Becoming A Tantrika After 50 with Charla Hathaway author of “Erotic Massage: Sensual Touch for Deep Pleasure”
Sex – Tantra and Kama Sutra
Francesca Gentille

Episode 9 - Becoming A Tantrika After 50 with Charla Hathaway author of “Erotic Massage: Sensual Touch for Deep Pleasure”

Francesca Gentille interviews Charla Hathaway, founding member of The Association for Sexual Energy Professionals, Pleasure Activist, Certified Sexological Body Worker, and eternally youthful, over 50, sex & intimacy coach. In this episode, you'll discover the steps to become a Sacred Lover and Sexual Healer at any age. Unwrap what it takes to orchestrate deeply joyful and erotic encounters.



Becoming A Tantrika After 50 with Charla Hathaway author of "Erotic Massage: Sensual Touch for Deep Pleasure"

Woman:  This program is intended for mature audiences only.


Francesca Gentille: Welcome to Sex: Tanta & Kama Sutra. Bringing you the SOUL of sex. I’m your host Francesca Gentille. Today we have with us Charla Hathaway. Charla is the author of “Erotic Massage: Sensual Touch for Deep Pleasure and Extended Arousal”. She’s a certified sex logical body worker and a trained sex educator.

Charla Hathaway: Oh, you know what Francesca? I think attention is the food of love. The attention that we give one another. That ability to let time stop and to gaze, and to touch and to feel not hurried or rushed. I think that that melts hearts. …….And if you like maybe he doesn’t have to be so busy doing something. Maybe just- none of us has ever gotten a massage that’s been too slow, right?

Francesca Gentille: Great Point! (Laughs). [Jokingly] Honey? Honey, you’re taking too long massaging me. (Laughter) Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s ever said that.

{Intro music continues}

Francesca Gentille: I’m delighted to have you with us today, Charla.

Charla Hathaway: I’m delighted to be part of this sexy program you’ve got going.

Francesca Gentille: One of the things that have always fascinated me about you, Charla, is how absolutely radiant, and delicious and juicy you are. And I know that you’re over fifty. And I think you actually got into this work over fifty

Charla Hathaway: Thank you Francesca. Actually, I’m almost sixty. It has been such a gift for me, in my mid-fifties (really after menopause), to come upon working with sexuality. And finding my own ability to expand. And then teaching that to others, has been a real joy.

Francesca Gentille: Charla, what I’ve heard from many women is that when they hit (sometimes it’s as early as thirty), forty-fifty, they feel that their body’s changing and they’re getting wrinkles, and maybe their breasts aren’t as “perky” as they used to be. That they don’t feel as beautiful. And in many cases, hormonally, they start to feel like they’re losing their sexual desire. What are some of the keys that you know can help keep women juicy and alive with all of this?

Charla Hathaway: I think being gracious with their bodies in that we all do age. Our sexual response time changes, it usually gets a little bit longer. It not only happens for a man in his erections, but a woman in her strength of orgasm or ability to get wet. But I for one do not really take a lot of the hormone type replacement therapy .A few little- I buy a little organic hormones, but just in the last few years. I think having that right attitude, Francesca, about aging. And then finding such an opportunity, we can begin to ask for what we want more and express ourselves. And take the time and help guide our men into loving. All the things before that, maybe, we didn’t have the skills to do.

Francesca Gentille: There’s a poem that says “When I’m an old woman, I’ll wear purple.” ,which implies that when you’re over fifty, you’ll give yourself permission to wear bright colors. But what you’re saying is; the older and more mature and riper that a woman gets, the more she can give herself permission to really ask clearly for exactly what she wants.

Charla Hathaway: Exactly. And Francesca, permission for pleasure. In my main coaching with woman, I find that that’s the biggest sticking point. To show up for pleasure. The word “woman” and “pleasure” together, we’re the gatekeepers and the serious ones and the community builders. On the other hand, to understand we’re that source. That men come to drink from that and come to know of that wisdom. And for us to allow ourselves just to have more fun in life.

Francesca Gentille: What about for the men who might be listening to this? They’re noticing- we’ll come back to men and their bodies in a minute. Maybe they’re noticing that their beloved’s bodies are getting a little more challenging to respond. Maybe their beloved seems a little more tired or a little more moody. And they’re wondering how can they really inspire their woman, how can they help her in this transition in being the young , little blooming bud to this full fragrant flower. How can they help her?

