I met Jonnie, my new patient, the first thing I noticed was his
warm, radiant smile. He had short black curly hair and an amputated
leg. His body was paralyzed with no movement and sensation from
his shoulders to his toes.
the age of eighteen, when he was suddenly paralyzed from an automobile
accident, Jonnie had lived in institutions for a total of thirty
years. Nurses, doctors, and physical therapists made up his social
life during his late teens, early, and middle adult years. All of
his family members had died, and he no longer had outside visitors.
became Jonnies primary nurse, which meant I was assigned to
him on a regular basis. We felt at ease with each other instantly.
He was a quadriplegic; thus it was my job to assist him in almost
all of his bodily functions: to move, bathe, dress, undress, eat,
urinate, and defecate.
Jonnie never left the hospital, the outside world came to him through
his caregivers. Jonnie's social and sexual development had come
to an abrupt halt with his accident. So when I told him that I was
also a graduate student in sexology, a wide range of questions poured
forth. How do people feel when they are in love? What
do they say to each other when they are in love or sexually attracted
to each other? How does the body feel when in love and
sexually aroused? What can my body feel? How
can I have more physical sensations and sexual feelings? I
answered what I knew and was honest with what I didnt know.
greatest desire was to experience sensation in his mostly paralyzed,
numb body, something to give him feedback that he was physically
alive. His motivation was very strong when he asked for my assistance.
There was a potential problem however. If I helped him, I could
lose my job were the explorations perceived by hospital administrators
or coworkers as being in any way sexual.
having attempted this type of education/therapy before and because
each person's potential is different, I really did not know what
his body could experience. Drawing on my backgrounds in sexology
and in meditation, I felt two approaches might be best. The first,
known as sensate focus, would be simply to focus, to concentrate,
to be aware of the physical sensations of taste, touch, smell, sound,
and sight occurring during an activity. The second method was to
be open to an attitude, a feeling of unconditional love. I explained
that awakening the love that has no conditions, boundaries, or limits
is a love that is available to all human beings. Jonnie began focusing
on unconditional loving thoughts centered in his heart area. I invited
him to visualize white light saturated with love filling every cell
of his body and continuing to radiate beyond his skin surface.
decided to focus fully on the activities already being experienced
in his daily life. Eating became a new experience as his attention
was drawn to the food during mealtime. There was the sight of ripe,
red, juicy, sweet strawberries topped with whipped cream, and the
sharp smell of pickles. There was the sweetness of chocolate frosting
swirling over his tongue, and the crunch of fresh, firm carrot sticks.
The key was to appreciate the aliveness of the senses.
food is processed by the body, the remains have to be expelled,
and quadriplegics do not have the ability to activate the peristaltic
wave of the intestines on their own. In order to produce a bowel
movement, a caregiver must stimulate the nerves in the anus with
an inserted finger, a process termed digital stimulation. Hospital
protocol calls for a minimum of five minutes or whatever time it
takes to empty the bowel of its contents. From my experience, five
minutes never had much effect on my patients in regards to stimulating
the undulant wave; it always required a good twenty to thirty minutes.
An effective bowel movement is absolutely crucial to a spinal cord
injured person because a full bowel could cause a condition called
dysreflexia. This comes on suddenly from irritations such as a full
bladder, full bowel, or skin pain. If dysreflexia is not relieved
quickly, high blood pressure can cause further disabilities from
a stroke. Death can also be a consequence. Every quadriplegic quickly
learns that a good emptying of the bowel is paramount to staying
alive, while a poor emptying can be life threatening.
a positive attitude toward our body, particularly the anus and prostate
gland, our brain will usually interpret stimulation from this area
as pleasurable. When receiving digital stimulation, most people
recovering from a spinal cord injury are not encouraged to focus
on any sensation. For the purpose of our exploration, I encouraged
Jonnie to focus on any and all sensations during the bowel program.
