They say a healer should go where the need is greatest…
And so I was asked would I please come and give a “How to Handjob” playshop to 15 young women as the highlight of a birthday party for a businesswoman in Istanbul. Naturally this was a challenge I couldn’t resist!
Hunting for dildos
But where to find dildos with suction cup bottoms to use as practice models? That turned out to be even more of a challenge!
To start with, Istanbul does not have “sex shops”, instead it has “erotic shops” which by law are not allowed on the ground floor.
I went online and in a few clicks, and to my great surprise, I found a listing for the only “erotic shop” in all of Istanbul claiming to be run for and by women. So there was hope…
I made a note of the adress and set out with my partner to go see. It sounded easy, but once we got to Taksim it still took almost an hour of searching, and asking locals where the street was until we finally found ourselves surrounded by shabby buildings in a run down neighborhood, and I was having doubts. Could there really be an erotic shop here? But a hundred meters further, down some crooked steps and onto a narrow side street we found ourselves standing in front of a sad, grafiti covered entrance with the right numbers on it, next to which was a tiny red sign with the name of the shop. It looked anything but female friendly, and if my man hadn’t been with me I would have never gone through that door…
Once inside we found things even more depressing...all we could see was a barely lit stairwell, and nothing to indicate that a shop was on the premises..not on the first floor like it said on the website, or on any of the doors on the flights above. Disappointed and convinced that this was all a bad joke or a bad dream we headed back down the stairs and were on our way out when suddenly the unmarked door on the first floor opened and a small middle-aged woman poked her head out and asked in Turkish what we were doing here. My man said Erotic Shop? and she gave a smile and a nod and opened the door wider to let us in. She was the owner and her “shop” was really a very small studio apartment divided into office space and tiny “showroom” with walls of peeling grey paint and the floor covered in heavily stained dark brown carpeting
She did have suction cup bottomed dildos for sale but could barely speak a word of English, and her assortment was just as meager. Must the Turkish women get by with this, I wondered? What a world of difference between here and the Netherlands. We are truly spoiled for choice with all the truly female-friendly sexshops we have, filled with all sorts of toys, lubes, oils, books, DVD’s, & sexy lingerie for every taste and fantasy. I said a silent thank you to our Dutch pioneers like Hanni Jagtman, Ella van der Gang, Esther Suijker and Jeanette Westerveld. This so-called female friendly erotic shop was even worse than the seediest sexshop in Holland, and to top it off I found myself confronted with a shelf full of rubber pussies, obviously for male use, which did anything but arouse me. So…
Lets try this again..
The combination of poor selection and poor communication proved too much to cope with so we decided to try again next day at an erotic shop I had seen listed in Moda, not far from the apartment we were lodging in. This also turned into an unexpected challenge as, on the way downtown, we were confronted and delayed by thousands of demonstrators marching against the government. And of course the adress we were looking for was on the other side of the shouting marchers. We weren’t really sure what they were shouting but believe me, you don’t have to understand Turkish to know it was something very angry..and though the shop adress was easy to find, it was also across the street and down a ways, behind the cops and barricades, so we had to worm our way through.
We eventually managed but again as we stood in front of the right adress we were having doubts as we saw only a sidewalk clothing stall run by a very conservative looking elderly Turkish man wearing a knitted hat, and dark coat over a long blue apron. But my man took the lead..he whispered the name of the shop we were looking for to him and after a brief glance at me the man smiled and pointed to the steps at the back of his stall that led up into the building.
The erotic shop was on the 5th floor. The elevator was out of order so we had to take the stairs. Huffing and puffing we reached the top and immediately saw the big colorful sign on the door. This was already looking better. A young Turkish man answered the bell and cheerfully invited us in to what looked to be a very modern office with red furnishings, a plush sofa on the sidewall and 3 phones on the desk.Behind the office was the shop which was bigger, brighter and looked much more friendly. The assortment was large and varied, with the latest toys, and a rack full of upmarket DVD titles..and yes, two shelves full of dildos in all sizes, including just the ones I was looking for. Problem was, the young man did not speak a word of English. So we ended up on his laptop using Google translate to negotiate a price.
