Dr. Emily Morse Teaches Sex and Communication on MasterClass
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- Dr. Emily Morse is the host of the popular podcast “Sex with Emily.”
- Her MasterClass delivers sex-positive sex tips, like a script for tough conversations.
- I took the course and was impressed by its effectiveness and couple-bonding activities.
Quality, sex-positive sex education isn’t something many US schools offer. According to the 2014 CDC School Health Profiles, fewer than half of high schools and one-fifth of middle schools teach all the topics recommended by the CDC as essential parts of sex education. It’s not surprising that so many of us approach our sex lives with uncertainty or unrealistic expectations.
Dr. Emily Morse, the host of the popular podcast “Sex with Emily” (the number one sexuality podcast, according to Chartable) has spent 15 years trying to make sex-positive information mainstream. She earned her Doctor of Human Sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco and holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan.
Her MasterClass on “Sex and Communication” is one place you can find quality, no-shame information about sex. It’s kind of like a comprehensive version of the topics she discusses on the podcast, combined with the characteristically high visual production value of MasterClass courses.
In order to take it, you will need an annual MasterClass membership ($180). You’ll find a MasterClass FAQ at the end of this article.
3 fascinating things I learned about sex from Dr. Emily Morse’s Sex and Communication MasterClass:
A fulfilling sex life relies upon self-knowledge — it’s on you to figure out what you like.
This one sounds obvious, but it’s essentially the building block upon which the rest of Dr. Morse’s advice rests. In “Take Control of your Orgasm,” she underlines that the only person responsible for your orgasm is, in fact, you; “It’s not about your partner ‘giving’ you an orgasm.” That expectation isn’t really rooted in reality.
Knowing what you like takes practice. So, you need to do the “work.” Dr. Morse recommends finding time (20 minutes a week) to do some mindful masturbation. Essentially, the goal of this is exploration and curiosity, not orgasm. Set the mood, and be present. If you’re having trouble connecting to your body, Morse suggests focusing on your breathing.
Conversations about sex are awkward at any age and experience level, but there are ways to make them more open and easy.
Rather than tips and tricks, Dr. Morse says the majority of her work is helping people to deal with their communication fears. The fact is that most of us probably already know what we want (“I want you to kiss me more”), but out of fear of judgment, shame, or discomfort, we opt for unfulfilling sex over authentically talking to our partners.
Dr. Morse acknowledges that conversations about sex are awkward, even for her. To help, she shares the “three Ts of communication”: Turf, tone, and timing.
For instance, she suggests leaving your bedroom for sleep and sex — not conversations about sex. If you’re feeling nervous or uncomfortable, talk about it on a walk or road trip; you can be upfront without needing to keep eye contact. Most importantly: always approach the conversation with a curious, open-minded perspective.
Make lists of things you like and swap with your partner.
Too many of us think a healthy sex life is asking our partner what they like and then implementing it. But Morse recommends first identifying what you like — and your partner doing the same — before you try to blend them together.
For instance, use a “yes, maybe, no” list or a sexual bucket list, with prompts to respond to (for example, “sex outdoors”). The prompts don’t need to be particularly wild — the purpose is to expand your ability to discuss pleasure. By making a list, answering it individually, and then swapping, you’re each able to honor your individual preferences before finding the places you overlap.
In the downloadable class guide, you’ll find a print-out version of this if you don’t know where to start to make your own.
Cons of the MasterClass
“Sex and Communication” is full of useful information and has the high production value and pacing that makes me finish MasterClass courses at a higher rate than other online classes.
But it’s also not as in-depth as academic courses you’d take in school. If you’re looking for a great “edu-tainment” sex-ed overview that packages lots of great information and cool graphics, this is a good option. For more information, I recommend downloading this course’s class guide, which expands on the covered topics significantly. In it, Morse includes everything from romance and erotica book suggestions to a flow chart for picking sex toys to how to watch porn ethically.
And while it’s great that this course exists, paying $180 for a sexuality MasterClass isn’t accessible to everyone. There are other places to look if you’re cash-strapped: Planned Parenthood (specifically for teachers) and Coursera (which includes classes specifically covering LGBTQ sexual health and gender identity). Both offer free courses.
The bottom line
I appreciated Morse’s combination of lending perspective and concrete examples. Specific tips on approaching awkward conversations or discovering a partner’s sexual preferences are more helpful than vague platitudes alone.
Equally interesting as the advice are the insights around anatomy and pleasure. Morse discusses the orgasm gap, the impact of lube on orgasm rates, and how vulva owners with a clitoris that’s more than an inch away from their vaginal opening may actually be unable to orgasm from solely penetrative sex.
You’ll also get a few tips and tricks about improving your techniques (sensitive areas on the body and genitalia, motions to try, and more).
How much does MasterClass cost?
MasterClass costs $180 for its annual subscription ($15 a month), which gives you unlimited access to all its classes until you cancel.
Is MasterClass worth it?
If you will use MasterClass more than a few times, yes, the yearly pass may be worth it if you enjoy this type of learning. If you won’t, or you need something more intensive or traditionally academic, consider other online learning sites like Coursera or edX.
How does MasterClass work?
MasterClass classes are about 2-5 hours on average, with individual lessons ranging from 2-5 minutes. Classes include pre-recorded video lessons by your instructor, a class workbook, interactive assignments, and sometimes community activities. MasterClass may have opportunities for students to submit work to instructors for feedback, but that’s not the norm.