How I Got Pimped Out By a White Spiritual Guru
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
*TRIGGER WARNING: HEALING-SPACE ABUSE, SEX WORK TRAUMA*
Each story of sexual exploitation in the quest for healing is not unique, and that’s what makes them so alarming and important to tell.
As an entheogen facilitator, a womb wellness practitioner and matriarch in my community, I am charged with remaining balanced in the power dynamics I maintain.
This is the responsibility of any facilitator.
Yet within this new paradigm (and grey area) of entheogen and psycho-somatic practitioners, people seeking help are far removed from traditional systems of conflict resolution, restorative justice and have nowhere to turn when things go wrong.
Because of these disconnections, the psychedelic healing community is facing the sad reality that without trauma informed care and healing space accountability, thousands of people are being led into the hands of practitioners who are sexually exploitative.
This rise in intimate violence within the healing space is now visible, not because instances have increased, but because people are finally telling their stories.
This is my story. I urge anyone reading, to follow the red flags 🚩
Who I Was When I Found "My Teacher"
It was 2013, I was 19 and settling into my sophomore year of college, living in a house with girlfriends who were supportive stoner types. We shared a peaceful life in our place, an artistic headquarters existing adjacent to severe substance abuse and rape culture disguised as college socializing. Despite the beauty, some of us were still suffering, I certainly was.
In my teen years, I’d lived an isolated life and struggled to form friendship bonds. My social anxiety was painful to be in, so to cope I retreated into codependent relationships or spent hours on the internet where I met people I could be vulnerable with. Because opening up to strangers felt safer than relating to my peers.
During these online wanderings, 🚩 I ran into an ad on Craigslist. It read, “tantric massage teacher looking for an apprentice”. After studying the teacher’s website, I felt like learning tantra could give my life meaning and be the way to resolve my sexual trauma.
A Piece About My Specific Sexual Trauma
Relationships with adult male figures were always confusing and hard to navigate. I was molested by my grandfather from age 6 - 10 and grew up in an addicted, authoritarian and financially unstable household. Even before my father died when I was 14, I gravitated towards predatory behavior, seeking something that maybe I lost a long time ago. And these folks were seeking some things in me too: someone trusting, impressionable and generous with their energy. I’d sneak out to meet them, get hurt and somehow make it home.
Whenever I mustered the nerve to say anything about how popular guys from school and even grown men acted, the response was usually “slut” or just silence, so I stopped talking about it.
🚩 HE led women's empowerment circles.
The man from craigslist invited me to his “women’s empowerment circle”. That day, my girlfriend and I rolled up to a simple but nicely decorated house in the Inland Empire. A white woman in her mid-20s smudged us with white sage at the door. I thought she was teaching the class but her body language was reading subservient and she barely made eye contact.
After we found open seats, the teacher, a 40-year-old white man with long pin straight hair tied back in traditional Chinese queue style, opened the circle and the woman, sat silent at his side. He led us through Chi-Gong practices and taught us how to feel energy. He emphasized the importance of activating divine feminine essence through the chakra system – new age spirituality 101. I ate it up.
After the class, I eagerly signed up for the apprenticeship. He looked sincerely into my eyes and said, “You’re very spiritually advanced for your age and would make a great student.” I was filled with hope.
🚩 Having physical contact was a requirement of his training.
As part of my training as a “tiger cub” in his program, I needed to undergo a tantric massage session with him. In his view, healing the chakras and clearing sexual blockages could be done by somatic means, manually building orgasms and channeling them through the body. My teacher administered these tantric energy orgasms to women in his home studio in 3-hour sessions, priced at $220.
This was my initiation: low light, Enya-type new age music, boy oil, heated massage table, crystals and lots of heavy breathing – the whole 3 hour offering. I cried, I shook, I had a peak experience and I melted into trust and appreciation. Something real was happening and I thought, maybe this is the truth, this is how I could repair my sexual trauma and heal from suffering and shit, maybe help other people.
🚩 He welcomed & encouraged ongoing sexual contact.
It wasn’t long after my initiation that we began a sexual relationship. Honestly, I thought having sex with him was healing me. Wasn’t this the way of the tantric teachings? Don’t you fuck your teacher, learn a few things, read a book or two and basically follow the path they lay out for you? How could I know? There was no road map, no guidebook, no governing body for western tantra teachers and student relationships. No checks and balances or ethics specialists.
So we went through intense BDSM sessions, anal play, threesome experiences, rope tying, enemas and regular sleepovers, all in the name of what he called “healing through ‘Red Tantra’”.
One day, I ate mushrooms at his house and he guided me into an intense spanking session which led me to a childhood memory of being bent over my dad’s knee and being slapped continuously on my bare ass – it shook me to my core and left me crying. These were real psychological portals opening up and it was hard to tell whether or not this was the right space to be working through them.
🚩 The other women in his studio warned me about him.
There were two other women who frequented the house, both white, late 20-somethings, who were always seeing clients when I went in for training. They both drank red wine and folded linens when they weren’t in the treatment rooms. One of them was a mom whose husband didn’t know she was doing “tantra work”; the other one was a fire spinner with blue hair from the Burning Man scene. Their behavior towards our teacher was very odd to me, it didn’t look like they were learning, it looked like they were just working and leaving with as little contact with him as possible.
Once, the girls took me aside and said, “he’s not who he says he is”.
Even though, this is what his website read.
🚩 He encouraged me to start taking clients after three months of study.
It’d been 3 months of studying as his apprentice, outside of the Red Tantra healing, I was working on different people, learning massage techniques, and performing lingam (sanskrit word for penis) massages mostly on men who answered his Craigslist ads. At that point, he thought I was ready and was eager for me to get started seeing clients since it would “bring me abundance” and be good for my feminine essence.
Once I committed to beginning as a “tantrika” in his home spa, the training program pretty much stopped. He helped me set up a basic website: a bio, a gallery of photos, a price list and contact form. Once the Craigslist and Backpage ads were up, it was just a matter of time. I started taking clients that same day.