Time Out Melbourne

How do you feel about walking into a bar full of strangers, grabbing a beer and learning how to use a strap-on? Meet Pleasure Forum

Once a month, Loop Bar in the CBD turns into a forum where all matter of sexy topics are explored from open relationships, feminism and porn and what a sex worker does on their time off.

Sex therapist and founder Cyndi Darnell says it's a bit like a book club, but with no books and much more sex. "There’s a whole lot more to sexuality that’s ignored in the mainstream media," Darnell says. "We're trying to fill that gap."

The name may be conjuring up images of seedy night clubs and bowls full of car keys, but Darnell assures us it's not that kind of event. "It's not sleazy, it's not full of dirty old men in trench coats," she says. "I didn't want it to be in a sex club, or the back room of a strip club, because I know that that puts people off."

As a young girl Darnell tried to suppress her sexuality, but after attempts at sewing resulted in her making costumes for strippers and sex workers, she gave in. "I remember in my twenties feeling a lot of shame around my sexuality," she reflects. "People need a safe space to discuss sexuality intellectually, not just physically. That's where we come in."

As the presentation on the ins-and-outs (so to speak) of strap-ons wraps up, Time Out heads to the bar to mingle with a male sex worker, an online porn star and an academic studying swingers collectives in regional Victoria. "Our crowd is definitely diverse. Young and old, couples and singles discovering tantra, or young people wanting to learn more than just their sex-ed class," Darnell says.

Check out Pleasure Forum Melbourne on Facebook or their blog.

Updated on 28 Mar 2013.

By Irene Scott   |  

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