Sexuality is one of the most difficult areas of life for people to talk about honestly. It’s also one of the greatest forces in human beings and all animals. When living communally, each person’s sexuality – their attractions, repulsions, wounds, boundaries, hopes, dreams, fears and vital energy – is alive and present in “the space.” So, if we don’t handle this energy consciously we can have a very messy space!
Communities, cultures, religions and institutions make many different choices about how to handle sexual energy and sexual relationships.
Some groups don’t talk about sex and keep it under wraps (literally or figuratively). Some groups consider sex sinful or shameful and want to repress it. Some groups make their primary focus around sexuality (e.g. gay groups, Tantra groups, SBS&M groups, polyamory circles, singles’ bars, dating websites, etc.) and around celebrating, promoting, defending or teaching/learning a certain style of sexuality. Some groups have a “live and let live” approach to sexuality, and occasionally talk about it openly, but mainly stay out of people’s “private” lives. Some groups strongly value monogamy, some poly-sexuality, some bi-sexuality, some hetero-sexuality. There are groups for spiritual celibates. Groups born out of worship of youth and youthful sexual values – tight skin, vital energy, the right shape and size, a trendy image. Other groups tend towards the values of older people – sensitivity to subtle and emotional energy, open and honest communication, long-term commitment and depth, the sweetness of heart-connection and shared family.
This is just a sketch of some of the different approaches groups have to sexuality. We believe it’s valuable to be aware of the different styles and orientations people have towards sexuality, so we can be conscious about how we engage sexuality and intimacy. At GaiaYoga Gardens, we want to be conscious about all aspects of our life, so that the life we’re creating is sustainable and holistic. And we want to have open dialogue about all aspects of life. Sexuality is no exception.
Similar to our orientation around diet, we have two primary values around sexuality. 1) Creating an atmosphere that supports people in finding their own authentic form of sexuality and expressing it in a healthy, balanced way. 2) Tolerance of diversity in sexual orientation, expression and experience.
With diet, our bottom line is that people eat only organic food. Our preference is for people to maximize local, whole and raw foods. With sexuality our bottom line is respecting people’s boundaries and choices. We have conversations when people are feeling a disturbance from the way someone handles their sexuality – whether this is overtly and unconsciously expressed, or it is repressed or repressing of other people. We see sex, sexual activity and sexual energy as beautiful, vital, sacred and central to our aliveness. We’re a “sex positive” community. We encourage conscious and mutually consenting expression, and exploration of sexuality in whatever form it arises out of us authentically.
We’re very aware that sexuality presses buttons, and can trigger lots of pain and wounding. We know it can be a force that builds or destroys community. We’re willing to press these buttons and work through the material that comes up. And we’re willing to seek help outside our community when we need to. We want each person at GaiaYoga Gardens, whether they be a guest or a resident, to be responsible with his/her sexuality. We want them to be accountable to others relative to how we effect them and the community as a whole.
Our hope is for the joyous celebration of our bodies and our sexuality to be a foundation of our life here. We’re aware, that for it to run smoothly (like any system), it requires maintenance and care, and occasional redesign and repair.
For the most part, people here have a Tantric orientation to sexuality. By Tantric we mean that we engage sexuality as a whole being practice (to the best of our abilities) and attempt to engage all our chakras and energies in our sexuality and intimacy. We see sexuality as not just the coming together of bodies, but the harmonizing of our consciousness, emotions and soul with another. It is sacred.
For us, Tantra also means the recognition that when we engage sexually with someone it usually instigates a deep process of exploring our polarities and unconscious patterns in relationship. Tantra means the weaving together of opposites. So to engage relationship Tantrically, means to take on the challenges of relationship as a spiritual practice, for healing, and for self-development, as well as the celebration of life. People here are at various levels of development in this kind of conscious relating and actual Tantric sexual practice. But it is the basic vision of intimacy and sexuality that most of us resonate with and aspire towards.
We welcome people of all sexual orientations here, including hetero-, bi-, and homo- sexuality, celibacy, open dating, committed monogamy and marriage, and poly-amory (having more than one lover) and poly-fidelity (having a group marriage of men and women). We are creating a community where people are supported each other to grow and heal sexually, evolve out of dysfunctional sexual/relational patterns and celebrate this process with the community here.
No one is required to do anything with anyone sexually or to engage in any particular sexual practice. We hope that people will take advantage of our library of books about sexuality and intimacy, and tap into the wisdom and experience that is already present here at GYG and in our greater community. Ideally, we want to create a place where we are all able to engage in intimacy and in sexuality holisitcally, joyfully and ecstatically in a safe and conscious environment.
If you have any specific questions about how sexuality integrates into our life here, feel free to ask.
[Middle panel of featured image by Josephine Wall – www.josephinewall.co.uk]