‘We’d all be a lot nicer if we were a little more orgasmic.’
This was the opening line to the recently aired docuseries, Sex Actually, produced by Louis Theroux and presented by Alice Levine.
I had just finished a gruelling shift when I tucked myself into bed and flicked on the TV.
I scrolled mindlessly through the channels, slowly deciding which programme I felt was worthy of my time. At first, I was reluctant to click onto the channel, for fear I was about to enter a traumatising land of S&M which would etch sordid images into the depths of my mind for life. Nevertheless, I was intrigued.
They say curiosity killed the cat, but in this instance, it simply killed my libido. For those of you who missed it, Sex Actually is an ongoing documentary exploring all things sex, fantasy, and liberation. Levine is the perfect frontwoman for the docuseries, and whilst visibly uncomfortable with some of what she observed, she somehow remained open-minded and non-judgemental of the unique practices that she is confronted with throughout the show.
I’d tuned into the third episode, which explored the world of tantric massages and, dare I say it, spirituality. Now, I consider myself a spiritual person to some extent – think positive affirmations, yoga, and crystals – but this concept was taken to a deeper, more intimate level.
What is a tantric massage, you may ask? Well, from what I gathered, it can range from a sensory experience whereby tickly feathers and weightless sheets of soft cloth are brushed across the skin, aiming to relax both body and mind, to the act of one specially trained ‘sexologist’ delving deep into the orifices of a client. Wait, before you click off this article, let me explain.
Throughout the episode there was a continual emphasis on the sensual, not sexual, nature of these practices. They are designed to help clients who feel imbalanced become more grounded, and for some, they also fuel the embers of empowerment – particularly for survivors of sexual assault and rape.
One person who received a tantric massage was a victim of sexual assault, and confided that the massage, whilst intimate, was a way to reclaim power, stating that sex is ‘beautiful and loving and gorgeous’, which is why an assault is not classifiably sex.
Elsewhere, we also witness a spacious room full of middle-aged people, including a medical doctor, bouncing and shaking their bodies whilst releasing guttural, animalistic sounds in the pursuit of attaining a full-body orgasm.
Red-faced Levine is also asked to partake in a seduction class, whereby participants attempt to lure their classmate in with beguiling, non-verbal body language, reminiscent of painfully embarrassing GCSE drama lessons of times gone by.
Regardless, I soon realised that these practices weren’t quite as strange as I initially thought. I had a preconceived notion that these hands-on experiences were simply sex-fiend fantasies disguised as full-body massages and sordid spa-like retreats – hence why I was so reluctant to delve deep into Sex Actually during my precious downtime.
That said, one segment which caught me by surprise was when one ‘sexologist’ claimed to have experienced an ‘ankle-gasm’. Yes, you read that correctly. An orgasm originating in the talocrural region.
It’s something to reflect on.
Unsurprisingly, there aren’t many people across Britain practicing, or at least offering, these holistic services to the public. However, a lightbulb illuminated above my perplexed mind, and I quickly realised I’d heard of something like this before – in a roundabout way – in the heart of York.
Cosmic Coven doesn’t offer handsy, intimate genital massages, but, in my opinion, what they propose is just as good. It’s a group of like-minded, spiritual people who gather to get in touch with their bodies and endeavour to reconnect themselves with Mother Nature. In turn, each client is able to form better relationships with themselves, their bodies, and their intimate partners helping them to nurture long-lasting friendships. It’s essentially group therapy with a touch of mysticism.
We all feel that the equilibrium of life has been rocked from time to time, and Cosmic Coven offers a safe, neutral ground to gather your senses and ground yourself from head (Crown Chakra, since you’re asking) to toe (Root Chakra… sort of).
They offer guided meditations, intention settings, group tarot, and sound baths. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner yogi, the coven is a place for all persons seeking to embark on an enriching, spiritual journey.
You’ll find them in Spark – that’s the big foodie crates to you and I – and if a bit of sensual healing takes your fancy, you can take part in this dreamy experience during the upcoming Scorpio Moon (13 November) and the Winter Solstice (18 December).
If you’re interested in attending a Cosmic Coven session, or wish to find out more, follow them on Instagram @cosmiccovenmagic.
Alternatively, if you wish to catch up with all three episodes of Sex Actually with Alice Levine, head to the Channel 4 website where you can stream each episode for free.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised, get in contact with Nightline on 01904 323735, the Samaritans on 116 123, or Mind (info line) at 0300 123 3393.