Episode 19: Passion Tips From A Priest Of Love with Phil Brucato
Passion Tips From A Priest Of Love with Phil Brucato author of "Rites of Pleasure" and "Cult of Ecstasy." Workshop teacher of sacred sexuality, sexual techniques, creating relationships creatively. Tantra Priest of Love.
Announcer: This program is intended for mature audiences only.
Francesca Gentille: Welcome to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra, bringing you the soul of sex. I’m your host Francesca Gentille and with me today is Phil Brucato.
[excerpts of Phil Brucato’s interview responses]
“It’s courage to really look in another person’s eyes and to really have them look back into yours.”
“Exquisite is the perfect word. It is exquisite. You slooow it down. You can feel sooo much more.”
“Be unafraid to look. Be unafraid to sample.”
“Sex with presence is when you’re looking into one another’s eyes as I call it, touching beneath the skin.”
Francesca Gentille: Phil Brucato, Author, editor, contributor to books such as “Rites of Pleasure”, “Cult of Ecstasy”. He writes for “newWitch Magazine” on pop pagan culture. He’s been studying Tantra and Sacred Sex since the late 1980s… teaching workshops on sacred sexuality, polyamory and sexual techniques. Not all at the same times, necessarily [laughs]. He considers himself a satyr tantra priest of love and is a bodywork practitioner. Phil, welcome.
Phil Brucato: Thank you.
Francesca: One of the things that I am intrigued by is that satyr tantra priest of love. What does it mean for a man to be a priest of love?
Phil: Well it means that I approach sex and sensuality and relationships whether or not there’s any sex involved or not, from a sacred presence standpoint. I’m a very passionate and sometimes intense individual but that I recognize and concentrate on a real sense of presence and spirit contact and communion in sex, in dance, in massage in just talking to people … recognizing them and recognizing our bond between us.
Francesca: I am wondering a little bit about this term presence that you’re talking about. Could you give me a description of sex when there’s not presence? Can you give us a picture? And maybe what is sex when there is presence?
Phil: Sex when there’s not presence is the staring at the headboard, staring at the ceiling. Thrust, thrust, thrust, thrust, thrust. Ah! Yeah, oh! Was it good for you too? [slight pause] Please.
Sex with presence is when you’re looking into one another’s eyes when you’re touching when you can actually feel, as I call it, touching beneath the skin. Not just putting your hands on somebody but really feeling an exchange, a connection of energy. When you’re looking at someone and not just staring past their head at the TV behind them but looking into their eyes and really seeing that person on many different levels looking at their “imperfections” as well as their “perfections” and recognizing that it’s all perfection. Feeling an actual communion with that person whether you’re having sex or not and when you’re having sex, feeling that as a sharing moment and a connection moment rather than just [heavy panting] I’m getting tired. [heavy panting] It’s building. [heavy panting] Is she falling sleep? [heavy panting] Ah! Uh. Done. [snort]
Francesca: [laughing] You certainly build a great picture between the sex that is non sacred and a sex that is more connective. My sense it that for many people who might be listening, they wonder how to switch maybe, a relationship or start a relationship into this more connective zone. Because for many of us we may have been doing this kind of more disconnected sex where I’m either trying to prove myself on your body… am I a great lover? Am I? Am I? Am I? Or, I’m just concerned with my own pleasure because I just figure you’re just here to serve me or put up with me or whatever. So how do I switch that if I’m in a current relationship or how do I start it the way that is connective?
Phil: Well the most important part of either one is to look at and feel the person that you’re with and really look at and feel them. We have a tendency, especially in this society, to glance past or glance through people rather than to actually have an intimate contact and I don’t mean intimate in a sexual sense. I mean intimate as in a connection sense because that’s uncomfortable. It’s vulnerable. It can have another person feeling vulnerable.
It’s courage to really look in another person’s eyes and to really have them look back into yours. That, which I think first of all, I think it’s incredibly sexy. And secondly, it’s not an easy jump but once you make that jump and offer the opportunity to look back at and be seen as well as to see, to drop the shields, to open the blast doors and go, OK I’m presenting who I am.
Francesca: I think that “who I am” concept and the courage that that takes… I just love that you said that. Some of the greatest courage that exists is the courage to be vulnerable. If we’re showing up, if I’m not really letting you see me, then even if you tell me that you love me, I need to feel loved by you.
So taking that courage there’s a great win, a great success that can happen. There’s a risk. If I show up you might say, “Ooh! That’s who you are? [laughs] I don’t like you! But the win is that when I show up, if you say you do love me now I really get to feel it. If you say you do desire me then, I really get to feel that in my body. I want to talk more about how you may make that offer to a woman after a break and a word from our sponsors.