I sometimes played soothing music to help create a sense of calmness
and to help the oftentimes spasmodic muscles to relax. Since early
childhood, most of us have been taught that eliminating feces should
be done as quickly as possible, as unconsciously as possible, and
with a feeling of disgust. When children are taught attitudes of
fear, avoidance, and disdain in connection with learning bowel control,
emotional scars are left in the psyche, which poisons their feelings
for their bodies and affects sexual and general health. Some spiritual
work is definitely needed in changing these attitudes.
stressed the sacredness of every cell in Jonnie's body, which included
the cells that were no longer needed and must be released to keep
the body healthy and alive. I also stressed the sacredness of all
sensations wherever the sensations existed. We were on a journey
exploring where undiscovered sensations might exist, and we hoped
to find pleasurable physical feelings along the way.
thirty years of being unconscious of his sensations in his anus
and prostate, Jonnie discovered that he not only had physical sensations,
but that they were indeed pleasurable. He was delighted, after such
a long time of living in his body with so few sensations, to find
a treasure hidden in his depths. In order to amplify the sensations,
I suggested that he focus his attention on his breath in addition
to the other physical sensations. As Jonnie drew in a deep breath
on the inhalation, fully inflating his upper lobes of his lungs,
and then relaxing with the exhalation, the intensity of the sensation
began to build. His entire body began to sense a different awareness.
Even though he did not have a name for it, he was becoming aware
of his ability to build his own life force. The deeper he breathed,
the more extensive were his sensations. Jonnie's daily bowel program
of digital stimulation became his meditation time-a time when he
was unfolding the mysteries of becoming more alive.
shower room was about the only place a patient could find any privacy.
Jonnie loved long showers. Even though he couldn't feel from his
nipples down any sensations from touch, he enjoyed my playfulness
as I sprayed water over his skin from head to toe, soaped and scrubbed
his body, and briskly dried him off with a towel. The shower was
the place where he felt safe in breathing more deeply, allowing
his breath to carry a sound. I encouraged him to focus on any and
all sensations. While receiving a shampoo, Jonnie loved having his
head vigorously massaged and scratched. He felt new tingly sensations
in the skin covering his ears, face, neck, and shoulders. Some bath
times were filled with laughter and play, while others were quiet
day in the shower room, I suggested to Jonnie that he move his shoulders
in such a way that his arms could stimulate his chest and nipple
area. At my suggestion, he closed his eyes to decrease the visual
stimulation and to allow more attention for his sense of touch.
He soon entered into a very deep, quiet space as he focused on his
breath, sensations, and love feelings. As I massaged his entire
body with soap and water, I spoke softly to him, telling him how
powerful every breath carrying the energy of love was in awakening
his body. I whispered how relaxed and gentle his face looked, as
he opened his heart to a deeper appreciation of his body, exactly
the way it was in that moment of time. Inhaling and exhaling in
unison with Jonnie's, I focused my attention on activating and intensifying
my heart energy of unconditional love.
the energy streamed out my fingertips, I could feel tingles and
warmth in my arms and hands. His breathing quickened in pace as
I washed his soft penis. When I rinsed his pelvic floor and anal
area with the water nozzle, I noticed rapid eye movement under his
closed eyelids. Jonnie was experiencing something very new and different.
The rapid eye movement lasted for about a minute, then a peaceful
stillness enveloped the whole room.
Jonnie's eyes opened, he immediately asked, "What happened?"
asked him the same question. He recalled that he was drifting in
space, breathing, and melting into a sea of love. He felt connected
to everything in the universe. Suddenly, wavelike pulsations had
streamed down his entire body, down both legs, and out his toes-electrical
impulses vibrating from both his physical and "phantom"
leg. His "energy body," which interpenetrates and surrounds
the physical body, was obviously intact and included both legs.
a broad smile I said, "I believe you just had an orgasm."
unexpected and yet very welcome orgasm opened up all kinds of questions.
First of all, he wanted to know how he could have an orgasm without
an erection or ejaculation. I told him that there are numerous types
of orgasms. An ejaculatory orgasm is just one type. I explained
that he apparently had a type of orgasm called by various writers
an energetic, metasexual, total body, or cosmic orgasm. Whatever
the name, I was sure that he had experienced an orgasm. Love, breath,
and movement had unleashed his orgasmic energy.
wondrous gift of life needed to be kept a secret from everyone.
