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A Social History of the First Ten Years of Taoist Erotic Massage by Joseph Kramer

In my forty years of teaching, my most profound experiences have involved a form of erotic bodywork called Taoist Erotic Massage. This massage often takes men and women into erotic trance states. The rhythmic breathing and genital stimulation of a Taoist Erotic Massage activate a prolonged, orgasmic glide. I have witnessed thousands of men and women access this astonishing state. This expanded full-body orgasm is the cutting edge of sex education today!

You can witness and learn this massage as an enrolled member of the New School or in the classes Male Genital Massage and Female Genital Massage. This doctoral dissertation tells the story of the evolution of this ecstatic sexual experience.


This is a history of Taoist Erotic Massage, a sexual experience that involves breathing and genital touching that often produces transformative altered states in those receiving it. Joseph Kramer developed this erotic structure between 1982 and 1992 as a way for gay men to connect sexually in a safe and ecstatic manner in the era of AIDS.

The erotic massage was called Taoist because the intent of the touching was not merely to stimulate erotic energy, but also to circulate it throughout the body without ejaculation. From 1982 to 1985, Kramer began to explore the possibilities of this massage with clients in one-on-one sessions. In 1986, the Body Electric School, founded by Kramer, began offering trainings in Taoist Erotic Massage, first in Oakland, and then in cities throughout North America and Europe.

The dynamics of a Taoist Erotic Massage are explicated in terms of Silvan Tomkins’ affect theory and script theory, and Donald Mosher’s depth of sexual involvement theory. Using affect theory, one can posit that the massage was popular and rewarding because of the enormous amounts of excitement and joy that it produced. Script theory conjectures that the transformative elements of the massage occurred because of the crucial change of affect within the massage. The education in Taoist Erotic Massage classes was profound by Mosher’s standards, because it involved exercises facilitating partner engagement, erotic role playing, and sexual trance.

Transcripts of actual classes elucidate the ways this massage was taught. Comments from men who gave and received Taoist Erotic Massage confirm the ecstatic and transformational nature of the experience. This history ends with Kramer selling the Body Electric School, which continues to teach this massage to men and women, gay through straight.


I thank the thousands of men who offered me their genitals for my research.

I bow to the many co-creators and teachers of Taoist Erotic Massage, especially Chester Mainard, Isa Magdalena and Matthew Simmons. I send a caress to all the men and women who have offered and/or continue to offer this massage. I especially thank Erik Caplan, the archetypal erotic masseur.

I send one hundred and one hours of foot massage to my breath teacher Claire Arnesen, who first planted the seeds of Taoist Erotic Massage in my heart and in my genitals.

Thanks to Michael Barger, Maggie Kent and Melvin Hill for helping me grasp and apply the work of Silvan Tomkins.

Thanks to Jim Duggins for non-violence when I opted out of work on our half-finished book. Your incredible effort is manifest in these pages.

Thanks to Carol Leigh and Hrabba Gunnarsdottir for helping me put Taoist Erotic Massage on video.

This dissertation would be different without the wisdom and support of Dan Bredemann, Don Clark, Randy Conner, Josh Davidson, Tony and Golden DeBone, Betty Dodson, Larry Dwyer, Carlos Fernandez, Dan Fernandez, Anthony Lecours, Jeannie Little, Mark Malan, Ph.D., Jack Morin, Don Shewey, Tim Updike, Bill Weintraub, Roger Wharton, and Dr. Jerry Zientara.

Thanks to my spiritual advisors Jim Curtan and Michael Kelly.

Thanks to my sacred intimate, Joe Miron.

Thanks to Annie Sprinkle, Ph.D., for being my research partner and lover for the last fifteen years.

Thanks to my dissertation committee. To Loraine Hutchins, who didn’t understand at the beginning that this was a boy dissertation. To Ray Stubbs, my friend and colleague who massaged me to excellence. And to Clark Taylor, who helped me see the limitations of conceptual models.

Thanks to Margaret Wade, the midwife of this dissertation. “It’s a boy, Margaret!”

I am grateful to my mother and father who offered me both emotional and financial support without expressing judgment.

An ancient Egyptian blessing for Michael Callen, Terry Weisser, Randy Wickstrom, and Tom Hammond: May the hands of the Divine Lover caress you into Bliss.


Individual Sessions
Class Sessions
Comparison to the Work of Stubbs and Painter
Toward a Theory of Human Behavior
Affect Theory
Script Theory
Depth of Sexual Involvement Theory
Sexual Role Enactment Script
The Sexual Trance Script
Partner Engagement Script
Three Dimensional Involvement
The Sexual Celibate
Self-Reichian Therapy
Educating the Caress
Private Sessions
The Founding of Body Electric
Teaching Erotic Massage
Public Exposure
The Big Draw
The Path of the Sacred Intimate
Making Videos for the Whole World to See
The End of an Era
Ecstatic Dying
Chapter Eight: SUMMARY

Other References


Chapter One


“To know oneself as a body is more important, at this moment in history, than to read the words of all the wise men who have ever lived.”
Marco Vassi, The Erotic Comedies (1981, p. 137.)

Although human animals have enjoyed erotic massage for thousands of years, neither of Kinsey’s landmark twentieth century sex studies mentions erotic massage as a sexual outlet. Today a growing number of people regularly have sex within a context commonly called “erotic massage.” Taoist Erotic Massage (TEM) is an erotic massage structure developed in the 1980’s by this writer, Joseph Kramer. This massage is described in Chapter Two. It has become widely practiced in Europe and North America.

However, the history of this new expression of sexual behavior has never been accurately documented. In Chapter Five, I will narrate the history of Taoist Erotic Massage (TEM) from 1982 to 1992 from a first person perspective. The primary motivation for the development of this erotic way of touching was the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic in 1981. Gay and bisexual men were in dire need of ecstatic, erotic safe ways of connecting with each other. Although I chose not to promote this massage as “safe sex,” safety was a motivation for the development and teaching of TEM.

In addition to telling the story of the first ten years of TEM, I will present conceptual models to help the reader better understand the transformative nature of the experience. In retrospect, the theories of Silvan Tomkins, Ph.D., and Donald Mosher, Ph.D., offer the best framework for understanding the dynamics of a Taoist Erotic Massage and its effects on practitioners. This conceptual framework will be explained in Chapter Three. In Chapter Six, I will recount the methods used to teach this new form of massage. This history will culminate in Chapter Seven with statements chosen from hundreds of comments and evaluations written to me by men after they had received a Taoist Erotic Massage. Brochures from the Body Electric School and a feature article from the Village Voice can be found in the Appendices at the end of the dissertation.

Chapter Two


“Sex is really only touch, the closest of all touch. And it’s touch we’re afraid of.”
D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1983, p. 38).

A Taoist Erotic Massage is a sexual experience that involves breathing and genital touching that often produces transformative altered states in those receiving it. Certainly, all erotic massage involves sexually arousing stimulation through touch. The erotic massage most people are familiar with is the “hand job,” which, for men, has ejaculation as its goal. Some erotic touch has been used therapeutically to help men and women become more comfortable with the placement of their attention on their bodies and on the bodies of their partners. Sensate focus, a method of therapeutic touch foundational to most sex therapies, teaches givers and receivers of touch to be intensely conscious during their interactions (Montagu, 1971; Hartman and Fithian, 1972; Masters and Johnson, 1982; Kennedy and Dean, 1986). Many friends and lovers use massage as a physical ritual or structure in which they can express their affection and love (Lacroix, 1994; Stubbs, 1989, 1999a, 1999b, 2000).

What constitutes a Taoist Erotic Massage of a man? The Taoist approach to men’s sexuality focuses on energy circulation and semen retention for strength and healthy living. Therefore, the word “Taoist” was chosen to indicate that the intent of the activity is not merely to stimulate erotic energy, but also to circulate it throughout the body without ejaculation (Chang, 1977; Chia, 1984; Chang, 1986). This form of massage involves a fast, rhythmic breath simultaneous to the genital stimulation. Participants in a TEM often experience ecstatic states and transformational moments. (See Chapters Three, Six, and Seven.)

Thousands of folks worldwide have been introduced to this erotic choreography in a one-on-one experience with a lover, a friend, or a professional masseur. Thousands of others first experienced this massage in the context of a class. The structure allowed for variations each time one gave or received a TEM. Even the structures of classes teaching TEM changed constantly. Below I offer a description of the central elements that I included in one-on-one sessions. Then I will describe a TEM as it was taught in a class situation.

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Individual Sessions
My sessions always began with a verbal contract between my client and me about what was going to happen during the session and what was not going to happen. Even with clients whom I massaged dozens of times, I still requested their input each session: “Tell me about your body today. What do you want to happen during the next ninety minutes?” I then spoke my intentions and strategies for that particular session.

To a man I was touching for the first time, I explained the dynamics of a TEM. I introduced him to the breathing rhythms we would be using. I made sure that he breathed with all the effort on the inhale and then relaxed on the exhale. I then had my client practice the Big Draw, a twenty-second clenching of the musculature of his entire body while he held his breath. I told him that toward the end of the session I would guide him in doing this draw and then wrap him in sheets for about ten minutes while he focused on the sensations within his body. I counseled the client that the period leading up to the Big Draw was an excellent time to reflect on changes he might wish to make in his life. I asked him if he had any words or intentions he wished me to remind him of at that time. The majority of first time clients requested no words. Many of my regular clients wished me to speak to them of issues that were significant in their lives. I ended the information-giving segment of the preparation by telling the new client that the goal of his massage was not ejaculation but a “full-body orgasm.” At that time, I explained the term “full-body orgasm” in Taoist terms as intense sexual energy circulating within and around the body. Now I explain it as a feeling state involving both interest-excitement and enjoyment-joy. (See Tomkins’ affect theory in Chapter Three.) Furthermore, I explained that the session was not about connecting with me; the goal of the session was for him to go deep within himself, and to savor that experience.

After this “educational” preparation for the massage, I invited my client to do a few minutes of stretching with me. The more relaxed the man was before he got on the massage table, the deeper his experience would be. Most of the stretches I chose helped relax the muscles of the neck and shoulders where men carry a lot of tension. After the man undressed, he lay face down on my massage table. For the next forty-five minutes, I gave him a deep, nonsexual oil massage on the entire back of his body.

Then, after he turned over, I guided him in rhythmic breathing during the whole massage on front of the body. At all times, at least one of my hands was stroking and caressing this man’s genitals. The other hand massaged the front of the body, manipulating muscles with an emphasis on the middle of the chest, the heart center. I massaged the heart as the symbolic location of the man’s affective connections. My goal during this part of the massage was to generate enormous amounts of sexual excitement in the genitals. This sexual excitement was then circulated throughout the man’s body both by my massage and by his fast breathing. Taoists consider the genitals to be “generators” of “erotic energy,” or ching chi (Chang, 1977; Chia, 1984; Chang, 1986).

During the next half hour, I used over thirty different genital massage strokes to keep the man’s attention in present time. (These strokes will be detailed in Chapter Six.) If the man had instructed me in what he wished to be reminded of as the erotic charge built in his body, I spoke his sentiments to him as I massaged him. I then guided him through the Big Draw. I allowed him sufficient time to savor the deep states of bliss and joy that followed the clenching. The session ended with the client and I speaking about our experiences.

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Class Sessions
Between 1982 and 1992, over three thousand men learned how to give a TEM in the context of a class. Some classes were three hours long, some a full day. But most men who studied Taoist Erotic Massage learned this choreography within the context of a two-day class called Celebrating the Body Erotic (see Appendix A).
The entire first day was made up of exercises preparing men to give and receive a TEM on the second day. The preparations included stretching and breathing exercises that reduced levels of distress. Group nudity and eye-gazing exercises helped alleviate fear and shame. Men were encouraged to laugh, to vent emotion and to communicate their intentions and fears. (See Chapters Six and Seven.) The participants in the two-day Celebrating the Body Erotic had more than eight hours of preparation before they began to give or to receive a TEM.

The genital stimulation with rhythmic breathing in these classes actually lasted between one and two hours. Masseurs switched from table to table during the massage, touching seven to ten different men, who had their eyes shut or were wearing blindfolds. Various massage strokes were demonstrated by the teacher. Then these touches were mimicked by the masseurs on the men receiving. (These strokes will be detailed in Chapter Six.) Since affect is contagious (Tomkins, 1962, 1963), it was quite common for a man who began laughing or crying to trigger laughter or tears in a significant portion of the class. The group excitement in the minutes just before the Big Draw almost always involved chaotic pandemonium as the masseurs intensified the stimulation while the men on the massage tables screamed and writhed while breathing deeper and faster. On cue from the teacher, all the masseurs in the room stopped touching, and the men on the tables did the Big Draw at the same time. The next ten to fifteen minutes involved no touching, just tranquil savoring. The group TEM ended like my one-on-one sessions, with a group sharing.

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Comparison to the Work of Stubbs and Painter
Perhaps the most prolific and influential teacher of erotic touch in the world today is Kenneth Ray Stubbs. Although Stubbs’ unique combination of Esalen and Swedish massage includes instruction on touching the male and female genitals, the erotic stimulation is not the focus of his massage work. The fact that Stubbs includes almost all parts of the body equally separates his approach from most other therapeutic massages and erotic massages. While Stubbs allows for therapeutic and transformational moments in his work, his core teaching is that touch is essential to our lives as human beings (Stubbs, 1989, 1999a, 1999b, 2000). Touch helps us remember and honor our own body and the bodies of those we care for. His instructional books and videos are filled with sensuous invitations to touch as well as precise instruction in the language of touch.

Jack Painter’s Pelvic-Heart Integration (2002) is a therapeutic process combining psychotherapy with Reichian-style body manipulation. Painter works on blocks in the client, from the top of his or her body down as he or she breathes consciously. The verbal part of this therapy involves bringing consciousness to the client’s core issues. Often the work focuses on changing negative parental messages about sexual desire or about acknowledging the masculine and feminine realms within the self.

Perhaps the most powerful moments in Painter’s somatic therapy involve genital stimulation of the consciously breathing client while male and female assistants take on the roles of the client’s mother and father. After being instructed by the client in what to say, the mother and father surrogates speak the messages that have inhibited the client for his or her entire life. Then, after prompting from the client, the surrogates change their speaking to messages that the client wished she or he had heard early in life. Although Painter’s context is therapy, the transformational elements of his work are very similar to those of a TEM: breathing, genital stimulation, and moments when behavior and thought patterns can be changed. The nature of this transformation in Taoist Erotic Massage will be discussed in Chapter Three.

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Chapter Three


In 1980-81, I enrolled in a year-long training with Claire Arnesen in rebirthing, a form of conscious breathwork (Orr and Ray, 1977; Ray 1983). The process I learned, which lasted from one to three hours, revolved around a fast rhythmic breathing where there was no pause between the inhale and the exhale. The conscious, fast breathing produced a blissful, full-body experience, starting within the first fifteen or twenty minutes of each session.

Central to this training was Reich’s idea that trauma of all sorts, experienced from birth to the present, produced armoring, or chronic constrictions, in our musculature (Reich, 1949). Reich wrote that this armoring was the basis of all human neuroses. He hypothesized that intense breathing and uninhibited sexual orgasms break up the armoring and clear neurotic patterns of behavior from the body. Although my year of rebirthing did not include specific sexual exercises, the breathing techniques I learned from Claire were geared to facilitate emotional release so that I could be healthy, balanced, free, and ecstatic.
Beyond the rebirthing class work, I scheduled about twenty-five individual guided breathing sessions with Claire. She would sit with me as coach and observer as I breathed for hours. During these sessions and in my classes with her, she recognized my severe shame and paralyzing self-disgust which had resulted from conflicts I had growing up as a homosexual boy in a conservative Catholic milieu. She suggested a series of erotic meditations that I would do alone to release the armoring. These exercises all involved masturbating and, at the same time, fast rhythmic breathing for about thirty minutes and then visualizing scenes where I was interacting in a healthy and beneficial way with significant people from my past.

