Posts Tagged ‘erotic energy’

Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic in New York City May 18-20

April 14, 2012  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Though it seems like all I’m doing right now is touring and releasing a book, I’m actually doing a lot of other things, including coordination for the Body Electric School, an erotic energy retreat organization with which I’ve been working for about twelve years. So much of what I know about sex, consent, embodiment, being in my body, being in touch with my gender, asking for what I want, sadism, masochism, my shadow side, breathing, and millions of other things comes from my experiences with these teachers and within the container of exploration that is these workshops.

I cannot recommend them highly enough, and I’m so thrilled that the organization is starting to open up and move beyond the ‘men’ and ‘women’ workshops into some genderqueer and trans focused territory. The new director of the school, Tom, even recognized the team of teachers and staff I’ve been involved with in creating and supporting this new Boxes workshop at the staff retreat in December.

We’re breaking some serious new ground here, and if you have any interest in being more in touch with your body, exploring your own desires, getting what you want, and doing it in a queer environment, this is an amazing opportunity.

I am so in love with this work, and I’m thrilled to be bringing it deeper into my community.

Want to come? It’s time to register. I’m glad to chat with you more (gchat, email, on the phone, skype) and tell you more about my experiences with these workshops, what it’s like, what to expect, and answer any questions you might have.

OUTSIDE THE BOXES: CELEBRATING THE QUEER BODY EROTIC
May 18-20, 2012, in New York City

Your gender. Your body. Your energy. Your beautiful self. How often has the world tried to force you into the gender binary, asked you to assure it that your pronouns matched what it saw rather than what you felt, required that your genitals conform to expectations, demanded that you deny the complexity of all that is you?

What if you could come into a community in which all expressions were possible? Where gender, sexuality and expression were aligned according to your truth? Where no one assumed what parts would go where? Welcome to Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic!

Come explore your erotic potential through the mind, the body and the heart using conscious breath, movement, process work and massage. Awaken the erotic energy that lies within all of us. Through a queer tantra lens, explore archetypal masculine and feminine energies and the myriad ways they can be expressed. Break down silos of gender and sexuality.

This workshop focuses on the entire body and is conducted in a container that is playful, safe and reverential. Using carefully designed experiential embodiment practices participants will:

  • explore the innate wisdom of your body
  • expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each person’s choices and rhythms are honored
  • learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit
  • to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
  • learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
  • learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities

Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic is a 2 1/2 day workshop (Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday), often clothing-optional, for those who are ready to vigorously explore new levels of feeling and aliveness, both within themselves and within a community of queers.

NOTE: Couples are welcome to attend Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic and have the option of working together or with the other participants.

Tuition: $150-495

Full tuition is due two weeks before start of workshop.

Ecstasy is Necessary! The New Book by Barbara Carrellas

March 8, 2012  |  reviews  |  4 Comments

I’m finishing this up from the plane, 10,000 feet above, on my way to Alaska to be with my family. Good thing I had it mostly written already. More soon.

I am a little bit in love with Barbara Carrellas, so of course I jumped on the opportunity to be part of her book tour for her new book, Ecstasy is Necessary. I admire her in lots of ways, from a presenter to an erotic energy/tantra practitioner to a badass toomuch queer to a coach. Kristen and I have worked with her—together and separately—and her interpretations of what’s going on, advice, and practical solutions are things we have widely incorporated into our relationship.

She’s kinda known for teaching (and experiencing) “energetic orgasms,” and this book takes you through that—from her experience having one in an fMRI machine to the aftercare (appendix) which takes the reader through the steps for doing it ourselves.

This book is also a workbook—or, perhaps as she’d put it, a playbook—with many small exercises for exploration. Call it “My Ecstatic Sex & Relationship Operating Manual,” she writes. So yeah, you might need a little notebook or a blog to accompany your explorations in this book, which for me was an exciting bonus. From “What do you desire?” to “If you know what you wanted, what would it be?” to BDSM yes/no/maybe lists, she takes us readers through all sorts of inner explorations with the goal of greater sexual freedom, an improved sex life, and, yeah, ecstasy.