Charla Hathaway: Oh, maturity just has so much, so much opportunity. For a man it’s a good thing he slows down a bit. Because then he has the opportunity to find out more of the feminine in him. That ability not to have to have blinders on just to go down from one direction and one goal. But to meander, like the feminine. To dance around and be spontaneous. To not have anywhere you really have to go. I think those kind of things come with age. The recognition that sex is playful. That there’s not just one right way to do it, but every way is right. To be able to be with a lover and know that the hardness of an erection or how wet somebody is, isn’t really a mark of how much they love and how deeply they care. It’s also an opportunity to come together in a more playful, directionless way.

Francesca Gentille: So for our guys, they can relax Rather than having to be all about performance, production and the goal that when they get in bed with their woman, they can just take a deep breath to relax , have fun , laugh, play-

Charla Hathaway: Yeah. There’s not just one right way to do it. There’s no right ending, no right beginning, no one right position. And it becomes- I think we get more creative. In a way, our bodies let us be more creative. It isn’t such a thrusting, throbbing thing that feels like it’s got to be over right away. It’s kind of a dream-like connection. At least that’s what I really enjoy in my fifties.

Francesca Gentille: Now I’m guessing that some of our male listeners- It all sounds great. Relaxation, creativity, there’s no one right way, taking the pressure off-that sounds really great. And yet, I’m guessing that for men, we woman can feel like a moving target. Finally, here they are in the bedroom. Let’s say they’re at a point where we’re naked or at least we’re in bed together, and what do they do? What do they do? Maybe their beloved is not hot to trot. She’s not ripping off his clothes. And in the past he’s made some mistakes, he started to do something which has been the wrong thing. So she’s pushed his hand away and said “I don’t like that.”, or “Stop that.” How does he get that beautiful intimacy going?

Charla Hathaway: Oh, you know what Francesca? I think attention is the food of love. The attention that we give one another. That ability to let time stop and to gaze, and to touch and to feel not hurried or rushed. I think that that melts hearts. And I think it teaches them to depress and slow up to that attention. That probably just the right idea is going to pop right into his head.

Francesca Gentille: So if he’s paying attention, if he’s looking into her eyes and slowing down and giving her- .Like we all want to be seen. We all want attention. In that relaxation, in that attention he’ll have that intuitive thought. That will be an effective thought.

Charla Hathaway: Yeah, I think men are real programmed to be doers and active male principals. So if they can take a break from that and understand how it is just to be with that person. To be in uncertainty, in the moment and let vulnerability be there. Sometimes we don’t quite know how to progress. And allow that other aspect that we all have that slowing down aspect- And if you like maybe he doesn’t have to be so busy doing something. Maybe just- none of us has ever gotten a massage that’s been too slow, right?

Francesca Gentille: Great Point! (Laughs). [Jokingly] Honey? Honey, you’re taking too long massaging me. (Laughter) Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s ever said that.

Charla Hathaway: And so I think men, they’ve taken so much responsibility. It’s on their shoulders to do us. And they got to produce our orgasm. And they’re in charge. And to blame them if something doesn’t go right. My goodness that much rob a lot of pleasure from them. If they can relax somewhere and say, “You know, I don’t give anybody an orgasm.” knowing that there isn’t any map. You’re either getting there or you’re not there.

Francesca Gentille: So that attention not only on the other person, but that awareness and attention on one’s own body experience. I’m excited to talk with you and my stomach is a little bit, it almost tight in a way. But. I’m noticing it. And there’s a little bit of a flutter in my heart. When you say attention, to kind of know what’s going on in your own body.

Charla Hathaway: And knowing that touching another person is for your pleasure, not theirs. If you feel yourself up with all this pleasure, it will spill out over to the other person. And if you’re trying to touch them in how you think they want to be touched, then you’re performing. And you’ve just missed the soul of it.

Francesca Gentille: That’s such a great image, Charla. I love that. So as one person is filling up with pleasure, the other one is pulled into that. If we watch someone caress, lovingly caress, their own body, or start to sensually caress their own chest or breast or genitals, it’s very arousing to just enjoy someone enjoy themselves.

