Marie Claire Magazine
These people have found out the secrets of sexual ecstasy and want to share them with you. One couple has sex before an audience, the others perform on The Lovers’ Guide video. So what makes them think they’re up to the job? Erin Kelly and Katy Regan find out.
‘We demonstrate live tantric sex’ Leora Lightwoman, 33, from London, runs tantra workshops in the UK with her husband and tantric love partner Roger Lichy, 54, who is a holistic doctor in London and Brighton. They have been together for seven years, married for three and live in North London.
‘I have always been good at conveying things-at teaching. So when I discovered the fulfilment tantric sex brought me, it was natural to want to pass that on. I went travelling in my twenties and fell in love with a man who introduced me to tantric sex. Instead of the linear, intense race to orgasm I was used to, sex with him was about making a connection. I found that as soon as the pressure was off, I had orgasms not just during intercourse, but during foreplay, too.
‘A while later, in Australia, I went to a tantric workshop. I was fully clothed, but we did a lot of sensual dancing. The most scary part was spending up to five minutes hugging a stranger. It was incredibly intimate, but quite erotic, too. I was awkward at first, but I felt alive and close to these people. Afterwards, I thought, “This is what I’ve been looking for all my life.” I decided that I wanted to work in the field and trained with Margot Anand, a leading tantric practitioner.
‘I found that fulfilling sex translated to so many other areas of my life. For example, I used to hate public speaking, but now I am confident enough to enjoy it. Plus, my relationship with my mother is better because I fell less needy and childlike.
‘Tantric sex had such a dramatic effect on my life, I wanted to introduce complete sexual ecstasy and well-being to as many men and women as possible. So ten years ago, I set up my school, Diamond Light Tantra, in north London and one day Roger turned up to the tantra group. I immediately sensed something sensual about him. Even just the other day, when we were cutting up fruit to serve a group, I thought the meticulous way he sliced the apples was incredibly sexy.
‘We teach that tantric sex is not a “quick fix”. It’s all about a couple finding a new way of relating to each other and instead of having an isolated “orgasm” that lasts a few seconds, it’s more about an orgasmic vibration that takes over the entire body. The best way to describe this to couples is to demonstrate it. So, Roger and I remove our clothes and give each other a genital massage in front of the group. It’s very intimate, but if we were fully clothed, it wouldn’t have had the same impact.
‘Some people have been in tears at the end. They say, “That was beautiful,” because they can see the eye contact and the facial expressions, which means they are almost feeling the experience with us. I feel very strongly that when a woman is not able to have orgasms, it is a very sad thing. It will have an effect beyond her sex life, so to be able to remedy this is a real privilege. One woman said that after only a short period of learning about tantric sex, people started commenting on how confident she seemed. She was taking compliments rather than believing she didn’t deserve them.
‘When the rewards come, it’s amazing. In one group, we had a burly builder, who had been with his wife for 30 years and not really expressed his feelings before. For him to come up at the end of a session and tell us that he’d experienced something special with his wife and that their sex life would be different from now on, was magical. I got a real sense of satisfaction that we are changing people’s lives. Of course, although we’re here to help, there has to be input from them. It’s important both partners are in the same mindset: they need to be willing to look inside themselves a bit- that’s all we ask.
‘When I started out, I was apprehensive about telling my family. It’s funny-I can talk explicitly about sex in workshops, but in a social context it can be awkward. My parents are happy to remain in semi-ignorance about my work and I let people believe I’m just into yoga. Most of our friends are in the tantra circle. I’ve drifted from those who aren’t, as they’re not on the same wavelength. I feel proud I understand how powerful tantric sex is and hopefully through our workshops, many other people are seeing the benefits, too’.
‘I would never want to push what we do on anyone. But I think if people want a more fulfilling sex life, then my wife and I have a duty to help them. If I didn’t, I would feel that I wasn’t fulfilling my vocation in life.
‘Unlike Leora, I didn’t think there was anything missing from my sex life. I married in my twenties and, after my first wife died, I had a series of loving, sexually satisfying-or so I thought-relationships. Then, about 10 years ago, I was told about tantra by a couple whose baby I delivered. I went to a tantric conference in Spain with them. There was a lot of breathing, touching and eye contact and it was difficult to connect this with what I knew as sex-something rushed, intense and genital. But there I experienced something in my soul, not just in my balls. Discovering this kind of love-making was like turning up the volume 100 per cent.
