When an acquaintance casually asks what you’re up to at the weekend and the answer, if you cannot tell a lie, happens to be “sex camp”, it’s a safe bet you’ll get more than the polite nods that usually greet news of your planned catch up with a friend.
Some people just aren’t ready. “Work retreat” is all they got out of me. And that left the privileged few who, once informed, couldn’t help but ask: What the hell is sex camp?
The short answer, on the camp website, is: “A place to celebrate the spectrum, our boundaries and new possibilities, to foster and expand the growing sex positive community”.
For the long answer I set off with my new partner of a few months (adventurous, I know), a three-person tent, a blow-up mattress, an open mind, a few nerves and, strictly, no alcohol! *deep breathes*
As with most sexual firsts, there were jitters and uncertain beginnings. The sun set on the drive there, and we were lost on a dirt road in the pitch dark trying to find the entrance to Sex Camp. Nervous laughter ensued as I tried to exhale all thoughts of murder on the campground or creepy porn versions of Cathy Bates in Misery. Sorry for that visual.
The attendees weren’t those that you may be imagining – they were beautiful, honest people of all ages, looking for a starting point, some invigoration or expansion within their individual sexual journey.
Sex Camp is about exploration and revelation, and to create a safe space for that to happen there is a focus on safety and boundaries. No one is allowed to take photos, no one is allowed to open their eyes and stare at other attendees during workshops that involve pelvic gyrating and deep breathing. The camp is all about being present in your own experience.
But there are certain questions everyone always wants to know – let’s deal with those first:
Are the people at sex camp naked?
People weren’t naked in the workshops.
Do you have sex in the workshops?
No, there was no sex in the workshops. People were experiencing orgasms through breath work in the Tantric workshops I attended.
How many people attend the camp?
There were 180 people in attendance and anyone could go.
A silent disco (music was played via headphones that each attendee was given. The headphones played music and you had an option of three different channels/playlists), live performances and delicious vegetarian meals kept everyone happy, but the back-to-back workshops were what we had come for. They included everything from a “cuddle party” (a fun, light hearted, playful experiential social event designed for adults to explore affection, intimacy and touch) to Ejaculation Control and How to Last Longer, to Tantra for Ecstatic Living. Other workshops included Female Ejaculation, Dynamic Kink, Genital Show and Tell, Healing Sensuality, Sex after Childbirth and Yoni (vaginal) massage: a strict how-to guide minus the live demonstration.
Firstly, wow! Wow to exploration and sex positivity. So many of us are restricted in ourselves and our relationships because of the armour we build around our harder experiences in life, with not many places to go so that we may expand, grow and heal via our own physical body. This was the essence of the workshops: connecting to my body and my spirituality in a world where we are so often taught to work through our issues mentally, if at all.
All the workshops were amazing for different reasons. However, one titled Sex Beyond the Genitals was life changing. As a sexologist and business owner, I am on a constant journey to experience sex within myself. Having experienced a few of life’s little hardships recently I am on quite the emotional roller-coaster. And hey, sometimes emotions can be just plain hard. So I was ready: ready for something other than some counselling sessions. I wanted to connect, and reconnect with my path and myself.
The Sex Beyond the Genitals workshop began with an open discussion and lesson on the energy that relates to each chakra and the sexual position that relates to connecting and revitalising each of these, to energise our physical, emotional and spiritual form. We then chose a partner to work with; my partner who came with me was by my side for most of the weekend, so we got to experience everything together, setting boundaries around our beliefs during the first workshop. The discussion went something like, “obviously don’t do anything that crosses the line…” “Yeah, totally.” However, neither of us in this honeymoon phase of the relationship have any real desire for outside exploration – so that conversation was easy. Anyway back to Tantra. (Yes, please.)
We were instructed to sit face to face and look into the eyes of the other person and honestly see them for the “divine” being that they are. Mind you, we’re already in ‘The Zone” by this stage. (“The Zone” is a place of openness, acceptance and peace in my sexuality and these same feelings for those around me. It is a place of no-judgment, just growth.) It’s Sunday afternoon and we’ve now been at Sex Camp for most of the weekend. Music begins to play, we are instructed to breathe from our PC muscle through our body, up through our chakras and ultimately through our partner. In connecting the dual energy of both people, you ultimately become one. All the time, you are in a present state, seeing them for so much more than you ever have.
Now, I’ve always had a tendency to dance with the “hippy shit” as my father (a man of science and practicality) says. However, true connection to another person like this teaches ultimate compassion and also, potentially, orgasm without genital touching.
Who doesn’t want that? So in a room of various flavour, people around us were crying, moaning, shaking and rocking; connecting with sound and breath to take them to that level.
My body is something I struggle to connect with in massage, let alone in a room of people practicing tantric breathing for the first time – essentially what sounds like a giant orgy. While I found this challenging in a previous workshop, in this one I felt connected. I felt heat run throughout my body and a connection with my partner like I hadn’t experienced before with anyone.
I left feeling like my eyes were wide open. I could see things from a fresher, brighter perspective. At one point when I was driving home on Sunday night, I felt as though I was sitting outside of my body, yet completely connected to it at the same time. My feet felt so light, yet so grounded. The connection to my genitals, I also learned, is attached completely to my heart and my heart is connected completely to my life and the armour I’ve created to get through those trying times (oh, and of course, love).
I would encourage anyone who is up for challenging themselves and uniting with their sexual energy (an energy that we all hold so secretly in a society that doesn’t nurture its expression) to find friends and a renewed love for life at a Sex Camp near them – celebrate the sex positive.
Vanessa Muradian is a sexologist and Director of Mia Muse a business that celebrates women’s sexuality. You can visit her website at www.miamuse.com.au, like her on Facebook or follower her on Twitter.