The beginner's guide to kink

Did last month's Sex Issue terrify you? Are you loath to do it with the lights on? Behold our seven steps to loosening up in the sack.

Illustration: Deanna Staffo

Step 1 Meet Ducky DooLittle
The sprightly sex educator hosts workshops on campuses, at sex shops and in private living rooms, and fields inquiries about everything from orgasms to toy shopping. “The most common question from women,” says DooLittle, “is how to have an orgasm from penetration [only].” But that’s not all you’ll learn. Pascale Le Bris raves about how DooLittle helped her find her G-spot. “Listening to Ducky is like listening to an old friend,” she says. “Or the coolest teacher in high school.” Sign up for her monthly e-newsletter to learn about future events.

Step 2 Go deeper with AASECT
Once you’ve mastered the basics in a femme-friendly setting, seek some one-on-one help. Search the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists’ service-provider database for sexologists, counselors and therapists including Ian Kerner, author of She Comes First. He helps individuals and couples with sexual roadblocks such as low desire, mismatched libido, sexual boredom and performance anxiety.

Step 3 Make like Sting at Tantrapm
Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson have been helping couples since 1999. “As the receiver, tantra is a way to really focus on the sensations you are experiencing and what gives you pleasure,” says Michaels. “For the giver, it’s an opportunity to enjoy bringing the partner into that place of experiencing pleasure.” Ninety-minute in-person sessions cost $200, but if you’d rather explore these techniques without an audience, order the couple’s Tantric Sexual Massage for Lovers instructional DVD.

Step 4 Slow down at OneTaste
The coaching sessions in OneTaste’s Slow Sex package (like Slow Food, but for boot-knockin’) will set you back $1,200, and a one-day class is $295, but the periodic Thursday meet-ups are free (the next one is October 8, 8--10pm). The latter is ideal for newbies looking to learn more about OneTaste’s programs; director Christina Berkley says the courses really “challenge you to confront your resistances around sexuality.” Keren, a OneTaste participant, agrees. Over time, she has “learned to ask for what I want, be clearer about what I like and be more comfortable with my body.” Reflections Yoga, 250 W 49th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, second floor (

Step 5 Please yourself at the Pleasure Salon
On the first Wednesday of every month, from 6 to 10pm, a free gathering called the Pleasure Salon takes over Happy Ending Lounge—and it’s the perfect public forum to showcase your brand-new cojones. Founded by Tantrapm’s Michaels and Johnson, along with Selina Fire, the event promotes the exchange of sex-positive ideas in a happy-hour setting. “It’s satisfying and often liberating for people to be in an environment where conversations about sex and sexuality are the norm, and where all safe, sane and consensual forms of sexual expression are celebrated,” says Michaels. 302 Broome St at Forsyth St (212-334-9676,

Step 6 Dive into Alphabet Soup
Like the Pleasure Salon, Alphabet Soup is another free sex-positive discussion group; it meets at 7:30pm on the fourth Thursday of every month at DTox. “There’s almost always some crazy antics going on,” says founder Mina Meow. “It’s not a play party, but I try to encourage attendees to have fun. We’ve had people tied up in rope, spankings, fire play, electrical play and other kinds of shenanigans.” Sounds too hard-core? Have no fear, says Meow: “I’ve been told I’m the kinky reincarnation of Julie McCoy from The Love Boat; I’m notorious for running around playing matchmaker. I love seeing new faces and introducing them to others with similar interests. Before long, people are getting on like old friends!” 31 Second Ave between 1st and 2nd Sts (

Step 7 Swing low at OneLegUp
Color us impressed if you’ve made it this far. Before you earn your nonprude certificate, though, you gotta hit the playing field, and OneLegUp’s Take-Out Soiree is the perfect place to do it. Hosted in lounges and clubs around the city, the parties are extremely visual but stop short of full-on raunch. Says founder Palagia: “It’s unpredictable; it’s titillating—you might see someone in the corner getting a blow job, but you’ll see that at any club. I have met so many people who in the beginning were sitting in a corner trembling and at the end of the night were out there dancing, mingling, kissing and getting their bodies painted. It stimulates the palate. You get a sense of how much fun something erotic and taboo can be.” The next Take-Out Soiree is scheduled for October 22, in honor of OneLegUp’s 11th birthday. Purchase tickets online.

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