My first erotic rebirthing involved me imagining my father standing nearby and affirming proudly his son and his son’s arousal. Claire made it clear that I was not to imagine a sexual connection to my father. I was merely to feel his approval for me and my sexuality. She also suggested that I remain well below the point of ejaculation inevitability. The first two times I tried this exercise, I couldn’t get aroused or remain in an aroused state while imagining my father being present. Claire said I should continue my efforts. On my third attempt, I spent about a half hour touching myself and breathing before I visualized my father’s presence. Then I remember slowing both my stroking and my breathing as I welcomed his presence into the room with me. He didn’t say anything. He just looked and nodded in affirmation. His visit lasted just a few minutes. But afterwards, I felt totally different towards my father.

I remember telling Claire, “This exercise opened my heart to my father and I felt his heart open to me.” I wondered if all of the change was within me or if there were some metaphysical dynamic where my father was also changed by the exercise. Claire said that understanding what had happened was not as important as the change I felt. A few days later, I did the same exercise with my mother. Again the exercise was difficult. I remember many distractions, but eventually I imagined my mother present in the room with me, loving every aspect of my being, including my homosexual desires.

Claire had me do this exercise about a dozen times over three months. I masturbated and breathed with both my parents together, with my whole family, and in St. Rita’s Church, where I worshipped as a boy. I masturbated and breathed among my high school friends. I masturbated and breathed in the dark confessional, where I had so often confessed the sin of masturbation, this time telling the priest what a gift my body and my sexuality were. I was startled when Claire suggested that I masturbate while Jesus looked on. But I did the exercise, and he told me of his unconditional love of who I was. Each time I breathed and masturbated while visualizing positive encounters with sources of shame from my past, I felt profound changes in my body. The word that best described these changes was “freedom.” I was becoming more and more free.

I was also committed to learning more about Wilhelm Reich. Reich, like early Freud, believed neurosis, all neurosis, to be repressed sexual energy. What piqued my interest was Reich’s idea that sexual experiences could be as effective as months or years of psychoanalysis. In Genitality in the Theory and Therapy of Neurosis (1980), Reich states, “those who are psychically ill need but one thing—complete and repeated genital gratification.” Healthy sexuality for Reich involved “the ability for total surrender to the involuntary contractions of the orgasm and the complete discharge of the excitation at the acme of the genital embrace” (1973).

For Reich, orgasm involved the ability to lose one’s self, yielding all conscious physiological control. Furthermore, Reich believed that authoritarian societies and institutions “intentionally suppressed the natural sexuality of children to paralyze rebellion and to inhibit critical thinking” (Shewey, 1992). Reich called the majority of western adults “genitally impotent.” The problem the Reichian therapist or researcher faces is determining when someone has surrendered totally to his or her orgasm. Reich never developed an objective method for measuring this “total surrender.”
Whereas Reich perceived the orgasmic response as inseparable from the functioning of the total human being, Kinsey and Masters and Johnson studied human sexual response as objectively measurable incidents separate from other aspects of the human animal.

Kinsey’s two seminal studies of human sexuality focused much attention on the frequency of orgasm but avoided investigations into the nature of orgasms (Kinsey et al., 1948, Kinsey et al., 1953). Kinsey restricted the term orgasm to the isolated climax. He wrote: “in the present study all cases of ejaculation have been taken as evidence of orgasm, without regard to the different levels at which the orgasms have occurred” (Kinsey et al., 1948, pp.59-60).

He was even narrower in his definition of female orgasm. “Many psychologists and psychiatrists, emphasizing the satisfactions that may result from sexual experience, suggest that the after-affects of this release from sexual tensions may be a chief source of those satisfactions. They are therefore inclined to extend the term orgasm to cover both the release from tensions and the after-effects of that release. There are, however, several advantages in restricting the concept of orgasm to the sudden and abrupt release itself, and it is in that sense that we have used the term.” Kinsey acknowledged that there was more to orgasms than counting them but still decided to base his studies on counting ejaculations and, in women, orgasmic releases.

In their enormous contribution to the understanding of human sexual response, Masters and Johnson limited their conclusions to the observable phenomena that all sexual climaxes shared in common. In all men and women receiving effective sexual stimulation, the physiological “Four Phase Model” was operative: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Vasocongestion , a swelling of the blood vessels, and myotonia, a temporary muscular rigidity, were the measurable responses in the genitals prior to orgasm. “Similarities rather than differences of response have been emphasized in this investigation” (Masters and Johnson, 1966, p. 273).

Researchers attempting to apply the Four Phase Model to a Taoist Erotic Massage might include all preliminary stretches, breathing exercises, and massage of the full body in the excitement phase. The reactions to all of the genital massage strokes and the simultaneous rhythmic breathing would constitute the plateau phase. The thirty-second clenching while holding of breath and then the release of breath and muscles of the Big Draw would make up the orgasm phase. The resolution phase would involve the relaxation response, a decrease in neurological firing, at first precipitous, then more gradual. This dissertation will explore sexual orgasm from the subjective experience of a person receiving Taoist Erotic Massage.

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Toward a Theory of Human Behavior
For fifteen years, I have been seeking a theory of human behavior that explains the intricacies of human sexual functioning I was witnessing in the teaching and practicing of Taoist Erotic Massage. Until 1996, my conceptual model for making sense of sexual behavior had been based on Taoism. The way I perceived and taught about human sexuality was grounded in this ancient Eastern system based on the circulation of subtle energy in and around the body. Acupuncture manipulates this same subtle energy for health and longevity (Chang, 1977; Chia, 1984; Chang, 1986).

But Taoism didn’t explain adequately and with nuance the dynamics of shame and other emotional states that I had experienced and witnessed during sexual behavior. Through the work of Donald L. Nathanson (1992) and Gershen Kaufman (Kaufman and Raphael, 1996), I was introduced for the first time to an approach to shame and other affective states that explained the dynamics I had been witnessing and personally feeling for years.

Both Nathanson and Kaufman based their understanding of human emotions on the affect theory of Silvan Tomkins. Tomkins had developed an understanding of human functioning that went beyond psychoanalysis in explaining human behavior and consciousness at the individual, interpersonal, and cultural levels. Tomkins’ most distinctive achievement was to theorize a discrete biological system of human emotion that he called the affect system. In his view, affects form the primary system for human motivation. He wrote: “Without affect amplification nothing else matters, and with its amplification anything can matter” (1991, p. 70).

Tomkins named his understanding of human behavior script theory (Demos, 1995). For Tomkins, a script is simply a set of rules or interpretive guidelines that a human being uses in order to take action, to make decisions, or to think.
Donald Mosher, Tomkins’ colleague, used Tomkins’ theories as the basis for his depth of sexual involvement theory (Mosher 1980, 1995). This theory describes the subjective experience of levels of absorption during a sexual scene. Since I will be using Tomkins’ affect and script theories and Mosher’s sexual involvement theory as conceptual models to describe the development and dynamics of a Taoist Erotic Massage, I will delineate in finer detail here those aspects of affect, script, and sexual involvement theory that are pertinent.

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Affect Theory
In Tomkins’ thinking, affects are the biological portion of emotion (Tomkins, 1962). “Affects are sets of muscle and glandular responses located in the skin of the face and also widely distributed throughout the body that generate sensory feedback which is either inherently acceptable and rewarding or inherently unacceptable and punishing” (Mosher quoted in Nathanson, 1996, p.107). Tomkins identified nine basic affects, which in combination with each other and with input from other subsystems of human functioning such as perception, memory, imagination, and cognition, constitute the rich range of human affectivity.

He identified two inherently rewarding or positive affects: interest-excitement and enjoyment-joy. (Tomkins used hyphenated names to indicate that affect exists on a continuum of intensity.) The functioning of these two affects is crucial to an understanding of human sexuality and to an understanding of the dynamics of a Taoist Erotic Massage. These positive affects expand and define the thrill of sexuality more than does the sexual drive and the pleasurable sensations in the genitals (Tomkins, 1962; Mosher, 1995). These affects are called positive not as a judgment, but because they feel rewarding.
Interest-excitement is the affect that dominates male western human sexuality. The unrealistic desire for nonstop hot, passionate, lusty sex is the desire for activation of the affect interest-excitement. Our lovemaps (Money, 1986), core erotic themes (Morin, 1995) and pornography exist to trigger this affect. This biological affect correlates roughly with Masters and Johnson’s first two stages of human sexual response: excitement and plateau. A Taoist Erotic Massage first stimulates interest-excitement. The novel feeling of being touched genitally with thirty different massage strokes while rapidly breathing produces an increase in neural firing.

The biological affect enjoyment-joy is activated by a decrease in rate of neural firing in an individual. This is the major post orgasm affect although it can be experienced for periods of time before orgasm. Enjoyment-joy is also the affect of love and communion with a partner. In many folks this affect triggers a smile or even laughter. The Mona Lisa and the smiling Buddha are examples of enjoyment-joy. Most forms of sitting meditation are explorations of the affect enjoyment-joy (Benson, 1975). This affect is also called contentment, bliss, peacefulness, and savoring. Many men in western cultures have been socialized to avoid enjoyment-joy because it is seen as passive and feminine (Mosher, 1991). Thus developed the stereotype of the man after orgasm rolling over and going to sleep rather than savoring the afterglow experience (Mosher, 1991). When Morin calls for the cultivation of “warm sex,” he is suggesting to his readers that they learn how to access enjoyment-joy. “Rather than emphasizing focused intensity, warm sex revolves around calmer experiences of sensuality, affection, pleasure, and playful fun” (Morin, 1995, p. 283). The period during a Taoist Erotic Massage after the Big Draw is the time of savoring bliss and joy and contentment. All touching stops. Control of breathing is returned to the autonomic nervous system. The music grows quieter. Some men laugh. Most spend this time savoring embodiment.

Tomkins also identified a neutral affect, surprise-startle, whose function is to clear the human system of ongoing processing of information to prepare it to attend to suddenly urgent matters. Finally, he identified seven inherently punishing or negative affects, which he listed in increasing order of toxicity as shame-humiliation, distress-anguish, disgust, fear-terror, anger-rage, and dissmell. The latter is a term invented by Tomkins modeled on the affect disgust, indicating a highly toxic emotion that seeks to permanently increase distance between the person experiencing dissmell and a displeasing other, as in the drawing away of the face and body from a noxious odor.

Negative affect is part of human experience and human sexual experience. Any of the negative affects can be involved in a sexual episode as either a component of the scene or as a result of the scene. It was my stated intention to men who were learning Taoist Erotic Massage that they should fully experience and release any negative affect they might be holding in their bodies. The articulation I used at the time was Reichian in nature: “The preliminary exercises and the actual Taoist Erotic Massage can assist you in releasing emotional holding patterns and armoring.”

Six of the affects are triggered by patterns of neural firing, or neural stimulation (see Graph A). A moderately rising increase of neural firing triggers the affect of interest-excitement; a steeper rising gradient triggers fear-terror; and an extremely steep rising gradient triggers surprise-startle. A declining gradient of overall neural firing triggers enjoyment-joy.

When the overall level of neural firing in the body increases beyond an optimal level, distress-anguish (the affect of “too much”) is triggered. When the overall level of neural firing is increased still further, anger-rage (the affect of “way too much”) is triggered (Tomkins, 1963, 1991). The interplay of these gradients and levels of neural firing will become important in understanding how Taoist Erotic Massage works and how it is effective in optimizing sexual functioning.

The remaining three affects of shame-humiliation, disgust, and dissmell are not triggered by either gradients or levels of neural firing, but operate as affect and drive-derivative auxiliaries. Tomkins’ affect theory posits a unique underpinning to the emotion we commonly know as shame. He theorizes that shame-humiliation is an affect auxiliary, which is triggered only when there is a partial interruption in either of the ongoing affects interest-excitement or enjoyment-joy. Partial interruption means that the reduction in either of these positive affects is incomplete. A complete interruption indicates a switch to another affect. For example, during the Big Draw, interest-excitement stops, and enjoyment-joy begins. Thus, sexual shame results from thoughts, words, or actions that function as an incomplete interruption within an ongoing, positive sexual scene.
To help the receiver in a TEM avoid getting stuck in shame, the giver is instructed to offer continuous genital stimulation while guiding the recipient in conscious fast breathing. When the recipient’s attention is distracted, shame is produced, according to affect theory. The ongoing genital stimulation and the constant reminders to continue breathing are structural encouragements to return from the interruption, to return from the shame episode. Shame usually pulls one’s attention from the present moment.

The affects, disgust and dissmell, have their origins in biological drive mechanisms intended to protect the human organism from ingestion of contaminated foods and exposure to noxious odors (Tomkins, 1961; Nathanson, 1992). These two affects have become generalized responses to a whole range of unpleasant human phenomena (Tomkins, 1961; Nathanson, 1992). These affects are the source of the sentiment, “You make me sick” (Nathanson, 1992).

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Script Theory
Tomkins’ script theory posits that affect fuses with cognition to produce rules for human behavior (Tomkins, 1991). These rules—also called scripts or interpretive guidelines—control scenes. Often, when these scripts are first formed and used, they are conscious. Some scripts are formed as we reflect on what is happening or on what has just happened. After these rules have been used in several scenes, they become unconscious and automatic. Some scripts are formed unconsciously.

Moments of human freedom are those times—those scenes—when we can consciously choose the scripts or rules we will live by. I believe that the elements and dynamics that make up a Taoist Erotic Massage allow the person receiving the massage to experience moments of freedom. This freedom is the ability to choose new scripts to live by. Thus, we will look more closely at how a script is formed.

Scenes in which scripting takes place must be consequential. Tomkins describes these transformative scenes as involving intense affect that changes dramatically during the scene. This change can be in the type of affect or the intensity of affect or both. For example, the change can be from fear to joy (type of affect) or from moderate interest to intense excitement (degrees of the same affect). A consequential scene also involves a narrative where we tell ourselves what is happening or what has just happened. During TEM classes, I shouted instructions to the group, providing them with a possible choice of narrative. Among the most common narratives I employed were entreaties to “wake up every level of being” and to be “aware of everything and everyone you are connected to.”

The first segment of a Taoist Erotic Massage activates interest-excitement. The activators of affect here are fast rhythmic breathing, loud and evocative music, unrelenting genital stimulation, and shouted verbal guidance. All these elements contribute to an increase in the neural firing. The last part of a Taoist Erotic Massage activates enjoyment-joy through quieter breathing, no touching whatsoever, quieter music, and no guidance from the facilitator. Because of these dramatic changes in affect, a Taoist Erotic Massage can almost always function as a consequential scene, where the conscious scripting of future behaviors, choices, and cognitions can take place.

The kinds of scripts theoretically possible are infinite, and Tomkins specifies and explicates quite a number of classes of scripts. The most important for our present purposes are the groupings of scripts that Tomkins calls ideological and cost/risk/benefit scripts (Tomkins, 1991; Demos, 1995).

Ideological scripts specify what is to be considered good, true, and beautiful in human life. Sexual ideological scripts specify what is real, possible, and valuable in the sexual realm. Ideological scripts often include “should” in the script. Here are some examples of ideological scripts: “Sex should be between two married people, a man and a woman.” “The man is usually more aggressive than the woman.” “Men ejaculate during sex.”

Taoist Erotic Massage, as it was taught at the Body Electric School, almost always challenged the receiver’s sexual, ideological scripts. The massage provided an environment where the receiver had the opportunity to revise what he considered to be good, true, and beautiful about sex. The ideological tenets of the TEM scene were: “This form of sex is designed for men to produce an altered state of consciousness different from what they normally experience. It can involve many persons, all of the same sex. The man receiving is totally passive and doesn’t need to ejaculate. In fact, the man doesn’t even need to get an erection to experience interest-excitement and enjoyment-joy.” It was my goal that most men leaving a class or an individual session have their ideological scripts challenged.

Cost/risk/benefit scripts (Tomkins, 1991; Demos, 1995) deal with scenes where positive benefits are desired but where one needs to endure cost and risk of negative affect in order to get the positive result. If there is a low density of negative affect and high density of positive affect, the script is rewarding. When sexual scripts seek shame, or fear, or terror, or disgust as a result, we call these scripts punishing. Tomkins named five types of cost/risk/benefit scripts, which are listed here in increasing order of toxicity. These scripts balance costs and risks in seeking out benefits in the various scenes of life.

