When I first started studying tantra, I began going away to “tantra retreats”. Where better to learn than from real live teachers?
Well, at the time, my children were 14 and 16-years old. Plus, four of their friends had moved in with us over time. So, at the very least, there were six teenagers in the house. But more often, there were 12 teenagers or more in the house because each comes with a friend, girlfriend, or boyfriend.
So, it began one day while I was away in California when one of my kids’ friends approached my daughter and said, “So, when does your mom get home from sex camp?”.
LOL! Well, that stuck!!
From here on in, according to all the teens in the house, I was away at sex camp. It was awesome.
(The truth is that it wasn’t sex camp at all. There was often a lot of nudity, yes. There were many exercises that had to do with intimacy and sexuality, yes. But there was actually no sex. It wasn’t like that. It was much more about communication, consent and doing healing work that wasn’t really allowed in the general public.)
“One Time, at Sex Camp”
The first time I returned from “sex camp”, I was innocently hanging out at home when suddenly there seemed to be more teens hanging around than normal. They were just kind of hanging out — but out in the open, not off downstairs doing teen things.
Soon, one of them said to me, “Sooooo, what exactly do you do at sex camp?”.
Well, you don’t have to hang around me very long before you find out that I love telling stories… especially if they are about intimacy and sexuality.
So, I started talking. I started telling them about the exercises that we would do. But mostly how difficult they were for me emotionally and what I was learning from them.
Slowly, the room started filling up. Four, eight, twelve teens.
I would tell them about the exercises in consent that we did and how surprisingly difficult it was to say NO with real conviction (even in my 40s). I told them about difficult it was to face all the times that I hadn’t said NO when I should have and how all of this created trauma inside my body — especially my yoni (Sanskrit for vagina).
I told them about the genital healing massages we did and how they weren’t sexual at all — how in fact, they were very difficult because so many of us have so much pent up trauma “down there” — both the men and women. I told them about laying there during my massage while another woman screamed and screamed releasing the trauma of a rape she had experienced. I shared how some of the men had painful emotional genital trauma from circumcision and performance anxiety.
Basically, I told them everything.
The other thing to mention is that although I call them “teens” or “my kids’ friends”, I never considered them children or younger than me. We were friends and I told them stories exactly the same as I would have told friends my age.
Maybe because of this, we had the most wonderful conversations. It wasn’t just me talking. It was everyone. We could talk about things that they (or most adults) couldn’t talk about with anyone.
There is a Line Though
It is true that if you meet my kids (now 23 and 25), you will find out that they literally know everything about me. They know every story, and every experience. We’ve openly talked about sex, relationships, and everything for their whole life.
But there is a line — even for me, my kids, and their friends.
They don’t want physical details.
They don’t want anything that actually puts pictures in their minds of me or their dad or anyone actually having sex.
(I recently asked my daughter if she would proofread my latest book “Tales from the Tinderverse”. At first she was happy to… until she got a few pages in. She called me saying “OMG mom, I just can’t do it. It’s too graphic. I have too many images in my head!” This is hilarious because she heard all of the stories as they happened… but reading them in detail was just too much!)
What Do We Talk About?
But it isn’t those details that matter. Our bodies will naturally make love if we get rid of all of our issues and fears around it. When we don’t have ideas about “being good in bed”, fears around self-image, fears around rejection, or fears around measuring up to their last partner, our bodies just effortlessly make love.
We don’t have to talk to them about the literal sex part. (Although I have been known to talk about the magic that can happen in a totally relaxed state when two people are “plugged into each other” and our sexual organs come alive in ways that never happen in “normal pounding sex”…)
But we can talk about true intimacy, respect, struggles, and what love really is. The important thing is to not talk about it like we are teaching it. We need to be really honest (with ourselves first) and then with them about how challenging it can be to be open. How hard it is to be rejected. How it’s easy to feel like you’ll never find someone who loves you.
These are real things that we all experience no matter how old we are or how much experience we’ve had.
These impromptu gatherings continued as I attended different retreats around the world. Many happened while my husband and I were separated yet living in the same house (mostly because of all the kids that lived with us). So, we had the chance to talk about all kinds of challenging topics. My ex-husband (who was normally not so open about these kinds of things) even joined in many times!
I will be forever thankful for these incredible memories — sitting in the living room surrounded by my kids and their friends telling stories that begin with “Soooo, one time… at sex camp….”!!!
Just pure heaven.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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