After publishing Miss Scarlet’s post about her incredible offerings, I couldn’t help reminiscing about my own Tantric sessions. As I previously mentioned, I came to Tantra through my own interest and experiences rather than through professional training. I came to healing first as a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and then I decided to offer what I refer to as ‘Hypnotic Hands’ sessions.
The simple intention of Hypnotic Hands is to combine the powerful combination of relaxation, hypnotherapy, therapeutic touch and energy healing. I originally had no intention of offering Tantra as a part of my sessions.
However, in the about Joy section of my website, I talked about my own interest and experience with Tantra. I’m not even sure why I put it there; I suppose it was destiny meddling with my life.
At that point, I had accepted very few male clients. This is not because I am ‘gender biased’ as some have said. It is because my own issues in my youth were with males. I had been sexually abused by my adopted father from the age of one until my early teens. In fact, my relationship with my dad ended when he attempted to violently rape me at 19.
Add to that the fact that I lost my virginity in a date rape situation and was given a date rape drug then gang raped at the age of 17 and you might understand my hesitation and lack of trust for men.
As for my practice, I need to clarify that my intention was not on any level to offer sensual therapeutic touch. My intention was simply to provide human connection and the wonderfully therapeutic effects of relaxation body work.
The interesting thing is that, when I changed the focus of my practice, my family was counting on my income 100%, which left me with no escape route. At the time, I was highly successful. Oohhh, sorry, that sounded a little conceited, but it was meant as an observation, not a pat on the back:-)
I had so much confidence in my need to expand and shift my offerings that I deleted my previous website, recycled my old marketing materials and business cards and went full force ahead with complete confidence in Hypnotic Hands.
To my shock and honestly, to my horror; my female clients had literally zero interest in my new offerings. Zip! The first week in my new office, with my new website and my 500 new business cards and marketing material entirely focused on Hypnotic Hands, I received not one call from a woman.
I did, however, receive at least a hundred calls from male clients. A few I had seen when my practice was strictly hypnotherapy, but mostly new clients. I have to admit; I was f-cking horrified! I had no desire to have one male client, let alone a hundred!
I was also travelling from Salt Spring, where we lived at the time, to Victoria via BC ferries, so I had way too much time to think. Each day I would sit in my little black smart car practically beating my head against my steering wheel. I was struggling with my need to grow as a practitioner, my belief in Hypnotic Hands and my apparent hate on for men that had somehow slid under my radar.
I had a healthy and wonderfully satisfying marriage, I had two boys that I loved…I didn’t hate men, did I? Oh God, yes, I was a man hater using the disguise of feminist! Shit!
After my first week with not one female client and an increasing number of male clients attempting to book sessions, I bawled my eyes out while my incredible and yes male husband comforted me. I was forced to look deep within and I didn’t like what I saw.
I had allowed some of my own sexual wounds to shape both my interactions with and reactions to all men. I could not believe myself. The next week, I found that I was still facing the same issue. Women were not (at least not yet) interested in Hypnotic Hands. I knew it was what I was supposed to do, which meant I would likely need to accept at least some of the now hundreds of men attempting to book sessions with me.
So, I did a tonglen meditation; where you breathe in the suffering of another being (in this case I was focusing on my own suffering) and then transform their suffering into compassion. I then told myself to ‘suck it up buttercup’ and accept what the universe was screaming at me….you cannot help women or anyone for that matter if you allow yourself to give into this negativity. You must transform your negative emotions into positive ones. NOW!
That is precisely what I did. Well, sort of, most of the time:-) My first male client would continue to have sessions with me one to two times per week for the next year of my practice. He was both an angel and a guide. The ‘guide’ aspect of his personality was his ability to provide me with a shocking yet highly effective lesson in the world of sensual massage, which somehow people assumed is what ‘hypnotc hands’ was.
I had never heard of a ‘happy ending massage’. I know that sounds really naive, but, I had been focused on raising my kids, healing my own wounds, and the only sexual focus had been with my own sexual partners, I certainly had no need for happy ending massages.
This client, who I will refer to as ‘Jo’ was well versed in the happy ending scene. He told me about each and every practitioner in the area and about all of the different offerings. I have to admit that, at first, I was really sad. I couldn’t believe that my offerings were being lumped in with happy endings and body slides. It was depressing.
However, I assured Jo that I would not be offering happy endings or body slides and that, if he wanted those services, he would have to go elsewhere. Only because he did not have time to book another practitioner did he decide to try a session with me.
He was blown away. After receiving his massage, he literally cried with tears of joy (no pun intended). I couldn’t really understand why his reaction was so intense, but he explained that, in all of his years receiving ‘happy ending massages’ he never felt satisfied, but even though I did not touch him sexually, he felt deeply satisfied.
He was impressed by my ability to express my boundaries through body language and told me that, for the first time in his entire life, compared to his interactions with other women and female practitioners, he had absolutely no desire to see how far out of my comfort zone he could push me. At first I thought he was full of shit, but he maintained the utmost respect for my boundaries throughout the entire following year of sessions with me.
You see, when I express that my practice was non-sexual in nature or ‘heart-centered’ I am clarifying that I did not provide happy endings. I had some clients who would test my boundaries and others who would leave after the first 15 minutes of our chat because they wanted a release.
Over time I developed strict screening practices that helped to eliminate the constant pressure of clients wanting me to go beyond my comfort zone. I even had one potential client yell at me over the phone while attempting to book a session. His issue was that he wanted a happy ending from a ‘talented and well rounded practitioner’ such as myself. I declined his request for the umpteenth time and he finally left me alone.
Over time, I realized that focusing on Tantric offerings was my next step as a healer and an individual. I still maintained my boundaries and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I maintained a full practice, even though I did not offer releases. Together, my clients and I discovered the art and beauty of sensual relaxation, compassionate touch and non-sexual Tantric massage.
Although there have been some people who say it is not Tantra …because I am not dealing with the ‘whole person’ if you will; that’s fine with me…call it Hypnotic Hands, for a name is just a name. Regardless of what my offerings are or are not, they serve a certain portion of our societies needs.
In fact, if one is seeking human connection rather than simple sexual gratification, I believe that, because of my own need to maintain non-sexual connection with my clients, I am able to connect more deeply with them by keeping this boundary in place. If I were to force myself to respond to the needs of others while disregarding my own boundaries, it would be an exchange focused on financial gain rather than mutual respect.
I had one particular client that comes to mind when illustrating this aspect of my practice. He felt that, because he often felt aroused during our sessions, he would be unable to focus on what he truly wanted to learn; the art of connection and Tantric rituals. So, he asked if it would be acceptable to masturbate in the shower just before our session. Of course, he could have simply done so without bringing it to my attention, but he respected my boundaries so much so that he wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate to relieve his sexual tension in the studio shower befause I was ‘into energy’.
How adorable is that? I thought it was a brilliant compromise. His sessions were incredible. Together, we were transported to a different time and place where the answers he sought were available to him. I believe he was able to reach such deep awareness and experience such incredible growth because he was able to move beyond his basic sexual urges.
Once again, although I am expressing my own boundaries, needs and approach to Sacred Sexuality or Tantra in a professional setting, I am not saying that this is ‘the right way’. I believe that all paths to sensual awakening that honour the needs and boundaries of both the practitioner and the client are beautiful.
Through my time working intimately with men, I learned so much about the male psyche. I also learned about myself and more specifically, my need to let go of the past and allow forgiveness to free me from the binds that weighed me down. It was not easy. In fact, it was one of the most challening periods of growth and healing I have been up against thus far in my life, but it was vital to my own development both as a woman and as a healer.
“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” Tori Amos