Category Archives: Relating

Living in Erotically Inclusive Community

It astounds and shocks me how callously and flippantly we treat needs for touch, connection, intimacy, and erotic and sexual gratification in wider society.

I believe that it is dangerous to flagrantly allow or even prohibit people from meeting their sexual needs–as our society does.

All sorts of ‘industries’ have sprung up (no pun intended) to fill this need. The desires catered to by them are so powerful that no legal inducement or punishment has ever eradicated them.

An erotically-inclusive community is one in which the participants agree to meet or help meet each other’s erotic, touch, and sexual needs as part of community living.

If you choose to live with someone [or someones] and you love them, you want their needs to be met: food, clothing, shelter at least. You want them to be happy. Right?

Where does that stop?

You know about Maslow’s Hierarchy or needs, right?

The theory is that lower needs on the pyramid (like food) must be fulfilled before higher needs (like creativity) can be.

Guess where sex is on the pyramid?

At the very bottom. Along with food, sleep, air, water.

Is sex really that important? Is it true that we can’t get our higher-level needs met if our need for sex isn’t fulfilled? Is that really what Maslow meant when he made the pyramid?

Judging by all the crazy, sometimes horrible things we do in this world just to get sexual pleasure and expression, I think it just might be.


I saw a community that took this seriously once in my life. Morehouse. There, I understood that they used a framework and rules for safely meeting needs for touch, intimacy, and sexuality (and rules around these things) so that the community and its members would achieve it’s highest potential.

I hope to live in or create something similar soon.

What do you think? Is erotically inclusive community desirable or possible? Why or why not?

If you’d like to meet more of your needs around relating, sexuality, and intimacy regardless of your current community, contact me on the contact page!

Happy Harmonious Male-Female Relating: A New Roadmap for Successful Life Partnership with Nicole Ananda

This is Nicole’s e-mail to her peeps about our upcoming workshop on Dec 30-31st in Jenkintown, PA. Posting it here in its entirety.

I’m Nicole Ananda and I want to invite you to the new workshop that I’m holding with Ryan Orrock. It’s called Happy Harmonious Male-Female Relationships: A New Roadmap for Successful Life Partnership.

What is true life partnership? You may have grown up believing that it’s a transactional relationship based on a series of compromises, as each person strives to get their own needs met. This is the type of relationship that I see most often with my clients. And in almost every case, one or both of the partners are unsatisfied and unfulfilled.

We have a new definition of life partnership that is about consistently meeting both partners’ needs and achieving goals together. Unlike the traditional relationship model, our approach to life partnership is always win-win.

Our goal is to create a shift in the paradigm of partnership and empower couples to create the lives that they really want. We want to show you how to create a relationship that is alive in every moment and helping you to achieve your deepest desires and greatest goals.

In our workshop, we’ll teach you:

  • How to resolve conflict without even speaking,
  • How to overcome entrenched issues in just 10 minutes per day,
  • How to dump jealousy for good,
  • How to take better care of yourselves, and as a result, take better care of each other, and
  • How to let go of expectations so that you can (paradoxically) get even more of what you want and need.

If you are reading this, you probably already know a bit about me. I’m a transformational life coach and intuitive healer, and I help my clients get in touch with their sexual energy, reawaken their passion, and revitalize their relationships. I’m excited to be teaming up with Ryan Orrock, who has spent the past decade learning about sexuality and male-female relationships. Ryan has trained in tantra, energy healing, life coaching, and more, in both Europe and the U.S. He recently moved from Salt Lake City to collaborate with me and to realize our shared vision of a world where men and women heal the wounds of past generations and create a new, more fulfilling model of love and partnership that doesn’t end in separation or divorce, as roughly half of marriages currently do.

In our workshop, we will also share:

  • 3 sources of unhappy connection between men and women (you won’t hear these anywhere else),
  • 4 simple habits you can perform daily for a happier relationship (even if your partner refuses to cooperate), and
  • 5 small actions you can do together to deepen your connection and have more joy and pleasure together (no matter how much you might be bored with or dislike each other right now).

We will take you through some of these exercises together and give you more to practice at home.

We are limiting our workshop size so that you can get the individual time and attention you need. We will answer all your questions and be available for follow-up support.

Click this link for workshop details and to sign up:

Workshop Sign-up Page [Eventbrite]

If you’d like to be on our list for resources for men and women in partnership, click here.