So we agreed a price but now it was a question of the husband of the birthday girl coming to get the dildos in time for the party. I called that evening and gave him the info, and crossed my fingers that all would go well. The next day my man and I went window shopping in Moda, were taking in the sights and smells, when to our utter surprise we saw the husband sitting at the window table of a Turkish pizza palace munching a “lachmajoun”. At first he didn’t see us standing and staring but when he did he blushed a deep red and waved us inside to join him, generously offering us some of his Turkish pizza and pointing to the big bag at his feet. Inside the bag were the dildos wrapped thickly in brown paper, tied off with twine. He confessed to eating here instead of his office because he did not want to be seen by his employees or have to explain the package. “You busted me”, he exclaimed rather sheepishly. Now he had the dildos but he still had to smuggle them into his house without his wife seeing so as not to spoil the surprise. We arranged that he would have me picked up and delivered by taxi later that evening….the taxi company already knew his address.
Across Istanbul by cab..
It took 45 minutes to get from the Asian to the European side of Istanbul, through heavy traffic and over the majestically lit bridge by the Golden Horn. We drove the hills and valleys, passing rows and rows of towering, brightly lit apartments. For me it was a magical journey to a mystery location. As I peered at the strange skyline I wondered what kind of women would be at the party and how would they react to my playshop.. and all the dildos. What had I got myself into..sitting alone in the back of a cab, driving at night through a city of millions more people than lived in all of the Netherlands? To make things even more unsettling, my driver was now stopping every few hundred meters to ask directions (!?). But eventually we arrived at the entrance to the gated community we were looking for, complete with guardhouse. This was certainly the neighborhood for the upper class residents. A minute later I was ringing the bell and being warmly greeted by birthday girl, who ushered me inside to meet her 15 giggling girlfriends, all eagerly crammed in the corner of her big living room, around a table full of erect dildos.
Women are women all over the world..
After a few glasses of wine things really got going. I got them to agree that whatever was said in the room would stay in the room. And that made everyone feel a lot safer. Then I gave a short intro to what the playshop was all about and had them share the dildos in groups of 3. I had figured one dildo each would have been prohibitively expensive for hubby and they would probably only be used this one time anyway…It was interesting to see how a few of the gals grabbed greedily for the mock cocks while others could barely touch them. Oy, I thought, as I held my breath, realizing how much of a taboe it was for women in this culture just to even touch a dildo! I would have to tread very lightly and more seductively if this was going to be a success…
I made it clear to them that if you want a man to understand you then first you have to get his attention. And the best way to get a man’s attention is to grab his cock!
That was the kind of straight talk they could all understand. As luck would have it my openess and candor proved irresistable and soon the dam was broken and the room was flooded with the happy noise of women giggling, making jokes and comments as they practiced the exercises with enthusiasm, and asked me all the right questions. At the end of the session my ears were burning and the women were all smiles. A few of them were greedily stuffing dildos into their bags to take home “for further practice. Success! Two hours and a few glasses of wine after ringing the doorbell and there I was, riding the taxi back across Istanbul, back over the bridge to Asia.
And now the men..
The very next day I was told that many of the women went home and enthusiastically demonstrated their new skills on some very surprised and delighted husbands. It was also suggested that perhaps the men should be sent to a playshop to learn some skills of their own. So..seems like there is more work to be done in Istanbul. And believe me when I say, it really is a place where practical “sex-ed” is urgently needed.
I don’t believe in protest marches, the kind that are always met with violence like the ones in Istanbul. I much prefer the tactics of seduction. You don’t have to love your enemies but you can still seduce them! Seduce them with charm, wit, empathy and, yes, sexuality. Make Love, Not War, has always been my motto.
On New Year’s Day my man called me from Istanbul to say he had a chat with the birthday girl and a couple of her friends and they were all deeply impressed with my way of teaching sex: how open and clear I was, my sense of humor…and they wanted more. That means a lot of travel back and forth. I’ve broken a lot of new ground and taboos in Holland, opened new doors, made a name for myself as a pioneer, to the point where after almost 30 years I am now known as THE Sex Coach of The Netherlands. Perhaps it is time to conquer another land. Once a pioneer, always a pioneer, I guess. But I realize this is not a challenge without some very considerable risks: Turkey is a decidedly Moslim country with a very conservative government that seems to be trying to take the people back to the 1500’s instead of forward into the 21st century, certainly with respect to sex and “morality”..and the equal rights of women. But then, the job of any healer, or educator is to go where the need is greatest, to answer if you are called…and I do feel I am being called.
This is going to be a daring new year, I think
I wish each of you a horizon expanding and very sexy 2014