Affluent scripts deal with scenes that are rewarding in and of themselves. A man who chooses TEM as a regular mode of his sexual expression because it feels rewarding is living out an affluent script, which basically deals with interest-excitement and enjoyment-joy. But a man who attends classes in TEM in order to become more comfortable with his body or in order to dispel feelings of shame is acting out a damage-reparation script. These are basically therapeutic scripts that seek to address rewarding scenes that have become damaged in some dimension(s) and to repair the damage. Limitation-remediation scripts “confront those aspects of life which are less than ideal, but which must be confronted and can be confronted” (Tomkins quoted in Demos, 1995, p 391). An elderly man who feels unattractive due to his age might hire a professional masseur to give him private TEM sessions. This type of script would also describe the behavior of a man who cannot ejaculate because of a medical condition, so he chooses a sexual mode that doesn’t emphasize ejaculation. The prominent affect associated with limitation-remediation scripts is distress-anguish.

Decontamination scripts deal with scenes “in which some impurity is introduced into a life. It may have been good before, or it may have always been bad, but it is recognized by the individual as, not a permanent limitation, but an impurity, a contamination” to be purified or gotten rid of (Tomkins quoted in Demos, 1995, p 391). One’s attempts to decontaminate oneself are, for the most part, futile. One often finds this script in folks with conservative religious backgrounds who were taught that all sex outside of marriage, especially homosexuality, is sinful, pathological, and illegal. The affect here is disgust, especially self-disgust for having sexual feelings. Many men and women who carry debilitating trauma from having been sexually abused act out this sexual script.

Finally, anti-toxic scripts are developed to deal with “scenes of intolerable punishment, which must be either eliminated, attenuated, escaped, or avoided—somehow destroyed” (Tomkins quoted in Demos, 1995, p 392). Often incidents of severe sexual abuse can result in anti-toxic scripts. I was taught that masturbation, homosexuality, and sex outside of marriage would result in eternal damnation. This teaching was designed to cause terror in me and others so we would not transgress the church’s mandates. “We know the toxicity of terror. It is a very punishing response, which we have to get rid of as soon as possible” (Tomkins quoted in Demos, 1995, p. 394). Often, those with anti-toxic scripts will choose severe measures such as suicide or heroin addiction to deal with the unrelenting pain. Malan’s study of suicide and thoughts of suicide among young Mormons who are tragically tormented because they cannot control their impulses to masturbate describes well dynamics of anti-toxic scripts (Malan, 2001).

It is the understanding of this writer that TEM assists participants in moving the scripting of their sexuality towards greater rewards (sexual affluence scripts) and away from punishment (decontamination or anti-toxic scripts). Most men receiving a TEM are living an affluent script and invoking damage-repair and limitation-remediation scripts as needed. This dynamic will become clearer as we look at the three ways Donald Mosher divides affluent sexual scripts.

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Depth of Sexual Involvement Theory
Having been a student both of classical mysticism (Cloud, 1973; Merton, 1949; James, 1969) and of the more accessible mysticism of the 1960’s and 1970’s (Leary, 1977, 1979; Tart 1975), I had a language and context from which to speak to students and clients about the altered states that they were experiencing during TEM. However, my research into the intricate dynamics of TEM moved to new levels of understanding when I began to study Mosher’s depth of sexual involvement theory (1980, 1995).
Mosher writes:
The theory postulates that it is psychological involvement that makes physical sexual stimulation effective, that involvement can vary along dimensions of depth from shallow to deep, that there are three potential dimensions of involvement in the sexual encounter, and that the emotions vary as a function of both the depth and the preferred dimension of involvement (1980, p. 4).

Mosher’s theory describes the human sexual response as subjectively experienced by the participant. Based on Shor’s hypnosis model (1962), he posits levels of increasing involvement into the sexual scene. As the participant is absorbed ever more deeply into the sexual experience, he or she becomes less conscious of the outside world.

Mosher (1980, 1995) has further theorized that the participant engages in one or more of three distinct affluent sexual scripts as he or she becomes more involved in the sexual scene. These three separate patterns of behavior that determine the human sexual response are sexual trance scripts, partner engagement scripts, and sexual role enactment scripts.
These scripts are formed when an individual, living through a series of scenes, chooses or unconsciously experiences sexual behaviors he or she finds rewarding. Over time, even the conscious choices become unconscious, but they remain with the individual in the form of preferred sexual scripts. Scripts are preferred and rewarding when they produce the affects interest-excitement and enjoyment-joy. When an individual is equally at home in all three sexual scripts, his depth of involvement is “profound” (Mosher, 1980, p.25). Most individuals have one preferred sexual script that rewards them above the others. Some are equally at home in two of the three sexual scripts. Mosher names this involvement in one or two sexual scripts as “unbalanced” (1980, p.26). Profound intimacy involves the ability to go deep into all three sexual paths. “Your limitations using sexual trance, partner engagement, and role play limit sexual intimacy with your partner. If you can use only one (or two) sexual style(s)—and only at superficial depth—sex never becomes profoundly intimate” (Schnarch, 1997, p. 256). “In total orgasmic involvement all three dimensions are present” (Mosher, 1980, p.26).

The structure of Taoist Erotic Massage classes included partner engagement exercises and skills, but most of the teaching guided men in playing the role of the erotic masseur and accessing sexual trance. Below I will explore in more depth each of Mosher’s sexual paths and how they help us understand the dynamics and effectiveness of a Taoist Erotic Massage class.

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Sexual Role Enactment Script
In role enactment, “the nature of the sexual interaction is scripted by role expectations and role demands as perceived by partners” (Mosher, 1980, p.6). In Celebrating the Body Erotic, men prepared for giving and receiving a TEM by playing many different sexual roles. Each man participated in the removal of several other men’s clothes. One popular exercise had each man pretend he was an adolescent boy being sexual with another boy for the first time. During the actual massage, half of the class received guidance in playing the role of the receiver, while the other half received guidance for the role of erotic masseur, giver of pleasure. (See actual instructions in Chapter Six.)

When playing sexual roles, Mosher posits six levels of depth of involvement, varying from no involvement to total absorption. (See Table 1.) Zero Involvement. Here we find an avoidance or disinterest in the sexual episode. The person exerts no effort or affect. The tuition men paid to attend TEM classes almost always provided some basic motivation to participate, but sometimes a man would refuse to breathe or would refuse to communicate with other students. I asked men who refused to participate to leave the class. This happened about once in every ten classes.

Casual Sexual Role Enactment. Here the participant is vaguely present but actually distracted and detached. Often masseurs at this level would look around the classroom at other student massages. Their placement of attention was not on giving a massage. Since masseurs touched seven to ten different men during a TEM, it was not uncommon for the giver to be distracted when the receiver was not attractive to him.

Routine Sexual Role Enactment. Here the participant pretends effort and enjoyment but is actually disassociated. This level of role enactment is common among professional erotic masseurs and other sex workers. Some men in TEM classes paid no attention to the guidance about how to perform various penis massage strokes. These men had their own agendas in attending a TEM class. Some of these men as masseurs would try to masturbate each man they touched to ejaculation, a pattern they brought with them to the class.

Engrossed Sexual Role Enactment. Here the participant jumps fully into the role with enthusiasm. In TEM classes, men at this level of involvement touched with the intention of giving their partners the best massage possible. There was a sincere desire to learn the whole massage structure.

Entranced Sexual Role Enactment. Here the actor, because he has mastered the sexual skills needed to enact the role, merges with the role. At this level, giving a TEM becomes a dance where there is little conscious thought. The student merges into the role of erotic masseur. In other words, he feels and experiences himself as an erotic masseur. This usually involves a deep connection with the men he is touching. I gave a special name to men who were able to go this deep and deeper into the role of giver of sexual joy: sacred intimates. (See more about sacred intimates in Chapter Five.)

Ecstatic Sexual Role Enactment. This ecstatic level of sexual role enactment happened frequently in TEM classes. Mosher writes:
Ecstatic sexual role enactment is unusual and infrequent. It is characteristic of fully developed trance states, transpersonal experiences and archaic or mystical unions. … In their actions they lose their sense of consciousness and volition. They feel transported and transformed. The self is lost…. Time duration is distorted and seems eternal. Feelings are oceanic. …The sense of unity or oneness can be transpersonal embracing both the unique partner and the archetypal image. The experience is described as a peak (1980, p. 8).

For many men, experiencing this astonishing depth of involvement with the role of erotic masseur was life changing. Between 1986 and 1992, over three hundred men chose to get further training as masseurs or erotic masseurs after taking a single class in TEM.

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The Sexual Trance Script
When a human is sexually aroused, he or she experiences reality differently from normal, waking consciousness. Mosher describes this movement into a sexual altered state of consciousness as the fading of the Generalized Reality-Orientation (GRO) concurrent with the construction of a Special Sexual-Orientation (SSO). “The special sexual-orientation is a temporary schema which orients awareness of sensations and emotions toward the realm of social-sexual meaning. …The emotions of excitement and joy become specific sexual excitement and sexual enjoyment” (Mosher, 1980, p. 12).

Sexual trance, according to Mosher, moves through seven levels of deepening involvement. (See Table 2.) Although few men in TEM classes had no ability to let go of normal consciousness, some held on to parts of their ordinary reality by keeping their eyes open even after they had been instructed to close their eyes or wear blindfolds. Others avoided going into altered states by usurping the role of the masseur, focusing their attention on touching the man who was massaging them. Perhaps the most common technique to avoid going into trance was to think about what was happening and to make judgments.

When a man’s attention is finally captured by the erotic touch as well as by the excitement of the whole scene, he lets go of ordinary reality. Mosher calls this the “onset of altered states ofconsciousness” (1980, p.13). At this depth of involvement, a man can let his defenses down because he feels safe. As the involvement deepened in a TEM through increased excitement, rhythmic breathing, and intense genital stimulation, the man alternated his placement of attention from sensory experiences to the music, from his own excitement to the meaning he was investing in the experience.

At the deepest levels of sexual trance, the man’s “volitional concentration is left behind. Now each ingredient experience fascinates the person, attention flows with experience, is drawn by experience as the person delights and revels in the sexual experience” (Mosher, 1980,p.14). At this level of trance, only emergency intrusions, such as a fire raging through the building, could reawaken normal reality. In at least ten instances, massage tables collapsed at the apex of a TEM. In most of these situations, the massage continued on the floor. The Special Sexual-Orientation was too overwhelming to be ended by the collapse of a table. Often insight and revelations accompanied thedeepest levels of absorption into erotic trance. Some men screamed, laughed, and cried without self-consciousness.

It was common for students to report to me in speaking or writing that they had gone deeper into erotic altered states than they had ever gone before. One might hypothesize that most of these men had been living partner engagement sexual scripts or role enactment scripts, and had never before fully explored the possibilities of sexual trance.

Partner Engagement Script
The partner engagement script is the sexual path promoted both by religion and by civil society. Mosher writes that “Depth of involvement with a sex partner in human sexual response is a function of (a) the strength and salience of the bond between the partners, (b) the extent to which the core of the person’s personality participates in the sexual contact episode, and (c) the extent to which the sexual contact episode embodies profound meaning” (1980, p. 22). Since most of the men in TEM classes did not know each other before the class, one might surmise that the partner engagement script was not a significant part of the experience.However, partner engagement was central to the TEM experience.

I named the relationship between and among men in TEM classes as “sacred brothers.” I defined a “sacred brother” as someone who was present to assist in the transformation of others. During the two days of the Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) class, participants were always referred to as sacred brother. It was common for students to use this phrase in referring to each other.

The relationship between classmates was further defined by the constant repetition of the prayer “All My Relations.” The sentiment in this prayer—we are all connected—was used to define the relationship among classmates. At the beginning of the first day of CBE, all men were taught the American Sign Language hand movements for “All My Relations.” This prayer was repeated or signed at the end of every exchange between sacred brothers in the two days of CBE. The naming of participants as sacred brothers, and the naming of their relationships as connected, generated a bond among the participants.
The meaning of the communal human sexual response was repeatedly expressed in a prayer spoken several times before and during the massage: “As I receive pleasure, so the whole universe receives pleasure through me.” This prayer both honored the sensual experience and placed it within a context of boundless significance.

Every man in the class spent a considerable amount of time eye gazing. This was the most significant partner engagement exercise. When they looked into each other’s eyes, they were instructed to honor whatever connection they might recognize, but not to look for any specific relationship. Students were also taught the greeting, “I am another you.” This salutation facilitated connection with another person.

Partner engagement in TEM classes ranged from Mosher’s level four to level six. (See Table 3.) In level four, partners engaged each other in a superficial, functional manner. The stated intention of a TEM was that the masseur would give his partner pleasure through a variety of touches. This correlates with Mosher’s level four. In level five, human beings connected with each other deeply. Evidence of this level of connection can be found in the Body Electric networks that have sprung up all over the world. In Mosher’s level six, the “partner and self become universal man and woman.” I heard reports of this level of partner involvement perhaps a dozen times during the period of this history. All the partner involvement described above was unusual for a gathering of men that started as strangers.

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Three Dimensional Involvement
Taoist Erotic Massage both in classes and in individual sessions elicited profound involvement in sexual role enactment, in erotic trance, and in partner engagement. Since this three-dimensional involvement produced enormous changes in affect, both the man giving and the man receiving the massage had the opportunity to experience new erotic guidelines as deeply rewarding within the confines of a consequential scene.

Consequential scenes are scenes where scripts are formed or changed (Mosher, 1998). Consequential scenes offer freedom. In other words, a man receiving a TEM experiences massive changes in the intensity of excitement and then, after the Big Draw, experiences a dramatic change in the type of affect, i.e., from interest-excitement to enjoyment-joy. The man giving the massage also experiences dramatic changes from interest-excitement to enjoyment-joy. Profound three-dimensional involvement produces rewarding and consequential results.

In this chapter, I have used Silvan Tomkins’ affect and script theories and Donald Mosher’s depth of sexual involvement theory to offer a basic understanding of the dynamics of a Taoist Erotic Massage. More importantly, I have told the story of how Claire Arnesen’s erotic meditations provided the foundation for the transformational aspects of this massage. In the next chapter, I discuss how Alan Brauer and Donna Brauer, Mantak Chia, and Harley Swiftdeer contributed to the development of TEM.

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Chapter Four


Many of the concepts and experiences that influenced the development of Taoist Erotic Massage occurred within the merging of Western and Eastern thought. What may be strange to some readers is faithful to those immersed in those realities. Various cultures and societies have their own definitions of orgasm.

In this dissertation, and in the sources in the bibliography, one can find the following terms: full-body orgasm, extended sexual orgasm, breath orgasm, fire breath orgasm, energy orgasm, and non-ejaculatory orgasm. None of the above terms are the equivalent of Masters and Johnson’s physiological orgasm, those few seconds of involuntary, muscular contractions at the peak of sexual excitement.

This diverse use of the term “orgasm” is one significant reason I have embraced Tomkins’ affect theory. Tomkins’ theory explains most of the non-Masters-and-Johnson-type orgasms as an interplay of the affects interest-excitement and enjoyment-joy (Tomkins, 1961). All of the above are called orgasms because they are analogues for the orgasm described by Masters and Johnson in physiological terms. However, each has its own nuance. A full-body orgasm manifests throughout the body. An extended sexual orgasm is defined by its duration. A breath orgasm and a fire breath orgasm are affective states produced by breathing techniques. Any of the preceding could be an energy orgasm, which is defined by the intensity of the experience. A non-ejaculatory orgasm also can be any of the above, as long as ejaculation does not occur.

Until I discovered Extended Sexual Orgasm by Alan Brauer and Donna Brauer (1983), I didn’t know anyone else who was researching prolonged orgasmic states, or erotic rebirthing, as I was calling it in 1982 and 1983. The Brauers described full-body orgasms in their clients similar to those I was facilitating in men during periods of erotic massage and rhythmic breathing. Their methods combined the best communication techniques from Masters and Johnson’s couples work with Taoist sexual practices similar to those I had integrated into my massages. The controlled breathing rhythms the Brauers taught were designed to help the receiver bring attention to his or her body. The chaotic breathwork during a TEM also awakened awareness of the senses, but a more foundational goal of the breathing was to flood the body with an excess of oxygen, which resulted in feelings of enjoyment-joy.