E-Sensual Authenticity

E-Sensual Authenticity is an invitation and opportunity to be part of a community of connection and understanding on every level.

We meet weekly to explore connection and understanding. (Contact Ryan on this site for meeting times and locations in the SLC area).

It releases us from the dogmas around touch and connection and allows us to consensually approach touch outside of traditional relationships.

In other words, we connect because connection and understanding are needs and we have a right to meet them.

We also explore structures to meet our needs for understanding.

This can’t really be explained. Come see what it is about and create with us.

How did we decide to create ESA?

Ryan’s ESA Manifesto

I am lonely. Most of the time.

I hunger for connection. And I long to be understood.

The ways that society offers to meet those needs has not worked for me:

  1. Touch and listening/understanding were rare commodities in my family of origin.
  2. I was tacitly promised I would meet ‘the woman for me’ and that it would all work out (meaning, my needs in these areas would be met)

That hasn’t proven to be the case.

I have studied other places and cultures where these topics are treated differently.

I would like to try a few other ideas.

Here are the principles behind them:

  1. We have as much ‘right’ to get all of our needs met as we do any need: food, clothing, shelter, etc
  2. Touch, connection, and understanding are core human needs.
  3. Therefore: we have a right to act to get these needs met as much as we do to find food and eat or create clothing and shelter.
  4. Meeting human needs is a collaborative effort.

How to Help Others to Give you What you Want (Showing Empathy)

We’ve all been there: a loved one or a partner is in high emotion, maybe attacking us, or withdrawing. We want connection and healing, but don’t know how to do so without making things worse.

This is where the magical tool of empathy comes into play.

Empathy is:

The process of validating someone else’s feelings and experience as legitimate.

The best chance you have of getting someone on your side, to understand how you feel, and support you in getting what you want is to first do that with them. It’s the essence of the Golden Rule.

However, when we are frustrated or upset with someone, the last thing we want to do is to validate their perspective, experience, and emotions.

Empathy is one of the greatest and most challenging relational and spiritual skills, for that reason.

This is my empathy breakthrough story.

I had a girlfriend, and I did some things while we were apart that she labeled as betrayal. But, we had a weekend workshop planned together and so she picked me up from the airport anyway.

To start our 4 hour drive, she began with what a horrible man and boyfriend I was. How selfish I was. Ungrateful. Unkind.  Stupid. You get the drift.

Instead of defending myself, attacking back, or retreating, which were my usual patterns, I decided to try something else. I had been studying nonviolent communication intensely for about 7 months by this time.

I said:

“It sounds like you are feeling really angry because you needed some security?”

“Damn right! And you go and did that and then I think you’ll leave and it drives me crazy!”

“I guess you were afraid as well because you needed security?”

“Of course I do! But really I just wanna cry when I think about it because I know you don’t care for me at all just like all the rest of the men in my life.”

“I imagine you might be feeling sad because you need love and you aren’t getting it?”

“Yes! And it’s your fault because I expected this to be different. Just pisses me off.”

“Sounds like you are angry because you need reliability?”

“No, it’s more that I’m sad because I hate this stupid pattern.”

The conversation continued like that for four hours. She would say something that sounded like an attack to anyone who would have been listening, and I rephrased it in terms of her feelings and unmet needs.

We spoke of all sorts of issues that went back to her childhood and had little to do with me. In fact, usually our upset has nothing to do with the person in front of us. They are a convenient context and safe valve to express the emotional pain that has been festering in us for decades. Our partner provides one small stimulus that triggers all of the past emotion.

Because they are in front of us and we feel something, we often blame them for our feelings. But they aren’t the problem. Which is why we say:

“The Feel is Real, but the Why is a Lie.”

Although it took hours to do this, by the time we arrived at our workshop she was perfectly happy and content. We felt connected and she felt understood. It was as if nothing had ever happened between us, and we had an enjoyable, pleasurable weekend together.

That was when I understood how powerful empathy can be.

During that experience, I never admitted that I was wrong or bad. I never had to take blame. I never had to experience shame. I never felt any guilt. I was simply curious, and reflecting her experience back to her. It was like talking to a mirror. And that was healing for her.

Every time I validated her expression, emotion, and experience it took another layer off the onion of all the emotions and pain she was carrying.

When people act violently toward us, they are just “tragically expressing an unmet need”.

