Sexual Healing

Louise Lague for the Portland, Oregon Monthly Magazine

(This article, though written with tongue in cheek for the Portland, Oregon Monthly Magazine's readership, describes the Tantra workshop led by David and Sandi at the 2005 AASECT national conference in Portland.)

We all know that tantric sex is wildly chic -- even as it celebrates its 4,000th birthday -- so we dashed over to the Downtown Marriott to check out a workshop taught by Dr. David Yarian, a Nashville sex therapist. Part of the annual conference of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists -- chaired by the aptly named social workers Ginger Bush and Bill Finger and held in town this past May -- the workshop was filled with sexperts.

Tantric sex, according to Dr. Yarian, is more a form of meditation than a sexual practice. "It's about moving energy arising in the genitals up through the body, which moves into contact energy, ending in an energy exchange with a partner -- or not, as it turns out -- and then finally a connection with all there is." Dr. Yarian started us out with a "melting hug," adding that after he teaches this technique in his office, "I see couples go make out in the parking lot."

Wow! Let's do it! Grab your lover and start with full body contact -- vertical, horizontal, whatever -- then place one hand between your partner's shoulder blades and the other on the small of his/her back, to make contact with the correct chakras. Then squeeze while harmonizing your respective breathing: in together, out together. Stick with it for a while. That'll be $250. Keep breathing.

Arizona sex therapist Michele Clarkson, a West Linn native, opined that Portland is itself a tantric city, in that people are very connective and are often engaged in positive energy exchanges -- therapist-speak for "Everybody's so NICE!" Really nice. Nobody else at the conference had seen any of Portland yet, because they were all cruising around the exhibition hall, looking at sex toys, lubricants, videos, books, videos and more videos.

But the conference was not all whips and chains -- er, fun and games. Besides sex, issues tackled by atendees included "sex- negative" laws, meaning those that prohibit gay marriage or fund abstinence-only sex education. Yeah, OK, but can we get back to the sex?

"I belong to a lot of associations," said association president Dr. Barnaby Barratt, "but this one is always the most fun. When you become a sex therapist, your parents raise their eyebrows, your friends giggle. We're a special group. These people are here because they're committed." Indeed. As one therapist said upon leaving the tantric workshop, "Gosh, that made me want to have sex."

Article in Portland Monthly Magazine, August 2005

(Cuteness aside, the article captures an important aspect of tantric workshops: the stirring of and connection with internal sexual energies in a conscious way. These energies when activated can be expressed in creativity, sexual connection and vibrant living.~David Yarian Ph.D.)

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