LOS ANGELES — On the heels of a successful show in Phoenix last spring, the one-of-a-kind Sexual Health Expo (SHE) lineup of top sex educators, speakers and brand ambassadors are gearing up for what’s shaping up to be an even more comprehensive and impressive consumer event Sept. 19 and 20, this time in New York City at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in the heart of Times Square.
One of the event’s most anticipated speakers, Charlie Glickman, PhD, a sex and relationship coach, certified sexuality educator, and internationally acclaimed speaker with more than 20 years of experience in the field, told XBIZ that he’ll be talking about “The Male G-spot: Prostate Pleasure” — a topic sure to pack the halls with men customarily starved for solid sexual information.
“As one of the authors of 'The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure' and a sex and relationship coach, I get a lot of questions from men and their partners about prostate play. Whether you’re doing prostate massage, using toys, or pegging, the prostate has a sexual sensitivity that’s pretty similar to the G-spot. So think about all the amazing stuff you’ve read or experienced about the G-spot and imagine how much fun men can have with the prostate,” Glickman says.
If the last show’s standing room only crowds are any indication of how hungry the public is for this type of candid talk, Glickman needs to be prepared to be inundated with questions. He says he’s ready. The educator believes that more customers (especially women) have been exploring sex toys over the last several years and there’s been more demand for top-notch sex information and high-quality products. Glickman — who’s been a speaker at the two previous shows in L.A. and Phoenix — lauds SHE for doing an excellent job of bringing that all together in one fun event. “I’ve seen how much fun the attendees have. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for people who want to connect with this world and don't know where to start. I’m excited to see what happens in New York.”
Although Glickman is looking forward to imparting his wisdom, he admits that it’s tough to say if events like SHE are a good barometer of a new acceptance of sex positivity, pointing out that it’s still a nebulous concept and it’s not the same thing as liking sex or being sexually adventurous. Glickman says sex-positivity is much more about how people whose sex lives differ from one’s own are treated. He says lots of people enjoy sex but are still judgmental, and are still “sex-negative” about those who have different fantasies or experiences.
“Having said that, I do think that events like SHE are a good measure of how many people are looking for accurate, non-judgmental information about their sex lives. It shows that people are coming out of the closet when it comes to their pleasure, using sex toys, or being in ‘non-traditional’ relationships. So I think the success of SHE and similar events is a marker of a significant shift in sexual attitudes, whether we want to call it sex-positive or not,” Glickman says.
When asked why so few sex educators address men’s concerns, Glickman says there are a number of reasons and one in particular is that men are a lot less likely to admit that they have questions about sex. So while there’s just as much need, men don't look for advice or coaching as often.
Another reason is that more women choose sexuality education and coaching as a career than men, so they often focus on the concerns that women face, although there are plenty who specialize in working with men. Glickman also believes that there’s a myth that women’s sexuality is complicated and men’s sexuality is simple. “I find that everyone’s sexuality is complex, but because of this myth, a lot of people don't see as much reason to focus on men’s concerns.”
Men get shamed for showing emotions other than anger, according to Glickman, who points out that men get shamed for having sexual desires other than “get it up, get it in, get it off.” He says, “Men get shamed for not being sexually skilled. There are a lot of reasons men don’t have as much practice at talking about sex. And when you don't have practice, you’re less likely to do it. This is something I talk about in my workshops on masculinity and sexuality. There are a lot of different reasons men talk about sexuality less often than women, and there are a lot different ways that can affect things.”
The good news across the board is that there's a rise in sexology and sex education. Glickman says sexuality attitudes have been shifting and people are beginning to understand the value of learning about pleasure and relationships. One of his mantras is nobody is born knowing anything about sex, so we all have to learn it somewhere and he’s happy to see that more people are discovering how much better sex can be when there’s information available to make it happen.
Glickman should know. He’s been teaching workshops for decades on a lot of different topics including anal play, safer sex, bondage, erotic massage, polyamory, prostate play, cock rings, BDSM, and dating, to name a few.
Over the years the sex educator has even customized his show workshops to better connect with participants and be more spontaneous. He uses humor to get folks to be more comfortable. “For a long time, all of my workshops were pretty standard. I’d get up in front of the room and talk for a while. Maybe I’d pass some toys around for people to check out, or there would be some group exercises. In the last couple of years, I’ve started offering live demo workshops when the audience and the host organization both want it,” he says.
The live demos give Glickman the chance to show people exactly what he means. For example, in his Awesome Anal Sex class, he tells people to take it slowly. But most folks think that I want them to go from a 10 to a 7. When I do a live demo, I can show them that I want them at a 3, at least at first. It’s kind of like a cooking show — I describe what I’m doing, which makes it much easier to learn. The focus is on teaching, not on giving the attendees a thrill.”
SHE attendees will no doubt benefit from Glickman’s expertise, especially with the rise in interest for pleasure products. Although Glickman feels there’s been more dialogue about the use of adult content and products than ever before, he still believes it will be a while before people are comfortable telling their friends, “My boyfriend and I tried a new vibrator last night and it was awesome.”
“My observation is that some people are much more accepting of these kinds of things, while others are still embarrassed or feel guilty about it. The overall average is shifting, but there’s still a lot of resistance.”
But Glickman hopes people will feel empowered enough to look for the information and support they need before it’s a last resort. Venues like SHE are a good start. He says that as a coach, he sees a lot of clients who struggle for months or years and by the time they seek help, noting that people hold back for a lot of reasons: they don't know what’s available, they’re too embarrassed to do something about it, they don’t know where to look for support, or they hope that things will somehow magically get better. “It’s a lot more effective and simpler to get the ball rolling earlier in the process. Whether it’s finding a how-to book or movie, locating a coach, working with a therapist, reading a website, or signing up for an online course — there are a lot of options," he says.
Glickman predicts that people who are producing the quality products and services will find a way to help customers and clients understand the value they bring and why they’re worth the time, energy, and money they cost.