Dr. Reece Malone, Winnipeg sexologist and sex educator, held a seminar that was the first of its kind on Nov. 10 to discuss sexual empowerment, drawing over 150 women who were eager to hear about sex, love, and relationships.
Clinical therapist Vicki Enns, also based in Winnipeg, joined with Dr. Malone delivering factual information to empower and enlighten women who may have read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy or want to learn more about sexuality.
The seminar, which took place at the Radisson Hotel, attracted sponsors such as Smitten, O’My Lube, Coco Boudoir, Rudy’s, Mona Lisa’s, Provici Cosmetics, and Hypnotic.
To start off the seminar Malone and Enns highlighted the background of women’s sexuality dating all the way back to Plato and the wandering womb. Malone and Enns explained that scholars often attributed hysterical mania of women to religious and other animistic reasons. They presented Plato’s argument that hysteria was due to psychological conflict, which arises from sexual desire thwarted by frustration.
Malone and Enns stated that hysteria was one of the most common disorders females were diagnosed with during what was referred to as the sexually repressed Victorian era. This eventually led doctors to prescribe manual stimulation of the female genitals by use of either a pelvic massage or vibrator.
According to the presenters, the history of women’s sexuality has often been a taboo and controversial subject. Mainstream media has often held negative messages containing faulty beliefs about women’s bodies. Malone explained the huge impact culture and society has on sexuality.
Enns went over the double standard and difficulties associated with growing up as woman. These difficulties included pressure for women to have long hair, which is often considered more pretty than short hair. In addition, homosexuality has always had a negative connotation.
Enns touched on controversial topics such as masturbation, which she explained, always came with feelings of being ashamed for “being dirty down there,” despite being expected to know all about “down there.”
She also explained contradictions such as the pressure to know all about male pleasure while simultaneously being labelled as “a slut” for expressing or experimenting with sexual desire.
Statistics show that by age of 15, 53 per cent of girls in the U.S. are unhappy with their bodies. This number jumps to 78 per cent by the age of 17. Most women, a number as high as 75 per cent, do not experience orgasm from penetration alone, while 5-15 per cent of women will never experience an orgasm at all. Meanwhile, all females are physically capable of having multiple orgasms.
Malone recognizes a need for a new sex mantra that deals with concentrating on pleasure such as sight, smell, and touch rather than focusing on receiving an orgasm.
Despite the criticism the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has received, Malone views its popularity as an outlet for female fantasy. Fantasy has often been associated with feelings of guilt and shame.
“For many women, the book facilitates the comfort and self-permission to talk about their fantasies, perhaps to bring some of those fantasies to life despite the criticisms of the book’s content. Our seminar provides that space and opportunity to discuss sexuality, a kind of Sex Ed. for adults,” said Malone.
The key to sexual empowerment, according to Malone, is mindfulness, which deals with awareness of feelings. He explained that this will lead to an understanding of limits, to know what is permissible and what is not, and will facilitate better communication for both singles and couples.
Malone left the group of females with exercises to help one come to terms with body issues and to recognize how tension in different parts of the body represent different stressors.
“All of us have body image issues. Honour the fact we’re not perfect and come to terms with that,” said Malone.