IRREPRESSIBLE: Andelloux doesn’t hesitate
to discuss things that would some others blush.
Megan Andelloux, 31, sits on a folding chair at the front of her classroom. In front of her sit 10 terrified people, smiling awkwardly. They play with toy spiders and other “fidget toys” that she has left on their chairs, as she crosses her legs, arranges her styled red hair, and tells them not to stare.
“If you just stare,” she says, “I’ll get nervous, and when I get nervous I get hives.”
Her class today is two middle-aged couples, five women of various ages, and a middle-aged man.
They have come here today, to the back room at Miko Exoticwear on Wickenden Street in Providence, because they have questions that they can’t ask anywhere else. They have come here to learn about sex.
“Laughing is good,” she tells them, and her students laugh uncomfortably. And then the lesson begins.
It is not a traditional lesson, and Megan, in her denim skirt and low-cut shirt, with her pierced nose and the crow tattoo on her left bicep, is not a traditional teacher.
Today’s class is called “oh, Oh, OH,” and it focuses on female sexual desire, pleasure, and orgasms. For two hours, Andelloux will show videotapes of people experiencing orgasm and of women fondly examining each other’s genitalia.
She will quote dozens of statistics and answer questions shouted out by her students. They warm to her witty, familiar teaching style shortly after she tells them that she is a certified sexologist — “That means I get to talk about sex all day, and I love it.” Andelloux notes she is a gynecological teaching assistant, providing hands-on modeling and feedback to medical students performing their first gynecological exams, and that about once a month she goes to parties where men pay to admire her feet.
Her partner, Derek Andelloux, explains clinically that she is the best small-group educator he has ever watched. As a third-year medical student at Boston University, he says, he’s seen a lot of them.
Know the body beautiful
But Andelloux has not only mastered the art of teaching people. She has become an expert at making people feel at ease with one of the most uncomfortable facets of everyday life. As the director of the Sexuality Learning and Resource Center at Miko Exoticwear, a sex store (disclosure: it’s a Phoenix advertiser) that seeks to educate customers, talking about sex is part of Andelloux’s job description, and she has undergone years of training to learn how to do so.
Andelloux not only talks about penises and vaginas without giggling, she talks about them in a way that makes other people want to talk about them. This is why, minutes into the workshop, her students put down their fidget toys and start talking.
When Andelloux explains that there are changes that take place during menstruation that cause a woman to become more sensitive to sexual pleasure, one of her students shouts out, “Oh!”
“Is that why!” the woman exclaims. Her face lights up and she jumps halfway out of her seat. “Me and my husband,” she explains, smiling, “well, we do it in the shower . . . ”
The class nods, knowingly. Andelloux is teaching them that this kind of talk is good. It is educational.
The tools that Andelloux uses for her brand of education include a confetti assortment of sex toys, a bookshelf full of binders and titles like The Guide to Getting It On, a giant Benchtop toolbox filled with birth control devices, and a vulva puppet made of purple and red satin that she has affectionately dubbed “Veronica.” Veronica’s counterpart, a more realistic model of the female vulva and internal reproductive organs, rests on a shelf in the orange room. Her name is Fanny.
Andelloux and Fanny have been everywhere together. Once, Andelloux brought Fanny to a restaurant with her niece, Becky, where she mortified the 13-year-old by snapping out the uterus and discussing menstruation the way someone else might discuss a recent victory by the Patriots. More recently, she used Fanny to point out to her 69-year-old mother the placement of her cervix and clitoris.
The making of a sexpert
Andelloux’s parents were not always willing to listen to these attempts at education. For a while her father referred to her as a psychologist, and scratched out the line on her business card that listed her real profession.
When Andelloux first decided to go into sex education, she chose to tell her parents over a meal at McDonald’s. Her mother was eating a hamburger. Right before she took a bite, Megan said, “I’m gonna be a sex educator.”