WHEN actress Meg Ryan noisily acted out her interpretation of an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally, she was simply doing what many other women do in real life: faking it. Hard facts and figures are difficult to come by, but when research by the American Association of Sex Education and Counselling shows 15 per cent of sexually-active women in the United States have never experienced an orgasm, a significant number are clearly in need of a few basic lessons. And so to Orgasm School, a concept that seemed to pass Hong Kong by when dissatisfied women all over the world lined up to enrol in climax classes in the early 1990s. But now, locally-based psychologist and family therapist Rebecca Dnistran is so convinced of the need for this kind of instruction in the territory she is offering her services as a trained sex educationalist and counsellor to teach the ABCs of sexual intercourse: Attitude, Behaviour and Communication. 'Part of the reason that I wanted to get into sex counselling is that I would often see couples who would not talk about their sexual interaction unless they were asked the right questions,' Dnistran says. 'Usually they present communication or a problem with a child as the issue, and they leave the sexual component sort of hanging on the backburner. But now, after training, I just ask them directly how satisfied they are with the sexual part of their marriage.' Dnistran believes there are certain characteristics shared by women who are rarely orgasmic: they do not talk about sex; sex is done to them; they rarely initiate sex; and the focus is on the partner's needs, not their own. To change these one-sided attitudes, Dnistran offers a weekly class of an hour and a half for seven weeks to encourage a group of 'pre-orgasmic' women to speak about and dispel a few myths which surround women and their sex lives. 'There are many common misconceptions about sex. For example, the main myth is that it's the man's responsibility to sexually satisfy a woman. That's one of the primary ideas that we focus on in these programmes - that you need to take responsibility for your own orgasms,' she says emphatically. 'One of the most common questions asked is: 'What is it?' or 'have I missed it?' because everyone expects it to be like what they see in the films, but people are individuals and that means we are all different.' Dnistran says a significant number of women worry that they may look ugly or feel totally out of control, which in turn leads them to suppress their natural bodily response to pleasure - orgasm. There is now evidence to suggest this behaviour can lead to uterine scarring, and it is exactly the kind of reaction Dnistran is hoping to discourage. Women do not have to be married or in a relationship to attend her adult education classes. Gearing up for her all-girl 'sexual enhancement workshop', Dnistran has armed herself with diagrams, books and videos with titles such as Becoming Orgasmic, in the hope women in her class will become more pro-active when it comes to sexual fulfilment. Most of the learning process will go on within the privacy of attendees' homes, insists Dnistran, who will be assigning 'homework' to the group. She encourages her class to 'bathe, dim the lights, lock the door, and then discover themselves'. Then comes the bit women find most difficult to do: 'I want them to experiment and learn what is right for them,' Dnistran says, 'and then come and speak about it here.' Does she really expect people to be candid about their trips of self-discovery? 'Yes. I find the most valuable part for the group is to hear from other women about their experiences because then their experiences are normalised,' Dnistran says. Once women realise there is nothing wrong with them and that their fears and inhibitions are shared by others, she adds, it helps them to move on to the next part of the course - communicating with their partners. When the same course took place in California, 93 per cent of the class reported they had experienced climax after the fifth session. Exponents of the course say this leads to an increased sense of well-being and has a positive effect on a woman's attitude towards herself. 'This has nothing to do with the kind of 'show and tell' workshops that you may have read about in the States,' says Dnistran of the public self-exploration courses which reached the heights of nothing but bad taste. 'This is a professionally-run course. I am hoping to create a safe environment for people to share their experiences and it will all be highly confidential.' So is Dnistran going to tutor women on the practicalities of foreplay? Is it about female empowerment? 'I guess so,' she says. 'This course is about taking responsibility for your own pleasure, setting the parameters between how far you are prepared to go and making sure your partner is aware of them.' The Sexual Enhancement Workshop starts on April 11 and costs $500. For further enquiries call 2533-9545 or fax 2899-0773.