I have always been interested in what Mosher (1998) and other Tomkins scholars have called consequential scenes, those moments of freedom where we have the opportunity to make changes in our thoughts or in our behavior. Although I had been attracted to many of the new therapies introduced in the1960’s and 1970’s such as LSD psychotherapy (Caldwell, 1968; Grof, 1980) and primal scream (Janov, 1980), my search in the 1980’s became one of transformation through sex. My initiation to a truly effective therapy had been Claire Arnesen’s masturbation meditations. I also took note of Baghwan Shree Rajneesh’s assertion that three hours in a full-body orgasmic state would transform forever a man’s desire for normal ejaculation sex (Rajneesh, 1979). As I sought out “therapies” that involved sexual orgasm, I discovered the realm of “sex magic” (Symonds and Grant, 1969; Kramer, 1993). The basic technique was simple: As you start into and during your orgasm, visualize, or feel, clearly the result you wish to manifest.

My interest in sex magic led me to the work of Harley Swiftdeer, whose “heart pleasuring” exercise reaffirmed for me the Taoist teaching that the energy generated in our genitals could and should be circulated throughout the body (Swiftdeer, 1984). The central action of heart pleasuring is the circulation of energy between heart and genitals. Swiftdeer encouraged advanced practitioners “to combine the heart pleasuring exercise with the fire breath, …that produces a dramatic and very deep orgastic experience” (Swiftdeer, 1984, p. 82, 90). In the “Personal Quodoushka Magick Ceremony,” Swiftdeer gives detailed instructions for creating “that which you need in your life (abundance, healing, growth, job opportunities, relationships, etc.)” (1984, p. 170). After discernment, to be sure one’s requests are in “alignment with the cosmic” (1984, p. 174), individuals or couples do the heart pleasuring exercise. “During orgasm, see yourself having actualized your request(s) and focus on this during the entire orgasm. When orgasm is complete, release the image and do not think of it again” (1984, p. 174). Not only did Swiftdeer’s ceremony spell out for me the elements of a transformational scene—intense change in affect while holding the vision of what is possible—but it further reminded me of the importance of connecting the heart with the genitals. Many of the men I was giving TEM to in the early 1980s were having profound heart-opening experiences. Thanks to Swiftdeer, the importance of the heart-genital connection became central to the TEM experience.

Mantak Chia teaches the Big Draw as a way of stopping ejaculation by clenching the pubococcygeus muscles at the base of the genitals. The clenching of the muscles pumps the orgasmic energy through a circular pathway, up the center of the back of the body to the head, and then down the center of the front of the body back to the genitals. Mantak Chia calls this pathway the Microcosmic Orbit (Chia, 1984). I began to use a version of the Big Draw in my classes in 1988 after learning it from Valnn Dayne in a training on “Ecstasy Breathing.” Dayne taught me to hold my breath while contracting all the muscles in my body. I taught my students this Big Draw first without genital stimulation, then within the context of a TEM. In advanced classes, I would have students do two or more Big Draws during a TEM. The change in affect during the Big Draw from excitement to bliss was dramatic and abrupt.

Many men reported to me that, instead of circulating energy within the body at the point of the Big Draw, they felt their consciousness shoot up through the tops of their heads and out of their bodies. They would then experience themselves re-entering their bodies a few minutes later. This experience appears to be similar to what the Tibetan Buddhists call the “ejection of consciousness,” which propels a person’s life force from his or her body at the moment of death. The Tibetan Book of the Dead begins with the statement that one doesn’t need the liberating guidance found in that text if one has learned this faster form of liberation (Tibetan, 1975).

In this chapter, I have related how the work of Alan Brauer and Donna Brauer, Mantak Chia, and Harley Swiftdeer has contributed to the development of TEM. In the next chapter, I tell the story of the development of TEM.

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Chapter Five


The Sexual Celibate
When I was seventeen years old, I left the home of my parents and my life as a marathon masturbator to join the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious community also known as the Jesuits. I totally embraced the Jesuit ideal: “To be a man for others.” For years, I was sequestered from contemporary culture, while being taught ancient meditation practices and being guided into a personal relationship with God. The Jesuits who trained me were authentic yet wounded, repressed but unabashedly ecstatic. When I say ecstatic, I mean they were intoxicated with the possibilities of being human. Although masturbation and all other forms of sexual expression were forbidden, I was being initiated into the multidimensional path of the ecstatic. My life was to be lived in a heroic manner for the honor and glory of God.

As a Jesuit, I had one full-body massage in 1974. At the time, I was enrolled in a four-year Master of Divinity program at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. For years, I had been walking an ecstatic but nonembodied path, studying literature, psychology, philosophy, and mathematics. One day at lunch, John Coleman, my academic advisor, announced to a group of students that he had completed training in Esalen massage the previous weekend. He was seeking bodies to practice on. I immediately volunteered. I was nervous about being completely naked, although I knew the massage was not to be erotic. Still, I worried I might get sexually aroused.

John calmed my fears by telling me that this massage was about bringing my consciousness into my body. He suggested that I allow his hands to guide my placement of attention. He also said the more I surrendered to the experience, the more I would profit from the massage.

I had had many ecstatic experiences as a Jesuit, but this massage woke up levels of consciousness I didn’t know existed. I remember thinking after the massage, “That was the most important two hours of my whole life!” The Esalen massage had introduced me to a totally embodied trance state. For two hours I felt totally present within my physical being. For months afterwards, I delighted in a feeling of wholeness as if the massage had woven together pieces of myself that had never before been connected. I knew I could not continue to ignore this realm of feeling states and bodily sensations in order to remain celibate. In reading William James (1969) for a course in mystical experiences, I came across a passage that helped me gain insight into my massage experience.

“Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.” (James, 1969, p.371)

Even today, I look back almost thirty years to those two hours of massage from John Coleman as a place of great liberation in my life. I did not understand then that the illuminations and revelations of that massage would transport me out of the Society of Jesus.

However, at age twenty-eight, I painstakingly came to realize that the Jesuits were not the community of men for me. I didn’t have the required “gift of celibacy.” In Mosher’s terminology, the role of the celibate wasn’t my sexual role. I finally acknowledged that my special way of loving and serving others involved my sexuality. The Jesuits, master teachers that they are, taught me to teach. Experts in discernment, they showed me how to make good decisions. Administering and teaching in over twenty universities and thirty high schools, the Jesuits imprinted on me the importance of founding your own institution of learning to get your message out. In 1976, I ended my extraordinary, ten-year experiment in living as a Jesuit.

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Self-Reichian Therapy
I moved from living a celibate seminary existence to New York City to explore what it was to be gay. There I discovered I had moved into a neighborhood defined by sex. All the men I knew were constantly having sex, everywhere. My favorite sex venues included the Eagle, the Gloryhole, the Spike, the Everard Baths, Man’s Country Baths, and even the Hudson River piers. I discovered I liked being sexually aroused for long periods of time. I felt my arousal was vibrating dead spots, constrictions, and fears from my body. I later called this “my period of self-Reichian therapy.” I brought to my sexual encounters a heart wide open from my years as a Jesuit, which contributed to my astonishingly deep experiences. Even when the connections were anonymous, I felt my partner(s) and I were assisting each other in exploring what was possible as human beings.

My first year in New York City taught me that the goal of sex was not ejaculation. I recognized that my primary mode of sexual involvement was trance. This was logical for a man who was basically kinesthetic. While, according to Bandler and Grinder, most humans learn from seeing and hearing, I process information through feeling states. This way of sensing data is called “kinesthetic” in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (1981). As a kinesthetic person, I developed profound empathic skills. In other words, I learned to feel what others were feeling. This ability allowed me to follow not only my own bliss, but everyone else’s bliss also. This aptitude of feeling levels of excitement and joy in another’s body was the primary tool I used in the development of TEM.

Soon after I arrived in NYC, I met Carlos Fernandez, who became my lover and my guide into the ways of being part of an ecstatic couple. With him, I first explored the depths of partner engagement. Both of us felt that having enormous amounts of sex with others, celebrating sexual trance, contributed to our own intimate connection.

During a month-long visit to California in the spring of 1979, I took an Esalen massage class for gay men from Milo Jarvis in his home on Sanchez Street in San Francisco. The four-evening class was nonsexual but intensely erotic for me. The long, sensuous strokes of my classmates triggered in me delightful trance states. I became aware that there were pleasurable ways other than sex to access physical trance. For the first time, I was able to relish the role of masseur. I returned to NYC and immediately offered a weekend class in Esalen massage for men in Dignity, a group of gay Catholics. This was the first massage class I ever taught. I was in awe of the peacefulness, the relaxation, and the pleasure the men offered to each other through conscious touch. When I returned to California in the summer of 1979, Milo Jarvis invited me to assist him in teaching his Esalen massage class. He said he thought I would make a good teacher of massage.

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Educating the Caress
I returned to Berkeley to complete the master’s degree I had begun as a Jesuit in 1972-75. After three years of nourishing, ecstatic, nonstop sex in New York City, I wanted the focus of my master of divinity studies to be erotic spirituality. I also enrolled in the Berkeley School of Massage. It had been six years since my massage initiation by John Coleman. I didn’t plan on becoming a professional masseur. The kinesthetic part of me demanded I get more massage and that I find a way to give touch. Since I couldn’t afford regular massage rates, I enrolled in a one-hundred-hour massage certification training for total tuition of $300. “That hundred-hour massage training has had more impact on my life than all the thousands of class hours I endured during my undergraduate and graduate education” (Kramer in Stubbs, 1999b, p. 17).

After I graduated from massage school in the fall of 1979, I wanted to learn bodywork skills beyond the Swedish massage techniques in which I was certified. I first attended the Acupressure Workshop to learn Jin Shin Do. I took their first course in acupressure, which taught forty of the most effective points on the body. I repeated it three times, because other students would be sensing energy with their fingers at various points, but I felt nothing. I thought, “This is a lot like being Catholic. You have to believe when you don’t feel anything.” Eventually, I started to sense energy flows in my own body and then in the people I was working on. This sensitivity to energy was greatly enhanced when I began studying rebirthing, or conscious breathing, with Claire Arnesen. (See Chapter Three.) I also took classes in other forms of bodywork: Trager, Shiatsu, Watsu, Orthobionomy, Feldenkreis (1991), Reflexology, and others.

I began offering professional massage sessions immediately after being certified as a professional masseur in the fall of 1979. After each class I took in various forms of bodywork, I incorporated those techniques into my individual bodywork sessions. I never gave the same massage twice. Creativity was important to me in my work. Many of my clients appreciated this versatility. Although some of my clients requested sex during the sessions, I refused. Though versatile, I had no intention of including sex with massage.

That changed during my year of study with Claire Arnesen. Her teaching to me was that my personal sexual transformation could be ecstatic. Her meditations for me involved breathing, masturbating, and visualizing situations where my energy was constricted. I found breathing rhythmically while sexually aroused was a powerful tool for personal transformation. I began exploring how I could integrate this into my private massage practice.

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Private Sessions
I remember vividly my first TEM paying client. I had been experimenting with breath and erotic touch for almost a year with friends when Fernando came to me for a Jin Shin Do acupressure session in the fall of 1982. He was so moved by my acupressure skills that I felt confident in asking him if he would like to experience “erotic rebirthing.” I explained that it involved a fast breath along with genital stimulation. In the dozen sessions I did with Fernando over the next few months, I learned how powerful and engaging the combination of breath with erotic touch could be. In each session, Fernando seemed to go deeper into the experience. Both of us were surprised by how excited and ecstatic he got. Those sessions emboldened me to offer TEM to others of my regular clients. Just a few months after I started offering TEM, I was seeing more than twenty clients a week for two-hour sessions.

I remember the first time I ever massaged a man with AIDS. Jeffrey had been coming to see me for lower back pain for almost three months. He had been in an automobile accident, so insurance was paying for his sessions. When he didn’t come for his regular session, I called a mutual friend who informed me that Jeffrey had been diagnosed with AIDS. I was paralyzed with fear. I had been touching AIDS for three months. I wasn’t sure I could continue as a masseur. When Jeffrey called to confirm his next appointment, I told him I looked forward to seeing him and touching him. My compassion totally overwhelmed my fear. After that next session with Jeffrey, I never again experienced fear of touching someone with AIDS.

Although I offered massage and breath sessions to women in my private practice, I declined requests to do Taoist Erotic Massage, because I didn’t feel I had enough understanding of women’s sexuality. Carol was the first woman I did a Taoist Erotic Massage on. In 1984, she came for a massage session. She said she knew I did erotic work with men, and she wanted to experience the same work.

She had recently had an abortion, and her boyfriend had abandoned her, and she felt judged and abused by the male doctor who performed the abortion. She said she needed to reconnect with men and with her vulva. This was what she hoped would be accomplished in a Taoist Erotic Massage with me. Trusting my own intuitions, I gave her a full-body massage and then guided her breathing with my own as I sensitively caressed her vulva. As I touched, she got angry, and started screaming and writhing. I had been through many similar emotional releases with other clients, so I just kept massaging her vulva and reminding her to breathe. The anger turned to tears and, after a few minutes, to a quiet peacefulness. After she had dressed, Carol said, “I got exactly what I came for.” She expressed surprise at how light she felt.

In my private sessions with clients, I often didn’t talk a lot before the session. I felt the massage was a more powerful medium than words. That changed when a man claimed I raped him. A man about my age came to me for massage. He told me he taught in a local Catholic high school, and coached the boys’ swim team. I remember mentioning that I, too, had taught high school for a few years. That was the extent of our conversation together. I then gave him a very deep massage on his back. When he turned over, I requested that he breathe with me and I proceeded to give him a Taoist Erotic Massage. He moaned and writhed as he breathed. He seemed to have a powerful session. Afterwards, he said, “You raped me. I didn’t come here for an erotic experience.” Rather than argue that he seemed to enjoy the whole experience or rather than suggest that he could have told me to stop, I was dumbfounded. I apologized as he left. From that session on, I was committed to having a verbal contract with every client about what was going to happen in each session. When a new client made an appointment on the phone, I always asked, “What is the experience you are seeking?” I then articulated in detail how I would work with him. The not-so-surprising end to this story is that the swim coach came back many times for sessions after the “rape.” Each time, he clearly requested a Taoist Erotic Massage.

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The Founding of Body Electric
After giving over one thousand individual massages, I knew I wanted to start a school of massage and rebirthing. Claire had agreed to teach the rebirthing part of the trainings. I needed to hone my massage teaching skills, so I offered one massage class a week for a year beginning in February 1983. In each class I taught a different type of massage. (See Appendix A.) I would spend several hours each week researching how to best teach “foot massage” or “face massage” or whatever was the body part of the week. By the end of 1983, I felt confident in my massage teaching skills. During this year I also took a course at my local community college in anatomy and physiology. As a teacher in a school of massage, I needed to know the body well.
In March 1984, after more than a year of preparation, I founded the Body Electric School of Massage and Rebirthing. This school was started to offer professional certification in massage, acupressure, and rebirthing in a nonhomophobic environment. As part of my own massage training, I had attended classes at six other San Francisco area massage schools. All but one I found subtly or blatantly homophobic. So I created a safe place for gay men, lesbians, and their friends to study massage. I named the school after Walt Whitman’s ecstatic vision of the human form, “body electric.”
Since the massage profession was so adamant about separating massage from any sexual context, I was determined not to jeopardize my license from the State of California permitting me to certify professional massage therapists. Although I had been offering TEM in private sessions for more than a year, I had no intention of teaching erotic massage at The Body Electric. By 1984, it was clear that safe-sex education was crucial for the gay male population of the Bay Area. Still, I didn’t realize the contribution I could make. I was afraid. Throughout my life, the fear-based part of my personality motivated me to seek safety. This applied even to sex. I have always despised the term “safer sex.” As a paranoid person, I wanted myself and others to engage in totally “safe sex.” This desire for safety in sex motivated me to develop TEM in my private practice, but my fears kept me from teaching it.