Francesca: Welcome back to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra. Bringing you the soul of sex with our special guest, author, editor, contributor to such books as “Rites of Pleasure, Cult of Ecstasy”, Phil Brucato who’s also a satyr tantra priest of love.
And we were just talking about before the break, if a woman is more shut down, more frightened, has her eyes closed, is that disconnected …that men sometimes feel in a partner… What’s one way or several ways to invite her, encourage her in a way that she’ll be able to hear and feel safe, feel supported to open her eyes and be in her body?
Phil: Well, I’m also a dancer and one of the ways in which I invite people to dance especially if I haven’t met them or anything on those lines is to make eye contact and then just reach out a hand in their direction. Not reaching them and grabbing them but extend palm opened and fingers spread with an expression of “would you like to?” And if she reaches back or mirrors me or something along those lines then we have a contact then we have a connection and we can look at one another’s eyes and go from there.
If I’m with somebody who I recognize, I should say when I’m with somebody who I recognize is hitting a rough spot an emotional place, a place with wounding, a place where it’s scary for her… if she wants to close her eyes then she can close her eyes. I’ll reach out sometimes and just very gently touch, establish a contact. You know, is this OK? Watch her…
Francesca: Here she is. She’s closed her eyes. You have a sense that she’s a little frightened. Her breath has become maybe a little bit more tight in some way. Sometimes people will even get a little pale. So you’re noticing this and you’re actually making love in some way. You’re either in intercourse or you’re lying next to each other naked. Where would you touch her on her body that she might feel as reassuring and/or non- threatening or inviting?
Phil: Usually on her hand, on her forearm maybe her hair. This is something that comes out of bodywork too. When you first start out giving a massage. You don’t start out at the most intimate hardcore places. You start at places where people are familiar with, more comfortable with feeling touch, especially places that are further out from their body or further out from their face. Establishing a contact there. Letting the contact sink in and getting a permission. A lot of times I will touch a woman’s forehead, the location of the third eye or the sixth chakra. Maybe with a kiss or just gently with my fingertips to reassure my partner I’m here, contact, feeling you in a place that’s a bit more intimate than the hands once we’ve touched her hand or touched her arm. A place that feels safer than say touching her heart, touching her back, touching her breast, obviously but that establishes a level of an uncommon intimacy.
And then, a lot of times I will always open up myself, my body, open my arms, present myself… look at her head on. It’s that peacemaking open “look at me, I am opening to you”…is that opening welcome as well. It usually is and if it’s not then I let her go with that until she feels more comfortable.
Francesca: By “let her go with that”, do you mean that you stop? How important is it in the dance of love, the dance of intercourse to sometimes stop, sometimes slow down and really be checking into the partner, the beloved in terms of pacing? Sometimes that can be pacing into emotional intimacy or pacing into sexual intimacy. Sex is both and definitely sacred sex is emotionally intimate as well as physically intimate. So how about that slowing down -- that pacing.
Phil: I’m a big advocate for always slowing down. About the only place where I’ll take things quickly is if she’s going [in fast gasps] yes, yes, yes, faster, yes! Up until that point, I’m a big believer in taking things really, really slow. And that’s with slowing down touch, slowing down breathing. That’s a big way also of establishing and keeping a bond. Especially when my partner is feeling challenged, vulnerable, hurt is to slow my breathing down to her level or pick it up a little bit to match her level and then slow mine down and slow hers down with me. That also comes out of bodywork.
When you’re both breathing in time with one another [deep inhaling breath] it’s a huge connection. It’s also if you’re slowing your breathing down and slowing your partner’s breathing down then you’re oxygenating more, you’re taking in more air and [slowly] you’re slowing yourself down. It is so easy especially in sex especially with the excitement and that [emphatically] passionate crackle. Yes! To get going and faster and faster and faster…to totally lose track of yourself, lose track of the other person to figuratively derail yourselves in the process. When I feel myself speeding up [deep breath] [slowly] slow down. Whether it’s slowing down the breathing, slowing down the touch, slowing down the thrusts. It draws it out. It allows you both to savor it and it just has things take longer, which is almost always a good thing…
Francesca: …I know for myself that when my beloved goes slower that often especially in the first 20 minutes, half an hour that a slower stroke is very exquisite. I can feel his penis in each part of my vulva where if he were going really, really fast, I wouldn’t have that deliciously exquisite sensation. So, I know what that’s like for me. What’s that like for a man when he goes slowly? Is it also more sensation? Or is it easier to lose an erection? What’s that like?
Phil: Oh no. Actually, it’s pretty much the opposite from losing an erection. I actually find that exquisite is the perfect word. [slowly, drawing out words in a whisper] It is exquisite. You slow it down. You can feel so much more. Feel it so much deeper.
And you savor that sensation the same way that you would savor [deep breath] [speaking slowly just above whisper] the taste or scent or feeling of something you really want to enjoy. And the more you slow it down and the more you enjoy it, the more you feel, the more deeply you feel it.