‘I met Leora at the tantra group we both attended. At the time, she was the unofficial leader, but then one night, another teacher joined the group and Leora switched off from work mode and was just herself. On that evening, we were looking at different archetypes and I was exploring my inner caveman. I just picked her up-literally-and carried her off. We went to the bathroom until long after the class had finished. Then we did the “wave of bliss” together, which is like making love, without the penetration. I knew I wanted to see Leora again.
‘When I was new to tantric sex, I’ll admit there was a degree of macho pride involved. If I brought a partner to orgasm, I’d walk around feeling pretty self-satisfied. But, as time goes by, with Leora I no longer think it’s my responsibility to make her have an orgasm so, when it does happen, I’m happy, rather than proud of my achievement.
‘It’s incredibly liberating, and this is what I want to give to men-a relief from the pressure to perform. I can show them that exploring their masculinity is not about being macho, but about understanding their desires and needs of their body.
‘There is no pressure to be naked in class, but we do advise everyone that they get much more from it if they are. Men often find nudity problematic so I try to help them feel more confident about their body. Obviously, Leora and I are naked-but I don’t get jealous about other men seeing her body. How can I feel possessive, when we are helping other people reach their sexual potential?
‘My main aim is to liberate men from the responsibility of getting an erection. My attitude is that my penis will have an erection when it wants to and that’s fine with me. Part of tantra is teaching men that this is OK.
‘But, at the same time, I see the workshops as an extension of my work as a holistic doctor, because they have so many other benefits. I sincerely believe that being in touch with your sexual desires will improve your immune system. I used to get a lot of colds, but since practising tantric sex, I haven’t been ill at all. I feel so much stronger, physically as well as spiritually.’
‘We had on-screen sex for The Lovers’ Guide’
Naomi Westwood, 30, a mature student from Melbourne, Australia, and boyfriend, Paulie Paulie Farquharson, 41, a dancer and counsellor from London, had sex on The Lovers’ Guide video. Paulie Paulie also plans to become a sexual surrogate, having sex with women to help them overcome problems. They have been together for nine years and live in South London.
‘When Paulie Paulie asked me if I’d like to try out for The Lovers’ Guide with him, I agreed immediately. Aside from the buzz of having sex on screen, I saw it as a chance to help people by doing something I’m good at. I can pass on what I’ve learned to women who aren’t as lucky as me-who haven’t had good lovers.
‘I met Paulie Paulie nine years ago in a Brixton nightclub. He actually pulled my cousin by handing her a note saying, “I’m Paulie Paulie, orgasmatron-a walking, talking, solar-powered human vibrator. Call me!” They went out for a bit, when it didn’t work out, she said to me, “If you get the chance, go for it. He’s amazing in bed.”
‘I couldn’t resist and, right from the start, the sex was great. I was a challenge to him in bed, because his expertise is cunnilingus and I’m not fussed about it. I encouraged him to learn new party tricks instead. At the same time, he opened my eyes by asking me to discuss my sexual fantasies and open up to him about my sexual needs.
‘It’s was only when I went back to Australia-a year after we got together-that I realised the impact our sex life had really had on me. I felt so much more confident. I worked as a hostess in a club which sold bondage gear-something I’d never have had the balls to do before. I realised that watching others get turned on at clubs and by having imaginative sex, I’d increased my curiosity and enthusiasm about sex and life in general.
‘Although it was Paulie Paulie who initiated the audition for the video, I was keen because I really liked the way it was presented. It doesn’t allude to things, it actually shows things. It was soft, but just explicit enough. I thought, “I really could have done this when I was younger!” You can read The Joy of Sex, but diagrams don’t translate well in the bedroom. No sex manual is ever good as a real couple showing you how. Plus, the whole tone of the video is much less patronising.
‘The casting process, with the producer, was more of an interview. We had to take our clothes off, to prove that we were comfortable being naked in a work environment. But we spent most of the time talking about our relationship and what we were expecting to get out of the experience.
‘We filmed our part over two sessions in private houses-the first session was a clothes-on, massage sequence, then came the sex bit. I wasn’t nervous about getting my body out-I have a bit of an exhibitionist streak. And also, I think it’s important that someone like me was chosen. I’m certainly not your perfect model type, I’m big, curvy size 16 girl. But it was obvious, because we are a real couple, that Paulie Paulie really desired me. That makes me feel fantastic. I wanted other women to feel that, too, and to see that it’s not just thin, beautiful people who can have great sex.