This is the best formula I have found for expressing empathy:

  1. Translate whatever you hear into a feeling and need. It doesn’t matter what they say or how much they want to blame, shame, guilt, threaten, or punish you. You don’t make anyone feel anything ever. Don’t take that responsibility on. Instead:
  2. “Guess” both the feeling and the need back to them:

    “I imagine/guess/wonder if you are feeling x [some variation of mad, glad, sad, afraid] because [human need] isn’t being met.”

    In other words, you don’t tell them how they feel. You are asking a question and might be wrong. That’s ok. The fact that you tried shows that you care about their world, experience, and emotion. They will correct you if you get the feeling or need wrong. And then you both will know.
  3. Rinse and repeat, no matter what comes back.

This is a fairly simple process to describe.

It can be an incredibly challenging thing to do, in the heat of emotion, when you are both ‘triggered’. In fact, it may be wise to take space to give yourself some empathy (by doing this with yourself!) before attempting this process with another.

However, learning this process gives you much greater chances of getting your needs met by others than anything else I have found.

And, after the emotion has dissipated (you will notice a relaxation in their energy once they run out of emotional content), you can talk to them about what you want with a much higher chance of them listening and being agreeable to you, because you have listened to and shown empathy to them.

Talk to me.

“Do you think People should get Married?”

My response to this question is the same as Chris Rock’s when he is asked if a white person can ever acceptably use the “N-Word”.

Not really.

Why not?

Wow. That was easy.

I’ve been married twice. It was not good either time. For a lot of reasons, many of which people will say had to do with supposed weakness of my spouse or myself.

But I don’t buy that, totally. I think marriage is fundamentally flawed, and I’m not alone.

There was a time when I was very maverick and cavalier. But it seems those days are over. I’m no longer the exciting radical on social theory that I once was.

It’s pretty easy to find mainstream publications talking about why marriage is a bad idea.

I’ll give my top 3 regardless.

1. It’s bad for your spiritual/emotional growth.

If you really want to become someone or accomplish something big, you don’t strap yourself to another person in a three-legged race to get there.

What happens if someone is faster (as is always the case)? Or slower? What do you do then?

With marriage, you have one choice. SLOW DOWN. That isn’t fair to the faster person.

Also, when you change and evolve, the other person will resist 95% of the time. Because it feels unsafe for them.

And that’s logical. Because they have created a stable system with you and kept all other supports out. Any change you make will endanger their stability (or feel like it).

The ‘midlife crisis’ is the biggest example of this. And that is when most marriages will collapse, despite everyone’s ‘best efforts’. And who wants an ‘effortful’ marriage?

No one.

Jesus was smart when he said, “In heaven, people aren’t married nor do they get married.”

Wise words.

2. It doesn’t fit with how humans are.

The current ‘nuclear marriage’ model has been around for about 100 years. Before that, there were tribes or clans that lived together. This new model is very dangerous. It provides no fallback in the case of injury or death of a partner. It has few resources for the raising of children. It mostly ends catastrophically.

Intelligence seeks variety. In addition, sexuality, intimacy, even intellectual and emotional energy exchange is extremely dampened by how most people do marriage. You understand how the immune system works. You get a very weak emotional immune system by interacting deeply with just one person for so long.

Thus, it gets harder and harder over time to fight against human nature…it’s more and more depressing. And finally, something breaks.

3. The government runs it.

Do you like anything the government manages? Getting your driver’s license? Paying taxes? Who gets elected? Wars?

Everything the State touches goes to hell.

Gov’t as done now is a satanic (lies and deceit-based) system based on force and punishment almost exclusively.

You can’t relate happily to others through force and punishment. So why would you accept the mafia as your ‘third partner’ in marriage?

The gov’t gives each partner a huge giant stick to beat the other up with. Financial sanctions. Taking children away. Huge consequences.

And the State and its judges has a limited interest and stake in your happiness. It doesn’t love you.

If there are conflicts or issues, you want them supported by your community and families, not by nameless bureaucrats and their underlings–themselves servants to the .0001%–or at least by a mediator you both trust.

You don’t want the 800 lb. gorilla deciding who lives and dies emotionally and financially.

If marriage were regulated only by churches, it would be an ugly enough institution. Throw the state into it and that is a formula for almost certain disaster.

Btw, even if the marriage lasts and remains–the fact that the state and social pressures are so great means that many people stay in loveless, sexless, unhappy marriages because the alternative is so dark. I know I did.


That said, there can be happy, successful marriages.

