luke warm photo

Far more than Luke Warm Sex

The ABC’s recent series, Luke Warm Sex, was a great idea. It was a brilliant concept to take a nerdy man who is scared of sex and teach him what it is all about. Particularly when that nerdy man is comedian Luke McGregor who’s built his stand-up routine around the fact that he’s only had sex twice.

It had great potential for comedy but also a chance to help the many people out there who are floundering between the sheets. Well, we have just reached the end of the series and the result is a bit of a disappointment. Highly entertaining, yes, but a little too crazy and haphazard for the sexually awkward to really find their feet…let alone know what to do with their dangly bits.

I wrote about the programme for The Australian recently describing the adorable 34-year old star. “His endearing frankness and charm produced in me an irresistible urge to take him home and teach him everything I know. No doubt many women react similarly and there must be heaps of far younger, cuter women lining up to take him in hand. “ Read more of my article on Luke Warm Sex

For me, the best thing to come out of the programme was discovering Cyndi Darnell, a Melbourne-based sex therapist, one of the experts who appeared in the show and really stood out as extremely impressive. She’s shown in the programme introducing Luke to the G Spot using a gorgeous vulva puppet, which intrigued me.

Well, I followed this up and discovered Darnell is the star of one of the most inspiring series of videos about sex that I have ever seen. The Atlas of Erotic Anatomy and Arousal is an online video adult education series featuring the vivacious Darnell explaining a range of fascinating topics:

  • Understanding the Erotic Anatomy of the Penis.
  • Everything you need to know about the vulva
  • The hidden world of the G Spot, Orgasm and Ejaculation.
  • A beginner’s guide to pleasurable and healthy anal sex.

Darnell very effectively uses humour and her unique light and chatty manner to teach us all about understanding and pleasuring these regions of the body. She shows us around the sexual anatomy using wonderful diagrams and even more important, incredibly explicit photographs.

I marveled at the great shots of the man’s perineum with Darnell showing exactly how best to apply pressure in that region to increase male pleasure. I loved the sequence teaching you to handle the penis – which gave me some great ideas! Plus the incredibly clear photos showing the different discharges emerging from the cervix at varying stages of the menstrual cycle – so reassuring for any woman who has wondered if her messy knickers are normal.

I really recommend the whole series very highly. But one small word of warning: Darnell often works with the LGBTI community and is careful not to use feminine pronouns when referring to a woman’s vulva – explaining that not all people with vulvas see themselves as female. She’s similarly averse to talking about “his” penis. I understand her position but many people are going to find it more than a little odd to risk alienating the majority for the sake of making 0.3 per cent of the population feel more comfortable.

For similar reasons she tells us very little about intercourse – arguing it gets more than its fair share of attention. It’s an interesting thing that so many sex therapists like Darnell believe most women can’t climax in intercourse – hence their whole approach is to reassure women this is quite normal. It’s fair enough to help all women learn to be comfortable with their own patterns of arousal but there’s good evidence that the majority of women do climax vaginally and it’s annoying for them to have their own reality denied in this way. Here’s an article I wrote about this some time back – The Story of Oh!

Such minor quibbles aside, I do suggest everyone checks out the Sex Atlas series. Perfect start for a sexy afternoon between the sheets.

4 Responses to Far more than Luke Warm Sex

  1. Kris April 19, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    Fantastic series that everyone, whether they’re prepared to admit it or not, can learn , even something, from. However, I’ve noticed something interesting about online commenters’ reactions to the series: There *seems* to be a difference between women’s and men’s comfort level in watching the show. I’ve seen many more comments from men than women, saying it didn’t teach them anything they didn’t know, that ‘you don’t need a TV show to learn about sex, just go get some’, and describing McGregor’s lack of confidence and inexperience as embarrassing. Whereas women tended to find it quite appealing that he’s so honest about himself and open to learning.
    Is this something anyone else has noticed? And what do you think might be behind this? I’m wondering if it’s because of some of the expectations put on men?

  2. Bettina April 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi Kris, Good point. I’ve been thinking about the same issue because I too have found a lot of men hated watching Luke and found it distasteful that he was being “shamed” for his lack of knowledge about sex. I do feel you are right about some of that being around the expectation that men are expected to know everything and can’t admit to not being competent lovers or not knowing what to do. Given that there are men out there who haven’t a clue yet pretend to know it all, I think women find it refreshing that a man like Luke is so honest and willing to learn.

    But having said that, various men have pointed out to me that there is no way that anyone would have dared make a programme which set up a woman for being sexually incompetent. Can you imagine? Showing her admitting that she just lies there because she doesn’t know what to do and hasn’t any idea how to stimulate a penis. It would be seen as an appalling attack on her to expose her to such public scrutiny, shaming her in such a way. Yet men are expected to just cop it when they are presented as incompetent fools, in bed or in life generally. It’s seen as a great joke. Interesting, eh?

    Thanks for raising the issue. It would be interesting to hear from others about all this.

  3. Bret April 20, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    I have known Cyndi for many years and was somewhat surprised to hear Bettina’s thought that Cyndi does not think it is common for women to reach orgasm through intercourse. I happen to know that Cyndi does not think or say this so I wonder why Bettina says it? Then the criticism around Cyndi’s use of language in regard to gender. For me it is refreshing to hear someone talking the way Cyndi does as it is a way of talking that transcends the offensiveness of people that think all cock owners are men and all vagina owners are women when this is clearly not the reality of how many in the community see themselves. It was nice she had something positive to say about Cyndi’s atlas of erotic arousal though. For me I thought the show was refreshing in the courage that Luke showed in being so able to sit in his vulnerability in all of the situation he found himself in. I don’t think Luke was being shamed as such. The producers and director went out of their way to make sure everyone on the show was shown in the best possible light. To those out there who think it is shameful to be able to be vulnerable in public then I think they might need to take a good hard look at themselves and their courage to face the things that make them feel vulnerable and their capacity to be open about it.

  4. Bettina April 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    Bret, I’m sorry but Cyndi explicitly states in her video on female ejaculation that she thinks vaginal orgasm is unlikely. Commenting on the likelihood of orgasm in intercourse she says: ‘This may be true in rare and individual cases but in most cases it’s physiologically unlikely.” Her views on this do seem pretty clear.

    Your comment that “many in the community” quarrel with the idea that all cock owners are men and all vaginal owners women. It’s only a tiny, tiny per cent of the community that challenge that belief. I understand they would like to “normalize” their own experience by trying to change public assumptions about who is most likely to have penises and vaginas… but most people would see this whole discussion as pretty crazy.

    As for Luke.. I wasn’t suggesting he felt he was shamed but rather reporting how many men seemed to react to watching him in the show. And surely it is one thing to acknowledge one’s own feelings of embarrassment and discomfort regarding sex but quite another to reveal such emotions before a national audience. That’s what the men were reacting to…just as I applaud Luke for being brave enough to do this.