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  • Writer's pictureEmily Royce


*I have since broken from the appropriation and irresponsible, willfully uninformed and outright abusive world of Neo-Tantra, specifically Eugene Hedlund and his school Tribal Tantra. The healing I received at the time still remains true. So does the indoctrinated looking away of power dynamics, gaslighting and and wanting to believe we were all receiving healing when many in the space were also receiving a double-down on their trauma. My complicity in this is not okay. For those who have had "Tantra" sessions with me, know that if you experienced healing, this was the beauty of your body's wisdom and our co-Devotion to the Divine at the same time. I had the skills of presence, listening, and unconditional acceptance (with a dose of tough love) before my training in Neo-Tantra. I was a teacher of breathwork and focus of attention before my training in Neo-Tantra. And these skills were enhanced by my most recent trauma-informed Sexological Bodywork certification with The Sea School of Embodiment. I hope that you do not take any spiritual opening and body acceptance you received with me and apply it to finding a teacher, training or festival in the Neo-Tantra world. There is ancient Tantra to study, and there are also more current, culturally appropriate and inclusive sacred sexual and somatic modalities to choose from. All have their blind spots and areas they need to get better on. I have not encountered any thus far who are so arrogantly unapologetic as the teachers and schools in the western Neo-Tantra world. If you have questions, concerns, or plans of action you would like to scheme on, please reach out under my Going Deeper tab.

Day three of Tribal Tantra facilitator training we were invited to take our clothes off and be witnessed for two minutes by near strangers. Next invited to lay down and speak the story of this body while receiving loving touch. After the initial feelings of fear and nausea transformed, and I made a conscious decision to be bold, I went from shame and hiding in my body to freedom. Simple, innocent, quick body freedom. The container, the safe space, the invitation. The ritual and sacredness around my form. I did not know this was the initiation I needed until it was happening.

That is what this month was like for me. I did not know that every moment unfolding was exactly what my soul has been yearning to return to until I was experiencing it in the electricity of every cell.

I swam naked, danced naked, made love in ways unashamed of my desire, my body's curves and smells, my primal noises, my vast range and waves of emotions, needs and wants.

For the first time in my life I am enjoying penetration. Just writing that word brings up so much in me. My recoil from this word, from this act, from all the pain and intrusion and taking energy that it represents runs deep. I felt like a betrayer taking anyone into me, letting them feel okay with the sacrifice this entailed for me without them truly demonstrating they got it. It was an act I allowed occasionally and resentfully.

And then this training tore me open. Blew apart all my old defense storylines. Got me to confront their origins and question who they were serving. I was withholding pleasure from myself while telling myself I was the only one who would protect my body. I acted as if I was gifting lovers by allowing them to enter me when I was robbing us both by never surrendering to the pleasure of it.

I am far from being open to all partners, nor do I want to be. My body and soul have healing to do before this constant pain feels safe to transform too. But I am finding the pleasure in surrendering to the pain. Allowing this intensity to transform during the act, in the moment. Letting go of my mind that tells me that my partner is hurting me, that neither me nor he respects the intricate story my pussy contains. They speak their own language and every day they get each other on a level that my mind cannot understand. So I reluctantly but courageously get out of my own way. I leap into the magic of the unknown. The mystery of receiving. The unpredictability of what I have not tried yet.

I was feeling sad about my body one morning. Intercourse the night before had been difficult, not what I had set up in my mind and what I wanted. And this man who had only known me for a few weeks said he did not know what he was doing but that he was going to take me through a ritual, did I trust him. Everything in my body said yes even if my mind could not make sense of it. So he took me through a process of inciting my rage around the origins of this pain. The sexual shame, the ignoring when I brought it up as a child, the internalized betrayal of my body and the guilt, the anger, the confusion, the deep deep hurt. I have always been afraid of accessing this. I did not know I could yell like that, wail, deal blows to a loving ally. And when it was over I allowed myself to be held sweetly, to breath deeply, to cry softly and then laugh. And I was so wet and turned on. Released. We made love and for a long stretch, I had NO PAIN. The first moments of pain-free sex in this lifetime.

And now I am on the journey. What can I release, let go of, surrender to. I told this man that I want to surrender to him fully. Every day I have retractions and walls and doubts and mind fucks that try to convince me that this is not real. That healing doesn't happen this way. Not this unexpected, not this contradictory to what I thought, not in this package of a man. But it cannot be denied how my body responds to his particular body. How it opens and longs. The feeling of safety and danger. The vulnerability in the face of knowing that he could hurt me more than any other. Bring it. Fucking bring it.

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