog tie your partner or safely remove a chastity cage but instead each attendee was encouraged to share something they had previously felt shame about. We spent over 30 minutes sharing our shame, airing it out not like dirty laundry but like dusty items we'd unnecessarily hidden away for years. Some people had felt shame in the bedroom because of their stretch marks, because of their "imperfect" body, because they weren't able to fulfil some beauty standard or they felt shame for something they were into, or just for wanting to have sex.
We all related to one another in some way and it was surprisingly moving as a room full of strangers who’d come for some kink found themselves supporting and helping one another. Twenty minutes later one of those women was spanking me with a paddle as I told her to go harder. The perfect Thursday night.
So, here are our top sexy workshops in London to spice up your week:
Anotomie Studio London: shibari
One of the most popular sex classes is shibari, a Japanese word that literally translates to “tying”. Now shibari isn't always used for sex, it can be a form of meditation or an art form, but it is perhaps best known for its use in the bedroom. It’s similar to bondage but while bondage can use all sorts of materials, from leather cuffs to metal collars, shibari is all about rope. And while lots of kinks are pretty self explanatory, shibari requires practice as some of the ties are complex.
Date: beginner evenings every Thursday at 6:30pm
Ruby Rare’s Sexy Sermons
You may recognise Ruby Rare from her popular Instagram account and bright red hair or maybe from the author page of her book Sex Ed: A Guide for Adults, or you could have spotted her hosting Channel 4’s Sex Rated alongside Rylan Clark. Wherever you see her she's likely to be talking about sex. Ruby wants to educate the masses in a way that’s inclusive, informative and often entertaining. And you can catch her in person at what she calls "sexy sermons", which are often influenced by her experiences as a queer, non-monogamous, dual-heritage woman. Recently she’s hosted sessions on Non Monogomy 101 and how to have a lovely threesome. Her next event is a panel on the Inalienable Right to Be Gay.
Date: Saturday November 18 at 2:30pm
Scotty Unfamous is an open, honest, joyful influencer who helps her followers "live your best haux life" while always looking incredibly stylish. She has the unmatched ability to make everyone feel relaxed and welcomed while discussing all things sex and kink. She only hosts a few events a year so you’ll have to follow her to find her next one. Previous events have included Body Party, Black Girl Magic and Bad Gyalantines workshops. These evening sessions sell out quickly and are not to be missed often paired with the best Bondara goody bags you’ve seen.
Date: Follow her for details
Self Pleasure Club
The Self Pleasure Club puts on a number of workshops that encourage participants to explore their pleasure in a "creative, holistic and embodied way". They host Pleasure Practice workshops that are focused on helping you to identify what brings you pleasure. There’s lots of self reflection and group discussion with the events being exclusively for women or assigned female at birth bodies.
Date: Sunday November 12 at 5pm
Coco De Mer
Known for its seductive underwear, Coco De Mer also hosts Salons with instructions on how to master a number of skills. Unfortunately it has recently moved locations so its renowned group workshops are on pause while it finds a new spot but you can book yourself a private worship for you and a couple of friends at their VIP suite in Primrose Hill. We recommend going for either Entwined: The Art of Rope Bondage or Seductress in the Bedroom: The Art of Striptease.
Initiation in Conscious Kink and BDSM, with Feel and David Mears
If you’re new to BDSM and kink but taking your exploration seriously then this seven-hour workshop is perfect for you. Hosted by Ibiza-based dom and sex coach David Mears, the afternoon session in London will provide you with all the information you need to start your BDSM journey. As well as running through the expected discussions on fetishes, scenes, and consent, the workshop will also delve into additional topics like 'the complexities of power dynamics' and 'the art of dirty talk'. Whether you're interested in the role of a sub, a dom, or are just intrigued to know more you'll leave with a complete foundational training you can immediately put to good use.
Date: Sunday December 10 from 2pm until 9pm
Price: From £119.89
If you don’t want to leave your house to improve and expand your relationship with sex then there are a number of online options you can peruse from the comfort of your couch (or more likely your bed).
1. How to Please a Woman in Bed
A 90-minute video full of actionable strategies, from sex educator and striptease teacher Ruth Ramsay; ruthramsay.com
2. Shush Life
Courses include Mindblowing BJs and Becoming Orgasmic. Each £15; shushlife.com
3. Prink Promise Land
4. OMG YES