Everything! I create an environment in which participants can truly and authentically explore being sensual, being sexual, reconciling with their bodies and their male or female nature. And above all – the most significant element – where they can connect their sexual feelings with all their other emotions, like sadness, joy, excitement, even anger – yes, all those feelings that tend to be disowned or shut off because we have judgements about them.
There are many people – I tend to think it is the majority of people in our culture – who are wounded in their sexuality in some way. It is almost inevitable because the culture is sexually abusive and insulting in countless different ways. On the one hand there are all the religion-based “Thou shalt not’s” that indoctrinate believers into denying the ironically God-given gift of their sexual nature. And on the other hand our culture drives people into being completely preoccupied with their image, trying to be good performers and learning to pretend in all kinds of ways. It actually takes away their trust in their own natural sexuality. They may not even know what that is because they have been so indoctrinated into who and how they think they should be.
The result is that we tend to grow up with strange feelings tangled up in our sexuality. A simple and common example of what can then happen: a person has grown up in a climate of judgement, ridicule or perhaps just crudity about sex. When they begin to experience their own libido all those judgements come home and get subconsciously applied to their own sexuality. That doesn’t feel so sweet! The result is that feelings like sadness and anger can get mixed up with their erotic feelings. In their adult sexual intimacy they find, to their dismay, that there regularly comes a moment when suddenly their erotic excitement fades away. They turn off. In this example, if they could label it, which they often can’t in the heat of the moment, they would say they are feeling sad and angry and sexual all at the same time! The mind is saying, “Hey, this is wrong! You are not supposed to be sad and angry when you are feeling sexual. Stop it!” So they try to suppress the sadness and anger. But these are tangled up with their sexual feelings, so when they shut down the sadness and anger, they shut down their erotic feelings too. All that’s left is the disappointment, “Why do I shut down when I’m feeling turned on? I want to be intimate and suddenly it’s all gone!”
So a lot of the really basic work in my Tantra workshops is to enable people to befriend the feelings that accompany their sexual feelings so that they can be sexual AND…! Sexual AND angry, sexual AND sad, sexual AND excited. Yes, some people are not even allowed to be excited! They were brought up to behave themselves and getting excited was regarded as bad behaviour. Some people are not allowed to be joyously happy because that too means being out of control. Then ecstasy is not possible at all! And what is orgasm without ecstasy?
My work is to create the situation in which people can experience and befriend ALL their feelings. Then their sexuality becomes integrated with their full emotional life, and being sexual with anyone becomes a truly INTIMATE experience. Sexual AND…! Until our feelings are fully present and celebrated, sex is only sex. And our feelings are our opening into the great mysteries. They lead us to our heart, awaken us into our being, and then bring us into the mystical and spiritual. Sex into soul. Tantra!