Damon Holzum grew up in Montana, raised by supportive parents who didn’t instill any shame or guilt in their children. While not a dinnertime conversation, sex was a pretty open topic in his household. In high school, Damon was sexually active, but it was always ingrained in him to be safe. That education, awareness and fearless spirit continued when Damon started exploring sex with boys. It also created the solid foundation Damon now uses as a sex educator and therapist. He hosts workshops in which anyone with an adventurous side—or even just a tickle of curiosity—will have a great time learning about sex and intimate interaction.
How did you become a sex educator?
I’ve been very sexually adventurous, so I found myself defaulting to an educational role in the bedroom. Exploring sex that was fun, titillating, unique or risqué made me the best at it, and I love sharing a hot time.
About 12 years ago I was dating a boy who tested HIV-positive shortly after we started dating. I learned everything I could about HIV in a very short period of time. I saw an opportunity to reach out, educate and support our community, and be a strong voice for sex-positive education.
I became a state-certified HIV counselor and worked at a progressive testing facility, helping individuals with the stress of testing. Then my human sexuality professor asked me to present HIV basics in his class. Walking to my car after class, a 19-year-old gay boy came up to me and said, “I didn’t know people like you existed.” He was HIV-positive and honestly had no idea there could be an early 30s, HIV-negative, out, proud, unashamed gay man talking about HIV and realistic sex to anyone who would listen. It really made me think and solidified my path to being a sex-positive educator and therapist.
What occurs at your workshops?
I have a “Sex for Gay Men” workshop in which I dive into intimacy, safer sex practices, coupling and literally whatever kinky, fun, sexy topics the audience wants me to cover. One of my most popular classes is my “Hardcore Class,” in which I cover tantalizing topics such as fisting, watersports, dirty play and the big butt-clencher—sounding. I’m launching a polyamory class in which I’ll be focusing on the nuances of finding, playing and maintaining multiple-partner romances. In each of my classes, I encourage people to engage, ask questions and really embrace this opportunity to chat about sex in a sex-positive space. I bring people up to demonstrate positions, and I love to pluck the most demure-looking boy or girl out of the audience, knowing they’re a kinkster at heart.
Where do your workshops take place?
The Pleasure Chest has been an amazing and accommodating venue, allowing me to present my classes to a diverse audience. I’ve also done a more intimate class at Liberace’s Penthouse with my fellow sex therapist, Moushumi Ghose. We had the honor of doing a butt play class on the balcony, mere feet away from Matt Damon’s meltdown [in Behind the Candelabra]. I’ve also done a live demo at Stockroom in Silver Lake.
That one is the real deal and allows me to instruct my anal and fisting class and then segue into a live fisting demo. To put into practice the skills I talk about really shows the techniques at work, the intimacy and the connection that can come from this type of play.
How many people attend?
My classes range in size from 10 people up to 50-plus.
Why do people attend?
People attend to explore and learn. They attend to feel a sense of community and connection to something they may be curious about, or they’re old pros confirming their interests. I’ve had drag queens, straight couples and singles, grandmas, transgender and gay boys all in the audience having a great time.
Who are they geared toward?
Everyone is welcome to attend. Sex is definitely universal in my mind, and I have great participation from all walks of life. I’m not going to lie—I’m a gay boy, so I have a bit of expertise in that arena, but I do know my way around some lady parts, too, and I love women to participate. I find a lot of the tips and tricks I talk about can be used by straight couples just as easily as the gay men.
What is the main message you want to get across to people about sex?
You are not alone. No matter what you’re into, embrace, enjoy and exhibit sex. Sex is one of the most pure and beautiful things humans can do, and I want people to experience it at a truly fulfilling level.