As director of the Body Electric School, I responded to the AIDS crisis in several ways during 1984 and 1985. First, I offered all volunteers in AIDS agencies a discount of 50% off the tuition to become a certified masseur or masseuse. This contributed to massage becoming a regular part of the care of people with AIDS, and also helped counteract the intense fear of touching people with AIDS. In addition, I required that all students getting certified needed to have training in touching people with life-threatening illnesses. I hired Irene Smith, a masseuse for people with AIDS and an associate of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, to teach this part of the certification program. Body Electric was the first massage school in the country to offer such training for its students.

I regularly taught Playing with Myself, Playing with Others, a class offering safe sex information from Taoist, Tantric, and Reichian perspectives. (See brochure in Appendix A.) I also responded to the fear surrounding AIDS by offering a weekly Group Oil Massage night for gay and bisexual men. This three-hour class began with a period of stretching and breathing and introductions. The massage involved four men at each table. Each man directed the other three men in giving him a half-hour massage. My directions were that a man’s genitals could be included in the massage, but he should not be masturbated with the goal of ejaculation. During the seven years that Body Electric offered this weekly event, thousands of men gave and received quality, nurturing touch.

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Teaching Erotic Massage
In October 1985, I lectured the student body at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality on “Enhancing and Prolonging Orgasm in Men.” I had been invited by the dean of the school, Wardell Pomeroy, co-author with Kinsey of the two landmark sex studies of the mid-twentieth century. I presented information and exercises that I had been teaching for two years in the class Playing with Myself, Playing with Others.

I first guided the students in some stretching and breathing exercises, alerting them to the fact that sex was always better after stretching and other physical exercise. I asked students, “How many of you have had an orgasm from breathing?” I then explained energy orgasms and how this full-body vibratory state differed from ejaculation in men. I guided the students in breathing, explaining that breathing is a powerful way to access energy orgasms. I spoke about the transformative nature of these orgasms in Tantric, Taoist, and Reichian traditions. I even described some of the experiences my clients were having during TEM. “When a man simultaneously has an energy orgasm from breathing and a sexual orgasm from touch, he can experience what William James calls a mystical state.” I didn’t have an adequate conceptual model at that time to explain more clearly what my clients and I were experiencing. Coincidentally, three days after I spoke at the Institute, Donald Mosher lectured the student body on his “Depth of Sexual Involvement Theory.” It would be another eleven years before I would discover Mosher’s theory and the work of his colleague, Silvan Tomkins. (See Chapter Three.)

By 1986, I could no longer allow my personal paranoia to prevent me from offering hands-on classes in safe-sex education. The gay men in my sex education lectures were clamoring for “lab periods.” For three years I had been offering about twenty private sessions a week in TEM. During these years of experimenting and constantly refining my technique, I developed confidence in the effectiveness of this massage. One of my regular clients had given his favorite strokes names like Rock Around the Clock and Twist and Shout. I decided that giving clever names for different ways to touch the penis was one way to begin teaching this massage. I also learned from the Group Oil Massage Night that being touched by several different men in one massage added to the excitement. So six times in 1986, I offered a three-hour class in TEM. Three hours does not allow much time for classmates to get to know each other. Although students liked the classes, very few experienced the profound altered states my clients were having in my individual sessions.

The men in these first TEM classes were learning a pleasurable, no-risk way of being sexual. I knew this was more important than teaching conventional massage classes, so I developed an entire safe sex program focusing on TEM early in 1987. I called it The Dear Love of Comrades—Trainings for Gay and Bisexual Men in Tantric/Taoist and Reichian approaches to love and sex. (See 1987 brochure in Appendix A.) I was very clear about my motivations and intentions for these sex classes. I wrote in the brochure:

These are tragic times. The epidemic has spawned fear in our minds, in our hearts, and in our genitals. I call these dark times: ‘The Big Constriction.” Mead Morgan, the man who tracks the spread of the disease for the National Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, clearly states the government’s strategy: “We are commissioned to stop the spread of this thing. As far as we are concerned, the greater the fear, the better.” The government is spending millions of dollars on “education” to make you afraid of your own sexuality. The government wants you to be afraid of ecstatically connecting with other men. The government’s solution is The Big Constriction, “the greater the fear, the better.”

The Dear Love of Comrades is dedicated to the banishment and healing of fear through erotic celebration of ourselves and others. Information and techniques in our seminars come from Tantric and Taoist traditions and from the work of Wilhelm Reich. All of these traditions celebrate eroticism as a healing vibration in the body. We invite you to step out of the Dark Ages, open your heart, and celebrate “the Dear Love of Comrades.” (See complete brochure in Appendix A.)

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Public Exposure
Not long after I distributed this brochure advertising sex classes, two policemen from the Oakland vice squad visited me at Body Electric. This was the scenario I had most feared. Although I was panicked, I casually invited the officers to sit down and asked them how I could be of assistance. The older one said they wanted to know about the erotic massage classes the school was teaching. I handed each of them a purple Dear Love of Comrades brochure. “These massage classes are safe sex trainings for gay men. Taoist Erotic Massage teaches men a way to be sexual without ejaculating.” The officers looked stunned. Then the older one said, “There’s no ejaculation involved in these classes? I think we’ve heard enough.” They got up and left not five minutes after they had arrived. I could hear their thoughts, “We can’t bust these folks. They aren’t having real sex.”
This 1987 brochure was the last time I advertised my sex classes as a response to AIDS. Brochures for future classes invited gay and bisexual men to participate in rituals based on Native American, Taoist, and Tantric traditions. Although all Body Electric classes taught safe sex in the midst of the epidemic, they were better known as places where gay and bisexual men could access the wisdom of their bodies as well as celebrate new ways of coming together.

In March of 1987, The Advocate—The National Gay Newsmagazine, offered the first national exposure to the erotic massage program at Body Electric in a cover article. (See complete article in Appendix C.) This publicity led to invitations for me to teach in cities around the United States. In October, 1987, I was invited to New Mexico to teach a weekend experience for a group of gay men, a network of friends who had been meeting together for almost ten years. They invited me to offer a class about how to have sex with your friends. I committed to leading them through two days of safe erotic rituals exploring the Dear Love of Comrades. I used the life of a man from birth to death as the structure for the two days. We began by celebrating our first breaths. The ritual evolved into ecstatic group rhythmic breathing. In the afternoon, we acknowledged that hormonal quantum leap called puberty with laughter, touch, and more breathing. In one of the exercises, we role-played the first time we had touched another boy sexually or had allowed another boy to touch us. On the second day of the class, we celebrated the fullness of being men within the context of a TEM. In the quiet time after the end of the massage, I led a meditation about letting go into death.

The class structure I taught that weekend in Albuquerque worked so well that I began offering it in Oakland and in other cities around the United States. I called the class Healing the Body Erotic. This two-day structure allowed men more depth of involvement in the experience than the three-hour or the one-day classes I had been teaching. The majority of men were having experiences similar to what men were having in my private practice. Still, men’s experiences receiving a TEM varied greatly. As I brought the massage to an end in classes, there were always some men who were just beginning to go deeper. Their experience was limited by a structure that served the majority of participants. The Big Draw solved this dilemma.

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The Big Draw
In early 1988, Valnn Dayne, a breath teacher from San Diego, enrolled in Healing the Body Erotic. At the end of his erotic massage, he took a deep breath and held it while clenching the muscles of his body, slightly lifting his head and feet. He held that big squeeze for about thirty seconds, then fell back onto the massage table into bliss. He told me later he called that maneuver the Big Draw. Two weeks later, I traveled to San Diego to learn the Big Draw technology from Dayne. Ecstasy Breathing, the process Dayne taught, involved three steps: a thirty-minute period of rhythmic breathing, the Big Draw, then time for savoring.

Immediately, I began experimenting with the Big Draw during Taoist Erotic Massages. Since this clenching almost always took those receiving the massage into a profound altered state, I chose to use this technique as Dayne had suggested, as the climax of the massage. I guided both the touching and the breathing of the TEM to a frenzied pitch. I then had the receivers do the clench. After the Big Draw, the masseurs would stop all touching. They were instructed to witness whatever was going on with the man they had been touching. Often this state was quiet and blissful; sometimes it was intensely emotional with laughing or crying. Frequently, men laughed and cried at the same time. For many men, the dramatic change in affect from excitement to bliss during the Big Draw created the opportunity for a choice. Many experienced TEM as a “consequential scene” during which they could make changes in their normal patterns of behavior (Mosher, 1998).

After I had offered two years of Healing the Body Erotic weekends, my friend Annie Sprinkle suggested that “healing” might mean that something needed to be fixed. “What if someone wants to attend your class just to celebrate his sexuality and his body?” she asked me. I immediately changed the title of the course to Celebrating the Body Erotic.

Annie also suggested that I offer TEM classes for women. I told her that I needed to do more research on touching a woman. She immediately volunteered her vulva for my research. Over the next few years, we developed TEM for women. The massage we developed was first taught at the Cosmic Orgasm Awareness Week in 1993 at Wildwood. Isa Magdalena and P.K. Kozel, two of the women who attended Cosmic Orgasm Awareness week, immediately began to teach TEM for women through The Body Electric and through their own organization called XOX. Annie Sprinkle also taught TEM for women throughout the United States and Europe. Not until 1999 did Annie and I put Taoist Erotic Massage for women on video (Sprinkle & Kramer, 1999).
Taoist Erotic Massage for men seemed to focus on excitement. The stimulation before the Big Draw usually lasted more than an hour while the savoring afterwards lasted about ten minutes. Annie Sprinkle changed this dynamic in the women’s massage. She gave equal time to the stimulation before the Big Draw and the savoring afterwards. If the touching lasted an hour, the women who received had an hour to savor their experience. This was a most important innovation.

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The Path of the Sacred Intimate
I was constantly experimenting with the structure of Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) and the structure of TEM. My criterion was to retain anything that facilitated the men in my classes going deeper into altered states. I tried to eliminate any elements that inhibited profound altered states. While most of my focus was on teaching sexual trance, I started to notice how deeply some men would go into the role of erotic masseur. At least three or four men in each Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) lost ordinary consciousness while giving the TEM. Some even expressed a feeling of being connected to their life’s work. Between 1987 and 1992, almost three hundred men decided to become masseurs, erotic masseurs, and even prostitutes, after they experienced giving a TEM. Mosher writes that the deepest levels of such role involvement embrace “the archetypal image.” “Leaving behind their own identity, they become the role and are engrossed in the script…. On questioning, persons will reveal the nonvoluntary, nondeliberate, intensely feelingful and meaningful nature of the engagement” (1980, p. 8). I named this role with many titles: sexual healer, erotic shaman, facilitator of erotic states, erotic masseur. But the name that seemed most appropriate was sacred prostitute, “the bringer of sexual joy” (Qualls-Corbett, 1988, p. 34).

Men who discovered a resonance with the role of erotic masseur, with the role of bringer of sexual joy, began contacting me, requesting guidance. In order to research more deeply the role of erotic masseur and the possibilities of erotic trance, I organized a six-day gathering in June 1990, at Wildwood, a secluded retreat center 100 miles north of San Francisco. Fifty-five men attended that first Dear Love of Comrades Intensive. In my welcoming talk to the men who had come from all over the United States, I named our time together Sacred Prostitute Summer Camp and a Six-Day Maithuna Ritual. The Sacred Prostitute segment of the training offered guidance for pursuing the role of sexual service. Sexual trance was taught within the context of a Tantric ceremony, Maithuna, where the participants harmonized every level of their beings as they built the sexual energy for six days to a communal orgasmic peak. In the final ritual, some men chose to participate in the tribal orgasm by ejaculating. Others did the Big Draw. This was the first time that any of my trainings or private TEM sessions involved the opportunity for ejaculation.

After the Dear Love of Comrades Intensive, the focus of my teaching shifted from erotic trance to the training of Sacred Prostitutes. I hired a consultant to help me develop a program for Sacred Prostitute education. She understood the archetypal role but said the word “prostitute” was so laden with negativity that it was unusable in our culture. Together we came up with a new term for this role of sexual service: Sacred Intimate.

In the fall of 1990, I traveled to Europe to teach classes in Germany and The Netherlands. My first two European classes in Frankfurt and Cologne were small, but the classes in Berlin and Munich both had over forty men in each class. The class in Berlin was the most profound group erotic experience of my life to that point. There was electricity in the air. The Wall had come down ten months before. This class was held the weekend before the two Germanys were reunited on October 3. The class consisted of gay men from both East and West Germany as well as six Americans who had traveled to Berlin for the class. All who were in the class consciously stepped into the role of erotic shamans and world healers, dedicating our two days of rituals and TEM to the weaving together of Germany. Body Electric Berlin and Body Electric Europe were birthed in that Berlin class. Six Germans from this class discovered their resonance with the path of the sacred intimate and traveled to California the following year for further training.

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Making Videos for the Whole World to See
When I returned from Berlin, I immediately began filming Fire on the Mountain: An Intimate Guide to Male Genital Massage. I produced two versions of the video, one in English, the other in German. Both were released in 1992. I was committed to offering people a way of learning TEM that was less intimidating than attending what I sometimes referred to as a group blind date.

This video allowed thousands of people to learn TEM in the comfort of their homes. The first one thousand copies of Fire on the Mountain came with a 28-page booklet that showed folks how to learn massage in ten pleasurable hours using the video. Many men who attended Celebrating the Body Erotic workshops bought the video to remember the massage or to share with friends. Time-Warner’s Book of the Month Club chose Fire on the Mountain as its sex education video choice. They sold 2500 copies in one month. This showed me the educational possibilities of the medium. In my entire career, I had only educated 2000 men in Taoist Erotic Massage classes.

Fire on the Mountain was the only gay video ever offered by the Book of the Month Club. I didn’t expect that the major purchasers of this instructional video outside of the Body Electric milieu would be women. In addition to the Book of the Month Club, this TEM video became a bestseller through such women’s venues as Good Vibrations, Eve’s Garden, Toys in Babeland, Grand Opening, and in the heterosexual Playboy Magazine. Obviously Taoist Erotic Massage has moved to the erotic mainstream.

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The End of an Era
I was a good masseur. I was an excellent teacher of massage and erotic massage. However, as the size of the school expanded and its complexity grew, I found the job of running Body Electric getting too stressful. Furthermore, after the Sacred Intimate Training in 1992, I felt complete with my mission of training pioneering men.

So in October 1992, I sold the school to Collin Brown, who had been my office manager. He had participated in the creation of many of the trainings since 1990. He bought the school with the vision of bringing the “work,” which had been created for gay and bisexual men, to all people, gay through straight, men and women.

As part of the sale agreement, Collin requested that I would develop a version of TEM for women. This was not difficult since Annie Sprinkle and I had been working on this for several years. In the summer of 1993, we taught this new massage structure at the first Body Electric erotic training for both men and women, which we called Cosmic Orgasm Awareness Week.

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Ecstatic Dying
When I first developed the two-day class to teach TEM, AIDS was ravaging the gay male population of the San Francisco Bay Area. At the time, I visualized teaching an experiential class called Ecstatic Dying. I would use breathing and TEM as metaphors for the ultimate “surrender.” Students would practice “letting go on the exhale” hundreds of times in two days. While receiving genital massage, they would fearlessly dissolve into sexual trance and mystical states. In every interaction in class, we would practice clear beginnings and endings. I would teach the major life-to-death technique from the Tibetan Book of the Dead: the ejection of consciousness (1975). However, my business manager convinced me that no one would come to a class called Ecstatic Dying, so this became the class eventually called Celebrating the Body Erotic. It was not uncommon, after an hour or more in profound sexual trance, for men to comment that they would like to die during a TEM. Others reported learning that “If this is what dying is like, there is nothing to fear.”

The Sacred Intimate trainings of 1991 and 1992 expanded the role of sacred intimate beyond the bringer of sexual joy to include midwife to the dying. On the first day of the 1992 gathering, we gave each other permission to die during our 17 days on the mountaintop at Wildwood.

