"I was a virgin til I was 25": Luke McGregor stripped bare in sex ed documentary
Luke McGregor is an unlikely sex educator.
He lost his virginity at 25. By his early 30s he'd had just two sexual experiences.
But the Melbourne-based comedian has been on a steep learning curve.
In a bid to lift the taboo around sex and help Australians get better in the bedroom, he has embarked on an erotic odyssey.
This once socially awkward sexual novice is now a master of pleasure and intimacy. At least, he's trying to be.
In Luke Warm Sex, a six-part ABC documentary starting on Wednesday the 33-year-old meets a series of experts who help him overcome his shyness and boost his sexual knowledge.
From orgasmic meditation workshops and genital massage techniques, to kissing classes and cuddle parties, the series sees McGregor stripped bare – literally and metaphorically – in the name of sex education.
"I knew so little, and I asked some really dumb questions around contraception, and around where the clitoris is, my own anatomy, and I thought if anyone else is embarrassed to ask these questions or has the same fears as me I'll be able to ask these questions on their behalf," he said.
It is a noble stand. Even more so when taking into account just how painfully shy McGregor is. Fans of the Tasmanian-born comic's stand-up shows may think his nervous, bumbling stage presence is part of the act. The documentary makes it clear it is not.
In one episode McGregor visits a nudist colony and is almost brought to tears when the time comes to shed his clothes and join his fellow naturists for the most awkward game of pool ever seen on Australian television.
In another, it's hard to know whether to laugh or shield your eyes as he lies on the floor with a woman astride him in a 'Pulse of the Dragon' session – an ancient Tibetan ritual involving pelvis-to-pelvis pulsing, to a soundtrack of thumping electronic music.
"My job here is to stir your cauldron," says Barbara, the dragon pulser, as he winces in pain.
The humour makes for entertaining viewing but there is a more serious side. Until this documentary, much of McGregor's sexual knowledge came from Hollywood movies and porn.
"I thought that having a really big penis was important and as long as you stuck at a position long enough, thrusted long enough and hard enough, that a woman would orgasm. That's what I thought sex was," he said.
"I thought there was no need to warm up, it was just straight in, which was why I couldn't maintain an erection because I was scared that if it wasn't hard enough for long enough I would never be able to pleasure someone."
Sex educator Cyndi Darnell uses a vulva puppet to teach Luke McGregor about female anatomy. Photo: ABC
Working with relationship therapist and sex educator Cyndi Darnell, McGregor used a vulva puppet to learn where the clitoris and g-spot are located.
He also learned about pleasure, something he believes should be taught in high school sex education classes – an approach that some educators are adopting.
"The small amount of sex education I had at school and from my parents was never in terms of pleasure but always in terms of mechanics: this goes in here and this is how you avoid getting a disease," he said.
"Without education a vacuum's created where kids try and absorb the information from wherever they can and that's where we end up with teenagers who have this warped view of sex they've only learnt from porn and they don't feel they can ask their parents or teachers."
Cyndi Darnell agrees.
"The reason that a lot of people are confused about sex is because no-one teaches them. We don't talk about sex in helpful ways. We have to teach sex in a context that is relevant to young people," she said.
"There are many people like Luke who want information about sex but don't know where to get it from. They go to their doctors but doctors don't get training in their medical studies, social workers don't get training, psychologists and psychotherapists don't get training, so where do these people go?"
For McGregor, who is now in the early stages of a relationship, the biggest lesson has been learning to be comfortable talking about sex with his partner: what works, what doesn't.
"It's trying to get away from the idea of sex as a pass/fail, and knowing that the mood can fluctuate. That's changed my whole life," he said.
"I wish I'd known in high school that talking about sex is a mood enhancer not a mood killer. We've made sex a taboo when really it's just an extension of our affection towards people. As long as it's consenting adults and it's safe then sex is not as big a deal as we all make out."
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