Sadly, Jonnie did not have any friends to share this momentous event,
and he knew that to tell any of the hospital staff could lead to
repercussions. Jonnie hoped, however, that maybe he could somehow
have another experience similar to this one. That dream would never
after his orgasmic experience, Jonnie learned that he had developed
an untreatable cancer. The outcome was clear; his physical body
would soon stop functioning and death would come. We talked about
the meaning of life and death, how some people experienced those
last few days and hours before the last breath.
night one of the nurses called me at home to inform me that Jonnie
appeared to be in his final hours. I immediately went in to be with
him. When I entered the room, the first thing I noticed was his
big, wide open, terrified eyes. His breathing was labored, like
a person going through a frightening experience. He was conscious
and aware of my presence, but not conversant other than with a yes
or no. I could see and feel how frightened he was, in a room all
told him that I would stay with him and would not leave until he
had finally let go of his body. I gently stroked his head, face,
neck, and shoulders and began softly speaking into his ears. I knew
that the sense of hearing was one of the last to function, so I
kept talking. I talked about his life force not needing this physical
body anymore. The hours ticked by in the darkness and quietness
of the night. His eyes were closed and his breathing became peaceful
and rhythmic. I reassured him that he could let go and merge with
all in the universe, just like he did the day he had his orgasm.
I reminded him of that life-force energy that had streamed through
his bodythat life energy that sometimes has form and sometimes
and I had talked about white light before, visualizing it entering
and flooding his body. Now it was time for him to merge with the
white light in a way he had never done before. I reassured him that
his spirit, his body, his mind, his total being was unconditional
love. I stayed with him throughout the night, supporting his consciousness
in being as comfortable as possible as it separated from the physical
form it had inhabited for over fifty years. His one orgasmic experience
had come to him as what seemed to be a preparation for the biggest
letting go that we as humans get to experience.
breaths became more shallow and fewer in number; a look of deep
relaxation and serenity appeared upon his face. I encouraged him
to invite family members who had passed out of their physical bodies
years before to assist him in his transition and welcome his spirit.
body became totally motionless, quiet, and serene. There was not
another breath, as the soft light of dawn began to penetrate the
black veil of night.
of the night - Women of the Light
1994, 1997 by Secret Garden Publishing
You have permission to print a noncommercial copy for yourself,
but please refer others to this site rather than sending copies.
have permission to quote up to 100 words from this chapter.
Email us for
contact the Nurse
order the book)
Garden Publishing - Kenneth
Of the Light
by Kenneth Ray Stubbs, Editor
It just happened to be Halloween night, 1976. As I walked up the stairs
to the artists loft of a stately San Francisco Victorian in
the outlandishly gay Castro district, it was unusually quiet. Outside,
Halloween in the Castro, an annually spontaneous local version of
a sexual Mardi Gras, had not yet begun. Inside, I was about to meet
had written, self-published, and self-distributed Liberating Masturbation:
A Meditation on Selflove, a small book dedicated to women. Being outrageous
and a fine artist, she had included fifteen of her drawings presenting
various shapes, colors, and sizes of female genitalia, or cunts, as
she preferred to call them. The book had quickly become an underground
bestseller, eventually selling over 150,000 copies before becoming
the mainstream hardcover Sex for One of today.
those early days of womens liberation and the feminist movement,
Betty was storming the barricades with her book in one hand and a
vibrator in the other. Her messages were revolutionary: cunts are
beautiful, and women cannot be truly liberated until they take responsibility
for their own orgasms.
Bettys book was by a woman, about women, for women. But it was
also a book for me, a man who enjoyed being with women. Liberating
Masturbation was teaching me about variations among women, about a
wide range of sexual possibilities. Moreover, in contrast to a fairly
common theme of the times, Bettys book did not point a finger
of blame at the male gender. Subtly, her words and art invited me
also to open up, to grow. Betty celebrated sex and orgasm and sensuality
and pleasure and exploration, and I wanted to learn more.
my late twenties, after teaching music in a Virgin Islands junior
high school and sociology in an upstate New York college, I had moved
to San Francisco to study Jungian psychology and massage. San Francisco
was alive with evolving ideas, avant views on sex, and new experiences
integrating the spiritual East and the scientific West.
Attending massage school was to become one of the important decisions
in my life. Touch, presence, and connection began to bring me back
to my body after spending so many years in my head in academia. Massage
became my medium to relaxation, to meditation, to forgotten pleasures.
is intimate, no matter how therapeutic the technique names may sound,
no matter how many sheets drape a clients supposed modesty.
