By Melita Kuburas
Bottles, bananas, and a high-heeled shoe.
These confessed masturbation props incited a round of giggling from about 25 women, who had been asked to answer an anonymous sex survey at the beginning of the women’s sex toy workshop last Wednesday at the Centre Hub.
The event was hosted by RyePRIDE and the Women’s Centre. As more answers were read aloud, they revealed many of the women had little to no experience with dildos, vibrators or even basic masturbation.
Featured guest Melissa Herod, a sex expert from Come As You Are, a sex shop at Queen and Bathurst Streets, said she was pleased women with different sexual experiences came to the event.
“Everyone is different when it comes to what turns them on and what feels good,” said Herod, who studied kinesiology and health sciences at York University. “A part of the idea I want to get across today is that you don’t need the stuff on this table to get off,” she added, referring to an array of toys she had brought with her.
Arranged on a pink, plastic tablecloth, dildos of different shapes and colours stood erect. Beside them stood vibrators of different ‘vibes,’ which Herod said are based on shape, size and intensity.
During the workshop, Herod also mentioned lube, the benefits of kegel exercises (strengthening muscles around the pelvic bone) and erotic literature. “Sex toys can be empowering to people because they allow you do the things you can’t do with your hands or tongue,” said Herod.
Alexandra Barton, a first-year fashion design student, said she was excited to hear about some of the more unusual sex paraphernalia. “I was glad she talked about strap-ons and some of the bondage stuff, because you don’t normally hear about that,” she said.
Joanna Woolnough, a first-year Arts and Contemporary Studies student, said she appreciated the workshop was inclusive of different sexual needs. “I thought it was important that she mentioned the trans-gendered books and how they should be an important part of the queer community,” said Woolnough.
Providing education about health and sexuality for all women was one of the goals of the workshop, said Ilanit Goren, RyePRIDE education coordinator. “A lot of women have had the need and curiosity but not the opportunity to be educated on that topic,” said Goren.
She plans to hold another sex workshop for men and women, next semester.