Disclaimer to my mom and dad: I know you enjoy reading my articles, but you may want to consider skipping this one.
Kama Aerobics, a new class offered at Extreme Fitness in Toronto, comes as close to teaching how to be better at sex than anything I have been exposed to - and yes, that includes watching the occasional X-rated flick.
Which is not to suggest that instructor Halyna Skrypnyk encourages women to embrace their inner porn star; nor does she teach the art of striptease. Rather, her hour-long series of movements focuses on strengthening the sexual core - that elusive centre of pleasure, femininity and fertility that women sometimes don't even know they have.
I, for one, have issues engaging my ordinary core (the superficial muscles around the abdomen) and I'm a total failure when it comes to flexibility. So to say I felt a certain degree of performance anxiety would be putting it mildly.
Luckily, Kama Aerobics (named after the Hindu god of love) is as much an exercise in shedding inhibitions as it is a sensual interpretation of yoga and Pilates. This becomes obvious as guys pumping iron on the other side of the studio window pause just long enough to watch us mimic cats in heat.
I can't say I was hot on the idea of a girls-only group class that begins at 8 p.m. Ms. Skrypnyk seems to have anticipated this, and gets us in the mood with a warm-up consisting of a sexy march, hip torques, shoulder shimmying and an arm stretch similar to taking off a shirt. The music she plays is conducive to stolen glances across a dimly lit hotel bar.
Next comes the cardio component: Jumping on the spot while circling the arms evokes Jane Fonda, and a round of kicks and punches is Tae Bo-bo lite. Variations on classic squats induce a light sweat.
But the bulk of this sexercise class involves simulating erotic positions, from lying on our backs thrusting our pelvises into the air to getting down on hands and knees and swivelling our hips, all for the sake of awakening the muscles that aid in childbirth, stop us from peeing and heighten orgasm.
"Squeeze like you're pushing something out," she'll say. Hmmm. Okaaay.
The moves demand concentration, yet it's impossible not to be distracted by Ms. Skrypnyk, a self-professed fitness fanatic who was a runner-up for Miss Universe Canada in 2006.
She developed Kama Aerobics last year as a way to combine her passion for dance - from belly to ballet - with exercises to target such problem areas as the hips and butt.
Not only is she disarmingly beautiful (think Brigitte Bardot meets Faith Hill); her confidence and sensuality are utterly mesmerizing. She teases us with lines such as: "Enjoy the feeling of being spread open on the floor" and: "We're not used to having our legs open, but it's okay. Embrace it. Let the energy come though the gate" without so much as a smile and a wink.
Some women cannot hold back a giggle or guffaw. Others put on their most serious sex face. In between the kneeling butt squeezes and the push-up hybrids (in a suggestive and submissive position), I find myself scanning the room wondering who would be the best in bed.
If this all sounds a tad titillating, it is. But Ms. Skrypnyk has figured out a program that makes for some mighty sore glutes and upper thighs (both adductor and abductor muscles) the next day.
Although Kama Aerobics is not a replacement for more traditional forms of cardio and strength training, Sean Orr, a personal trainer who has a namesake studio in Toronto, says everyone - men included - benefits from working the pelvic floor.
As for all the butt and leg work, he points out that, "If you're trying to get into wild positions, it will certainly help if you have some strength to hold them."
But will it make people better at sex? For that, Mr. Orr suggests videos of the non-Fonda variety.
Ms. Skrypnyk envisions Kama Aerobics as a worldwide workout phenomenon. But for the time being, it is only offered once a week at the Richmond Street location of Extreme Fitness.
Of course, I could always practise what I've learned at home. I suspect you're curious about whether I have tested out my new skills. How else would I be able to determine whether I've got stronger down there?
Well, interpret this as you wish: My pelvic floor isn't the only thing that has been turned on. Beyond that, my lips are sealed.
All the right moves
What is it?
A confidence-boosting cardio and stretching program developed by a former Miss Universe Canada runner-up, Halyna Skrypnyk, that gets women focusing on their "sexual core" muscle groups and their sexuality. Some moves can be put to work in the bedroom.
What does it work?
The goal is to engage the pubococcygeus muscle, a hammock-shaped structure that extends from the pubic bone to the tailbone. But don't be surprised if you feel day-after soreness in your buttocks, upper legs and chest.
What are the classes like?
In a word, foreplay. Suggestive positions, playful dialogue ("Don't be afraid to touch yourself") and seductive stretching are a far cry from step class. Workouts end with a mini-meditation to empower - or perhaps mellow out - our frisky selves.
Who's taking it?
No guys allowed (although no one is stopping them from watching). The class typically tops out at 15 pretty (and fit) young things who differ mostly by how wide they can open their hips.
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