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Photo by Shanrah Wakefield (Licensed)

And you can too.

I want to talk about how I just air-humped a blow-up doll for exercise.

It was Facebook that told me my local Crunch Gym was offering a new class called the “Sex-Ed Workout.” A couple of jovially-captioned iPhone snaps of life-sized dolls being gyrated in the group fitness room caught my attention. Was it a gimmick? Were people really swapping the treadmills for a plastic sex apparatus, in full view of other West Hollywood gym rats—and at peak hour? More importantly: is this a thing America is ready for? 

I did a figurative heel-click and got my Google on, which is how I found… Jorge Del Busto, international fitness guru and creator of the Sex-Ed Workout, which he describes as “a daring, funny, but intense workout that will improve your sexual performance.” 

One phone call told me I was in for fascinating chat, so I slipped into my Forever 21 activewear and got my sexual butt down to Crunch to meet Jorge before class. Among a sea of blow-up beauties ready to be flexed upon, he told me he came up with the concept to deal with the fact that sex can be something of a physical challenge for unfit people. 

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“Everybody likes to have sex. So why not create a program that will put you in great shape to do it, and to last a long time?” he said, explaining the importance of stamina. “If you want to have a great intimate experience with your partner, it’s not all about fast-fast-fast, get off, and that’s it.”

Jorge was born in Argentina and currently resides in Malibu. With the utmost kindness and perhaps modest caution, he said what we’re all thinking: “I think Americans could be more creative during sex.” In his thick, luscious accent, he continued: “They probably do three poses and that’s it, when there are probably 400 of them. They need a little help. For men, moving and swaying hips is a taboo. But you’ve got to do that when you have sex! You need to please your partner, to know how to use what you’ve got.” Can I get a red-faced amen? 

The goal of the Sex-Ed Workout is to make you more proficient at sex by using exercises to tone you up and give you stamina. But which sex move burns the most fat? I had to know. 

“The humping part, moving your hips back and forth,” according to Jorge. “The giver gets the best workout.” 

With that in mind, it was time to pick a partner. The life-sized blow-up dolls stared at me with eager painted faces. 

Photo by Shanrah Wakefield

“Do you want a Lucille or Carlos?” Jorge asked, presenting me with the option of a female or male doll. Though both were charming, I opted for Lucille. Once upstairs in the very bright, very large group fitness room—with very see-through windows looking out on the rest of the gym—I positioned myself and my pretend lady among 15 or so classmates, mostly women. I nodded to the girl on my right to convey a false impression of confidence and noticed that she too was shitting herself. 

A quick scan of the room told me that everyone was, actually. We were about to let a bunch of strangers witness our bedroom skills. Does a more precise definition of vulnerability even exist?

“Passive and active, dominant and submissive,” Jorge had said earlier, explaining the range of moves we’d go through, although this class would be tailored around the missionary position. To create the class format, he pulled direct inspiration from sex texts like the Kama Sutra and the Chinese Tao of Sexology. “I’ve studied the muscles you need to use in each of the various positions, and from there I adapted exercises,” he explained. “The class is designed to increase strength, cardio, balance and coordination.” 

So, after a set of smooth warm-ups involving hip sways my uncoordinated bod wasn’t prepared for, we got into it. Somehow managing to be anything but intimidating, Jorge took us through the moves. We began with “humping planks,” which had me balancing over my doll and thrusting “into” her (you’re welcome, Lucille), then moved on to other innuendo-laden highlights, including “nut-crackers,” “sit-up studs,” and “push-ups to love.” I gave Lucille a knowing smile, and away we went, grinding to the beat of the Latin music. 

The music, by the way, is part of it. Jorge’s own musical formula is what makes the class extra dynamic, with three varying tempos that keep the body guessing. The moves are completed at these three different speeds, mimicking the pace of actual sex: “slow and smooth,” followed by “medium pace,” and eventually “fast and intense” to imitate hardcore sex. 

I really thought I’d be a giggling mess and give up halfway through. Wouldn’t I be too self-conscious to last an entire 45 minutes? To the contrary: By the end of the class, I noticed a really fun thing in my classmates as well as myself. Everyone seemed really, really liberated. Like, totally comfortable in their own skin—such that when Jorge led us through some pretty damn sensual dance maneuvers for the warm-down, we all looked like the happiest drunks in the club. 

Photo by Shanrah Wakefield

Drunk on a little dose of confidence and release? The self-consciousness had kind of fluffed off, and what replaced it was a dizzy, smiley comedown. You know that sounds familiar. But in addition to that, my muscles were on fire. Mission accomplished! 

So is an American audience ready for a fitness class that promotes sexual open-mindedness? Jorge’s not sure, but he said it feels good to be the first to introduce it. He’s the right guy for the job, too. With his Latin roots and just the right blend of charisma and kindness, Jorge brings with him a fluid approach to sex that—let’s be real—we in North America all know we can learn from. 

It wasn’t just his interest in improving bedroom flair that interested me about Jorge’s philosophy, though. We moved on to talk about the broader issue of sexuality and its acceptance in modern Western society, and our shortcomings versus our progressions. We discussed attitudes towards sex, problematic black-and-white categorization of sexual preferences, and social pressures to fit into one box or another. The dark cloud of judgment we’re all too conscious of, and the deep importance of continued efforts to lift that cloud for the good of future humans. 

My cautious optimism tells me the that flourishing of a class like this would be a step in the right direction. “Sex has different colors. It’s not just black and white, it’s not just gay or straight. You can be attracted to somebody and not know why, and why not explore that?” said Jorge. “If you let yourself be true to yourself and not closed off to different ideas, as long as everybody is consenting, why not explore? After all, it’s about finding your soulmate—and that doesn’t have a gender.” 

Photo by Shanrah Wakefield

Shanrah Wakefield can be found on Twitter/Instagram: @shanrahw
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