I read quite a few erotic guides, self-help books, tantric writings, and generally whatever I can get my hands on around these self-awareness subjects, and I particularly love this one because of Barbara’s perspective. She includes all sorts of queer, kinky, gender-forward, non-monogamous, and social media-based examples and insights that really speak to me. So frequently the authorities of these subjects are so normative, and that is just not the case with Barbara.

I get a lot of questions from folks in my email inbox and in that ask me anything inbox about how to have a satisfying sex life, how to overcome shame, how to get what they really want in bed, and I gotta say, this book is an amazing place to start with that. I bet I’ll be recommending it frequently. It’s not just for beginners, though—as I went through the exercises myself, I toyed through all sorts of useful things. I love how she discusses boundaries, radical acceptance, communication, erotic risks, and safer sex; I love her weaving in of the love languages and NVC, both tools that have been very useful for me; I found myself writing down many of her book sources, thinking, “oh I want to read that too.”

Here’s the official blurb for the book, which sums it up clearly:

From Barbara Carrellas, sex expert and author of the best-selling book Urban Tantra, comes Ecstasy is Necessary. This is not your average tips-and-techniques sex book; rather it is an exploratory journey of the sexual self and the infinite possibilities of ecstatic expression. In Ecstasy is Necessary, Carrellas teaches readers how to discover, nurture, expand, and embrace their authentic, ever-evolving, sensual, sexual self.

Everyone goes through different phases of sexual expression and desire, and there are an infinite number of erotic and ecstatic possibilities available at all points along the way. The insights readers will gain in their journey with Carrellas will help them confidently approach sex and relationships in a way that works for them no matter where they are in their sexual evolution. They will get tools for solving the inevitable challenges that arise. They’ll even receive permission not to have sex at all, if that’s what’s right for them, because it is possible to create ecstatic experiences even when sex itself is not possible, available, or appropriate.

Using stories and simple exercises, Carrellas helps readers understand how they are wired for sex and relationships, what their personal warning signs look like, and what they need for optimum care. Plus, they’ll learn how to effectively communicate this information to others so that they can be loved more easily and effectively.

As readers discover their authentic sexual selves, they will learn how to create the conditions that allow more and more of their experiences and relationships to be opportunities for—and invitations to—ecstasy.

Follow along for the rest of the tour, if you are inspired, and check out the book Ecstasy is Necessary and the website ecstasyisnecessary.com for excerpts and more.

1 March Kate Bornstein : Kate Bornstein’s Blog for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws. Alternative to suicide-or simply to a really bad day. Kate’s post is titled Got Ecstasy?

2 March Viviane : Viviane’s Sex Carnival~A Blog about Sex and Sexuality. Viviane’s post is titled BarbaraCarrellas” Ecstasy is Necessary: Virtual Book Tour.

5 March Betty Herbert : Love in the Long Run Today we’ll celebrate the publication of Ecstasy is Necessary in the United Kingdom. Betty’s post is titled Ecstasy is Necessary!

6 March Bevin Branlandingham : The Queer, Fat, Femme Guide to Life. Bevin’s post is titled Get Me Embodied: Ecstasy is Necessary Book Review and Interview With Author Barbara Carrellas.

7 March Kendra Holliday: Striving to bring shy folks out of their shell, and offer a safe haven for those exploring their sexuality and creative side. Kendra’s post is titled Barbara Carrellas” Ecstasy is Necessary.

8 March Sinclair Sexsmith : The sex, gender and relationship adventures of a kinky, queer, butch top. (That’s me!)

9 March Nancy L. HillCultivating a Beautiful Life

12 March Andrea Zanin : Thought on Sex and Life

13 March Rubyyy JonesLove Lust & Light

14 March Jill Boyd: Smart-ass Virgins Make Better Whoopie

15 March Official publication date of Ecstasy is Necessary. Barbara will be live blogging with friends and fans at HealYourLife.com.

Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic

September 7, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I’m thrilled to invite you—yes, you—to this new workshop that the Body Electric School is developing. We will be doing it first in San Francisco in November as an experiment, and if it goes well, I hope to bring it out east, too, to Toronto or New York or both.

I’ve been involved in the Body Electric School for more than ten years, and started assisting with them around 2003, participating in erotic energy workshops by helping to hold the structure and move energy. It’s been a tremendous experience for me, and I credit my amazing teachers in this lineage with the basics of much of my own sexual ideologies, my spiritual/sexuality connections, and even with my own self-value and self-worth. These teachings have been invaluable, I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Even if it’s not something that you end up dedicating your life to studying (like I basically have), I think everyone should attend one of these workshops at least once, for the potential to crack open and discover entirely new pathways of connection within yourself and with others is huge. And this one is particularly near and dear to me, since it’s for the outlaws and queers and non-binary folks that wouldn’t usually feel comfortable with Body Electric’s usual “men over here and women over there” type of delineations. I think it’s going to be ground-breaking, and I really hope we can continue to offer this kind of work to the in-betweeners, because gaga knows, we need it as much as or more than anybody.

I hope it will be a wild success! I am really looking forward to it and I hope you’ll consider it, if you feel called. You can email me if you want to with questions, and I’ll be glad to address what I can, but if you want to register, the west coast coordinator is who to talk to (her email is down near the bottom of the text).

Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic

November 11-13, 2011 – San Francisco

Your gender. Your body. Your energy. Your beautiful self. How often has the world tried to force you into the gender binary, asked you to assure it that your pronouns matched what it saw rather than what you felt, required that your genitals conform to expectations, demanded that you deny the complexity of all that is you?

What if you could come into a community in which all expressions were possible? Where gender, sexuality and expression were aligned according to your truth? Where no one assumed what parts would go where? Welcome to Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic!

Come explore your erotic potential through the mind, the body and the heart using conscious breath, movement, process work and massage. Awaken the erotic energy that lies within all of us. Through a queer tantra lens, explore archetypal masculine and feminine energies and the myriad ways they can be expressed. Break down silos of gender and sexuality.

This workshop focuses on the entire body and is conducted in a container that is playful, safe and reverential. Using carefully designed experiential embodiment practices participants will:

  • explore the innate wisdom of your body
  • expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each person’s choices and rhythms are honored
  • learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit
  • to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
  • learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
  • learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities

Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic is a 2 1/2 day workshop (Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday), often clothing-optional, for those who are ready to vigorously explore new levels of feeling and aliveness, both within themselves and within a community of queers.

NOTE: Couples are welcome to attend Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic and have the option of working together or with the other participants.

Cost: $395-$150, sliding scale. We are committed to finding creative financial solutions so don’t let money be the barrier that keeps your soul’s desire at bay.

SPECIAL OFFERS for Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic

$50 off if PAY IN FULL 7 WEEKS in advance = $345

$30 off if PAY IN FULL 5 WEEKS in advance = $365

OFFERS CANNOT BE COMBINED

CONTACT • Amy Butcher • (415) 377-4107 • Send Email • November 11-13

–REGISTER ONLINE–

Lizz Randall is a gender-queer Body Electric teacher, Sacred Intimate and long-term student of tantra. Her work as an integrative body worker and educator offers a holistic and open-hearted approach to wellness, passion and aliveness in body. She is fiercely dedicated to creating spaces where all bodies can come together and explore their erotic potency. Lizz has been teaching experiential workshops and working in the fields of sexuality, spirituality and health for over 15 years. She also spends her time as a farmer and parent, resides on Vashon Island and has a private practice in Seattle.

Thinking About Bowls

August 2, 2011  |  poetry  |  2 Comments

… among other things. I have much to say about my experience at the erotic energy intensive, but as my heart & body & mind sorts through everything, here’s a poem I wrote on the plane.

