Today’s post was written by Teal Dye, Lotus Blooms.
Ever wonder what goes on at workshop hosted by a sex shop? Before images of key parties start swirling in your head, read on to see what you should expect from the events we host at Lotus Blooms!
We host our workshops (also referred to as classes) every Sunday evening between 7:00pm-9:00pm at our storefront in Old Town Alexandria. The topic varies from week to week but the theme always centers around some aspect of sexuality. While the understanding of the term “sexuality” is often directly associated with parts of our identity, like our gender identity or sexual orientation, this is not all that “sexuality” refers to.
In order to understand how we approach our workshops, it’s helpful to understand how we approach sexuality. To us, sexuality is a much broader ‘umbrella term’ that encompasses so many aspects of who we are. It includes things like our identities and orientations, what stimulates us and how our bodies respond individually to stimuli and touch, our body image and confidence in communicating our wants and our don’t-wants, it includes the different types of intercourse and ways to keep our bodies healthy, and how we seek and experience intimacy. And while this term is often used as a euphemism for having sex, at Lotus Blooms, we use it to talk about emotional closeness with a partner, which can include sharing, caring, emotional risk-taking, and vulnerability. Whew, did you get all that? We know it can sound complex, and that most of us are never taught to understand sexuality in these ways, but this is why Lotus Blooms hosts these workshops.
Our workshop topics span the spectrum of sexuality. Some of our workshops include “Sensual Massage Techniques” with a licensed massage therapist as our educator or our “ Ask for your Pleasure- Empowerment through Sexual Communication” events. We also host events that focus on techniques, including our “Oral Sex for Every Body” where we focus on the anatomy of pleasure, how and why bodies respond to different types of touch, and which techniques can create these sensations. Interested in more playful play? Maybe our “Intro to Rope Bondage” is more up your alley! Our educators also work to debunk common myths and explore the inaccuracies of many of the messages we receive about sex, and how this impacts our expectations. Spoiler alert- articles from Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan aren’t comprehensive enough to be accurate, and as a result aren’t all that empowering to read. **side eye**
On to the common questions…
What happens at the workshop?
Our workshops are set up to be fun yet educational events. We tend to have a good amount of educator lecture- full of bad puns and great examples- some visuals either via slideshow or educator demo, practice time, and a question and answer session. We try to be as interactive and tangible as possible, but we are not a place space. So, say we wanted to give the audience a chance to practice tongue techniques- we’d pass out Oreo cookies- double stuffed- and use the frosting as our crash test dummy. Everyone always stays fully clothed, and you’ll never be required to participate in any aspect that you’re uninterested in or uncomfortable with, including with cookies!
How are the workshops facilitated?
We have a few general rules during our events.
1. Don’t laugh at each other’s questions. It takes guts to ask questions about vulnerable topics in public, let’s celebrate each other’s willingness to learn!
2. What’s said here stays here, but what’s learned here leaves here. We encourage everyone to take home their lessons and information and put it to good use. We don’t want people leaving sharing other people’s anecdotes and personal stories that were shared with trust.
3. Ask questions, even if you’re not sure if you’re asking it the right way! Since we’re not encouraged to have these conversations very often, it’s very likely that it’s hard to express exactly the right thing. That’s 100% common and ok, we are here to learn!
Who goes to these workshops?
Everyone! Really though. Our workshops are attended by people between the ages of 18 and 90 and there’s usually a decent mix at every event. Some people come by themselves, others come with their partner as a date night event, and some bring their friends. Our capacity maxes out around 25 people, so it’s a decent size group without being too overwhelming for most. Our workshops are open to everyone, so even if the topic is “Women’s Orgasm” we encourage men and people who want to learn about women’s orgasm to come too!
Where is it held?
Our events are most often held in the store itself. We move our displays around, set up chairs, put out snacks and lock the doors. Don’t worry, we only lock the doors so that we can create a comfortable setting where onlookers and window shoppers aren’t walking in on the workshops. You are also welcome to bring your favorite adult bevarage! Not quite comfortable coming to a workshop in public? That’s ok, we host private events where you and a group of friends can learn in the comfort of your own home!
Our staff are trained educators, so we facilitate the majority of the events. If it’s not one of our in-house staff, it’s one of our vetted colleagues who is more well versed in the topic at hand. All our educators are held to the same high standards that our staff are, regarding creating a comfortable, inclusive, empowering environment.
More on what they’re not
There are events and places where people can go that more closely resemble key parties, or munches that are hosted by the local kink organizations, it’s just not what we are. That said, we’re happy to give you resources and the inside scoop on these events if that’s what you’re looking for! Our workshops are also not meet and greets. Our workshops aren’t set up to encourage people working in groups or talking to strangers.
Now that you have a better idea of what you’d be walking into, check our full line-up on our event’s page, and mark your calendar! Tickets are sold individually- so make sure you get one for each person who plans to join- and events often sell out, so buy yours early. We’ll see you soon for some learning and laughing!