Controversy

The world's first sex school: An instant guide

The Austrian International School of Sex instructs students on how to be lovers, using what it calls "hands on" techniques

Students: Please open your books… and your legs? The world's first sex school, aptly called the Austrian International School of Sex, is now open in Austria. With a curriculum that "is not theoretical, but very practical," the AISOS aims to be the first institution to offer degrees in applied sexuality. As touted on its website, "we teach hands on." Here, a brief guide to the unconventional academy:

A sex school… really?
Yep. An "enterprising" Swedish artist is behind the idea, which is, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, the world's first international sex school. It's located in Vienna, and offers "'hands on' lessons in seduction for £1,400 a term" — which translates to roughly $1,900 a semester. Anyone can enroll if they're over the age of 16, the age of consent in much of Europe. In a statement on the school's website, founder and headmistress Ylva-Maria Thompson says, "You have trained your mind, your muscles, your fitness, but how much have you you spent developing your skills at what really matters… love?"

What is the course load like?
AISOS teaches each pupil "how to be a better lover," according to its mission statement, through a curriculum focused on "sexual positions, caressing techniques, [and] anatomical features." The school's website says it offers "5 courses, 200 lessons, a lifetime of pleasure." The first 10-week course, titled "Sexual Techniques," begins Jan. 9, with offerings like "Advanced Intercourse" and "History of Sex" to follow. Classes are held mostly in German. There are exams at the end of the term that students must pass. Of course, contraception is available at no extra cost, and, says Nick Jardine at Business Insider, students will board in mixed-sex dormitories, "to make doing homework a little easier."

What makes the school's founder such an expert?
Thompson is semi-famous in Sweden, according to the country's The Local. She's best known for hosting "erotic TV" in the '80s and '90s. She gained notoriety as an artist in 1991 for her project Anonyma Exhibitionister (Exhibistionists Anonymous), in which she cast 100 women's genitals in plaster. The school's spokesperson, Melodi Kirsch, says, "Ylva-Maria has worked for a long time on this idea and has received much encouragement and interest."

And people are OK with this?
As expected, the sex school has been somewhat controversial. Steamy ads for the school (see one here, NSFW) have been banned across Europe, with one critic telling the Daily Mail, "This is wrapped up in a very stylish way — but it is just selling sex." There are several obvious "red flags," says Lauri Apple at Gawker. For one, it appears to have no accreditation, and there's no mention of an STD clinic on campus. Besides, "How does one begin to grade sexual performance?"

Sources: ASIOS, Business Insider, Daily Mail, Local, Metro, Sexis

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