In a really good massage, it would be quite possible for either the
giver or receiver to experience a variety of basic human feelings,
including sexual ones. Yet, in the massage profession, down
there is regarded as the caste of untouchables. The psychological
denial of sexuality and genitals might be far more obvious were it
not for the pervasive sexual repression/suppression/oppression throughout
our Judeo-Christian cultures.
or later, doing professional massage, one has to come to terms with
sexual energy or burn out and quit the profession. Most just dig their
sexual repression trenches deeper. A few quietly choose to include
genital massage when they feel it is appropriate. A few feel sexual
massage is not for them personally to give but compassionately support
the client in finding alternatives.
Eventually, rather than denouncing sexuality, I came to terms with
the issue by developing a weekend course in erotic massage for couples:
gentle, flowing touch that accepted and nurtured all parts of the
was my background I explained to Betty in a phone conversation arranged
by a friend who had taken Bettys womens masturbation seminar.
Being a total stranger to Betty, I was surprised when she accepted
my invitation to get together to compare notes on my erotic massage
seminar and her womens seminar, which as a male I could not
attend. As I walked up the San Francisco Victorian stairs and reflected
on her provocative book, I was anticipating meeting an extraordinary
the moment Betty opened the door of the artists loft, I saw
her grounded in her body, both legs planted on the floor. Her voice
was earthy; her manner was frank, forward, and self-assured. Her presence
quickly communicated that her sexuality was not a commodity used simply
to titillate or to manipulate. Nor was her sexuality to be owned by
others. As she had intimated in her writings, sexuality was a path
where she was discovering her potential, her wholeness.
a covered foam pad that served also as a floor bed, we removed our
clothing and began our evening of sexual revolution show-and-tell.
With massage oil, a few vibrators, and a few other accessories, we
demonstrated our genital techniques on each other and ourselves. It
was not to become an evening of what most would term sex; there just
happened not to be any fucking or sucking, but it was very sexual
we were really showing each other was far more than technique. We
were sharing a knowledge of a way of being, a paradigm where sexuality
resides at the center of the sacred circle. Somewhere deep inside,
both of us had sensed as youths in the 50s that sex does not
equal sin. Yoga, massage, meditation, sex, and orgasm had become our
teachers. We had both been learning lessons from the body: our own,
our friends and lovers, and what we had observed from
our clients and students bodies. That evening we shared
our visions. Near midnight I walked back down the Victorian stairs,
out into the carnival. On the Halloween streets there were men dressed
in long, golden locks, with watermelon-sized red lips, and glitzy,
sequined dresses that even Marilyn would have envied. Through unzipped
leather jackets, women bared their breasts and revved up their motorcycle
engines, the butchest of vibrators. Hairy buns peeked out of purposefully
tattered jeans. All consensual sexual activities and orientations
were out of the closet.
is really a sacred festival time from the Old Religion (a name sometimes
used for a variety of European spiritual traditions predating Christianity).
This festival celebrates the suns transit between the autumnal
equinox (equal day and night) and the winter solstice (the shortest
day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere). Unable to eradicate the
older holy days and nights of often Earth-centered, Goddess-oriented
cultures, the patriarchal Church of Rome had to co-opt the celebration,
modifying and claiming the festival as one of its own. There in the
Castro that Halloween night, probably very few of the participants
considered their earthy festivities a sacred rite. Symbolically, looking
back now, I see that evening as a pilgrimage for me. I had visited
the archetypal temple priestess as a part of my personal spiritual
quest. Having learned from her wisdom in her private chamber, I reentered
the temple grounds where a joyous celebration of our primordial pulse,
our sexuality, was taking place.
were my beginning days on a path where my sexuality was a primary
catalyst in my spiritual quest. The promise of paradise in the Southern
Baptist world of my childhood had become a prison of the soul by my
late teens: dogmatic moralities had procreated only shame and guilt
and rebellion with a cause. Life had to have more meaning than what
I had found in church.
