Learning Vacations, Sexual Explorations
Month after month, this column focuses on the sanctity of sex and the sexiness of Spirit. Defining Spirit is up to you and yours. There are always folks who will want to do that for you. But there are also teachers who won't muck around in your beliefs or try to change them and yet will still help you develop the connections between sex and Spirit that work for you. We're talking direct experience of your Source, not church experiences with ministers between you and the anthropomorphic deities of their choice.
The difference between the experiences of sex or church and an experience that directly connects you with the divine was well described by Fakir Musafar in a transcript of an interview with Joseph Bean that is on the Leather Archive and Museum's website. Fakir describes the moments when erotic S/M play goes beyond the physical and the mental. In those moments it's not about the Top giving the bottom a ride any more. Those roles are gone.
The experience becomes a journey all participants travel together. The person who may have been Top is now just rowing the boat. The Top has become a Kaseeka, a term taken from Hindu spiritual tradition, for the person who journeys with and guides another on a body-based spiritual journey. Examples of such body-based rituals include fire walks and ball dances, in which participants dance with balls and bells attached to their skin by piercings. The Kaseeka must have been on a journey of the same type previously to be a useful guide, though that is not the only requirement.
I've met some folks who do a fabulous job of that and they are, not surprisingly, some of the most wonderful and vibrant people on the face of this planet. One of them is Dossie Easton, author of The Ethical Slut. A therapist, she has presented workshops over the years on sex related topics. In a mere four hours, during a workshop named “Radical Ecstasy” (like her book that came out soon thereafter), she had an entire room full of people breathing and moaning and sharing some very private stories that were fantastically enlightening for the rest of us.
This July 3, Dossie, Deborah Taj Anapol and Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio will be giving a day-long workshop in San Rafael, California, called “Three Wise Women on Polyamory: Explore the Future of Love on Planet Earth.”
You'll be hearing the word “ecosexual” soon if you haven't yet. It refers to the experience of sharing erotic love with our planet. It's a shamanic concept: the idea of connecting with the Earth energetically like you would with a lover. From the perspective of those who work with kundalini, it's a given. Earth has energetic flows, as do we, and combining with them like you do with those of a human partner has many of the same effects as with a human partner. This workshop with Dossie and her colleagues addresses this concept, exploring the future of erotic love on and with this planet. Happy Interdependence Day!
Annie Sprinkle and her partner Beth Stephens have been performing sexecological (their variation on the word) rituals in their color-themed weddings and activist performance art pieces. These are not events to merely watch; you will be asked to participate—and you will be glad you did! An event by Beth and Annie is always an erotic experience and, by the time the spectacle is over, the audience is totally ready for loving touch. If you don't bring along a good friend be open to meeting some new ones. All I'm saying is don't expect to sleep when you get home.
Tracy Bartlett teaches classes at Good Vibes regularly. "Lip Service," coming up next Monday in Berkeley, is much more than a class in kissing. A natural comic, Tracy's presentation can be hilarious, while she models comfortable and honest communication with your partner. She has a way of making us understand how fun and easy lovemaking can be, while presenting intimate details in highly entertaining and extremely graphic ways. Hers is the perfect introduction to participatory classes in erotic techniques for the shy or uncertain. Once you are comfortable with the concept, be sure to go back for her hands-on below-the-belt classes.
If you're ready to do a deep dive into your erotic connection with power and dominance, get on a waiting list for one of Cleo Dubois' "Erotic Dominance Intensives." These are weekend workshops for women and men that are accurately named “intensive.” Madame Dubois (Dare I call her Cleo?) teaches BDSM skills using structure, ritual and archetypal energies. This is one of the most powerful courses of any type, anywhere. Her students consistently rave about it.
Cleo and Fakir are life partners and the two of them keep raising the bar on those boat-steering skills. Cleo's control of the fire and energy of BDSM is breathtaking to behold and it can be life-changing to participate in it. Cleo's partners in teaching the Intensives include the gorgeous Minax, whose writings about erotic dominance are witty and informative, and Selina Raven, a beautiful young woman with wisdom beyond her years. All three approach the weekends with professional and spiritual intensity. This is a workshop that teaches the first steps toward being the person who rows the boat, the Kaseeka.
There are learning opportunities outside of California from teachers I can vouch for, too. In the Central Texas Hill Country, Charla Hathaway is co-leading a weekend retreat called "Love, Sex and Spirit: Playing Together." It's this weekend (June 11-13), so waste no time checking it out. I met Charla during her sexological bodywork training. A loving woman, she has just the right amount of welcome in her personality for teaching about love and sex. And, yes, she has that southern charm and strength combination that is so appealing in women of the South.
Alex Jade will be co-leading a women's Body Electric workshop in Albuquerque this August called “Pulse: Women's Temple in New Mexico.” Alex is one of the erotic healers who tells her story and perspectives toward erotic healing in Reclaiming Eros, and Body Electric is a company with a curriculum of solid erotic education based on more than 20 years of experience with what works.
The descriptions of these teachers and the claim that they provide avenues to an experience of the ecstatic are not exaggerated. If you've been feeling out of touch with your essence—or don't really understand what that means—or if there's an erotic activity that you want to explore, give yourself a self-affirming gift this summer. Get someone to steer your boat for a little while. Surrender and take a little trip to ecstasy.