‘The atmosphere on the shoot was totally professional and the crew behaved as if they’d seen and heard it all before. I even had two orgasms during filming. The only distraction was when the make-up lady interrupted to touch my face. A lot of the video is not about intercourse, but more about how to keep the romance alive and how to be tactile. I think there’s a lot of pressure on couples to have amazing sex instantly-like Sex and the City when Samantha meets a guy and immediately has the most fantastic sex. The reality is, it takes time to become great lovers.
‘The lovemaking we did on camera was very pure. I hope we’ve show that “straight sex” can be just as exciting, romantic and horny as experimental and fetishistic sex. It’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that the only thing that really makes good sex is two bodies and a deep emotional connection.
‘Paulie wanted to be a sexual surrogate before I even knew him. To give of yourself physically as well as emotionally to help someone vulnerable is a responsible place to be, and something I definitely couldn’t do! In a way, I’m proud of him, and as we have an open relationship, I don’t see the problem.’
‘I find it very depressing when people are sexually unfulfilled. I remember taking a woman home and, in the morning, we made love. She asked, “How was it for you?” and I said, “Ok, but we don’t know each other that well yet.” She then revealed, “Actually, I don’t really like sex.” It was like saying you don’t like tomatoes when you’ve never tried them. Part of doing The Lovers’ Guide video was to show that anyone can have good sex-you just have to want to help yourself.
‘We certainly didn’t do The Lovers’ Guide for the money. In fact, the fee we thought we were going to get was halved. I heard about the auditions through a friend, who’s a stripper, and I was just intrigued. I’d watched the guide in the past and found it very useful and accessible. I know a lot of people wanted to appear in the videos just for sexual kicks, but Naomi and I have a pretty special sex life and I just thought that we would be an ideal couple to perform on the video.
‘When I met Naomi, it was like a breath of fresh air. She is a very honest person, physically as well as emotionally. I love the fact that her body responds so strongly to stimulation. Unlike some women, she’s not ashamed of the noises, liquids or smells everyone’s body makes during sex. I think that’s one of the last taboos and breaking taboos is what I’m all about.
‘At the same time, I believe that sex shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Orgasms are like buses-if you miss one, there’ll be another one along in a minute. If you learn this attitude from watching Naomi and me, I’ve done my job properly. There’s so much pressure to treat sex like a job, to be good at it, and that’s a shame. I admit that, like any bloke, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t get a hard-on in front of the camera, but once I got over that, we just started making love as we would normally do.
‘I think I was picked from the audition because I’m a trained psychosexual therapist and this means that I know what kind of problems couples experience and I can address this in the lovemaking we demonstrate on screen. For example, a lot of people think that when sex gets stale, you’ve got to go to extremes to get results. But sometimes, something as simple and gentle as a foot massage can be nurturing and lead to great sex.
‘Although we haven’t exactly gone on about doing the video to our friends and family, it is great when you do get feedback. I was at work, dancing at a bar in London, not long ago, when a guy came up and said, “Your sex video was amazing! And now I’m going to try some of those things.” I thought that was gorgeous. I really hope the video just celebrates how to enjoy being together.
‘I’ve always thought sex empowers people and for that reason, my next plan is to move to California to train as a sex surrogate. Sex surrogacy is basically a more hands-on form of therapy, where you actually have sex with women to help them over their sexual hang-ups. It doesn’t pay to underestimate the power of sex: sure, a good sexual experience will boost you for a long time, but a bad one-like abuse or rape-will scar you for life, and it’s scars like that I want to heal.
‘Practically speaking, my role as a surrogate could simply be to hold a woman and stroke her for hours or I might help a woman with vaginismus [a psychosexual disorder where penetration is painful or impossible]. Naomi is completely supportive of my plans-she knows that, for me, it’s no different from counselling people through talking.
‘In the UK, the surrogacy movement is shrouded in secrecy because people tend to confuse it with prostitution. It’s not at all. I will only e paid enough to cover expenses. Once I’ve learned my trade out there, I’d like to bring therapeutic sexual surrogacy to the UK. I want people to realise that conventional therapy isn’t always the way forward. That, in a nutshell, is my motivation for undertaking all these projects-lead by example.’