sex and massage I began to find some of that meaning. Then my path
crossed those of Betty Dodson and other women and men who were tasting
forbidden fruits only to discover that not only is the tree of knowledge
available to each individual but that the roots of this tree are firmly
planted in the pelvis. As we gained from within ourselves and from
one another more knowledge of our sexuality and our spirituality,
some of us became somatic teachers, our pedagogy utilizing direct
body contact rather than just talking-head verbalism. Over the centuries
the role of sexual teacher/healer/initiator/catalyst has been more
often served by women than men. However, as I met more contemporary
temple priestesses, I realized that much of what I was doing and teaching
was similar to their sacred sexuality practices. (My path has led
me to teaching erotic massage and sensate therapy, giving a six-hour
sensual pleasuring ceremony, and leading an intensely participatory
seminar on Love/Sex/God.) Through meeting these visionaries of sacred
sexuality and through my experiences in my own teaching and ceremonial
guide roles, I began to realize and appreciate the profound nature
of the temple priest/ess, the archetypal sacred prostitute. My purpose
in editing and publishing this book is to share my understanding of
the women and men dedicated to this service and the role they serve
as the new sacred prostitute in the modern world.
of the Light is primarily a collection of personally written stories
by nine women whom over the past two decades I have come to know intimately,
sometimes as professional colleague, as student, as teacher, as friend,
as lover. Throughout the centuries and across cultures, they might
have been known as sacred prostitute, temple priestess, sexual healer,
sacred whore, Tantrika, or FireWoman. Euphemistically, today they
might be called women of the nightin a general sense, they all
exchange sex for money. For me, they are women of the light, not light
in contrast to dark or black or night, but light in contrast to unaware,
unconscious, repression/suppression, and denial.
makes these friends unique in contemporary times is not that they
are compensated for their sexual expression in some way most of us
enter somewhere into the equation of time, attention, affection, security,
and other indirect exchanges for sexual connection, marriage being
the predominant form in our culture. What makes women of the light
unique is that they exchange consciously. Even more important, they
provide a context of compassion and wisdom in the exchange. They are
teachers of the heart. They are visionaries, stepping outside of constrictive,
traditional beliefs about women and men. Their bodies are their temples,
to which they invite others. Their purpose is to support a deeper
discovery of the spiritual flame that burns within us all. Sexual
energy, in a broad sense, is this flame.
Paleolithic and Neolithic times, when God was more likely
to have been female than male, it seems to have been common for women
and men to serve in the temples as spiritual-sexual teachers, healers,
and priest/esses, at least in European and Middle Eastern areas prior
to the rise of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Today women of the
light no longer have a public temple where they can share their sacred
ceremonies openly. There is no lineage down through which the sacred
mysteries can be revealed from high priest/ess to initiate. Legally,
socially, and religiously, the sacred prostitute is out in the cold.
of the Light is written by seekers who have discovered within themselves,
often by trial and error, a sense of the ancient teachings where spirituality
fully embraces sexuality, where the heart nurtures the senses. Without
the temple, without an unbroken lineage, these women have been pioneers
in a reemergence of these ancient teachings and now are becoming the
elders, the holders of the wisdom, as most enter their fifties, sixties,
and even their seventies.
women have enriched my life, and I wanted others to know them at least
through the printed word. For this book I asked each to write down
in her own words a short version of her sexual and spiritual background,
experiences, and insights. In most cases, the autobiographical stories
remain as originally written with minimal editing. So the reader might
have an even broader sense of these unique teachers, I introduce each
with some of our personally shared experiences and my vision of some
of her contributions. While each chapter title (The Porn Star, The
Sex Surrogate, The Group-Sex Hostess, The Call Girl, etc.) represents
a possible contemporary occupational title, none of these individuals
can be reduced to a simplified caption. These pathfinders represent
both what we have been and what we can become, sexually and spiritually.
Each has risked and stepped outside the common culture and found a
more meaningful path that others might also explore. Touch, the body,
the sensual, the sexual, the spiritualthese are the common themes
throughout all the chapters, for these temple priestesses are embodiments
of profound teachings. Beyond these themes, the stories present a
wide spectrum of human sexual experiences. Their sexual lives are
far from the ordinary. To the extent that we have repressed our sexual
feelings and expressions, we may find reading about these lifestyles
to be challenging, possibly deeply confronting.
hope is that these personal accounts will open doors of understanding.
These women of the light have chosen a different path than most and
have discovered a wisdom available to us all. Their lives, if we are
willing, can shed light on our own.
of the Light
© 1994, 1997 by Secret Garden Publishing
You have permission to print a noncommercial copy for yourself,
but please refer others to this site rather than sending copies.
You have permission to quote up to 100 words from this chapter.
us for other permission.
order the book)