Seani Love at work with Anima. Photo: Iain Maclachlan
Seani Love is an ‘erotic and spiritual adventurer’ who provides a mix of services ranging from one-to-one life coaching and kinky sessions to group journeys into sexuality using BDSM, tantra and pagan/shamanistic rituals. He is one of a group of such sex workers who have started practising in the London area in the past five or so years. It’s a fascinating and possibly long-overdue development on the UK scene (this kind of thing has been going on in parts of the USA for decades).
I’ve been on the London fetish scene far too long for a girl of such a tender age (ahem), and started thinking some years ago that there must be more to it than beating the fuck out of random strangers in sticky-floored venues at 6am on ketamine*. And now, like the God of Kink has answered my prayers, there is a quite dazzling array of workshops, parties and private sessions, run by sex workers trained in conscious kink and sacred sexuality, to choose from.
Seani’s event takes place in a small private flat near Finsbury Park tube. There are eight of us (four men and four women), plus Seani and his co-facilitator, Gaya. It’s a four-hour event on a Saturday afternoon, reasonably priced (a plus as these workshops often don’t come cheap). The majority of people in the room are extremely cute. This is obviously totally unimportant to highly spiritual people, but to your reviewer it is quite a bonus.
The workshop starts with a few very gentle touch exercises intended to get the group comfortable with each other and used to working out what their boundaries are. As Seani explains, it’s very important to know what you like and don’t like, and how to say ‘no’, when you’re playing kinky games. To that end, we’re told to say ‘thank you’ whenever we get a ‘no’, and it’s strange how quickly it becomes easy and comfortable to respond in that way. It’s something that I certainly took away with me – that saying ‘no’ is a good thing to do for myself and others. We swap partners frequently, and this helps make sure we all feel comfortable with the group as a whole.
Once we’re a bit warmed up, we move into slightly more intense areas. We do a bit of tantric eye gazing, some experimental play with pinching and slapping, and discuss the idea of domination and submission as an experience of ‘holding’ and ‘being held’, trying this out with varying degrees of success.
Finally, we pair off into new couples (I get someone I’ve had my naughty eye on all afternoon, much to my shallow glee) and take each other on a ‘kinky journey’ using all the techniques we’ve practised in previous sessions. By this point no one really has any shyness and we launch into it. What transpires is very noisy, very fun and a real eye-opener. At times I feel I want to stop what I’m doing so I can watch everybody else enjoying themselves. Luckily, though, my delightful partner is able to keep my mind focused on the task at hand, which turns into a marathon spanking session, with us each taking turns giving and receiving. By the end of it we are both laughing helplessly, out of breath and glowing. While neither I nor my partner feel comfortable going beyond the spanking, it is clear that if we had wanted to we could have done and no one would have batted an eyelid.
At the end we all sit around, drinking tea and exchanging experiences – and in some cases emails and phone numbers. We’ve gone from a group of slightly nervous strangers to grinning fools emitting good vibes towards each other and all humanity. Someone says they think the workshop should be run weekly and available on the NHS, and we all nod our heads. Leaving the building and going back into the London evening feels strange and it takes a while to readjust to ignoring people and avoiding all physical contact, as is traditional on British public transport. Overall, I can’t think of anything more fun to do on a Saturday afternoon, and have already filled my calendar up with more of the same and started feverishly friending everyone from the group on facebook.
*Or was that just me?