What is a “bold” workshop? (2019)

This post is a bit different but I think it carries an important message. A few weeks ago when teaching at the Ängsbacka Tantra Festival, I was asked to make a bold workshop. Bold as in challenging. I decided to offer my favorite open structures, the “Art of Submission” that I first learnt from Felix Ruckert during the Schwelle7 times. A open structure aims to allow the participants to express themselves as freely as possible with in clear set of rules. Art of Submission aims to explore domination/submission, and voyeurism/exhibitionism, by slowing down, making space to feel, and make conscious decisions.

For me a bold workshop is a workshop to be brave in. I wrote about this previously here. And it is also making a workshop that is aimed for the more experienced participants to find their edge, or their bravery in other words. That also means that others will be triggered as hell and that it is super important to provide an exit strategy instead of forcing people into a situation that is too much for them. And as a bonus providing an learning experience from simply watching.

Fay was one of the participants at the Art of Submission whom got triggered and she was generous enough to share her story, and what for her made the difference between a good and a bad experience. And I think it puts the finger on what for me is a good bold workshop.

This is her story.

“I was at the Tantra Festival at wonderful Ängsbacka and there I attended the workshop of Andy called ‘the art of submission’. I did not have any conscious experience with this topic at all, but the night before the workshop I was with a man in a tent and in some quick but smooth movement he had me in this position where I was suddenly with my hands on my back tight in his grip. And let’s just say I… got… fucking turned on by this. So the next day the title of Andy’s workshop had me in the same grip, and so I went.

I arrived in the workshop space in a hurry, bumped my toe to the threshold, dropped my bag on the floor and sat down quietly but overwhelmed with my entrance. Andy greeted me with a gentle ‘Hey’ and a soothing face so I felt I could let it go and calm down. I noticed that there were a LOT of other people in the grip of the title of this workshop as well.

Once everybody was inside, the workshop began. The first part was nice. We were walking alongside each other very slowly, getting used to the group and learning how to meet and leave each other as your interest comes and goes. Finding the tension in the presence of each other. I had some very sexy encounters just standing in front of people. Then the workshop began for real.

Everybody was sitting on the sides of the area against the walls, in the middle you could go up and walk around to show you were willing to partake. Some brave people immediately went up there. In the middle, you could walk around to meet another person. If people caught each other with eye contact they could walk to stand facing each other and feel the contact. If it felt right, one of them could go on their knees to basically give themselves to the other person. The other one could accept by laying a hand on their head. And yes there was a safeword if things got out of hand.

Sounds sexy but I suffer from social anxiety so I was immediately turned off by how there was a crowd surrounding and watching ‘the scene’. I knew I was not going to partake but I was still intrigued by the scene and wanted to know what was going to happen. I also felt almost sexually hypnotized so I had to stay just for a bit longer. More and more people got up to walk around. Couples were made and hit it off, quit soon.. like no foreplay.. just… yes. A guy was crawling like a dog behind a tall large breasted dominant Scandinavian woman with the end of her long dress in his mouth. A pretty little naked girl with puppy eyes was dominated by another fierce and exotic girl. It was very sexy, she really knew how to handle those puppy eyes.

Maybe it’s because I have never been into porn and so I am easy to shock, but everything I saw was just a complete ‘wow’ to me. I was observing for a while, excited but not completely turned on.. still a bit confused with my own presence alongside this whole thing. I also felt unease in the thought that I stood out a bit with my sexy outfit (if I might say so myself). Even sitting on the side, I saw other men that were also on the side looking at me. In my mind, they were waiting for me to step in. I was tempted, am I going in? ..Yes! NO! maybe… Nonono.

Suddenly a tall man came and stand before me. I had a moment with this man earlier. No words, just sexual tension. He just came and stood right in front of me. He was inside the area, I was outside. He had a girl placed before him with her head covered by his shirt. He was holding her face in position with his hands on her eyes so she couldn’t see thru the shirt. He looked me straight in the eyes with an intense look on his face and gave a single but deep nod with his head offering me the girl, I think.

I was a bit startled and also felt compassion for the girl, she gave herself to him and now he is using her to get to me! Or maybe he wanted us to enjoy her together, I don’t know, anyway. He had an old western look on his face like killing was no biggie, holding the cattle he wanted to trade for a night in the hay with me, undressing me with his blood seen eyes, his look felt like a whip on my back already – I have an uncontrollable fantasy.. this was probably just a sweet guy.

I moved forward a bit, pressured by the situation but also kind of curious, maybe.. okay yes. I leaned over and put my hands on her legs still looking in his eyes. Then suddenly I felt a hand pulling my shoulder back. Holy shit, holy shit. It was Andy, of course, pointing out that I had to go up and walk in the middle to partake.

Yes, okay thank you, Andy, but I am super fucking triggered now! Right in this tensioned dilemma ‘to or to not sexually partake in this live western porn’ with my shamed shakti. So I set back with a lot of feelings going on. Andy who had sat next to me almost the whole time went and sat on the other side of the room. This honestly fed the triggered feeling that I did something very wrong. I tried to just sit with the feeling.

For a short time, I was watching another girl getting penetrated by the fingers of another man. Like.. deep and hard with a lot of sounds and a lot of fluid on the ground and from my place, the view was right in her precious flower. I thought at this point that the rules were no genital penetration (I found out later that it was just no genital on genital penetration) but in my misunderstanding combined with being fucking triggered, I felt very unsafe with Andy and the whole place so I left.

Later my friends told me about the wonderful experience with Andy at a rope bondage workshop, so they advised me to clear with Andy. In my head, Andy had become an unsafe place so I for sure was not going to do that. The next day I spoke with somebody that was also at the submission workshop and she told me about the rule of just no genital on genital penetration. Well alright, but I am still not going to clear with the guy!

That night I went to the Dakini temple (sexy bold place) and I was again watching from the side cause I came in late. I saw Andy in front of me. He had a woman bound in his ropes and I watched him do his art so gentle.. and so safe and incredibly sexy. I was sitting quite close to him, just watching for a while and I noticed that I wasn’t so scared of him anymore. If anything I would wish to be the woman in that tight ropes. But still, I did not dare to go to him afterwards.

Last day of the festival, in the last moments, I went to the teahouse to get some golden milk. Guess who was in front of me in line, Andy. So I asked him, is it okay if I clear something with you? He said yes of course! So we sat down and talked about it. He was very open and had such a nice vibe to him. He thanked me for having the courage to clear with him. I appreciate this unexpected last-minute clearing a lot, I can remember his sweet energy now instead of the unsafe feeling that would have stuck if I didn’t clear with him. The whole thing became a meaningful experience. I hope someday I will attend to his rope bondage workshop, that would be more my kind of thing for sure.”