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March 31, 2008

Lessons in Love: The Millionaire Hunters

teacher and two students at moscow's geisha school straddling stuffed animals

Two young women practice squeezing their vaginal muscles.

Photo Credit: Natali Arefieva

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Married women are also flocking to Varra for help in holding onto the husbands they already have. "After nine years of marriage, my husband stopped noticing me," says Olga Rosnina, 37, a statuesque redheaded real-estate agent. Rosnina joined Varra's "How to Bring Back Your Honeymoon" course, which involved "advanced" sex tips, as well as advice on how to spice up daily life. "Before, I only wore jeans and flats, so I bought miniskirts, high heels, and lipstick," says Rosnina. Combined with her new bedroom skills, the effect on her husband was instant. "He's much warmer and less uptight," she says. "And he gives me whatever I ask for."

For women who can't get into Varra's overbooked courses, there are plenty of other options. One of the latest trends is "VUM-building," which sounds like a doomed Soviet industrial project but is apparently a surefire way to get your man addicted to you. VUM stands for "Vaginally Used Muscles," and a number of schools are offering courses in strengthening and toning the muscles using special equipment — a kind of gym for the vagina.

“Our exercise program can dramatically improve a woman's sexual performance," says Olga Nikitina, 40, the founder of the School for VUM-Building in central Moscow. "She can transform herself from a slow Russian car like a Lada into a Ferrari." To disguise the fact that the equipment really does look like it belongs in a car-mechanic's workshop — it's all pressure gauges and rubber hoses — the school's two rooms are painted pink and blue; stuffed animals model phallic devices.

"Once a woman reaches optimal fitness, she can shoot a fountain of water up out of her vagina in the bath," boasts Nikitina, a ponytailed blonde in a leopard-print top. The core device is a small silicone balloon that is inserted in the vagina and inflated with a pneumatic pump. "You squeeze against the balloon and measure the pressure on the attached gauges," says Nikitina. Fine-tuning can be achieved by learning to shoot out pebbles onto a metal target.

Homemaker Eliso Torgvaidze, 41, credits the program with saving her rocky marriage. "I'm sure my husband would have left me if I hadn't done VUM-building," she says. "Sex is 90 percent of a relationship for a man."

If the latter is true in Russia, it certainly helps explain why sex schools are so popular. Moscow even has a geisha school that teaches seduction arts from the Far East, such as erotic dance. There's also a "bitch school," where women can learn cunning tactics for beating out female competitors.

To give the gift of a head start, some women are even sending their daughters to the schools. Inga Kozina, 34, attended a course at Moscow's Geisha School, and now is sending her 15-year-old daughter, Mariam. "She's a pretty girl," says Kozina, "but there's a lot of competition these days."

Still, isn't 15 just a little bit young? "Not at all," says Mariam, decked out in the mandatory stiletto boots. "Thanks to my mom, I'm very confident with boys already. I'll always get what I want."

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