Tom Hammond, who was near death with AIDS, announced his desire to die within the ecstatic vibration we were cocreating. He received one or more Taoist Erotic Massages every day, in addition to participating in the group erotic rituals. As the seventeen days came to a close, Tom announced that almost every moment on the mountaintop had been a preparation for his last breath, but life during these days had been too precious for him to let go. He returned home to Seattle, and died a week later in a hospital, surrounded by his birth family. From Tom and others, I learned that how we relate to orgasmic states is a good indicator of how we relate to death.

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The development of Taoist Erotic Massage surprised me at every turn. The story began with a young kinesthetic, committed to celibacy as a Jesuit, getting a nonsexual massage that transported him out of the monastery into a life celebrating the joy of sexual arousal. I soon discovered my favorite form of sexual arousal combined conscious breathing with massage. When the advent of AIDS demanded that gay men practice safe sex, I wanted to share my discovery with my gay brothers. I offered classes all over the United States and Europe. Over two thousand men were initiated into the joys of giving and receiving Taoist Erotic Massage.

The Body Electric classes and the video Fire on the Mountain became the major media for teaching this massage to men and women, gay through straight. After resonating with the role of giver of erotic pleasure, hundreds of men committed themselves to bring joy and transformation to others as a “sacred intimate.”

After twenty years of helping individuals transform their lives through Taoist Erotic Massage, I learned that the same results are possible without assistance of another person. Today, my commitment is to train masturbation coaches to assist men and women to access ecstatic, transformational states through erotic self touch.

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Chapter Six


Much of the history of the first ten years of Taoist Erotic Massage involved the teaching of this transformative structure. This chapter will focus on how this massage was taught. At the beginning of 1991, I was finally satisfied with the ever-evolving structure of Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE), the major class teaching TEM. During the next eighteen months, ten different classes teaching TEM were audiotaped and transcribed. This chronicling was undertaken because I wished to train other men to teach TEM. In this chapter, I will present a written conflation of actual oral teachings recorded in Taoist Erotic Massage classes. These oral teachings are single-spaced. My added commentary is double-spaced.

It is easy to learn how to give a Taoist Erotic Massage. You practice the strokes and learn to guide your partners in conscious rhythmic breathing. The real difficulty is learning to receive all that is possible as you are massaged. Can you allow yourself to feel boundless pleasure? Can you tolerate prolonged, full-body orgasm? Can you allow your heart to open? Can you stop the chatter inside your mind? Can you let go of blocks and chronic constrictions? Can you stay totally present during the massage, not going off into fantasies or other distractions?

Most men had never realized that there are skills they might need to learn to fully receive a massage, skills that facilitate going deep into sexual trance. The above questions were asked to help the receivers place their attention on scripts that might be unconscious. Some of the questions even suggest that TEM is a form of meditation where one stops “the chatter inside your mind” and stays “totally present.”

The major technique to help you receive a Taoist Erotic Massage is being conscious of your own breathing. All of your effort should be on the inhale, then relax on the exhale. Nourish yourself with oxygen on the inhale; let go, surrender on the exhale. Learning to let go of patterns of behavior that are not beneficial to you can be the major benefit to be gained from this massage.

Playing with various breathing rhythms is an excellent way to prepare for giving or receiving a TEM. Here is an enjoyable breath exercise. The one-minute “Train Breath” starts slowly. Then the rhythm speeds up like a train gaining momentum. Be sure to keep eye contact during the entire Train Breath. This breathing often leads to laughter.

Another favorite pattern of mine is two shallow breaths, then one deep breath and repeat. No matter how fast you are breathing, you will not hyperventilate if you relax on the exhale. During the massage, the masseur should guide his partner’s breathing with his own breathing rhythms.

Conscious breathing helps keep the musculature of the body relaxed, even during high erotic states. The breathing also demands that you remain in the present moment, making it difficult to go off into fantasy. As the massage progresses and the erotic intensity builds in the genitals, the breath helps circulate the ching chi energy (erotic energy) throughout the body. If the man breathes deep and rhythmically for thirty or more minutes, he can experience a feeling in his entire body similar to a sexual orgasm. When this breathing is combined with a sexual orgasm, expanded levels of consciousness are possible.
Breathing is as central to the TEM experience as is the physical touching. The rhythmic breathing demands attentiveness. If a man allows his placement of attention to wander, his breathing will be taken over by his autonomic nervous system. Immediately his conscious rhythmic breathing will change to his normal unconscious breath patterns. So the intense rhythmic breathing allows the masseur to monitor the attentiveness of the man receiving massage.

In my private TEM sessions, I warned my clients, “If you stop breathing, I stop touching.” If a man got distracted and his breathing went unconscious, I always stopped my touching. The abrupt halt in genital stimulation almost always motivated the man to resume breathing. I have had some clients who fell into deep unconsciousness during a TEM. To bring them back to consciousness, I had to slap their feet or help them into a sitting position.

Thousands of men who learned TEM in the two-day Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) classes have had the experience of an ecstatic breathing session in the first day without any touching. This breathing session ended with a Big Draw. During this two-hour breath session, I noted carefully those men who refused to breathe. I personally spoke to those men, encouraging each of them to participate in the breathwork. If they refused or couldn’t for some reason, I asked that they leave the class at the break after the first breathwork session. I refunded their entire tuition. The class was for men who were willing and able to participate. When individual men didn’t participate in the group breathing processes, others felt unsafe. Some who were asked to leave returned to participate in another class, but most had discovered that this class was not for them.

John Pasqualetti, a breath coach who trained in 1991 as a teacher of TEM, claimed that the true source of the TEM experience was actually the breathing. He jokingly claimed that the genital massage was just something to pass the time while the oxygen molecules accumulated in the body.

Below are instructions that participants received at the beginning of the second day of the CBE just before beginning the TEM.

You have spent a full day connecting with the other men in this class. You have stretched and breathed. You have touched each other. You have wanked together. We now begin the TEM. Those of you who wish to receive first lie down on a massage table. I recommend wearing a blindfold to help you go deeper within. Masseurs, choose a table where you will begin your massaging. During the next ninety minutes, you will be directed to move from table to table offering different strokes at each table. Men on the tables, keep your awareness within your own body. I invite you to visualize that the hands that are touching you belong to every man in the room. You can even imagine that these hands are the hands of everyman in the world. Masseurs, allow your awareness to focus in your hands. Let this man you are about to massage know by the quality of your touch that there is nowhere else you would rather be, that there is no one else you would rather be with.

The suggestions that the receivers are to imagine they are being touched by “everyman” and that the givers are to feel “there is nowhere else you would rather be, that there is no one else you would rather be with” are guidance for going to the deepest levels possible during the massage. Mosher suggests that only a very few partners might take you to the deepest levels of partner engagement, but this selectivity is not necessary for going deep into the role of erotic masseur or going deep into an altered state. “A maximally acceptable sex partner is not required for achieving deep involvement along the dimensions of sexual role enactment and sexual trance” (Mosher, 1980, p.17).

This TEM will focus on the genitals and the front of the torso. Begin by gently resting your hands on your partner’s heart center (between the nipples) and on his genital area. Take three comfortable breaths together. Remember this massage is about charging the body with erotic, life force energy. Charging the body with erotic energy is a taboo in our culture where sex is normally used like alcohol, to celebrate and to sedate.

Let your fingertips caress the whole front of this man’s body. By the quality of your touch, let him know that you are massaging every level of his being. Try to keep one hand vibrating and massaging the genital area as your other hand dances and plays from the feet to the head. Massage circles on the belly and chest. Rock and roll the arms and legs. I often squeeze and tug the tips of each finger where the meridians begin and end. Wake up the genital area with light tugging of the pubic hair. Then vibrate the pubic bone just above the magic wand. Fondle and tug the balls.

TEM as taught within classes at the Body Electric School involved ten minutes or less of massage before beginning the genital touching. In most instances, the men involved had already spent a full day of preparations, including playful touch, breathing, and stretching. When I gave a TEM in a private session, there was always forty-five minutes to an hour of deep muscle massage before the genital touching and rhythmic breathing began.

In many cultures of the world dating back thousands of years, anointing with oil was a special ritual of honoring. Start by oiling the genital area and the corridor up to the heart. Then oil the whole front of the body. Rather than squirting oil directly onto your partner, put the oil on your hands and then on to his body. Since the tissues of the magic wand are sensitive, too much oil there is better than too little oil. Use more oil where there is more hair. Be sure to oil the perineum.

Throughout the whole massage, try to keep at least one hand on the genital area at all times, continuously generating “ching chi.” If the man receiving isn’t wearing a blindfold, make sure he has his eyes closed during the massage. And make sure that he is consciously breathing. With every touch, let your partner know he is special among all your relations.

For years in all of my classes, I requested that students use the term “magic wand” when referring to the penis. I was aware that most terms for the male genitals had some shame or ridicule associated with them. By using the phrase “magic wand,” we were able to speak about the penis without being pulled into past associations. Furthermore, the term “magic wand” suggested in poetic language that this tumescence was a vehicle for transformation, a purveyor of magic.

Shiatsu is a Japanese word meaning “finger pressure.” With your thumb and first finger squeeze up and down the magic wand, both front and back and sides. This rhythmic stroking begins to wake up the inner tissues of the magic wand.

Once this massage begins, most men are willing to receive all day and all night. So I call this next stroke Rock Around the Clock. The magic wand pointing toward the belly button is 12 o’clock. With alternating hands, sensuously and slowly rub the magic wand around the clock. Make sure you are massaging both the magic wand and the body parts below it. At 5, 6, and 7 o’clock, wrap your whole hand around the magic wand. Take some extra time at 6 o’clock. This is a favorite position of many men, especially if they are soft or semi-soft.

Men receiving, remember that the goal of this massage is not erection or ejaculation, but full-body aliveness, nourishing every level of being. Most men find a two-thirds erection to be the most beneficial state in which to receive a TEM. Erections, like the tides, ebb and flow. This is the natural rhythm of the body.

A foundational technique of this massage is to pull the skin of the penis toward the base, especially if your partner is uncircumcised. This tightening of the skin provides pleasurable variations for almost one third of TEM strokes. The nerve endings become more available to caresses when the skin is pulled taut. A significant teaching that most men took away from classes teaching TEM was that you don’t have to be fully erect to have a quality sexual experience. At the beginning of every class, I told students that many men had gone through this entire training without an erection but still had wonderful erotic experiences. The instruction to the masseur to pull the skin of the penis toward the body is simply a way to access the nerve endings as if the man were fully erect. The erotic experiences of thousands of men with partial erections in my classes supports Mosher’s thesis that “Effective sexual stimulation is a joint function of the density of physical sexual stimulation and depth of involvement in the sexual contact episode” (1980, p. 1).

Masseurs, give special attention to the place just below the head on the underside of the magic wand. I call this concentration of nerve endings the Gates of Consciousness. This is the place of visions, the third eye of the magic wand in cock reflexology. Pull this skin taut with one hand and massage with thumb circles. You can also pinch this skin between your thumb and index finger and rub and tug. Try cross-country skiing with your thumbs, making alternating strokes up and down the Gates of Consciousness. I call this movement Osho’s Delight, in honor of one of my teachers. Osho said that three hours in the full-body orgasmic state can heal dysfunctional sexual patterns forever. He also said that western men are all “premature ejaculators”— they come before they make a connection with themselves or with a partner. Cap the head of the magic wand with your whole hand, your fingers on the top side, your palm on the tip, the heel of your palm on the gates of consciousness. Squeeze while rubbing the heel of your palm up and down on the Gates of Consciousness. Some men see colors with this stroke.

Detailed instructions were necessary for the givers of TEM to feel comfortable in their role. The more confident the givers became, the deeper their involvement in the giving of TEM. Mosher comments, “The person faces the task in his or her sexual role enactment of fulfilling the expectations with competence . . . Motoric skills are needed for the sexual role enactment which requires rather precise control and flexibility” (1980, p. 10).

Notice, in the passage above, the detailed guidance for the masseur’s hands and for the receiver’s placement of attention. The teaching here is that different parts of the penis feel different. This can be a revelation to some men for whom sex has involved a frenzied rush toward ejaculation. The instruction here is that there are a multitude of sensations available from stimulation of the penis. Men are encouraged to savor the sensations they feel on and around their magic wands. This savoring allows a focusing on the affect “enjoyment-joy” rather than the more common emphasis on “interest-excitement.”

Reflexology teaches that nerve endings on your feet and hands correspond to other realms of your body. So if you have a lower back pain, you can deal with that pain by massaging the “lower back realm” of your foot or hand. Both Stephen Chang and Mantak Chia have developed reflexology maps of the penis (Chang, 1986; Chia, 1984). This theory teaches that massaging different parts of the penis affects different parts of the body. Since Chang’s map and Chia’s map totally contradict each other, I developed my own approach to cock reflexology based on my own extensive research and on the Indian chakra system. The Indian chakra system describes human energy as being produced and distributed through energy centers of the body, which are called chakras. The major seven chakras are located from the top of the head, down the middle of the body, to the perineum. Each chakra is traditionally associated with certain state of consciousness.

In my cock reflexology, the penis is the whole man. The very tip of the penis is the “crown chakra” (top of the head), where our life or sperm moves out to other realms. The Gates of Consciousness, located on the frenulum, contain both “the third eye” (on the forehead between the eyes) and the throat chakras. The foreskin is the “heart chakra,” encompassing the upper three chakras. The “power chakra” (located in the solar plexus) is contained within the shaft of the penis at the midpoint between the tip and the base. The “sexual chakra” (located just above the genitals) can be found on the penis where the testicles attach. The “root chakra” is located where the penis enters the body in both systems. I certainly believe this map to be equal to any other reflexology map of the penis, but I also acknowledge it as a useful fiction. The idea that realms of the penis when touched have effects on other parts of the body encouraged more variety of stroking in masseurs and more mindfulness in the men receiving.

I call this next way of touching “the Healing Stroke.” With the magic wand resting on the belly, let the heel of your hand closest to the feet glide up and down the underside with your fingers toward the feet. This area is the spine in cock reflexology. Pay special attention to the Gates of Consciousness area. This stroke generates a tremendous amount of erotic energy. Notice that your other hand is available to spread the energy you generate to other parts of his body. Now continue this heel-of-palm-on-magic-wand stroke while your other hand glides from one knee up across the belly and down to the other knee. Return and repeat. Use more pressure on the tops of the thighs, and lighten up on the abdomen.

A variation on this stroke involves gliding from the knee to the heart area to the other knee and back while you continue the Healing Stroke. Another pleasurable variation is to let the hand closest to the head do the Healing Stroke while the other hand massages from the inner thigh through the perineum to the other inner thigh. Man receiving, invite the energy in your hips to flow to every part of your body. Invite this sacred energy to weave you together into wholeness.

By the naming the above stroke “Healing,” I introduced the idea of sexual healing into the massage. In many TEMs, I guided the men receiving massage on a journey of sexual healing that involved the awareness of every hand that had ever touched their genitals. “Send love to all of those folks who have touched your magic wand even if love wasn’t there during the actual touching.” I then encouraged men receiving to imagine love coming back from all those who had touched them sexually. This exercise was then repeated to heal all the other types of sex this man had had in his life. This short reframing of all of the sexual experiences of a man’s life within a loving context brought many men to tears. I don’t know any better definition of sexual healing than re-experiencing an incident with love even if it didn’t involve love when it first happened.

This stroke generates enormous amounts of pleasure. I call it “Twist and Shout.” You twist, he shouts… with ecstasy. Again, pull the skin taut toward the base with one hand and corkscrew your hand up and down the shaft. Cover as much skin as possible. Try Twist and Shout with the magic wand pointed towards the feet. I call this the Six O’clock Good News. This stroke is especially pleasurable when the man is soft or semi-soft. Slow is better than fast when your partner is soft. Be sure to use plenty of oil.