Pulse

The bowl of the Jemez Valley
sinks the circle to center. We
dip our unclothed bodies into
the hot pools, hearts cracking
open like the sky after mid-
afternoon thunder storms
saunter in to nourish the thirsty
ground of the high desert. Skin
shows wear, blush, want—
we take turns holding ourselves
under water, letting our bodies sink
and surface. Ant colonies construct
the shifting ground under our feet.
The hummingbirds arrive when we
offer them sugar water, offering
themselves as medicine in return.
We fly in the kitchen, sit like
boulders in the zendo, grow
wings through holding, fill our bowls,
dip our fingers in to clean them.
I attempt re-mothering, I am Daddy,
I watch, shining light inward
down from my comfortable purple
easy chair. I discover an inner
engagement, ready to wed;
act it out in ten minute experiments
while wheelbarrows win, rain
falls, voices are replaced. Our
climaxes are our own responsibilities.
We dazzle in the evenings under
the milky way, emptying and refilling
our hungry open bowls.

On Erotic Energy Retreat (Again)

July 25, 2011  |  journal entries  |  3 Comments

Photo taken by me the first year I attended

I’m off, yet again, to a desert valley in New Mexico full of beautiful hot springs and a circle of women who are coming to delve into our erotic energy, power, and pleasure.

This year, the erotic energy school that I’ve studied with for about 10 years is going through some changes, and some of the facilitators and staff are meeting before the workshop to discuss the new directions we might take. I’m looking forward to having a part in shaping the women’s programs—I particularly want to bring in more genderqueer, trans, queer, and masculine of center focused programming.

It’s been a tough month here at Sugarbutch, you may’ve noticed that I haven’t posted much since Cheryl died. In part that’s because the stupid things seem so much more stupid … and also because I’ve been quietly grieving. The School was actually set up in part as a response to the AIDS crisis in the ’80s, so much of the structure of these workshops is actually created to make space for deep grief and loss. I’m not sure what will happen when I have a place to drain it out of my body and into the circle, through this work, but I’m curious about experimenting with the well of emotion that I have been occasionally falling into.

I’m also thinking a lot about sexual aliveness, igniting my first and second chakras especially, though igniting my entire column of energy, all of the chakras, as a way to be more connected with myself.

I’m still not done with the ask me anything questions from Sugarbutch’s 5th anniversary, though I’ve been working on three different questions that are all about how to get off faster or easier (with a variety of circumstances), and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I too have some frustration that I can’t always get off easily in the particular way that I want to (meaning, strapped on and fucking), and I want to see if I can let go of that a little bit, or figure out how to ignite my energies in other ways. I don’t know what I mean by this exactly, but I want to go in there and explore. And hopefully report back about my experiences.

I wrote a bit about last year’s retreat, which was fairly difficult in some ways, though certainly still enlivening and strengthening and amazing. I learned a lot about my role in these circles, about holding space, and about what it’s like to bring masculinity into a space for women (although I’ve been learning about that ongoing for years, this was a slightly different experience with it).

This year, there are even more queer folks attending, and I’m packing some of the new gender expression toys I’ve been acquiring, like the Pete packing undies and the STP packer, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of edges I can push with my own masculinity, sadism, dominance, and feminine yang.

If you’re interested in knowing more about these retreats I coordinate, you can leave a comment with your email address or email me directly and I’ll be glad to add you to the (small, private) list I have, where I send out notifications of what’s coming up. We are working on a gender/queer base-level retreat sometime this fall in the Bay Area, and hopefully another base-level retreat for women of all/any type (not just queer) in the spring in (or near) New York City.

I’ll be back next week.

Returning from the Power, Surrender, and Intimacy Retreat

May 18, 2011  |  journal entries  |  3 Comments

I’ve returned from retreat, a three-day workshop at Easton Mountain called Power, Surrender, and Intimacy (PSI) through the erotic energy school that I have studied with for more than ten years. I’m producing these workshops these days, as well as assisting, and while our numbers were a little bit low, the workshop was beautifully smooth and overall very successful. There are some shifts happening at the school, so I’m not sure how many more of these I will produce, but I’m really glad to have done this one.

