Chatelaine magazine

The Kama Lou Tra
by Kate Zimmerman for Chatelaine Magazine, May 2000

Sexpert Lou Paget knows what you want. She’ll also draw you a very graphic map so you can get there. Now, thank goodness, she’s doing the same thing for him, so you’ll both arrive happy. Kate Zimmerman explains.

Lou Paget flips open the dishwasher in the immaculate eggshell-coloured kitchen of her Los Angeles apartment and slides out its top rack, exposing two rows of rubber male sex organs in an array of lifelike flesh tones. Wrapping each in a cloth bag, she packs them in a metal Haliburton valise, hops into her Mercedes and heads for a house in the suburbs. There, six women who have each been invited to participate in Paget’s sexuality seminar by HBO-TV’s RealSex show (ordinarily, it would have cost them $125 per person) are waiting -- somewhat nervously -- to learn everything Paget can teach them in the next four hours. As they cluster around a coffee table, Paget opens her case to reveal what she calls her “instructional product,” asking each woman to choose one. “We have the six-inch, eight-inch or the ever-so-popular five-inch executive model -- also known as ‘the Porsche driver,’” she says, making everyone laugh. Each of the women, who range in age from late 20s to early 40s, selects a product and orients it on a dinner plate on the table in front of her, rubber scrotum facing toward herself.

It’s just another working day for North America’s premier hands-on sex educator. This seminar is one of more than 100 Paget conducts each year with similar groups of women -- and men -- around the continent. With a delivery that’s part anatomy lecture, part girlfriends’ dish, Paget is determined to show her clients exactly why and how the oral and manual aspects of sex, rather than just intercourse, can be the keys to pleasure for both sexes.

“Your hands and your mouth are a lot more versatile than another part of your anatomy,” Paget tells the women, “so you can create a lot more sensation with them.” During the safer-sex discussion, Paget demonstrated “the Italian method”: she applies a condom to a fake penis with her mouth, then coaches the women as they try it themselves. As the evening unfolds, she ads techniques, many with wholesome names such as “basket weave” and “heartbeat of America.” The women joke around as they follow Paget’s suggestions. At the end of the seminar, they look as though they’re raring to test drive these new stratagems as soon as they get home.

Nothing could make Paget happier. After all, she’s so intent on spreading the gospel of the “Kama Lou Tra” that she agreed to have this particular seminar taped for the HBO series. If you’d seen the segment, called “How to Please a Penis,” you probably would have been bemused by the way Paget managed to appear demure, almost prim, with her delicate features, subtle makeup and pastel blouse -- even while practically swallowing a dildo on TV.

The Calgary-raised, L.A.-based sex guru knows her profession is extraordinary, but that’s a point of pride with her. Paget isn’t the least bit apologetic about the explicit nature of her work. A frequent contributor to numerous major magazines and a vocal proponent of condom use, she is on a one-woman mission to save the sex lives of everyone on the planet. And it’s not through the missionary position.

“Even the world’s greatest chefs do not rest their laurels on one dish,” says Paget, who advocates varying sexual techniques. She describes intercourse as merely “the tip of the iceberg.” At the start of her career, she focused on oral and manual sex because they were thought to be safer than intercourse in terms of sexually transmitted diseases. But now, she’s come to believe that expertise in these areas enhances one’s sex life immeasurably. Oral and manual sex are as much a part of most couples’ lovemaking as intercourse, she points out, and they are invariably the way that sexual interludes start. Paget notes that some partners even enjoy oral and manual sex techniques to the exclusion of intercourse. “Why bother doing anything if you don’t do it well?” she asks. “Any time you have more in your repertoire to draw on, it gives more options and variety.” Besides the seminars, Paget’s “sexpertise” is now available in two books: 1999’s bestselling How to be a Great Lover, for women, and How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure, for men (both published by Broadway).

While other sex educators and authors pay lip service to the idea of heating things up through foreplay, intercourse is usually assumed to be the ultimate goal. Paget has nothing against the act itself, but it’s not the focus of her interest. Where Alex Comfort’s 1972 classic the Joy of Sex (Pocket), now updated, devotes just two and a half pages to manual sex and focuses on multiple positions for intercourse, Paget offers female readers 35 pages of step-by-step hand-job tips. While The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex (Pearson Education) offers readers of both sexes a few pages each on oral sex, Paget gives women 33 pages of advice in her chapter called “Blowing … His Mind” and offers men 24 pages in “The Art of Tongue.”

Paget’s philosophy is winning her plenty of attention. “Sex is one of those areas where you always hear people say that there’s nothing new under the sun,” says Kate White, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. “But when I read Lou’s quotes I feel, ‘That’s new, that’s different, that’s a fun and inspiring suggestion for readers.’ We use her a tremendous amount.”

At Playboy, associate editor Chip Rowe, who writes The Playboy Adviser column, says he spends most of his working day reading sex manuals and related publications. Even so, he says, “I never fail to learn something new from Lou’s books. That’s why I sometimes turn to her to get her perspective on a reader’s letter. She spends a lot of time talking to real people about their experiences, and that’s what makes her books so lively and interesting.”

Paget would be the first to admit that research is what got her where she is today. And before you start smirking, gentle reader, be advised that she doesn’t mean that she was the neighbourhood “tramp.” In fact, Paget stumbled into her current occupation because she felt uninformed. The author had worked as a realtor and sold art in Calgary before moving to L.A. on the heels of a failed marriage. After she and her husband split up, Paget began wondering why they hadn’t had a more comfortable sexual relationship. She decided to read up on technique, but found a dearth of information.

