“I grew up in the ancient days,” she said. “I grew up BC – Before Computers. But I still found copies of Playboy in my father’s room.”
These days, Winston is quick to note, kids don’t need to sneak into Dad’s bedroom and check the sock drawer for a hidden adult magazine. With the simple click of a mouse, the world of sexuality is readily accessible to any age mature enough to know how to turn on a computer and surf the Internet.
“Let’s be real about teenagers,” Winston said. “Whatever it was your parents thought you were into, you were probably into more. That’s how powerful sex is. It’s the number two driver on the planet. The number one urge is personal survival.”
And for any parent worried that the Internet makes sexual images and content too easy for kids to find, Winston said she has a ready solution: unlike when she was growing up, be prepared to talk to your kids frankly, and honestly, and openly about the subject. Because chances are, she said, kids are already several steps ahead of you.
“Pornography (online) is something we all have to think about now because kids are going to find it,” Winston said. “You can put on parental controls, but they’re still going to find it.”
That’s why parents should talk to their teens before they begin looking for that kind of information on their own, she said.
“The more skills we give them, the better they’re going to do,” Winston said.
Winston has some experience in this field. Unlike the days when she was growing up and sex was an off-limits topic, today Winston spends her days as a wholistic sexuality teacher, answering the questions that couples and individuals bring to her about the problems they’re having in relationships, or keeping their sex life healthy — subjects they’re curious about but have been too uncomfortable to bring up. There isn’t much she hasn’t heard yet, Winston said, but there are plenty of people who have told her the exact opposite.
“One of our challenges in our culture is we don’t have a good understanding of human sexuality,” Winston said. “This is not just about sex, this is not just about pleasure, this is about your health.”
The native of Hudson Valley, N.Y., was in Orlando on Tuesday at the Blissful Lotus Romance Boutique at 1810 N. Orange Ave., for a program called “Ask the Sex Teacher Anything.” It attracted a full house.
“There’s a lot of new faces here that I’ve never seen before, so I’m happy to see that,” said Stacey Murphy, who operates the boutique along with her husband, Sean Ramsay.
Murphy said she’s taken Winston’s classes and found that “She is a wonderful teacher. We are very happy to be a part of this.”
Winston noted that she’s also a licensed massage therapist and is certified to teach child birth education.
“I did retire from birthing babies about 12 years ago,” she said. “Now I travel around and I teach classes about sex. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. I teach classes on female anatomy, and classes for teens and adults as well.”
Talking about sex is healthy, Winston said, in part because the nature of sexuality has changed so much with the widespread availability of the Internet. She understood, for example, that her own son could find out anything he wanted from the Internet, so she decided to be proactive about that.
“He didn’t want to talk to his mom about this stuff, so I just gave him books,” she said. “I would put books in his room when he was 12 or 13. Usually kids are ready before we think they’re ready. I wanted to give him the information so his curiosity was not the driving force.”
But even if it was just adults who were surfing the Web, Winston said the easy availability of pornographic images has become a challenge for some couples. It’s also forced couples to confront issues they may not be ready for if one of the partners discovers a special type of pornography and can’t stop thinking about it.
“Some of the videos show people being sexual in a loving and romantic way, and some of them show people being sexual in a violent or degrading way,” she said. “To me, sex is meaningful. The people in those videos seem to be interested in body parts, and there’s more to sex than body parts.”
Sex is also more complicated today, she said, as people live longer and want to maintain active sex lives.
Men coping with performance issues should keep in mind that this is “perfectly normal,” Winston said. “It’s important to understand our sexuality is going to change in the same way other things change as we get older.”
Another difference from when she was a young adult, Winston said, is that today we’re a heavily medicated society – and many of those medications can influence a person’s sexual performance.
“Medication is a big issue,” she said. “So many people are on anti-depressants today.”
That’s why she offers the classes – to help people who are struggling with different issues dealing with their sexuality.
“Come to the class, and if you don’t learn anything you didn’t already know, I will refund your money,” she said.
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