Easton Mountain retreat center, aka gay sex camp, where the workshop was held

I’ve done PSI twice before, once as a participant in about 2002 and once as an assistant here in New York in about 2007. The first one I remember vividly—many of the different pieces of it—and I easily can point to that workshop weekend to say that that is when I discovered I was a top. The entire workshop centers around exploring dominance and submission, power and surrender. I found the surrender parts fairly easy but not particularly heated, and I was shocked to discover not only how I liked to be in charge, channeling power, but also that I had an inner sadist ready to be cultivated.

I couldn’t remember the second workshop very well. In the week up to this one I was trying to think of what I had taken away from it, what it had shifted for me, and as this weekend went on I realized that PSI was a huge tipping point in my study as an assistant, as a leader of this work and as someone who is able to hold, ground, and move erotic energy.

The difference between what I am capable of doing now and what I could do then is significant—I felt so connected, and so able to move the overwhelming emotion that came up for the entire group at various times. There were certainly moments where I nearly panicked with the expectation (that I set on myself, mostly) that I would be able to hold or move something, but generally when faced with that responsibility I could meet it gladly and capably.

The most significant moment of this was during two rituals on Sunday, when we started out with a wand of light tantric meditation (which I can’t seem to find any description of online) in order to raise some of our energies so we could go into the next ritual, which was transformative and about shadow, and very intense. The wand of light meditation starts at the root chakra and builds all the way up to the third eye, one chakra at a time, and I could feel it so intensely, especially toward the end, that I was kind of certain my head was going to come off as energy shot skyward and began exploding things.

I, as an assistant (and having had experienced this ritual before, which the other two assistants had not), was expected to go first in the second ritual. The facilitator described that we shouldn’t calculate what we were going to do, but that we would know it was time to come up when we felt a quickening. Oh, I felt it alright. I knew I had to go up there, and do something with this energy which was pulsing through my spine, but I wasn’t really sure what to do or how to do it.

Gravity by Nikki McClure. This image came to mind when I was trying to ground

I tried to describe it to another one of the assistants later. During the meditation part, I felt the energy rush up into me so intensely and come pouring out of the crown of my head that I layed down to get some better grounding, trying to remember that I was held by gravity, but even that didn’t work: instead of going up through my entire body, it started going from my root chakra through my pelvis and up into my cock, which became so incredibly erect and upright and felt like it was going to shoot off of me.

I sat back up, and tried to ground in other ways.

It dawned on me that this wand of light, this energetic connection to the earth, was there all the time, not just now—it’s something that I’ve dropped into numerous times at tantra workshops in recent years, and it always surprises me that it’s still there, and in fact it’s easier to access the next time around.

Realizing and deeply feeling this connection made me think of something another assistant had said on our ride up: that we are not living on the earth, but living in the earth, since the atmosphere is not actually part of space but part of our unique planet. We swim around in it. We would not survive outside of it. We are held upright to the earth by this magical gravity, but we are not separate. In fact, I felt like a puppet, like this wand of light was actually the earth creating me, coming up into me and animating me.

That is what I would have liked to express when I got up in front of the whole group to open the second ritual. But I couldn’t form words. As a writer and poet I find that extremely frustrating. The facilitator even asked: Are there words to go with this? I was shaking with every breath. Filling up with light and energy and then feeling it pour down my spine again as I breathed out, or pour up through the crown of my head. My hands jerked and felt electric.

“I feel like a column,” I managed to say. Really this energy felt penetrative. It felt like I was being fucked by spirit. It felt like it—and I—was rising out of the earth. It felt like the earth was using me to fuck the sky. I had no idea how to form words, it was all I could do to sit still and not explode.

“I don’t know if I can say more.”