Instead, she says, rolling her eyes, most advice focused on the woman putting on lots of black eye-liner, lighting a few candles and opening a bottle of wine. So, Paget set out to collect information on what worked from friends and acquaintances, soliciting their favourite, fail-safe methods for pleasing a partner. One night, she spent a solve-all-the-problems-in-the-world evening with a couple of female friends who, after a few drinks, admitted that they really didn’t know what to do in the bedroom. Paget let them in on some of the stuff she’d learned. Within a week, they had called her back, raving about the dramatic effect her advice had had on their sex lives. Soon, Paget was holding sexuality seminars for friends and then other women. She never considered offering sexual advice to men until she told a stranger at a dinner party what she did for a living. He immediately asked if she gave seminars for men, too. “They weren’t getting the information, and they knew they weren’t,” says Paget, who soon found that men were as eager as women to learn her secrets.

Books were the logical next step. How to Be a Great Lover  shot to number 10 on the Amazon.com list the day after it arrived in stores in January 1999, and sold out in the U.S. in its first two weeks. It’s now in its eighth printing, has been released in a British / Australian edition, and is being translated into German, Italian, French, Dutch and Hebrew.  How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure went to No. 22 on Amazon.com on its second day out this past January and is already into its second printing. Paget likens the specific information she provides to the detailed how-tos you’d receive while fine-tuning your golf swing or your skiing technique. It’s all in aid of enhancing pleasure for longtime couples, rather than teaching singles how to get and keep a partner.

“To me, this is the information everybody wants but doesn’t want anyone to know they want it,” says Paget, whose accessibility has something to do with her avoidance of slang and four-letter words, no matter how raunchy her subject. “I don’t care if you are 25, 45 or 65; if you have been together for a period of time, things don’t have the same heat ... and where do you go to recreate it?”

You might expect that women, who generally take “improve thyself” as a mantra, would embrace Paget’s Martha Stewart-like wisdom. How to Be a Great Lover is subtitled Girlfriend-to-Girlfriend Totally Explicit Techniques That Will Blow His Mind and unfolds like a frank conversation between chums. But men seemed an iffier proposition. While writing How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure, Paget knew she had to speak to men as peers, without criticism or condescension.

Even so, she wondered whether the average male would want advice from a female on how to improve his performance. But Playboy’s Rowe expresses no such reservations.  “Much of the turn-on for a guy is to know that his partner is turned on. Men tend to be solution-oriented; they want a step-by-step guide on how to get the job done, and Lou’s book supplies that.”

Paget believes that men have been poorly served by traditional methods of teaching them sexual technique and yet, unlike women, they are expected to know exactly what to do. Typically, a man’s resources include hard-core pornography, the majority of which Paget scorns. She points out that most porn is made by men and doesn’t take women’s desires into the equation. It’s no wonder that many men don’t know what women really like, Paget notes. Without any practical information, neither do women know what their male partners prefer. “We have made sex this ‘woo-woo’ mystery thing.”

If sex is a mystery, Paget is Miss Marple — she wastes no time in getting to the nitty-gritty. She says no sexual subject repulses her, but she is occasionally taken aback by the rationalizations some people will use when it comes to intimate matters — men who feel they aren’t being unfaithful to their spouse if they don’t ejaculate inside their extramarital partner, for instance. “And sometimes I hear amazingly touching and amazingly cruel things — by that, I mean behaviors,” says Paget. “Would some of these ‘activities’ be something I'm interested in? No. But then, we can’t all like the same thing.”

On the other hand, in Paget’s view, rare are those who dislike being on the receiving end of caresses and loving attention. Attention is at the core of both the seminars and the books, no matter whom she is addressing. She is especially persuasive in How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure. The men’s book devotes almost 30 pages to “Getting Her in the Mood:” courting, cultivating good table manners and pandering to all of a woman’s senses in terms of music, lighting, food and fragrance (clean sheets are, apparently, job one.) Paget notes that women need time and care to be able to clear their minds before they can focus on enjoying any aspect of lovemaking. She also points out that attitude goes a long way toward making any sex memorable -- physical attractiveness and prowess matter far less than enthusiasm.

Edmonton resident Melisssa Schulhof, 32, swears by the Paget philosophy. She attended her first Paget seminar at a bachelorette party in Calgary where, she says, “I was really impressed and learned lots.” Schulhof invited Paget to give a seminar this past November to the wives of members of Edmonton’s Young Entrepreneurs Organization (YEO). Some guests were a little shocked when Paget got down to business. But even the women who were embarrassed at first soon became enthralled by the subject matter. Afterward, Paget ran out of the books she had taken to sell. “She makes you feel very at-home and very natural about learning what she teaches,” Schulhof explains.
The women who’d attended the seminar all wore their pearl necklaces to the YEO Christmas party a month later, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Paget’s recommendation of pearls as a tool of penile stimulation. Schulhof says husband after husband came up to her and thanked her for bringing the Kama Lou Tra to their wives. “It’s always good to keep your partner surprised,” she says. “(Paget) has many tricks she teaches you, not all of which you could use in one night.”

But, of course, as Paget might say, there’s no harm in trying.

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