Rachel and I ran our second Pilot Erotic Fantasy Workshop in Glasgow on 22/23 February, with a hand picked group of volunteers, who have provided lots of very helpful feedback. It’s clear that we’re definitely onto something, but we need to build more modelling into the workshop, and more steps. We’ll now do this, and aim to go public with the work in the Summer, leading to a two day residential early next year.
I’ll be writing a lot about this, but I thought it might be interesting for you, right at the start, to see our manifesto: why we think this work is important.
So here goes.
Our culture’s common belief is that our sexuality exists in two apparent forms: the interior and the relational.
To the interior belongs sexual fantasy; the stories or images that we find exciting or arousing, often deriving from experiences in our childhood. Sometimes, these are stories, images, words or sensed experiences that we masturbate to, and sometimes not. The common belief is that these fantasies reside internally within us, that they are private, and often we feel uncomfortable about them. Because they are internal, the erotic charge which they contain can’t be shared or understood by other people. Even if we don’t feel uncomfortable, our fantasies often rigidify and contract over time, becoming boring and repetitive. (In that, there’s a similarity with a tired relationship, where the couple gradually narrow down “what works”. Until nothing does)
To the relational belongs the belief that our erotic sense can only be brought out by a person or persons who we find attractive.
Both these beliefs are mistaken.
Why is this important?
People are often troubled by their sexual fantasies. They are disturbed by the narratives, which are rarely vanilla, often dark and in conflict with the sort of person they feel they are, and what they should find arousing. Gaining an insight into their fantasies, understanding they are not freaks or weirdos, and sharing their fantasies with others is a tremendous antidote to shame and a feeling of separateness.
We believe that the world of sexuality is overfocused on the body, and the belief that’s where eroticism is exclusively found. But for many people, particularly women, engaging in quasi sexual acts with strangers in Sex Clubs, or getting naked and touching and being touched by other people at a Tantra Workshop has a limited appeal. These people -most of us- are erotically disenfranchised. We want to make a larger sense of sexuality: embodied, present, communicable, fluid, joyful, available to everyone.
There is a prevailing idea that eroticism is a kind of chemical reaction with a special person, that it’s something – if we’re lucky – that we DO, rather than an intrinsic and permanent part of who we ARE. So most of us have a persistent sense of incompleteness, of inadequacy, of missing out. Through this work, people can rediscover their own erotic sovereignty.