And that was just about it. Three minutes were up, quickly, and I sat back down, unsure if my head was still attached. And then I started to panic. Oh fuck. What if I stay like this? What do I do with all of this energy? What is it going to do to me? It doesn’t seem to be working to just let it flow through me—and by “working” I mean it doesn’t seem to be calming me, but rather ramping me up. How do I calm this quickening? I have to work now, I have to assist and support others in their reveal, how am I going to do that?

Words from another facilitator came to mind: When you feel you can’t handle something, give it to the earth. She can handle anything. I would have tried anything right then. So I redirected all that energy that was coming up through me and thought of it pouring down into the ground, and immediately my head cleared. Immediately I felt so solid and stable and grounded. Immediately I no longer felt crazy but powerful, and powerfully alive.

The ritual poured through me, one person after another, and mostly I was so intensely connected and moved by it that tears just streamed down my cheeks for person after person, and I gave it all back to the earth. Help me hold this, thank you, thank you.

I feel like my reveal was sloppy, and that I was in a little bit of a state of panic when I went up there, but it’s clear that the energy was present and that I was a conduit for it. And the ritual happened, successfully, with the transformative energies we were seeking, so clearly something went right. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d been able to see outside of myself a little better, and it’s clear to me that what I did was the only thing I could have done at that moment. Perhaps it’s the performer in me who would have liked to have a better translation of my experience into my expression. But I can—or will try—to let that tiny sliver of regret go, and to not let it drive me.

What I learned about grounding was powerful, and I think that will stick with me.

There were a couple other fascinating things I’d like to report to you about, though they were not workshop content so much as things around the workshop that came up, like the debate over where female ejaculate comes from (the urethra) and where it is stored (the paraurethral sponge, I discovered). And the conversations around female/feminine sources of power and how easily that power can be mistaken or misused as manipulation instead of power, and how that flavor of power is even encouraged to be manipulation in this culture. And the conversations about butch identity with the facilitator and the other assistant—how there is a constant butch scale in our heads which compares and contrasts us to each other, and fears that we are the least butch of the group. There are many more things I could write about.

But it’s day three of being back, and I have so many things I need to accomplish, my email inboxes are too full, and I’ve been avoiding some regular tasks the last two days as I have been trying to take good care of myself for this re-entry. Perhaps I’ll write more about those things later, I promise I’ll try.

Meanwhile, I’ll get back to the Ask Me Anything questions, and start working on the next retreat, which is my favorite one (a five-day advanced retreat in New Mexico in late July).

I’m curious if you all might have questions for me about this retreat … do you want to know more about it? Which parts?

Review: Reclaiming Eros (book)

June 1, 2009  |  reviews  |  1 Comment

eros1Reclaiming Eros: Sacred Whores and Healers has won an Independent Publisher Award in the New Age (Mind-Body-Spirit) category! Congratulations to the co-authors, Susanne Blackburn and Margaret Wade.

I picked up this book probably about two years ago, primarily because I recognized some of the names of the people it features work with the Body Electric School, which I’ve been involved with for about eight years now. The main content of the book are extensive interviews with and statements from healers who primarily work with sexual energy, like Betty Dodson, Annie Sprinkle, Rudy Ballentine, Joseph Kramer, and Alex Jade. They’re sex workers, kind of, but many identify as sacred healers, or sacred whores. The language conversation that threads through the book is definitely interesting – who are you, what do you do, and what do you call it? There is a long history of being sexual healers in this society, but it’s a profession that has been so heavily shamed and weighed down with our leftover puritanical ideals.

There’s a chapter at the end which also discusses how to get involved with a healer, what to expect, what you might want to do, what questions to ask, which I highly recommend. This whole book will give you a better idea about erotic energy work, right from the mouths and brilliant brains of many of the pioneers and trailblazers of the industry and movement. It’s beautiful, and I highly recommend it if you’re intrigued by sexual healing and if you want to know more about what is going on with this work now.

Visit reclaimingeros.com for more information about the book.