After spending some 45 minutes in a circle with about 20 other women—passing around joints, vape pens, and bowls—Dee Dussault’s yoga class feels like settling into a warm bath. The lights are turned way down low, and soft lounge music plays.
And then, as we all lie on our mats, one knee cocked, she gives us a directive: “Squeeze the inside of your vagina, like you’re holding a juicy plum.”
This is Sexy Flex, in which women are encouraged to connect with their own sensuality, through tantric yoga and cannabis.
When you think of sex, yoga, and weed, it seems like they probably go together just fine. Dussault provides a safe space for women to explore the pit of this sumptuous convergence, though to be clear, her classes are fully clothed. What you do after class is entirely up to you.
Dussault works as both a yoga instructor and a sexuality coach. She’s the author of Ganja Yoga: A Practical Guide to Conscious Relaxation, Soothing Pain Relief, and Enlightened Self-Discovery, and she trains other yoga instructors on how to incorporate cannabis into their own classes.
Dussault said she developed an interest in human sexuality as a “precocious” teen, frequently flipping through Cosmopolitan and even letters sent to Penthouse. One commonality began to emerge.
“It was pretty clear to me from the beginning that women were listing sexual complaints or having difficulties getting their needs met,” she said. “As I got more into feminism, it became even more apparent.”
(Photo by Jennifer Skog)
Dussault went on to study sexuality at York University in Toronto. It was while pursuing a Masters in the same field that she began training to become a yoga instructor. Dussault studied in the tantric tradition, which she describes as including “some of the more esoteric yoga concepts of prana and chakras, so a really spiritual tradition that includes sexuality as part of life and spirituality.”
This was also around the same time she got into cannabis, describing herself as a “late bloomer” who didn’t begin consuming until her upper 20s.
“I found it made my yoga practice far more relaxing, more embodied, more sensual, more interesting,” she said.
‘Embodied’ is a word Dussault uses a lot, the idea of coming into and being aware of one’s body.
“I asked my teacher what she thought about [using cannabis]–she’s a very traditional kind of Hindu practitioner—and she said we all have our own path,” Dussault continued. “Cannabis has been used as a spiritual substance throughout yoga, so as long as you use it with mindfulness it can definitely be a tool.”
While her yoga practice blossomed and her affinity for cannabis grew, her academic studies disappointed.
What Dussault wanted was to help women in a real way. That could mean things like achieving “orgasm parity” with their partners, discovering how foreplay could lead to greater sexual satisfaction, or developing better communication skills. Her courses, however, focused on French postmodernism and philosophical pursuits like, “What even is a body?” She ended up dropping out of school and, ultimately, found she could help women better with heavy breathing than heavy reading.
Dussault offers both Ganja Yoga and the Sexy Flex class. Students of both will be given time to consume at the beginning. It’s fairly informal, with various methods of consumption available, all of them optional.
She ultimately found she could help women better with heavy breathing than heavy reading.
For the first 45 minutes of Dussault’s most recent Sexy Flex class in Los Angeles, I sat in a circle with several women. A joint was passed casually around the room, as were cartons of strawberries, bowls of nuts, and platters of chocolate. No one talked much about sex, though we did talk about yoga, whether we’d been to a class with Dussault in the past, and what other cannabis events we’d been to lately.
When it was time to begin the yoga, we retreated to our mats and Dussault dimmed the lights. The room maintained a warm glow from a few small lamps and candles, but it remained dark enough to allow participants to focus on their own bodies and practice without worrying about how they might appear to others.
The class began with breath, as many do. Dussault encouraged us to vocalize on our exhales. A cascade of sighs filled the room.
“All of my classes have some amount of vocalization,” she said. “It really does help people to relax. It sheds a layer of tension, just the act of yawning or faking a sigh or letting out a sound vibration. Especially in the Sexy Flex class, that sound of relief can at times become a sound of pleasure and bliss, so you relax more and more.”
