Send Your Sex Life to Summer Camp
What Can You Expect?
So, what happens at a sex workshop? At Tantra-Sex.com's Beginners' Workshop in Canada, "There is no disrobing or explicit sexual behaviour in the group sessions, but part of the weekend is dedicated to practicing in private the delights you've learned about as a group," the site states. Session topics are as varied as "awakening your senses" and "lovemaking skills" to "ejaculation mastery and multiple orgasm for men."
What might you and your partner be doing at a couples' education course? You could find yourself sitting close together, knees to knees and eyes locked, while you share your needs, wants, resentments, and expectations in a controlled manner, or going off in groups and role-playing various scenarios while you try to figure out, with your group members, better ways to solve age-old problems.
Many workshops are geared toward retraining automatic reactions, or teaching couples to be kinder, fairer, and better listeners. Take, for example, this exercise (from the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment):
- Complete the following sentence describing several actions. "I am saying I love you when I..."
- Share your list with your partner. Are there things on the list that surprise you, things you did not recognize as expressions of love? Which things are most appreciated by your partner?
- Now change the sentence to read: "I feel loved when you..."
- Complete the sentence individually, and then share your ideas.
As you can see, it's hardly rocket science -- but it does get you thinking, and talking, which is of course the point.
Anger is another big issue discussed in these courses. Where it comes from, how it can fester when left unchecked, how it can be properly expressed. Expect to ask each other such questions as: "In what kinds of situations do I feel angry with you?" "How do I usually act when I am angry?" "How do I wish I would act when I am angry?" In many cases, you'll be pondering your own answers to these questions, then sharing the results with your spouse.
Couples who've done this sort of sharing are enthusiastic. "You could have considered our relationship a good one," says 40-something Susan, in New York, "but there was an underlying current of disagreements and bickering. But after we took [a marriage workshop], we now see that we have a choice in how we relate to each other. We are not on automatic mode for fighting."