Charla Hathaway: Yes. And self-pleasuring for your lover is a great way to let them know how you like to be touched and for them to get to witness you as an erotic being. And for us to get the idea that touch is really for our own pleasure. If we just feel our own feelings, we give the other person the ability to just expand and feel their own feelings. Without having to feel like they have to show us that we’re doing o.k. You know, without performing back. That performance can get in our way. Get up there in the head and get in our way.

Francesca Gentille: I would love to talk more about how we deepen into our own senses and erotic senses, how to get great sex and not have to pay for it, one of the classes that you teach and does God have- I’m looking at her list of classes and they’re so delicious- after we take this break and have a word from our sponsor.

(Commercial break)

Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to Sex: Tanta & Kama Sutra. Bringing you the SOUL of sex. With today’s guest, Charla Hathaway, self-proclaimed diva who sings Broadway tunes at her piano, while being a sex and intimacy coach. That’s an interesting picture. (Laughter) Do you ever play for the people who come to visit you?

Charla Hathaway: No, no. I don’t. But they play as if the body is an instrument.

Francesca Gentille: Also, wonderful way to think about that is that, each person is their own instrument. And that we get to learn a new instrument, each time we engage with a new body.

Charla Hathaway: Yes, we do. And playing together is a lot of fun. (Laughter)

Francesca Gentille: Getting back to that “How to Have Great Sex and Not Have to Pay for it” for a man, which is one of your classes. Do you have a key tip that a man who’s listening could take with him today?

Charla Hathaway: This is a wonderful class. I love the men that come to these classes because they’re so willing to learn. They know that good lovers are made not born. And to be in a class with other men. So they get a real chance for hands-on touch on a woman anatomy lesson. And a reminder of how they need to go into their breath and into their own experience, and touch for their own joy. And therefore, that lets everyone else off the hook to have to give them an orgasm, or have to get wet or whatever. That everyone can just settle down into the enjoyment of it.

Francesca Gentille: I don’t want to leave our beautiful soul sisters out (our women). Is there one tip that you would give women to enjoy their own pleasure? Or also maybe to encourage that delicious lover to come forward in their man?

Charla Hathaway: Yes. Do it for you. Do it for you. Have fun. Claim your pleasure. It’s probably your truest intelligent and your deepest wisdom. Allow yourself that time. Give it to yourself. And the permission to take pleasure. Then don’t do anything you don’t want, EVER. You’re tasting and touching “Oooh, how does that feel against my tongue? Or my fingertips? Or what if I put the whole smooth part of my arm across the chest? Maybe try to pinch the nipple. “ . Because somebody else has to take care of their own boundaries. If they’re either neutral or feeling good, they need to take care of that. And that allows us the opportunity to play on this scrumptious feel to the body.

Francesca Gentille: And what if a woman has literally lost her senses? She may be in her mind, but she’s lost her senses. Whenever she thinks of sex it just sounds like a burden. She can’t figure out what she might want. If someone we’re to say “It’s all about you, honey?” she might say, “Well, I have no idea.” How would you help her?

Charla Hathaway: I would tell her just to start writing down a list of what- Because it’s true. It’s hard to tell someone else what you want when you don’t know yourself. We’re such a shamed culture, we’re all shamed by our desires, or they’ve been used against us. So why would we want to expose ourselves? She just has to know that that’s what’s been working against her. And the anger and abuse, you’ve got to know that doesn’t bring you one ounce of joy. So you’ve got to really come to your lover, letting all the disappointments of the past fall away.  And just take that moment and the joy of that and decide this is a gift you’re giving yourself. The sensual nerves are waking up organs that might even be sleepy or numbed out of shame and exclusion. The map that I have felt in my own body in the last five years coming into this work, is ten times what I had feeling, even in my forties. I know the body can be awakened. You just have to go ahead and make that what you want your life to be about. Or part of it at least.

Francesca Gentille: I love that you said that. That a body can be awakened no matter how cold. No matter how stiff our bodies can be. That we give ourselves permission. We take the time, if we have to, to just sit there five to ten minutes, in the bed, just breathing and figuring out what’s the first thing that you might want. Whether it’s a caress on your left thigh. To just really get that.

Charla Hathaway: I mean, I can tell from my own self touch, that the map that I can feel on my G Spot is ten times. Now how did it get ten times? I think, lovingly, the men I’m with- often times I just have a massage. That is not prepping for intercourse. It’s simply just an honoring of the source, of the well of life. And I know that, so there’s a safety and a trust around it, and gradually you let those issues that are in the tissues fall away. And you can resensitize yourself and be pleasured. Ecstatic pleasure. And it’s not that hard.

