First published on 8 May 2012. Updated on 11 Mar 2014.
When Michelle Temminghoff decided her background in retail would make her well-enough placed to open Melbourne’s first sex shop for women back in 1998, The Age awarded her a double-page spread and ladies around town breathed a sigh of relief at not having to don a hen’s L-plate just to step inside.
“Back then there was just those industrial estate sex shops, with husbands buying the vibrators,” Temminghoff explains, reclining on a typically plush chair. “That’s how it started; my husband and I went into a sex shop one night in St Kilda after having a really nice dinner, and by the time I walked out I thought, ‘I don’t feel like having sex ever again! Just leave me alone!’”
Upstairs in her neat green shop, tucked away from the elegantly crafted toys, lingerie, carefully chosen DVDs and erotic fiction, Temminghoff hosts workshops – usually alongside Tantric teacher Layla, who “is very grounded and a lot more Melbourne than Byron Bay kind of teachers.”
An introduction to Tantra through relaxation, breathing and body confidence – and toys.
Layla demonstrates on a male model how to give a full lingham (that’s a cock, FYI) massage. You can have a go yourself, if you fancy it. “They’ve been practicing Tantra for a long time and he doesn’t ejaculate or anything like that,” Temminghoff assures us. “But people are amazed and just blown away what you can do with the penis… it’s like Puppetry of the Penis.”
“There are times in your life when your sexuality goes through dips, and menopause is just one of those.”
“I run it with Layna, because Tantra is a really important part of that whole process if you do want to get your sex life back on track after emotional and physical trauma. It’s a long-term technique to incorporate into your life, like yoga. Dr Amanda Horden from the Cancer Council will also come along to give a talk.”
As for the future, Temminghoff has couples in her sights, “because the thing that comes across really strongly is when women see these workshops they’re just so amazed and overwhelmed they say ‘this is what we need to teach men to do to us’.”
Tantra teacher Layla on five things she's learned that she never realised she could do...
1. Orgasm through anal stimulation
2. Be naked in a room full of people and feel no inhibitions about her body
3. Make a man have multiple orgasms without ejaculation
4. Releasing my inner domanatrix and being damned good at it!
5. Being a teacher of sexuality
Passionfruit, 404 Bridge Rd, Richmond. 03 9421 3391.