  • If people have the same goals and keep those goals permanently.
  • If each partner can navigate their own and their partner’s changes and upsets through the years.
  • If both partners stay healthy.
  • If they can successfully manage finances together.

But those are a lot of if’s.

Marriage as an institution is dying, and good riddance. It needs to be replaced by something that honors individuals, is non-coercive, and supports people in being their best selves. And that will probably be different for each person, couple, or group.

So, do I recommend marriage?

Not really.

Want even more happy upbeat articles, videos, and audios about relating successfully? Check out my members-only group here.


Help with Sex and Relationships


So you want help with sexuality and relating, do you?

There is an endless path to follow to find our own personal expressions of sexuality and relationships.

Like everything in life, these two are intimately connected.

My Basic Sexuality program teaches breathing, sound, movement, sense-uality, and provides a few tips for beginning power exchange.

My Perfect Relating program shows you how to:

  1. Know what you want
  2. Ask for it and
  3. Negotiate

…when relating to another person.

Either of these are a lifetime of work, but both contain what I would consider “Basic Training for Being Human” in our modern world.

You can get access to both of these programs for $24 per month. Cancel anytime. Ask me any question about sex and relationships here.

Sign up at this link on


How I learned about Sex

So. After leaving the Mormon church, drenched in shame and body-negative messages, and not knowing where to turn, I decided I wanted to learn about sex and alternative relationships.

There were two places to do that: ZEGG, which was holding an intro weekend a couple hours from where I lived. I don’t remember how I heard of them.

The other was an ad I saw in the online classifieds in Dresden. “John Hawken, famous tantra teacher from the UK coming this one weekend only to Dresden.”

I was intrigued. I called the number on the ad and a gruff man answered. This was the convo.

“Hi! I saw your ad for a tantra workshop. What is that?

“What do you think it is?”

“Well, I think it’s about sex.”

“Uh huh.”

“Um, so can I register?”

“You can just show up.”

What I didn’t realize was that Stefan had placed the ad with the hope of bringing more hot women into the local tantra scene. I, as a man, was competition, so he did his best to be rude to dissuade me from coming.

In retrospect, he might have been wise to do that. In two months I was running the local group’s practice sessions and by the end of the summer I had spent time with most the  female population of the local tantra group.

When I arrived for the weekend, John began by paraphrasing Osho (who I had never heard of–at least under that name).

“When you study an idea or a philosophy, you like it or you don’t. You accept it or you don’t. And, maybe later you find a different philosophy. Here, we don’t learn by memorization or rote or debate. Here we learn by experience.”

I was so tired of sitting in classrooms during childhood listening to teachers and religious leaders drone on–and I had been so betrayed by their ideas which hadn’t actually worked in my life, I immediately latched on to this new mode of learning.

I decided not to read anything else about this topic for the time being and learn experientially.

And why not? How do children learn about life? About their preferences? About what is dangerous?

Not conceptually, primarily. Experientially. They learn how to ask for a cookie and what that is because they want one, not because someone needs to drone on about how important cookies are for our economic growth.

John would give us an experience. We were randomly paired, men and women, and we danced elbow to elbow. Or we breathed and gazed into each other’s eyes. Or we wore blindfolds and embraced a stranger.

Each experience was about the experience. Not primarily our thoughts about what the experience would be like. Nor about our judgments or evaluations of it. What sensations did we experience internally and externally? What feelings were present? What were we thinking?

We became magnificently aware of the processes within us during each of these experiences. We noticed how the experience was dramatically different with a different person. Or the same person on a different day.

I had never felt so alive.

I remember during the break going to the local store and staring the cashier right in the eyes. I felt like I could conquer the world.

We did hear a little theory. But not to regurgitate or believe or reject. Simply to provide some context for our experience, if it were helpful.

“Religions argue about what you are. Are you just a body? A spirit in a body. According to tantra, there are two components. You are a point of point of consciousness, and a flow of energy. Energy is the feminine principle and consciousness is the masculine. The dance between these two creates the world and your life and your relationships.”

I will never forget those words. They clicked into place verifying to me an entire map of myself and my romances which I had always looked for but never found. My life from that point would be devoted to researching the experience of all the ways that dance could manifest in my life and how I could experience it with others.




Principles of Effective Collaboration

As my goals got bigger and bigger, I found my ‘lone wolf’ mentality to success (drilled into me by an environment where failure was ridiculed, competition a la grades was praised — working together was cheating, and being constantly told I was ‘smart’) had to go.

