Luke McGregor, subject and star of the documentary series Luke Warm Sex. Photo: ABCYou present yourself as incredibly naive about sex, having been a virgin until age 25 and having “done it” just twice since then. Is this a character you’ve created for the show or is it really you?
Unfortunately, that is all me. I thought before we started filming whether I should try to come across as a little cooler, a little more knowledgeable. But we thought, nah, it might be better to not try to educate myself prior, because that meant I might be asking questions that people my age still have but are too embarrassed to ask.
One of the big ones was about the clitoris – I knew it existed, and I knew you should pay attention to it, but I wasn’t sure where, or in what way. It was a conscious decision not to look it up on the net before I started interviewing an expert, because if anyone else is going through the same thing I am, I thought it would be more helpful. But it was a tough balance trying to write a show while not being too informed going in.
Do you think other people are going through what you were? Are there are others out there clamouring for this sort of belated sex education?
Universities say when they do sex surveys they’re not really sure if people are telling the truth or not; anonymous surveys are always very different than surveys where people think they are being logged. I know that right up until the point I did the doco I used to not let on or discuss how much sexual experience I had, or try to let on I’d had a bit more. So I think it’s common that maybe we’re slightly embarrassed as we get older to close those knowledge gaps we have about sex.
If someone learns something they were scared to ask, or there’s a couple who aren’t enjoying their sex life and start talking about it and enjoying it more [after watching this series], they would be the things I hope for.
In the series, you experience a whole range of workshops, many of them rather “hands-on”. Were you surprised to discover such a flourishing trade in sexual knowledge and practice out there?
I was, yeah, and there was a whole bunch of stuff we didn’t even have time to cover, like the future of sex and the role virtual reality will play in it. It was a real eye-opener; I had no idea this whole community of people was out there. There isn’t always a certificate in this stuff, so often we were trying to find people through word of mouth, because the community can be quite closed. But as soon as we started finding some experts, we started finding others.
One of those experts taught you how to pleasure yourself more expertly. How does one train to become a masturbation counsellor?
His background is giving people happy endings at massage parlours. He became well known for it, and was very popular, and then started teaching it as a way of supplementing his artistic income. The stuff he is teaching was great; I hadn’t thought of doing that with my genitals before.
Among the more shocking moments in the show is the revelation that your first instinct upon ejaculating for the first time as a kid was to run in and show your mother. Please explain.
Mum was really good about it. Because it was one of the few times where something had actually happened, she had to address it, and we talked quite openly about it, and she said it was normal. But that was pretty much the only sex-ed I ever had with my parents.
Starting there in the doc was pretty important because it was kind of a cycle of awkwardness that I wanted to break. I thought it would be good to go back to where it all started, when something happens with your body that you don’t understand, and I wondered if, now that we’re all older, that would still be awkward. And the answer was yes.
What was the most embarrassing moment for you in the show?
When I was at the naturist resort, and I was sitting there clothed with a glass of wine and I thought I should get changed now. Having to take my clothes off, then standing in the room naked, thinking, “What if I have to go to the toilet and don’t shake enough times and I drip everywhere?” That was probably the most confronting.
And the most liberating?
Probably the same moment.
Luke Warm Sex is on ABC TV on Wednesdays at 9pm from March 16.
Karl Quinn is on Facebook and on twitter @karlkwin
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