The poses that followed were relatively easy, making the class accessible to yoga beginners, those with injuries, or the those who are, like me, woefully inflexible. Dussault’s voice was enough to direct us, so the low lights were fine.
Several minutes in, Dussault began talking about pelvic floor contractions—the aforementioned holding of the juicy plum. She also noted she does not refer to these exercises as Kegels, the name derived from gynecologist Arnold Kegel, who began promoting them as beneficial in the late ’40s.
“Squeezing the pelvic floor is an ancient act,” she said. “[Kegel] got notoriety in the medical profession and Western communities, but if we just call them pelvic floor contractions, it keeps the fact that women have known about them for far longer.”
Doing these pelvic floor contractions can increase blood flow to the pelvic region, which Dussault says not only improves circulation, but helps her students connect to that area of their body. These exercises are scattered throughout the class, combined with stretches, poses, more breathing, and hip movements.
“Many of us are disembodied in general from the neck down because of our cell phones and devices and mental obsessions. But even more specifically, many women are disembodied from their genitals due to trauma of varying severities,” she says. “So it’s to come back into our own genitals from the sense of internal healing as opposed to a sort of external stimulation, to feel ourselves inside.”
Though the class could have easily felt pretentious, levity was offered when the music switched to Ginuwine’s “Pony.” Everyone laughed, which seemed to remind us we were embarking on this weird journey together.
Near the end of the class, Dussault led us in a “strawberry meditation.” Everyone who wanted to join presented an open palm, into which Dussault dropped one berry. We were told to close our eyes and lick, kiss, and bite the fruit slowly, contemplatively, and perhaps sumptuously. It’s just a berry—the kind you’d unceremoniously dump into a bowl of yogurt with granola—but in this environment, the mind wanders elsewhere. With eyes closed, it’s just you, the strawberry, and whatever thoughts are conjured.
The juicy strawberry is, of course, frequently associated with sensuality. If before we were embodying genitals, then now we embodied our noses, mouths, tongues, and teeth.
After the class, we were invited to rejoin the earlier circle and socialize for another 15 minutes or so. Yoga mats were rolled and put away, joints were rolled and passed. There seemed to be a sense of confidence and complacence, though not necessarily one of lustiness.
Dussault says most people report feeling good or a “sense of completion” after a class, though that may manifest in various ways. Some run off to dates, others go home, some go out to eat. She suspects confidence is boosted among students, regardless of their after-class activities.
“I think we, as women, walk taller and occupy a more confident space when we are sexually empowered,” she said. “A woman’s sexiness is often in relation to how we appear to others as a sex object. But in having the lights really dim, and the exercises, the strawberry meditation, with the eyes closed, it’s really about how it feels to you. It’s not about being the object.”
Sexy Flex is certainly a class one could take without cannabis, though it definitely helps foster a sense of connectivity. It’s easier to lie in a room with several other people and imagine holding fruit in your pelvis when you’ve smoked together. Dussault notes that some may also benefit from the plant’s anti-inflammatory properties. For me, it helped the awkwardness melt away, and drew the focus out of my head and into my physical body. Sexy yoga is not something I’d like to do in a bright space without consuming first.
“For people who like cannabis, it can make the things you like even better,” she said. “It might not make accounting or taxes better, but if it’s something like a comedy movie or sex, it can make those things better.”
While Sexy Flex classes are typically only offered for women (trans, non-binary, and gender fluid identities welcome), Dussault does offer private sexuality coaching for individuals or couples of all genders and orientations. This can apply to people with specific concerns, or couples looking for a unique date night.
Dussault is fairly nomadic, hosting sporadic classes and sessions in multiple cities. To find her, you can check out her website or follow her on Instagram. So while you might not make Sexy Flex a weekly or even monthly thing, what’s perhaps most beneficial about the class is that it provides a welcoming, safe, communal environment where you learn exercises that can be replicated at home. It doesn’t have the same vibe as doing the poses with a bunch of other women, but it may remind you to care for those internal muscles you might otherwise overlook.