New Yorkers Get Schooled in 'Womanly Arts'

ByABC News
February 20, 2004, 6:33 AM

Feb. 20, 2004 -- Some women are naturally comfortable with their bodies and sex, but many are not. Thousands of therapists offer to help. But few offer self-esteem and sex classes quite like the woman who calls herself "Mama Gena." She's not a professional sex therapist, but her clients seem to blossom.

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Mama Gena's real name is Regena Thomashauer. She came to New York City 25 years ago to pursue an acting career. She says she noticed that even her successful friends had unhappy relationships. "You walk around New York City you walk around anywhere you see women without their lights on. There's a lovely woman, but it's blank. There's no vibe or voom."

So she decided she could do something about it. She changed her name to Mama Gena and opened her School of Womanly Arts. For $650, she gives her students who range in age from 18 to 80 six weekly, three-hour classes in the fundamentals of sensuality.

To learn more about Mama Gena and her classes, visit her Web site

Mama Gena's students are pretty embarrassed at the beginning of the class. "The first night, I come in here it's little stone faces. It takes so much to enter this building and to say yes to your pleasure."

Most of her students are young and single a few are married. She says she teaches women "how to create things not through hard work or suffering, but using their appetite, their desire, what they want, what they long for, what their dreams are."

Putting Your Own Desires First

According to Mama Gena, women have a tendency to neglect their own desires by putting other people's needs before their own. She says women will gain more control in all areas of their lives if they get a handle on their sexual life. "When a woman is willing to own herself sensually she owns her life When a woman really adores herself then playing with guys is a joy," she said.

The women who enroll in her class talk about the mixed messages culture sends them about their sexuality. "It's like, 'Be sexy, but don't be too sexy,'" said Elizabeth, a 24-year-old bartender.