Dr. Jess on Sex: Exploring the city’s unique sexy side

How a new sense of adventure can help couples spice things up in the bedroom

According to the Economist and Metropolis magazine, Toronto is the best city in the world in which to live. Vogue named one of our downtown neighbourhoods the second coolest in the world, and we continue to top global lists that rank resiliency, youthfulness, intelligence and even tax competitiveness. With all these accolades, it’s no surprise to learn that Toronto also scores top honours in its sex appeal.

Unlike other North American cities that relegate adult establishments to the basements of forsaken strip malls on the outskirts of town, sex-positive enterprises in Toronto are encouraged to shine as integral voices in our diverse and evolving communities. Couples and singles from all walks of life are open to exploring new sexual options, and there is no excuse for a boring date night in our fair city. Here are a few ways to ease yourself into getting to know sex-positive Toronto.

The season of burlesque is upon us, and Empire by Spiegelworld combines comedy, acrobatics and striptease in an antique tent complete with plush booths and cocktail tables. The show runs into mid-November, but local burlesque acts are top quality in Toronto, so you have many options, ranging from weekends at the Painted Lady to specialty groups like Boylesque. The playfulness, sensuality and comedic elements of burlesque create the perfect outing for those looking for a safe erotic distraction from the mundane.

If you’re open to new experiences, consider a couples’ workshop designed to improve communication and reignite the spark. A relationship seminar may sound boring, but Good For Her’s offerings include Steamy Sex for Couples (shameless self-promotion disclaimer: I teach this one!) and Bigger, Better Multiples: Orgasms for Every Body. They also offer classes for singles and friends ranging from Rock His World to The Art of Going Down. Your sex life won’t reinvent itself over the course of two hours, but the new techniques, topics and exercises will ensure that your conversation on the drive home (and for months to come) is more meaningful, intimate and erotic.

For those looking to change things up, escaping to a hotel for the afternoon or evening offers a simple solution. Establishments that cater to hourly guests may not be on your travel bucket list, but a few local hotels offer day rates for travellers with layovers, and savvy couples are taking note. The Bond Place Hotel offers reasonable day rates and the Drake Hotel features an in-room pleasure menu with bondage tape, blindfolds and vibrators on offer.

If physical touch is your primary love language or your partner has been begging you to show more affection, A Taste of Tantra class may be right up your alley. Every Tuesday, Viktoria, from Playful Loving, hosts a 90-minute session open to singles, couples and friends. Topics change weekly and include sensual awareness, quieting the mind, deep connection and communication. Wear something comfortable and be prepared to sit on the floor with yoga mats and cushions.

For the artistically inclined, nude sketch classes are offered throughout the city. Though nudity isn’t inherently sexual, admiring the body in its natural state is one way to boost body image and appreciate the diversity of the human form. You and your fellow artists will remain fully clothed as you hone your life drawing skills, but your model may be fully nude depending on the event and venue. Walt Rushton’s Wednesday night classes at the Gladstone Hotel feature models in the buff, whereas Dr. Sketchy’s monthly themed figure drawing cabarets feature burlesque stars in various states of (un)dress at their Kensington Market location.

Couples looking to reintroduce the chemicals and hormones associated with a first date might consider visiting a high-end sex club like Oasis Aqua Lounge. If it’s your first time, I suggest that you agree to attend only as voyeurs, set a time limit and stick together for the duration of your visit. Dress up so that you feel sexy, but don’t feel any pressure to peel those layers off — swimsuits and birthday suits are equally appropriate by their pool. Most events are open to couples and single women, and you can choose just how much action you’re exposed to, as most people slip away into private play rooms for the steamy action. Oasis’s event co-ordinator, Fatima Mechtab, adds that having an exit strategy or a safe word can help assuage any fears, and she invites couples to attend a newbie tour on the first and third Thursday of every month.

If any of these options makes you uncomfortable, take a deep breath and consider whether broadening your comfort zone might be good for your sex life. 

Research shows that the happiest couples are those that keep indulging in new experiences and expanding their sense of self.