|That's me just wondering: if they sold this at IKEA, foyer or family room? Photo by yours truly.|
In all my years of writing about South Beach, I never once imagined that I’d be sauntering up to the World Erotic Art Museum, a quirky treasure trove of naughty art that displays everything (and I mean everything) from a giant golden phallus to delicate figurines enclosed in glass cases -- to attend an educational event.
Imagine grandma’s tchotchkes and then take a closer look: “why grandma, what BIG tchotchkes you have!”
It’s in this fun and inspired space that Meli Blundell Osorio, founder of Night School, hosted the first annual Sexposé evening of sex talk this past October. Imagine that! Getting all dolled up in cocktail attire not to have sex but to talk about it in a space that pays tribute to sex. It's better than a Dolphins game; come here and you might even score.
Throw in a little sip, a little nosh – and you've got yourself a great way to spend a Saturday evening in South Beach with sophisticated folks, or as Night School puts it: “curious night owls.”
Night School seeks to “offer classes and events that foster curiosity and build community for the intellectually adventurous in Miami.” In a city where adventure often involves speeding to a vapid party in a Lamborghini followed by a morning-after walk of shame, Night School promises to cure boredom for the jaded.
|Getting night schooled with a few laughs thrown in for good measure.|
Perhaps I speak for myself, but I’m sure the other guests at Sexposé were thrilled with the evening’s program. Presenters regaled the audience with topics ranging from sex and marketing, to myths and facts about Jewish sex to straight talk from a sex worker – with interludes featuring Cock Ring 101 and spoken word poetry.
Many eager hands were raised during the question and answer sessions what with so many juices flowing from such intellectual stimulation. Hilarious emcee Shaka Brown kept us on schedule but I almost wish we could have had a sleep over! The craving for discussion lingered … and it’s no wonder.
|MsKitty Black, Sarah Epstein and Zoey Chen (l-r), speakers at Sexposé.|
University of Miami marketing professor Zoey Chen started the evening with a talk about sexual imagery and marketing. Looking back at ads from the 70s, she showed us the progression of gender representation in modern advertising – with women increasingly taking the foreground in positions of sexual power. Her thesis centered on the idea that sex doesn’t just sell, but that consumers sell sex, too, in the products they choose to buy.
Take that Miami: a passing mention to your penchant for living beyond your means to seduce the opposite sex was the topic of academic discussion. I’m not sure that I agree that men are the only ones who buy into status symbols to get sex; women also spend thousands on fake boobs and butt implants to attract men. That being said, there’s one thing we all probably get: stimulating the sex drive decreases the drive for food, although it doesn't explain Burger King's 7-incher ad.
|Meli Blundell Osorio and Virginia Jimenez.|
Sarah Epstein, a Yeshiva student turned sex educator, debunked many myths about the sex lives of Jews in her talk “How Jews Do the Deed.” Oy vay! Now we can sleep at night when we're done screwing knowing that orthodox Jews don’t, in fact, use a sheet with a hole in it to copulate.
Sex is a little more personal than that according to Epstein. It’s not about “hey, we got penis in vag and we’re done,” she quipped. Jews view sex as a way for couples to connect. After all, the Hebrew word “to know,” applies to sex. You know this. Everyone calls it carnal knowledge.
Although men wrote the Talmud – and this is a question I would have asked: how the heck would they know about a woman’s sexual satisfaction? – the same text says that a Jewish man must sign a contract that obligates him to provide his wife with food, shelter and sexual satisfaction. It gets better: a woman can divorce a man if he doesn’t perform his sexual duties.
Judaism prohibits pre-marital sex – no chuppah no schtuppah – but it does encourage intercourse for married couples if done according to the book, of course.
Epstein left us with this final tip: kosher isn't just for the kitchen. You can also get your kosher on with sex toys – and no, I’m not suggesting you use a Hebrew National Hot Dog as a hot beef injection. Who knew? A rabbi runs an online adult shop where modesty and pleasure seem to make holy bedfellows. Read more at BeBetter2Gether.
Sex and Jews, folks. Here's the lesson for us gentiles: it's more than just matzoh balls. Read an article by Epstein over at Jewrotica.
All this gabbing about sex toys and orthodox Jews had a perfect segue. One of the event sponsors, Perfect Fit Brand, spoke next about cock rings and gave us this mighty bit of trivia: “It’s one of the oldest sex toys. The only thing older than a cock ring is a dildo.” Jewish nookie was still on my mind. "Really? It's old as Methuselah?"
He then alluded to the gifting of this sexual enhancement tool as “a different exchange of rings,” at which point I imagined a bride fitting her groom with a cock ring at the altar: “with this ring I thee wed.”
|Any educational event where you can wear a black leather corset is good in my book. Pictured here: MsKitty Black.|
The evening was dominated, er, pardon the pun, by professional dominatrix and former escort MsKitty Black in her talk “So You Want to Be a Sex Worker?”
Black has extensive experience in BDSM, fetish, leather and kink, but it was her recounting of the challenges sex workers face that I found interesting from a sociological perspective. “The closer you are to the street, the greater the risks,” she said. “But the Internet has changed all that.”
Marginalized people do it more for the hustle, but escort work is different. “You can be more choosy,” she explained.
After the talk, I had a chance to speak with Black. In her line of work, she claimed, she has great power: “Guys don’t even have to touch you, but they still pay you.”
It’s still never easy. She has to do all her marketing in a business that for her is also very spiritual. It isn’t just about wham-bam-thank-you-mam sex; she’s also a life coach of sorts when she channels a goddess of sacred sexuality. “It’s about intimacy. I give them what they think they want.”
The next Sexposé takes place in 2016. It’s too bad we have to wait this long to keep abreast of such titillating subjects. Who wouldn’t want to spend a Saturday night talking about sex? It’s the best kind of foreplay.
And I won’t tell you what I did after Sexposé, but let’s just say that sexy black dress I wore? I didn’t wear it for long.
For more information, visit Night School.
All photos by Andrea Máté unless otherwise specified.