And yeah that just keeps me going for hours. If I was just thrust, thrust, thrust, I actually find out … and this is something that I’m trying to work on because this is something where I’m not 100 percent in where I’d like to be [chuckle]. When I go faster and harder, I actually start to lose my erection where if I’m going slower and drawing it out. That just makes me harder. That just keeps me more and more focused. I’m not bragging… I can go along time that way whereas if I was just [heavy repetitive panting] I’m losing my contact. I’m losing my connection and I’m losing other things too.
Francesca: [laughs] Let’s talk more about how we savor sexuality. I think that’s a huge part of sacred sexuality is that savoring the deepening into the senses, after we come back from our break and a word from our sponsors.
[music] [radio break]
Francesca: Welcome back to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra. With our special guest, Phil Brucato, body worker, author, sexualist, satyr tantra priest of love, who’s giving our men in particular some key tips but I hope women are listening up as well. Because some of these are very much, like slowing down, either men or women can invite the beloved into “Ooh can we go slower? Ooh that helps me feel even more.” And when we invite our partner to help us into greater states of pleasure, most of the time our partner is going to say, “Yes”. “Would you be willing to help me into greater states of pleasure?” “Yes.” The answer’s going to be yes. Deepening into those greater states of pleasure, what is something else we can do to savor it, deepen that?
Phil: As you just said a moment ago, I am a very sensual person. It took me a while to be able to know what to do with that or how to do that. I’ve always been a very sensitive person, a fairly intense person. When I was a kid, I had no idea what to do with that. Our society does not cultivate sensuality. In fact, it’s kind of the other way around. We slap on the shoes and we put on the layers of clothes. We do so many things to distance and isolate ourselves from our senses and from our world around us that we live in a perpetual state of distraction.
I did that. I was living in Hawaii. I mean Hawaii for God’s sake and I was as a child wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks, shoes everywhere I went because I didn’t know how to handle the sensation. When I got older and I cultivated sensation and I began to learn about how to enjoy that, I began to revel in sensation. I’m very much that way now. I very rarely wear shoes. I like wearing either really loose or really tight clothing. I love dancing. I’m very physical and that’s where that deepening comes from to appreciate sensation rather than to just kind of walk through it.
Francesca: So what I’m hearing what you’re saying is, we can support our sensual life which can translate into our sex life just by doing things like dancing or wearing clothes that feel good on our body. What are some other tips that would help most of us who are in our heads most of the time [laugh] by the computer or on the phone… help us get back into our bodies and really awaken those senses?
Phil: When I’m teaching classes I talk about the sensory awareness. Steps to sensory awareness. First of all I do not believe there are the five senses and some [sarcastic whisper] mysterious sixth sense of you know the ESP.
First of all I believe that we all intrinsically have at least six senses going regularly. I call the sixth one, energy awareness. Because that’s the place of hunches, the place of intuition, the place where you can feel someone’s energy right around their skin without actually touching them.
In any case, when I’m teaching workshops, I invite people to first close their eyes and then take them through those senses and say lead them into first feeling the weight of themselves on whatever they’re sitting on, feeling the fabric of their clothing and then smelling the air as they breathe in. What do you smell? How do you process that? What does it seem like? What does that bring up? Then taste, starting from the taste that’s in their mouth, maybe the taste of the meal that they had. The taste of the air… That sort of thing and then into hearing. What do they hear? OK now listen a little bit more. I shut up for a moment and let the various different layers of sound get in. Finally invite them to open their eyes and then say OK what do you see? Now look deeper. See here. See here and start talking about the shadow or the little thing that would normally be overlooked.
I invite them each time to open up a little mental filing cabinet and say OK. This is how this moment here right now smells. This is how this moment sounds. This is how that moment feels. By deepening that awareness of the sensation, I invite them to bring that into everything else and every other moment especially the time that they’re with their lover.
Francesca: So this is something that we can even do with a lover. It would be very fun. Experiment with a lover. Invite the beloved and say, “You know, I want to explore my senses with you. I want to deepen our sensuality. Would you be willing to do that with me? Would you be willing to try that with me?” Then say, “Let’s close our eyes and sniff each other. Let’s close our eyes and listen to the room. Let’s taste what the smells taste like? … because the smells have a taste as well and go between maybe feeling one another’s bodies with eyes open and eyes closed to even talk about the difference. That sounds so delicious and connective to me. Very fun! Have you ever done something like that?
Phil: Oh yeah. I do that pretty regularly.
Francesca: And that reminds me, speaking of your regular activities. In the title of satyr tantra priest of love, I think we’ve covered some of the tantra awakens the senses and that sense of being present with someone definitely being an aspect of love and of tantra when I think of satyr I think of the guy who’s frolicking through the field with the nymphs with the perpetual hard on and maybe not with a lot of connection. How does a satyr be sacred? Can those two things even go together?
