Tantra, men's fears and the future of polyamory in Santa Fe.
***image1***Dr. Robin Taylor is one of Santa Fe's few resident "sexperts" and a certified sexologist among the privileged few privy to the bedroom lives of a community.
SFR: How does one become a sexologist? Can you get a degree in that?
You can. I just thought I'd take one class and then I took a whole semester. Five years later I had a Ph.D [in human sexuality].
And now you have a practice in Santa Fe?
Yes, here and in South Florida. There's a big market for sexologists in South Florida but not very many of us; in California there's a big market, but there are also a lot of sexologists.
How many sexologists are there in Santa Fe?
I'm the only one, I'm sure. There used to be one, years ago, but I don't think there are any others now. This is a small market.
What kinds of issues do your clients most frequently have?
They're all different, but there is some repetition. Often one partner is more interested in sex than the other is. Some people want to be interested in their partner but they've lost the spark and they don't know why. Or one partner is interested in someone else and it's a problem. I do a lot of counseling for people with non-traditional relationships.
You also do tantra workshops. Probably most Santa Feans are familiar with the word and we know it has something to do with sex and meditation and Sting doing it with his wife for three days, but the rest is hazy. Can you clear it up?
People have heard of tantra because there are other tantra teachers who come through here. Santa Fe is considered a hotbed of spiritual practices. But ***image2***
I've had classes here off and on for a few years, and sometimes they're well attended and sometimes they're not.
What happens during a tantra workshop?
We talk about how to move energy in your own body, to feel your own inner bliss-unrelated to your partner. There's some meditation, a lot of thinking, working on how to let go of shame.
With couples, they work on being in close proximity, how to slow down and be with each other in a whole new way, without their typical sex patterns. I think a lot of times men are afraid of tantra because they think they're going to have to perform for three hours.
So would you say it's a misconception that tantra is all about prolonging intercourse?
Yes and no. In the really advanced version of tantra, it is [about prolonging intercourse], but otherwise it isn't. For some people with erectile problems or women who don't want to be penetrated it's not the goal at all. So you may have intercourse and then stop or slow down and just adore each other.
You also do private tantra coaching?
Sometimes people come to me and want to do that. I get a lot of married men who come to talk about who they are and what's going on with them sexually. It's amazing how many men who come and say their partners aren't interested in talking about it. Often the men will talk and talk and talk and then they decide they want to learn about tantra.
Wait, men want to talk about sex but their wives don't?
I think deep down women would rather be there [in counseling with their husbands], but the men say, "I asked her and she didn't want to come," or, "I don't want her to come."
This is amazing! You're the one men talk to about sex! What are they saying to you that they're not saying to us? What do men want? Tell us!
They talk about their fantasies, their dreams, other women they're attracted to, their fears about sexuality or about how they want to try something new.
Please, we're dying to know: What are men afraid of?
Their biggest fear with their partners is that they don't want to hurt them. They all know women have been hurt so much and they don't want to hurt them, so they shut up. You have to admire where they're coming from.
It's amazing how many men don't know what their partners have been through. So many times I have a couple in counseling and ask if either one of them has ever been forced to have sex when they didn't want to and the woman will say, "Yeah," and the man is so surprised. He never knew. For women, healing their sexuality is a big job. For women, sex is a commodity and you're not supposed to give it away and all that. You know, all those double standards are still there.
What about men's fantasies?
Sometimes they want to open up the marriage, but they think, "How can I do it? Santa Fe's too small and we have kids."
Do they just really want someone to say it's OK to sleep with other women or to want to?
I think that's a huge part of it. I think people often just want to know, "Am I normal?"
What are the final frontiers of sexology? What kinds of issues make it hard for you to say "That's normal"?
Fifteen years ago it was really not OK to talk about being gay or transgendered. But one of the big things is Hollywood; if you start seeing something in the movies, it's OK. But open relationships, swinging, polyamory? That's
more closeted than gay people ever were. That's going to be out in the future. They're out there!
How big is swinging or polyamory in Santa Fe?
I don't even know! They're so secretive! When I tried to introduce the idea of polyamory into classes eight years ago in Santa Fe there wasn't much interest at all. Now there is a polyamory group that has started up and I think it's great to have a more public forum.
For more info go to www.robintaylor.net or call 438-2533