The fact that the goal of a TEM is not ejaculation allows the receiver to focus on savoring the variety of touches he receives from the masseur. Although “Twist and Shout” is a high friction stroke, it is still very different from the up-and-down-the-shaft stroke most men use to take themselves to ejaculation. Many times in TEM classes, men did ejaculate. The masseur would wipe up the ejaculate with soap and water and then return immediately to giving erotic touch. Many men ejaculate in order to end an erotic experience. It was clear to men receiving a TEM that the massage would continue even if they ejaculated.

Belly Circles: Let the hand closest to the feet do the Healing Stroke. Let your other hand do circles on the abdomen. Massage clockwise. Vary the speed and pressure. Massaging counterclockwise stirs up powerful erotic energy. (Stroking counterclockwise should not be done if the man has eaten recently.) Make sure both your hands are massaging with the same rhythm. Then move your hand from this man’s belly up to his chest. Circle your palm on his chest. The Taoist name for the point directly between the nipples is the Sea of Tranquility. Masseurs, you are now massaging the heart and the genitals—the places of love. Touch these places as if they were the same place.

Nipple Circles: Men’s nipples can be awakened as places of exquisite pleasure. I recommend massaging lightly with fingernails, then massaging with palm circles.
The instruction often encouraged the giver to find a rhythm in his giving of massage so that the experience became like a dance. Because rhythmic music was played during the entire massage, the whole room of givers were often in the same rhythm. The visuals were extraordinary.

A major goal of TEM is the celebrating of the heart-genital connection. When erotic energy is allowed to build up in the hips, it connects to the heart. Sometimes the energy travels up the back of the body, over the head, and down the front of the body to the heart. Other times it takes the short route through the belly to the heart.

Berlin is a sweeping stroke using the forearm on the torso from the upper chest to the pubic bone. Wipe away all walls between the heart and the genitals. I named this stroke in Berlin in October 1990, as Germany was reunited. Celebrate the heart-genital connection. Sweep away the walls with Berlin.

Can humans make radical, swift changes in their scripts? The fall of the Berlin wall on November 9, 1989, was an electric event that said major change was possible. In my two years of teaching TEM after that event, I often brought a piece of the Berlin Wall to class to remind my students and me of what was possible. Sometimes I put that piece of wall on men’s chests while they were getting massaged. A significant number of men receiving TEM had transformative experiences comparable to the fall of the Berlin wall. Some of these experiences are related in Chapter Seven.
Here follows guidance for a series of somewhat complicated strokes. Note that most of this verbatim classroom instruction is for the masseurs. The only responsibility of the men receiving was to breathe.

With Belly Bliss, pleasure the abdomen as you pleasure the Gates of Consciousness. As one hand pulls the skin of the magic wand taut, place the heel of your other hand on the Gates, fingers toward the heart and rub. Let your fingers caress the belly. Visualize an orbit of energy up the magic wand into the belly at the second chakra and then imagine the energy travels down to the wand again. Massage the energy round and round.

Leg Massage: Everyone loves to have their legs massaged, but most leg massages stop several inches from the magic wand. Let one hand start near the knee, massaging up to the base of the magic wand while the other hand does the Healing Stroke. I like to position my partner’s foot against his opposite knee (Tree position in yoga or Hang Man in Tarot). Then massage the inner thigh and perineum. This is also a great position for Twist and Shout and the Six O’clock Good News. Another position for leg massage has your partner’s knee in the air, his foot flat on the table. I try to support his foot with my leg on the table. Furrow with your thumbs down the thigh muscles, each stroke ending at the base of the magic wand. Rock the leg muscles. As you put the leg back on the table, support the knee. Do both legs.

Core Vibrations: Vibrate the perineum with the heel of your palm or your fist as your partner exhales, making a loud sound. Pull his sound all the way down to his root. Sound is a vibration in the body that can resonate with the erotic vibration. As you vibrate, be careful not to bounce the balls. Massage the perineum and the upper thighs with your fist. Make sure you use plenty of oil.

Ring Balls: Circle the scrotum with your thumb and index finger between the balls and the body. Make sure the skin is taut. Scratch the balls lightly with fingernails, then massage with your palm. Be sure to watch your partner’s face for feedback.

Juicer: Pull the skin down toward the base of the magic wand and juice as you would an orange. This stroke is done mostly with the fingers. Don’t put too much pressure on the head, just the shaft. And since this is a TEM, don’t juice too much. This is a great stroke to alternate with Twist and Shout. This stroke was taught to me by erotic massage pioneer, Ray Stubbs.

Cock Cradling: With the magic wand on the belly, put one hand palm up underneath the magic wand and your other hand palm down on top, your fingers pointing toward the receiver’s feet. Glide your hands back and forth in different directions, enveloping as much of the magic wand as possible. The back of one hand rubs the lower belly. Vary speed and pressure. Encourage your partner to let go of expectations of how sex should be or how sex should feel. He merely has to receive. No thing to do.

Fire: With the magic wand pointed straight up, rub with different speeds between your palms. This is a high friction stroke so be sure to use enough oil. This is a great stroke to alternate with Cock Cradling. Allow your hands to feel the heat. With this stroke, invite the male sexual energy to move throughout your partner’s body. This energy is the source of passion and creativity.

Hairy Palm Sunday: Hold the magic wand in one hand just below the head. Using your well-oiled palm, slowly massage the head of the wand. The tip is the crown chakra in cock reflexology, so be very slow and sensitive. I named this stroke in a class in New York City on Palm Sunday several years ago. One man got so excited, he shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes.” Another man responded with a line from Psalm 22: “Though I walk in the valley of darkness, no evil do I fear. You are there with your rod and your staff to comfort me.”

Although a couple of men thought the Hairy Palm Sunday story disrespectful to Christianity, I felt it important to make both lighthearted and serious references to religion before and during a TEM. In some way this gave men permission to have religious experiences in a group of oily men who were stroking each other’s penises. Many men who went to the deepest levels of sexual trance while receiving a TEM had never previously experienced such depth of involvement except when they were absorbed in prayer or in meditation. This explains the surprising number of men whose TEM experiences involved Jesus, God, or Buddhist emptiness.

I remember Randy, a young man who wished to speak to me after the first class I taught in New York City. “After the Big Draw,” he told me in private, “I looked up. Jesus was above my massage table. He opened his heart and took me into his heart.” I asked this lad why he hadn’t shared this experience with the group. “Are you kidding? Tell a group of naked, gay men I was engulfed in the heart of Jesus?” A Polish man in Berlin visualized a triangle with an eye in the middle after the Big Draw. He later explained to me that in the Catholic books of his youth, this was how God was pictured.

The major spiritual concept surrounding the teaching of TEM was interconnectivity of all persons and things. This was repeatedly articulated using the Native American prayer, “All My Relations.” Each man was taught to sign “All My Relations” in American Sign Language. Almost every encounter with another man during the two-day class would end with both men signing “All My Relations” for each other. Almost every TEM included a guided meditation calling to mind “all those whom we are connected to.” This feeling of connection was further fostered by the requirement that each man refer to the other men in class as “Sacred Brothers.”

Phallos: Each stroke starts at the base, wrapping your hand around the magic wand and gliding up and off at the tip. Alternate, using both hands, stroking the energy up toward the sky. Repeat again and again. Phallos is the masculine image of the divine. Worship with your hands.

Hand Jive: Weave your fingers together, taking the magic wand between your palms and rubbing up and down and back and forth. Hand Jive is actually a hand dance. Make it up as you go along.

Carpe Diem: Stoke the magic wand toward the heart, and at the same time tug the balls toward the feet. Be sure to watch his face during this stroke. He will let you know if you are being too rough. This is the very first stroke I ever taught in a class.

Amsterdam: Place your second finger between your partner’s eyebrows on the “third eye.” Place your other second finger at the base of the magic wand on the “root chakra” (perineum). Vibrate as if your fingertips are touching each other. Invite your partner to make sounds on the exhale as you vibrate. An erotic masseur in Holland taught me this stroke.
Each of the thirty or more genital massage strokes had a name. This naming helped masseurs remember how to do the stroke but also called forth a level of mindfulness on the part of the receiver. As the massage when on, the men giving were guided deeper into the role of erotic masseur. “Leaving behind their own identity, they become the role and are engrossed in the script” (Mosher, 1980, p. 8).

Many times I joked or made comments like, “An erotic masseur in Holland taught me this stroke.” The goal here was to distract the defenses of the man receiving. These humorous or informational comments often allowed the man on the table to sink deeper into the Taoist Erotic Massage experience.

The Big Draw: Men on the table, in one minute we are going to do the Big Draw. I invite you to breathe fifty faster breaths. … Now take three deep breaths with me and hold the third breath while you clench all the muscles of your body. Slightly lift your head and your feet. Remember to clench your butt muscles. If you have any weakness in your lower back, do the Big Draw without lifting your head or your feet. Masseurs, stop touching at this point.

During this twenty seconds while men where clenching, I usually shouted some suggestions like, “Remember who you are.” “Wake up every level of your being.” “Give up control. Surrender to this experience.” “Feel the connections to all your relations.” “Relax your muscles and let go when you are ready to come home to your body.” “Be with your feelings.”

The masseurs were instructed to cover their partner with a sheet. They were then to not move or talk but to be quietly with the man for the next ten minutes or so. Some men felt the sheet as a cocoon. Some men felt it as a shroud, which was appropriate since the Tantrics say, in the Tibetan Book of the Dead (1975) that the Big Draw is the way we die. Many men receiving a TEM were consciously preparing for death. After the Big Draw, most men fall into a deep state of “enjoyment-joy,” bliss, contentment, peace.

This chapter chronicled verbatim many of the actual instructions that were given to masseurs and those receiving TEM during classes in 1991 and 1992 along with some commentary. In Chapter Seven, we will read the experiences of men who gave and received TEM in their own words.

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Chapter Seven


Students in TEM classes always had the opportunity to share experiences in a number of ways. Participants had the opportunity to speak to the whole class after each massage. They were also invited to comment in writing. Some filled out questionnaires at the end of their class; others mailed letters from home later. While there were common themes, responses and experiences varied dramatically. Many attendees reported life-changing encounters, including overcoming fears and past traumas. Descriptions of deep levels of trance and partner engagement were frequent. Occasionally, a participant would experience a profound level of role-playing as well.

The following are parts of two journal entries of a religious Mormon man who sent them as feedback on his experience. He relates experiences common to many participants in TEM classes over the years. The first entry was written on his airplane ride to the workshop.

For hours today, I’ve wanted to just take time out and cry. Cry because I’m confused, I feel lost, I’m unhappy. Who am I? What is truth? I don’t understand what the spirit wants me to do. This all is from Satan. I recognize the feeling. It happened right before I went on my mission; it happened after I received the Melchizedek priesthood. I must be getting close to something grand. But I’ve professed the Lord’s name all day long and he’s the one who’s on my side…. Tomorrow is the workshop on Tantra and Taoist philosophy. I’m looking forward to being naked all day for two days. It’s therapeutic for me. I think another thing I’m stressed out about is that if my family knew I was attending this, they would all condemn me except for Mom and maybe Dad. Damn them. They have never allowed me to be me. I don’t know what to do…. The Church is crazy making. It tells you to seek for truth and then they condemn all the ways outside of what the church leaders say and the scriptures say to find the truth. I’ve never heard a lesson in the LDS church that teaches me to trust me. Only trust leaders. I SAY REPENT OR SPEAK TO ME NO MORE. I’M SICK OF YOU HIPPOCRITES. Please give my soul back to me. I obviously am a better steward. You have really fucked up my head!! Thank you everyone! Now hopefully I can go on and be more calm after having said all that. Now I have a headache and I need some rest.

He wrote the following journal entries, the first immediately after an exercise in the workshop, the other on his plane ride home.
I can’t even write it down. I need to remember this for the rest of my life. For the first time in my life, I felt like my body and my spirit came together. I felt love for every single person in the world. I felt like a child skipping over a fantastic airy beach. I felt a need to give, a need to share everything I was learning. I felt God’s love. I felt him carry me through all this. Even right now, my earth life is squeezing out all these truths and saying it didn’t happen. God was there; he was loving me. He was loving me, every part of me. Mother was there. Even Mom massaged my genitals with pure love. All the people who are currently challenging me to think, love, expand both spiritually and intellectually were there. I was telling them about what I was feeling and experiencing. In the final draw, my arms wouldn’t come down. I opened them to receive everything there was to receive. It was as if the savior himself were there with his hands in mine just holding, saying nothing, just being there. It was dark this time. Yesterday, the final draw brought white light — white like electric-white, and generated it all through my arms and out my fingers. It moved as fast as lightning. Today was different; there were images. There was a God-like image in front of me at first. But he wasn’t white and pure like. But his love was there; he was holding my hands tight. It was almost as if he moved behind me keeping my hands in his. Now this is all kind of going away. Emotions came and went. When I cried, I cried out of sorrow for my hurt child’s feeling and beliefs, but most of the time it was out of gratitude for life and love. I came to almost worship oxygen. For the more I could get, the more I could learn, the more I could feel. Looking back on my conversations before I came here I just think what fools we were and how caught up in the world we are. I’ve learned that sexuality is part of my body. It can bring light to my mind, it can teach, it can open, and it should never be used to take. This massage was not about erections and ejaculations but being a whole human being. It’s been very enlightening and very spiritual and healing. I am me and I am whole and once again all the feelings I’ve felt inside about sex, the act, its use, everything, even things like holding my hand on another’s heart and rubbing it are true….

Everything above was written immediately after my first experience with a Taoist massage. Now it’s 12:30 at night and I’m on the airplane home.
I’ve got so much to say that it’s overwhelming. Right now I’m just feeling. Just feeling special and full. Sometimes, even more than sometimes I feel like the luckiest, most loved man in the world. Especially after today. Even though I wasn’t attracted to more than probably five of those guys, I still feel a love. During the initiation or Taoist massage today, while I was the giver or masseur, I was overwhelmed by all the emotion that was flowing. It became very sacred. I caught the message and the meaning. I’ve always been taught that the body is a temple of God. Today was the first time I’ve ever felt it at all about others and so deeply about mine. I don’t want to ever forget the sacredness I felt. I originally signed up because I wanted to be around naked men and it turned out to be one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I couldn’t even talk about it earlier today and even when I do I get this feeling that maybe I shouldn’t talk about it so much or make it common.

Some of the themes this student expressed in this passage are shared by many other participants: the sacredness of the Taoist Erotic Massage experience, the feeling of body and spirit coming together, a direct personal experience of God during the massage, a feeling of love for everyone in the world, sexuality as an important part of life, the release of pain and sorrow and old beliefs, and the experience of profound healing.

Many men wrote of healing longstanding issues, particularly childhood sexual abuse. Here are one man’s words:
I ended up receiving more from the course than I had expected. After the training in July, I could no longer approach sex, not to mention other things in life the way I had before. …The fact that I did not experience what I had expected gave me the opportunity of “coming out” about a portion of my life about which most people in my life know nothing. Not only has abuse been a major issue in my life, and more recently sexual abuse, but so has privacy/secrecy. Although I felt extremely vulnerable after opening up to the class, I experienced a wonderful liberating feeling as though the shackles of secrecy no longer were restraining me. …I have also found that I am much more open to experience in bodywork. Last week I went to a bodyworker who was working on my neck, when I all of a sudden started to cry and beg not to be choked. It was not the bodyworker I saw but rather one of my older brothers. I must have cried for three minutes solid, not knowing why—other than the fact I was so scared. I had no specific memories of my brother Andrew doing this to me, but I was very aware that I had never had a good relationship with him.

After the session, I went home and called my sister to talk to her about the situation. When I asked what Andrew had been like when I was growing up, she just laughed. She was rather surprised that I could not remember all the “maniacal” things he used to do to me.

I was very upset I had no recollection of many of these things occurring in my life. However, that may be in part because I was five at the time, and I have focused for so many years on just the things my father perpetrated on me.
I am somewhat amused that even after buying a therapist a retirement home, I have never had a cathartic reaction with talk therapy. I know that traditional therapy is not the answer to everything. I have started to question my long-term career plans and whether I want to go to graduate school in psychology.

Another man’s description of healing sexual abuse:

When I was four years old, my father took me for a drive in his car. We parked beside a lake and he forced my mouth over his penis. For the next six years this event was repeated many times, often with a brutality hard to explain to someone who has not lived it.

