2017 has been a monumental erotic year for me, both professionally and personally.
My most inspiring, hottest development has been a rise of group sensual experiences, within an emerging community of erotic explorers -- including clients, students, friends and fellow bodyworkers. From setting up duo sessions with other service providers to facilitating sensual bodywork meetups and orgasmic yoga classes, from training and mentoring new providers in the Art of Sensual Massage to dabbling in Sin City and kink events and hosting private sensual parties with friends, I’ve had a radical year of breaking out of the cage of sensuality-only-in-coupledom. While overwhelming at times, I’ve found unparalleled freedom and creativity when eros is held in community.
Alongside these sexy group events, this fall I joined a Sex Worker Wisdom writing group facilitated by celebrated local author, Amber Dawn (How Poetry Saved my Life). The group includes tantrikas, dancers, pro-dommes, escorts, agency workers and managers, street and indoor and more and has been an invaluable opportunity for re-narrating our worlds with whore-positive stories about sensuality and work.
We recently had a writing exercise on ‘our ideal workplace’, which got me dreaming about not only of a place but also the broader community, legal system and cultural understanding of sex I want to build. I thought I’d share the fantasy that came to me with you here.
The day the temple rises
Your heartbeats quickly as you make your way through a sea of crowds, smiling, singing, chattering people wearing red dresses, feather boas and sparkling high heel shoes. You’re headed to work, for the grand opening, where the ceremony is about to begin. As to get closer, you see the mayor walk up to the podium at the entrance and clear her throat:
“On this day, the City of Vancouver formally declares that the Temple of the Erotic Arts, as all sex worker-run workplaces, is a holy site, exempt from taxes and law enforcement. We commit a one hundred million dollar endowment fund to your operation, for extended benefits for your workers and income-adjusted subsidies for clients so that every citizen can learn to feel deeply, touch lovingly and open fully to pleasure.” She smiles and then the smile fades as her gaze turns downward as she swallows hard.
“I’m sorry it took us so long,” she continues. “I visited the rose garden this morning, at the heart of the temple. I sat on the carved wooden bench and watched as hummingbirds and honeybees danced around the flowers. I read the names placed at the base of each rose bush and I looked at the photographs and love letters for all those workers who didn’t live to see this temple rise. Here, may all be guarded by thorns and carried wings.”
She cuts the red ribbon to a cheering crowds and goes inside to book herself a session.
You move past the television cameras and news reporters and enter your workplace, an elegant old building with marble floors and vaulted ceiling and skylights and huge picture windows facing the water, snow-capped mountains and cruise ships sailing into port. There are fluffy white bathrobes and slippers and hallways leading to swimming pools and hot tubs and steam rooms and cold plunge baths with waterfalls. There’s cozy session rooms with views of the water and walls covered with erotic art. The air is infused with the scent of warm coconut oil and fresh flowers arranged on every table.
You follow the sounds of laughter out to the patio, where your colleagues and friends invite you to join them for breakfast, prepared by the temple chefs. You look at the list of clients booked for the day and share notes on who they are and how best match their and your particular turn-ons and preferred types of sensual touch. Then make your way into your session room to prepare for your first session.
At this temple, clients come to offer their bodies and money for the learning and pleasure of the sacred whores and bodyworkers. They pay to be of service as you dedicate your working days to the cultivation and teaching of sensual pleasure and wisdom. Clients are men, women, non-binary people of all body sizes, ages 18 to 108. They arrive knowing they will be offered a sensual touch experience of unparalleled quality, but they won't know what or how or with whom it will happen. The mystery is the appeal. There is untold ecstasy for those willingly surrender to the wisdom of whores.
Workers join first as apprentices and after years of learning, guidance and community, become masters and mistresses of the erotic arts. You see one or two clients each day and connect with other workers after your sessions to reflect: What did you learn? How did you find your pleasure? What speed, what pressure, what quality the touch most pleased your body and theirs? How did you speak to your client, in words, breath or movement? Did they listen? Did you ask for the type of touch you wanted? Did you receive it exactly so? What vision came to you, as your hands rested on her heart? What memory emerged as your finger tips encircled his cock? The answers arise in poems, paintings and songs and are shared with temples all over the world.
A few hours later, your day is over and you walk home. You pass by the residential building you first worked in when you left your desk job to become a sensual bodyworker and sex educator. It was at the top of a tall building on the same street where cops and condo developers drove away the west end stroll a few decades earlier. Your clients arrived discreetly to the tidy one-bedroom apartment. You greeted them alone. After the session, you dressed and left, moving quickly through the hallway, down the elevator and out the door. Once you were one block away, you exhaled and smiled. Your body still reverberated with the pleasure you’d just been paid to feel. Your skin shone with coconut oil, your eyes dilated with desire, your senses opened wide to the scent of new rain and rose bushes. You held your head high and kept your secret close. You knew even then that you worked in a temple and you knew that one day, the temple would rise.