Thus, I began collaborating on a much bigger scale with others, beginning with a couple live events and online courses that then blossomed.

Here is what I have learned.

  1. Find at least one person who says, “Yes!” to your ideas. Otherwise, find new ideas.
    There is a reason parliamentary procedure includes a ‘Motion seconded!’ step. This is because a really dumb idea (or too risky for the organization), will not find a ‘2nd supporter’. Without at least one other person who says, “Yeah, this is crazy, but I like it and am willing to commit to it too!”, you have no one to lean on, urge you forward, or solve your most pressing problems with.If you have an idea, try to get at least one collaborator.
  2. Start small.
    A couple years back, I found some great teachers and we began sculpting the ultimate be-all-end-all training. We met every week in multi-hour meetings and the concept spread from a one-year training to a multi-year training. It sounded epic. Until it ultimately all collapsed.Why?

    Because we had no proof-of-concept. Because we had no outside energy or feedback from others to improve our ideas with. Our little think tank was great at coming up with brilliant ideas, but we didn’t know whether they would work, much less whether we could sell a multi-$1000s program.

    Now, I find the smallest possible ‘victory’ and achieve that first, and build from there with potential collaborators. That may be a small event or selling a very simple product.

    3. Live consensus.

    Not that long ago, my ideas had to ‘win’. Now, I listen and integrate what others are saying. Consensus is the process of finding ways for everyone to be comfortable with what is happening and intended.

    In true consensus, when one person out of the group says, “No. I don’t like this,” then that thing doesn’t happen.

    We are taught to use “democracy”–meaning whoever has the most votes can force the rest to do what they want. This is not useful or efficient for any type of collaboration (or gov’t, but that’s another story). If one person on a team strongly disagrees with what is happening, they can sabotage things, (even energetically) remove their support, and the whole thing will be facing resistance. Even more importantly, the wisdom for that person is not integrated into the ‘thing’, thus making it less than what it could be.

    If someone is a strong ‘no’, then together we find some way that we all are comfortable moving forward and we do that instead.




Embodied NVC: Making NVC ‘Work’


I have made NVC work. It can work. Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 10.59.16 PMAnd, for many people, it doesn’t quite deliver what it promises, for a lot of reasons. So I created ‘Perfect Relating‘ as an ‘upgrade’. And I think, even more importantly, the Self-Empathy Meditation, which is really a whole path of spiritual progress in about 15 bullet points on one page. My heart sutra, as it were.

Now, Marvin recently came back from the Network for New Culture spring camp raving about Max Rivers and what Max calls ‘Embodied NVC’ (link below). In fact, he sounded so excited (and I seldom sell Marvin excited about much at all), I wondered what cult he had been inducted into.

But I didn’t think much more of it. Until he sent me the link and I listened.

I only listened once, but I think I got most of the points of ENVC…Max can correct me if I’m wrong. And I believe it basically goes

Many people might find it more effective than ‘standard’ NVC. So I decided to speak my interpretation of the ENVC process. Perhaps you find it useful.

Boils down to:

1. You wouldn’t know your needs weren’t getting met if they had never been met. You only know darkness because you have seen the light.

2. Ergo, your needs–perhaps in some way we don’t fully understand–have been met or are always being met. It’s just that you are somehow ‘clashing’ with the vibration of them being met and you need to consciously reconnect to that state. (Max is also a hypnotist. I’ve given hundreds of thousands of people orgasms who weren’t being touched–via YouTube–this explains how that can happen).

3. Once you re-connect to that ‘being met’ state, the world naturally organizes around that met need.

4. And (I don’t think he said this in the short talk), if you feel like needs aren’t getting met, this is an opportunity to simply realize a deeper/another level of (‘hearts desires’–his more upbeat term for NVC needs) and get them met.

5. Which is why people who have ‘figured it out’ hit rough patches–this idea would explain the question of ‘why does God let bad things happen [to me???]’ or why suffering exists in the world. Because you find a deeper level of heart’s desires that are wanting to align. Life becomes (if we choose to let it) a continual process of ‘re-alignment’ (atonement) with Source [of who we are] to reach higher and higher levels of hearts-desire-fulfillment.

I’m guessing I got it. If not, Max can fix this soon. 😉 In any case, even if I took the ball and ran with it, the above makes sense to me.

PS Also explains h’oponopono

Let me know your sensations 😉

Max Rivers and his podcasts