Your workshop was my biggest adventure to date in “touching the snake’ (my name for my adventures in self-exploration). I can’t really tell you what your workshop meant to me. I can’t tell you what it was like to risk strangers touching me, touching me so intimately; or allowing myself to sense physical pleasure, either as a giver or receiver.

I was really frightened to attend this workshop. I purposely came late and parked where I knew I could leave. I was anxious and expected something like a mini gay bath. Of course, it wasn’t. Instead it was surprisingly spiritual, gifted with the gentleness of tears and care and ritual. It was very beautiful.
Today, driving down a freeway, I felt myself breathing. I felt myself sensual and at peace. Thank you for giving me this experience.

Another man had several negative and painful experiences during a six-day workshop, which he attended with his partner, Peter. His comments reveal a healing of old issues.
I went to sleep with my body touching Peter’s in several places. That was unusual, because we normally do not, cannot, touch as we fall asleep. About two hours later I awoke. Through my body passed a tingling sensation much like that following the Big Draw. The more I focused on it, the stronger was the sensation. I got higher and higher. I lay absolutely motionless, but my spirit was flying on a roller coaster that only went up with the momentum of having raced down. If it did start to go down, I only had to think up and I was taken up to a new height. Incredible detailed images moved before me, visions that I had lacked that week in my Big Draws. After this continued for at least an hour, I debated whether to turn it off and go to sleep to allow myself to be fresh for the next morning, or to continue to experience the ecstasy.

I brought myself down to sleep, but began to ask why I had reacted to John Pasqualetti’s ritual so negatively. As soon as I asked the question, the words “Compelled, game, rituals, violation” came to me. Lacking any idea of what that meant, I searched for a meaning, trying to think of games that I played as a child. I could think of none that was appropriate. Then I remembered Catholic rituals that I had participated in as a Protestant child that had offended me. …That very likely was the button that John had pushed, drawing me into a seemingly religious ritual I detested. For me, that was a violation.

I awoke again at 6:00, wondering whether I could still find the feeling and energy. To my surprise, it quickly filled me for 75 minutes until I released it. During that time, I again saw many detailed visions; I felt filled with energy, which I directed to Sacred Brothers who were in pain. I felt connected again.

Others were less specific about their issues, but wrote about a new way of living, about new potentials.
The weekend provided a key to unlock a specific block which I’ve been aware of for a long time but didn’t know how to get through. The psychologists and mentors and people I share with didn’t seem to be able to help with it. Through breathing, working with the brothers, I know this block will vanish. …After the workshop and reading Two Flutes Playing I sense that there is more that I can tap into. My life is like a rocket poised to take off or maybe taking off through gravity toward orbit. I wonder what I can be, can do, to be receptive, to open more circuits, to go where other men have gone before.T


My life is filled with fear, anxiety and panic attacks. I have many abreaction attacks. These go back to incest/trauma in my childhood. … My feelings are starting to change. I’m feeling more opened, a deep need to continue with erotic massage.

It is not surprising that many men had newfound realizations about penises in a training that focused on penis massage. Hundreds of men were surprised and delighted that they did not need to have an erection to experience erotic pleasure.
I had a realization about the penis that just makes me laugh whenever I think it or say it. You don’t need an erection to have erotic feelings. You don’t have to get it up! What an idea. I thought I would have an erection all the time. I didn’t and I felt embarrassed about it until it was explained to us. It was such a GREAT RELIEF to know that one can have erotic pleasure without an erection and that erections ebb and flow just like the tides.

[I didn’t realize] that it could feel soooo good while soft, that I could receive intense sensual pleasure without getting erection. Also it seems that some forms of pleasure are blocked by being erect.

There is pleasure in softness.

Since I touched so many, I learned that there isn’t any different excitement in touching an erect or a soft penis. They are both just as sacred.

It was surprising how many adult men had revelations about their own and others’ penises.
Now I want to wake it up more and more so I can feel better, learn more about how it works, and be more at home in my body.

It’s like a Timex—it keeps on ticking. What I learned at this workshop was how to sustain and circulate the energy by massaging/playing with the genitals.

I like them. I like being with them. I like looking at them. I like touching them. The allure of the cock is that it leads to the man.

I need to pay more attention to my own cock and learn more enjoyable sex.

I was always intellectually aware of my penis as a generator. However, today I got in touch with the physicality of that energy and how to channel it. This has always been a desire of mine, but without the necessary tools to accomplish this, I have always been drained and frustrated and unsatisfied with sex. I also realized the tremendous potential the penis has to open other areas of my life, including physical, psychological and psychic.

Men learned new ways of understanding and appreciating their own and each other’s bodies. Some reported new attitudes toward sexual attractiveness, age, and body types.
I have done a lot of healing in my body image the last couple of years. During the workshop, the healing and the growth took quantum leaps. I experienced myself and my body as incredibly beautiful and delicious. My body is strong, powerful, sensitive, gentle, flexible, pliable. (I am crying.) I’m still feeling so wonderful, the words are just falling out of the pen.

While I still have, appreciate, and respond to my “hot” types – I can love, be attracted to, and pleasure all sizes, shapes, ages. I feel freer from my stereotypes.

I noticed during the workshop, I became more attracted to the different types of bodies of the other participants, and I realized that attraction was directly connected to the degree of intimacy I shared with these people.

I have learned in this massage to respect other people’s pain and blocks as they manifest in the physical body. I also realized that in the final analysis, the bodies are all the same; the souls are very different, and that they can be differentiated by looking into the eyes.

I am more accepting of differences.

One of my fears before hand was that I would be “old”. I was blown away. I made contact with men from 20 years younger to 20 plus older on all kinds of levels – personal, physical, sexual, spiritual. The irrelevancy of age as to intimacy, attraction and appeal energizes me in my desire to live, love and be sexy into my 90’s one day at a time.

Many comments had to do with methods of relating to others. Some men experienced great intimacy, some overcame longstanding fears, and others came to accept their sexuality in a new way.
This is the first experience that I have had in my life that allowed me to step completely outside my own sexual distress and experience eroticism as God gave it to me. It had nothing to do with compulsion, obsession, incest, any of the things that kept me stuck. All of my sex life has been a replay of these. This workshop gave me the awareness of being in my inherent human nature and experiencing eroticism in all its beauty.

I realize that my sex life can finally give the satisfaction that I have been looking for. And I want more.

The highest point of the class for me was the intimacy exercise with a partner. Instead of fear (which I would expect, not being the most trusting person in the world), I felt joyous. Since one of the reasons I was there was to face the gay part of myself, I was happy with this joy.

Everyone taking the Taoist Erotic Massage workshops both gave and received massages. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the roles of giver and receiver.
In learning and practicing to receive, it was such a relief to ask for something and get it. It was also so moving to be taken care of in such touching ways: being covered, being given an glass of water, being held, and having someone check my breathing.

In giving, it was exciting to do something that the man really liked.

The more I let myself receive, the more the givers were pleased and aroused, and this led to deeper connection.

I have always thought receiving was better – that now seems like a head trip. When I’m “into” the giving, I also get incredibly high. Witnessing my Sacred Brother at the end of his TEM was most powerful. When I had finished giving, I was just present, a witness, a channel.

In giving, I picked up on the other person’s space real quickly. If someone wasn’t breathing, was holding back or was armored, I felt it and reacted to it. Conversely, if the other person allowed himself to feel pleasure fully, I felt an incredible amount of pleasure in giving him pleasure – it was a true partner exchange. In receiving, the same applied. I found I had a lot more performance anxiety than I thought I would have, until I realized my erotic energy was everywhere, not just in a hard cock. I got into receiving a lot.

I’ve always been about giving much more than receiving – though in this workshop I was more 50/50. Made me take a closer look at the guys I have dated and what possibly I may really want.

The physical experience of TEM was different from what many attendees were used to. During the Big Draw, men had physical results that were unique. This allowed them to see their sexuality and eroticism in an entirely new light.
The Big Draw: brilliant colors and uncontrollable ecstatic shaking/eyes blinking.

After I pulled the Big Draw, all my limbs shook uncontrollably as the energy flooded my physical body. My whole spine and torso lurched up and off the table, and I felt as if my soul “wanted out” of my physical body.

During the breathing before the Big Draw, I started to cry and got pissed off that I wasn’t breathing “right.” So I just told myself that whatever happened is okay, then did the Big Draw. I still haven’t figured out exactly what happened, except I felt at peace for the first time at that level.

I liked the emphasis that we create our own sexual energy. The American way – straight and gay – is hot wiring, look, grab, come. The way you presented was touch gently, erotically, experience totally and maybe even – AMAZINGLY – try not to come – total body orgasm. A healed body seems to work this way?? You and this philosophy swim against the tide of red-blooded Americanism.

Many men described how TEM helped them integrate their spirituality with their sexuality. This was eloquently expressed by the Mormon man quoted above. Here are some comments others made.
Your workshop woke up not only my body, but my mind and spirit too. I have felt for many years that there has got to be more. And now I think I realize that physicality without spirituality is unfulfilling, and that spirituality which denies the importance of the physical is death of the spirit.

I felt ecstasy in a spiritual way – I felt as if I were conversing with God in an extremely intimate way. As a result, the feelings I was experiencing were that much more intense and real: feelings of abandonment, aloneness, unconditional love, joy, oneness and separateness all at the same time.

Just over six months ago, I was invited to participate in an erotic massage workshop. … Neither my spiritual life nor my erotic life has been quite the same since then. I have discovered, with a great deal of help and assistance from others, that there is no contradiction between spirituality and eroticism; there is no real conflict between body and spirit; there is no “real” reason to exalt one over the other.

There were many respondents who described their lives as changed after they returned from their workshops. Some took intentional action to restructure their lives based on new outlooks.
My experience at Body Electric was far beyond my highest expectations. … The first massage I did when I came home was called “electrifying.” Several significant events have occurred spontaneously since I got back. I fired my AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) supervisor. I got a tattoo on my upper arm (a recent dream image). I threw away my watch. At my partner’s request, I’m leaving and getting my own apartment. And my feet are still very much on the ground.

After attending more than a dozen Celebrating the Body Erotic weekends, this man wrote to a comrade who was preparing to take the class for the first time. The writer describes how he uses the class as a technology to make positive changes in his life.
I usually bring a question to the class – something in my life that I am puzzling about – something I need addressed. And then after the last Big Draw, I usually find that I have an answer. It’s not a linear process, and I often don’t even think about the question during the workshop. Sometimes, like the advice from an oracle, the answer is difficult to appreciate. But one of the things the class is about is coming to a deeper understanding of ourselves, getting in touch with core energy. So I would recommend that you think about what are the big questions in your life. Bring them to your awareness before the weekend, so that afterwards you can see if things seem different.

Responses from participants also indicated that many saw themselves and their lives in new ways that reflect an increased sense of self-esteem and wholeness.
The Dear Love of Comrades Intensive is a miracle of the flesh and subtle body. A week later, the images are still washing me, cleansing me of shame and limitation.

I continue to be energized by the weekend in New York. I have a level of confidence, self-love, serenity and self-acceptance that I have never reached before.

My sense of pride and self-worth was greatly increased by the realization that I am a member of a brotherhood of pioneers who are breaking down attitudes and morals that no longer work, and haven’t worked for a long time. I shouldn’t be surprised that Gay People are the forerunners in this work since, after all, we have always been the pioneers on the physical front.

For some men, the altered states of the TEM did not end with the workshop. Here are two men’s descriptions of their mystical experiences after the workshop.
I just had the most amazing experience and I want to share it with you. I didn’t come during the weekend so I put a porno movie on the VCR, but rather than stroke my dick right away, I started to breathe and watch the movie, little breaths to the heart, then 2 long and one short, then more small breaths, and then some long deep ones. Memories of the weekend flooded in as my body became charged. As I breathed and started to play with my dick, I realized that what was going on with me was a lot more interesting than the two hunks in the movie. I looked at my body and I thought how wonderful it was and how beautiful, and I knew it was beautiful in that moment. As I came close to coming, I dissipated the energy by moving to relaxing my back, which I didn’t realize I was tensing up. This went on for 20 minutes or so, still breathing, still getting the energy high. I looked over at the movie and there on the screen was a hot naked man walking with a full erection. It was Pan! I was so charged with energy that I thought I could come without stroking my dick by breathing faster and faster. I felt the energy rise in my dick as I held it lightly and as my orgasm reached the top of my dick, I did a Draw and half of the orgasm came through the dick and the rest just danced through my body. I was so amazed that I started to laugh, and I was laughing and laughing, and then I realized I was still coming long after my dick was and I knew what you had been talking about. Then I cried a little, but I had so much energy that instead of rolling over and going to sleep, I rolled over and wrote this letter.

Something wonderful has been happening to me. I suppose it is a development (or gradual unfolding) of a sensual awareness. Walking down the street in San Francisco last weekend, I was suddenly swept off my feet by the color of a rose – red-purple and velvet. An orgasm started and went on and on and on. Another time, the smell of coffee – fresh brewed, wafting out the door of Spinelli’s Coffee Bar – did it to me all over again. …What I think has been going on is that I have grown much, much more aware of myself – of the wind on my skin, of my entire sensual self. There is a gradual unfolding of the mystery of sensuality. I feel as if I am drinking from a stream – and satisfying myself at every turn. The need to masturbate seems to have disappeared – or at least, it plays a very secondary role. And yet, I am carried away on waves of orgasm – brought about by the sensual provocations around me. It is wonderful.

Approximately three thousand men experienced a Taoist Erotic Massage in Body Electric classes between 1986 and 1992. I went through years of letters and feedback forms for this history. I could find no written negative comments. A few men did have negative experiences. Some men left a class before it was over because they came expecting a sexual orgy. Others uncovered painful emotional wounds or sexual abuse that they wished to deal with in a more therapeutic context. The comments recorded in this chapter are representative of the Taoist Erotic Massage experiences of those three thousand men.

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Chapter Eight


Taoist Erotic Massage is an invented erotic structure that involves breathing and genital touching that often produces transformative altered states in those receiving it. This massage was developed by this writer, Joseph Kramer, between 1982 and 1992 as a way for gay men to connect sexually in a safe and ecstatic manner in the era of AIDS. I called this erotic massage “Taoist” because the intent of the touching was not merely to stimulate erotic energy, but also to circulate it throughout the body without ejaculation. TEM produces an altered state that some describe as mystical. For many, it integrates their sexuality with their spirituality. The massage creates an environment in which it is possible to change behavior patterns or scripts.

For years, I had sought a theory of human behavior that explained the intricate dynamics and effects I was witnessing in the practice and teaching of Taoist Erotic Massage. Then I discovered Silvan Tomkins’ affect theory and script theory, and Donald Mosher’s depth of sexual involvement theory. Tomkins’ theories explained the transformational elements of the massage. By Mosher’s standards, the education in TEM classes was profound, because it facilitated deep levels of partner engagement, erotic role-playing, and sexual trance. Alan and Donna Brauer, Mantak Chia, and Harley Swiftdeer also influenced the evolution of TEM.

From 1982 to 1985, I explored the possibilities of this massage with clients in one-on-one sessions. In 1986, I began teaching classes in TEM through the Body Electric School. The first classes were held in Oakland, but within two years they were being offered in cities throughout North American, and then in Europe and New Zealand. From 1989 to the present, this massage has been taught in a two-day workshop called Celebrating the Body Erotic, which has been offered more than 500 times to men and women, gay through straight. In 1992, I produced Fire on the Mountain, a video teaching this massage. This video became popular among nongay buyers through distribution in women’s stores and heterosexual publications.

Since selling the Body Electric School, I have found that the TEM results can be accomplished through mindful masturbation, without the need for another person’s presence. My current work is educating masturbation coaches who can guide both men and women into ecstatic states.

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After completing this dissertation, Joseph Kramer went on to create the somatic sex education profession of Sexological Bodywork.

You can learn to give and receive a Taoist Erotic Massage in these video classes: Fire in the Valley–Female Genital Massage and Fire on the Mountain–Male Genital Massage.

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