Have Faith

Sirens of incall/outcall, they beckon from the back pages of weeklies like, well, ours. What healthy, red-blooded heterosexual male with a fresh paycheck in his pocket has not given thought to availing himself of their services? There's Susan, the Asian-American "QT-Pie" who offers "sensual massage"; Monique, who promises to "rub" me "the right way"; and Roxy, who says, "I only look innocent." Sometimes there are photos (who knows how accurate) of playful, dark-eyed vixens; buxom blondes; lusty Latinas; or naughty schoolgirls whose fetching glances assure you of pneumatic bliss.

For a price, of course. In some cases, they charge as much as $100 for a handjob you could get for free in a good bar, and the price rises with the degree of carnal delicacy requested—none of it, we are assured, illegal. But Dr. Corynna Clarke, the Costa Mesa-based proprietor of her own online Goddess Temple at www.goddesstemple.com and herself an amazing babe, denies there's any similarity between the various goddesses offering tantric massage and "male G-spot" massage (otherwise known as prostate massage) on her website and per-hour party girls.

There might be nudity involved in a session with a tantric goddess, but there might not. Clarke makes no guarantees for what will happen if you meet her for an afternoon of goddess worship, and she certainly can't speak for the other female avatars listed. They're independent operators, she asserts, each goddess the ruler of her own ashram, so to speak.

"There's a huge difference between prostitution and what we do," Clarke, 28, says. "We're not offering sexual intercourse, and prostitution is all about getting someone off. What we do is for the purpose of healing and expanding your ability to feel pleasure. It's really more therapeutic than anything you can get from a sensual massage or a prostitute. That's a whole 'nother ball game." So to speak.

I wish I could vouch for Clarke's description of the yawning gap between your run-of-the-mill masseuse offering "full service" and a "goddess" practicing tantric yoga—the latter with its promise of multiple and/or full-bodied orgasms, ejaculatory control, increased blood flow to the penis and general well-being. (Women can also potentially experience enhanced orgasms, ejaculation during orgasm and a higher state of consciousness, according to the doctor.) But goddess worship ain't cheap, running the discriminating devotee anywhere from $350 to $450 for a two-hour session. And though I raised the possibility of a press pass, the doctor didn't seem interested in initiating me into the secrets of the male G-spot for free.

I'm willing to accept on faith Clarke's explanation that the Goddess Temple is all about spirituality and erotic enlightenment —afterall, what's more holy than the Big O? But isn't she a little scared that law-enforcement officials might see it differently? Clarke, who earned her doctorate in spiritual counseling from some place called the Institute of Holistic Studies, says she's completely on the up-and-up.

"I don't do anything illegal, so I don't have any reason to be worried about law enforcement," Clarke says. "Actually, I have a couple of clients who are in law enforcement who were both referred to me through psychologists. The people on the site are trained in this. It's not like just anyone can go out and do this."

Tantric sex is hundreds of years old, stretching back to ancient India. That doesn't make it unusual in the ancient world: the Old Testament is also a pretty horny book. Sex cults operated openly in the Roman Empire, and St. Paul admonished some early Christian groups that orgies were a no-no, despite the feelings of love they might yield. Various psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists, such as Wilhelm Reich and C.G. Jung, perceived a link between spirit and sex. And about every M.D. on the planet will testify under oath to the health benefits of an active sex life. Maybe this tantra stuff is legit.

"When we first start touching ourselves, there's a lot of fear we're going to get caught," Clarke says. "We hold our breath; we don't make any sound; we tighten up our muscles—all because of the fear and the shame that Mom could come in and bust us. We don't really surrender that pleasure, but we try to get off quickly so that it's over. We set up these patterns in our bodies because that's what society tells us sexuality is all about.

"In a tantra session, the practitioner usually gets the person doing very basic things. Tantra is a religious science, so you already have the things you need in the body: our breasts, muscle control and relaxation, making sound, and so on. They're very simple, but when you start using them and working with your sexual energy, you find there's a whole world of pleasure that starts to awaken within you."

Certainly Clarke understands why skeptics will say the Goddess Temple is just a cover for the world's oldest profession? But Clarke won't budge on this point. She seems as committed to tantra instruction as a vegan is to avoiding suede pumps. There's something particularly Californian about her and the other goddesses—like the folks who drink wheat-germ shakes and believe in the healing power of crystals.

"Sexuality is a part of life," she says. "And in our culture, it's either elevated to this Playboy fantasy we're never going to achieve, or we just sweep it under the rug like it's bad. But it's important to integrate this energy with the rest of our lives. No matter what people want to think, we're not prostitutes. We're teachers and therapists."


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