Phil: Well the satyrs for one are the sons of Pan. Pan is a god. So by extension, the satyrs are the sons of divinity. And that divinity is most known for passion whether that’s passionate rage. We get panic from the fear of Pan, from the fear of his rage, from the fear of the pipes that he would play to drive people away. It’s also definitely a sense of playfulness, a sense of dexterity, awareness, joy of, … ‘joie de vie’ is a wonderful term. The joy of life. Vitality. These are things that are really important to me. How does a satyr cultivate these things?
Francesca: And cultivate the sacred…
Phil: The sacred … Well one, I revel in the presence of the world and my presence in it. And I know that sounds really pretentious and all of this stuff, but it’s true because I enjoy it. Even when I’m feeling miserable, I enjoy that. I latch on to that. [dramatically] Even though this sucks right now I’m going to revel in the fact that I can feel it.
I think that feeling is sacred. I think that locking away feelings is to diminish ourselves and to remove ourselves from the sacredness of the moment, the miracle in which we live.
Francesca: That’s pretty radical for a guy [laughs]. I just really want to applaud you for saying that feelings are amazing and sacred. When you hear that with satyr then actually feeling leads you to deeper passion?
Phil: Oh yeah. Definitely. And it is what you were saying that it is radical for a guy. It’s scary because men are raised very much to remove ourselves from our feelings because feelings are vulnerable. Men are raised either overtly or covertly with the idea that to be vulnerable is to be prey. Men are very much raised with the idea that you are either a predator or you are prey. You are a leader or you are a follower. Otherwise you’re this radical or weirdo and you’re over in the corner. And so it’s scary for a man to feel because to feel is to admit vulnerability. To put vulnerability out there is to risk. I say yes. It is sacred to risk in life and is that radical? Yeah, it is.
Francesca: So, it’s sacred to feel. There’s a benefit of more passion. What I’m hearing is you celebrate your passion. Being the satyr is celebrating the passion and all the flavors of passion. Then being the tantra priest of love is really bringing that being present with someone, bringing the full senses and bringing a sense of… You talked about wounding several times, being aware of the tender wounding that people carry and holding that conscious as you’re engaging in pleasure with them. Is that close?
Phil: Yes. One of the things that I recognize both with my lovers and with people in general is that a lot of people are not used to operating at this level. One of my sweethearts now said when we were on our first date. She looked at me and she goes, “you’re really intense”. Yeah, I get that a lot. I recognize that most people aren’t either willing or able to go there. I wasn’t born doing this. This is something I’ve cultivated for something thirty-something years.
Francesca: Thank you for saying cultivating for thirty-something years. For people who are listening and they want to know what’s next. I’m enjoying this so much but we’re also running out of time. What’s next for people who are intrigued… who want to be their own satyr tantra priest of love or their own delicious nymph tantra priestess of love. Is the information out there? Where do they go next?
Phil: The information is definitely out there. You can find any number. Just go into any bookstore with a section on relationships and sexuality. There are a number of really good books. My personal favorite is probably Margot Anand’s two books. “The Art of Sexual Ecstasy and is it “The Joy of Sexual…” Of course now I’m totally blanking out on the title but Margot Anand has two books out on that subject. Some of them, especially, “Art of Sexual Ecstasy” are a bit esoteric for most people but it’s the principle of deepening in, how to deepen in to your sensation, I think that’s really important.
I would recommend looking through different sources. Taking them aside and finding out what resonates most with you. The information is definitely out there. I also believe very strongly in looking at some of the no bull shit sources like Dan Savage’s Savage Love column in which he just flat out goes there on any number of taboo topics or the Guide to Getting it On. I’m completely blanking, there’s a very good book, from I believe it’s called “the Edge..” I’m blanking on it at the moment.
In any case look at a bunch of different sources. Be unafraid to look. Be unafraid to sample different sources and resources because we’re very fortunate to live in an age in a society where these things which were esoteric secrets, forbidden secrets, even a decade or three ago, are now right there. Your Barnes & Noble, or your Borders, right there at Amazon. You can google these things and find them.
Read up. Check in. Most importantly though, live. Feel the moment in which you are. Feel your feet on the floor. Taste the breeze. Run your fingers through your hair. Run your fingertips across your own skin. Only by deepening in your own life, can you really appreciate and deepen with someone else.
Francesca: Beautiful words and I want to thank you so much Phil for joining us here today on Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra. If you want to find out more about Phil, his writings, his blogs, you can find that out about Phil about our other shows, get a transcript of the show and other resources. We’ll make sure to have some of these books up and listed and send your questions to this show at www.personallifemedia.com.
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