WHat to do tonight: Learn to stir up your sex life at Squirrel Hill's The Well

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All this tension in the world. People are so stressed, so serious.

You have the chance tonight to explore ways of enjoying more relief, more pleasure. It's the second annual 50 Shades of Pleasure: Sex Seminar at The Well on Beechwood Boulevard in Squirrel Hill.

(We're going to be grown-ups about this. No juvenile jokes or double entendres.)

The seminar is being presented by Susan Merenstein, pharmacist and owner of Murray Avenue Apothecary, who takes her job seriously -- and has a lot of fun doing it.

"It's very serious because intimacy makes up half your marriage, half your relationship," Ms. Merenstein said. "And we're losing that. In today's society of texting and email and everything online. Where is our eye contact, where's our touching, where's our feeling?"

Ms. Merenstein has been a pharmacist for 32 years and operating her apothecary since 2007. She and her staff help couples restore and stir up their intimacy.

"One of my big things in pharmacy has always been education in the community. I love it," she said. "So we decided to take the show on the road and created the first annual Murray Avenue Apothecary/yourgoddessroom.com sex seminar.

"We do have a clientele here that needs help. People, as they age, are more susceptible to hormone imbalance and loss of mojo, for lack of a better term. You know, sex drive."

Last year's session attracted 35 people, some of them faithful customers, but there were some new faces in the crowd, several of whom have become clients.

Those attending pay $5 at the door, but that money can be applied toward the purchase of an adult pleasure device. Then class begins.

"We're teaching," Ms. Merenstein said. "There's going to be a slide show that includes a quiz. There will be prizes and giveaways. Then we have discussion about the answers. We are educating but we are also having fun.

"The tone is light. 'Hey listen, the freaking election is over, so let's have some fun.' Get in there in that bedroom and have some fun. Know your part and know what turns you on. The biggest thing is communication. That's really the crux of good sex."

While there will be no demonstrations, there will be some show-and-tell.

"Just bring an open mind," Ms. Merenstein said, "relax and let the information flow in, and then go home and ..."

She laughs rather than finish some of her sentences.

"It's hard to be too serious about this," she said. "But that's one of the problems. People are too serious."

You would be wrong to think that this is a "how-to" session with various FDA-approved products. There are messages that are being transmitted.

"For example, we have to get back to hugging," Ms. Merenstein said. "Did you know that you can increase your cuddle hormone called oxytocin in about 20 seconds with just a hug?"

Some reporters don't even know what oxytocin is. The definition "cuddle hormone" will have to suffice.

You can learn more starting at 6:30 p.m. at The Well, 4070 Beechwood Blvd. If you miss it, you might have to wait a year for another.

"We have one big seminar a year," Ms. Merenstein said. "It was so much fun, we decided to give it a go again. We like doing it multiple times."

(Darn. I almost made it.)

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