Francesca Gentille: I love to hear that it’s not that hard. Because I know that there are days when it can feel hard. On one side of it, it can feel challenging. If you’re sort of lost or confused in this. But to know that once you start, little by little it becomes more and more easy. How about you, Charla? I mean, here you were, a high school English teacher. You were a mother with a child. How did you come to this kind of awakening?

Charla Hathaway: Well, it’s funny. I was just visiting San Francisco and saw a brochure for The Body Electric School, and thought “Body Electric? What a cool name! “.Then I ended up taking a workshop, and changing totally the way I look at my body. And embodiment. And really treasured my morning routine with myself.

My teacher was just so shameless and joyous, the way she was showing us her parts and how they work. I thought, “You know, I want her to job.” And it’s taken me a few years. But you know, I didn’t want to work full-time in my mid fifties. And I wanted to learn, so I thought “Well, why not work on something you actually want to know how to do better? “.
And it’s a fascinating field. And people are so ready to let go of the guilt and shame that has numbed them, and to open up to something that has much more promise, and joy and pleasure.

Francesca Gentille: Is there something to becoming a Tanta educator, a sex logical body worker, to have your life work be about pleasure and joy in the body? Is there something only for women? Or is there something that men can be trained in and become, too?

Charla Hathaway: Well, I wonder. I think mainly women are of most of the teachers I know of .I do know of a few men. But being a pleasure activist is just one of the best jobs ever. But I do recommend, men or women get that certification. Like being a sex logical body worker who’s actually a certified- I’m certified in the state of California to touch for erotic potential and enhancement and for someone to learn more about their body. To be able to be an erotic trainer. I’ve been to Texas. I took a week; I just haven’t gotten those certifications here yet. I’m a little bit behind. But going and following, getting some education and credentials makes the job much more meaningful.

Francesca Gentille: So, there’s an actual certification program now that people can get. The real-

Charla Hathaway: Yes. It’s only three years old. So it’s fairly new, and it’s through the Institute of Advanced Study of The Human Body in San Francisco. Joseph Kramer is kind of the genius behind it. He’s started the Body Electric School twenty or so years ago, and now actually has gotten California to certify erotic body worker; and it’s a wonderful training. So that we can help other people get back a very, beautiful part of themselves. And we can do it legally.

Francesca Gentille: It’s so necessary. I mean, I really hear the beauty of who you are. It’s a pleasure to hear an activist in this. Especially considering, I think it’s somewhere between 30-40% percent of woman, have been sexually abused or molested by the time they’re eighteen. And somewhere between 16-20% of men. As you’ve said, the issues are in the tissues. We’re carrying this in our bodies. And sex logical body work allows these deep issues to be healed, yes?

Charla Hathaway: Yes, and it’s a really clean, precise format. For instance, a sexual logical body worker is clothed. And the touching is in one direction only. From the teacher to the body worker to the client. So it doesn’t get messy with all this mutual thing, or the “Oh, I’m looking for love.” When mutual touch is taught, I ask my client to bring in their partner, or a partner. And so I’m literally a teacher. Teaching them how the Body Electric or Body Erotic Ecstatic works. And it’s simple, and it’s easy and it’s fun to learn. After a few sessions they are a much different person.

Francesca Gentille: Charla, this is so wonderful. This is opening up a whole new window of opportunity for people to both become trainer healers and to receive healing. And I want to talk a little bit more about what it is to be a pleasure activist in the world, after we come back from a word from our sponsor.

(Commercial break)

Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to Sex: Tanta & Kama Sutra. Bringing you the SOUL of sex. With our beautiful and delicious guest Charla, author of “Erotic Massage: Sensual Touch for Deep Pleasure and Extended Arousal”, who is a pleasure activist .Charla, would you give us some tips, some guidance on what it is to be a pleasure activist in this often sex-negative , body-negative, emotion-negative culture. How would we take that on in our lives?

Charla Hathaway: Yes, you’re right. It’s a little bit of trickery and magic. Go ahead and just take that part deep inside you, in your core. That juicy, divine, sensual, innate natural part of us, and say “You know what? I trust it, I believe in it and I’m just going to give it away. I’m just going to give it out to people me see, through my eyes, through my smile. Because I trust the more I give it away, the more I’ll have.” And that’s kind of like flirting somehow with the world. Just knowing that you’re in charge of your body and own turn-ons and you’re not going to wait for someone else to do it to you. You’re going to give it all.

Francesca Gentille: I love that. That “give it away”, that kind of a karmic principal that what we give will come back to us, and to trust in that. I think sometimes it takes some compassion for ourselves. Maybe even some grieving and mourning for those times that we felt depleted, haven’t had anything to give away. Or have given too much away. And after we’re deep into compassion for ourselves and for others, then we start to get fulfilled. And we can move into that Tanta Flirting and Dating. Both you and I teach the Tanta Flirting and Dating.

Charla Hathaway: I just love Francesca, what you said one time, it really stuck with me that flirting is attention without intention or with coercion in that getting a phone number. It’s just simply yes. That attention you give out. It’s not excluded to an older or person of the same sex. It doesn’t even have to be someone that you think you are just interested in. Practice on anyone and just see how that gift you give lights up the world. And being ecstatic from that. And knowing that it comes from inside you. And that well doesn’t have to be deplenished from giving it out. It actually makes it richer.

Francesca Gentille: And is there anything that you would recommend that would be next step maybe. What would you recommend for someone on the path? Maybe they’re really mature, over thirty-over forty-over fifty, and now they want to open up to their full sensual, sacred pleasure or help someone out. You mentioned Body Electric as one step. You mentioned the Sexual Logical Bodywork.

Charla Hathaway: This class is like what I give or what you give. You can start to take a look “Now what’s available out there?” And begging to wonder “Now what would the next step be?” For instance, I give cuddle parties. And well, I call it “cuddle with a stranger”. And I teach people the first part of the event is simply “How do you say ‘yes’? And really mean it?” and saying “yes” when you mean “yes”. And saying “no” and still be in integrity in a relationship with your partner. So learning to say “yes” and “no” when you really mean it. Gives you, oh the comfort and strength of a boundary that’s clear. You realize you can put yourself out there, in a world with much more opportunity for interaction. Because you trust your boundaries. And you trust your ability to say “No, I don’t think so.” Or “No, that’s not the way I’m feeling.” Or “It’s time for me to go now.” Or “yes, I would like to explore that.” Or “Yes, please touch me here.” And so a strong “yes” and “no”, as simple as that sounds is such a good confidence baseline to work from.

Francesca Gentille: There’s also a saying “Until we learn our “no’s”, we can’t really count our “yes’s. “. And that the “no” is a container for the actual juice and energy of the “yes”.

Charla Hathaway: And I realize too Francesa, on the other side of that coin, I haven’t said “yes” sometimes when I wanted to. You know someone will give a phenomenal little scene of what they would like to do or go, or be with me, and my natured reaction is “Oh that sounds like fun, but gosh, I probably don’t have time.” Or maybe then I’ll be too serious “I better say no”. And to say actually “yes”, that child that’s within us is serious about life to discover and still have that adultness behind them. But taking care of themselves, too. Isn’t that neat?

Why did I have to wait until my fifties to learn all this great stuff? (Laughter) That’s why this waiting will show off, so somebody can get a few tips before that.

Francesca Gentille: And whatever age we are when we learn it, it’s still such a gift. Because if we learn it today, then today we can start to enjoy it and tomorrow we can deepen into it even farther. I want to thank you so much for being that initiator, that gift-

Charla Hathaway: Oh, my sixties are going to be even better than my fifties. (Laughter) And watch out for the seventies and eighties because I’m in here for the long run. You know your skin is the only organ that continues to get more sensitive and more transparent as you age. You do not lose this sense of touch, it becomes more acute.

Francesca Gentille: Hmm!

Charla Hathaway: Cool huh? Look what you’ve got to look forward to.

Francesca Gentille: Yes, that’s something delicious to look forward to. I look forward to learning more from you and hearing more about you. And you can find out more about Charla at . Thank you so much, Charla, for sharing your wisdom and beauty with us today.

Charla Hathaway: Thank you for being a sister, pleasure activist with me Francesca. (Laughter)

Francesca Gentille: You’re welcome. And for those of you who are listening and want more of Charla or of all of this, you can get transcripts from this show, or of Charla’s link or blog at with two L’s in the middle.

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