Saturday, January 27, 2007

More on Love Tribe and Yums

I've gotten some queries on Love Tribe and the Yum I went to. What are they? I was asked. There is a Love Tribe link under the "Spiritual and Sensual" section of my page. The following is an excerpt from an email sent to a friend in August who asked the same thing:

First thing, at formal gatherings, the intention of the Love Tribe and the specific guidelines of the gathering one is attending are mentioned. There are intimacy exercises at the begining of most of the gatherings, except those that are specifically for 'experienced' Tribers, which assumes the attendees are already boundary-aware. The exercises focus on getting in touch with your own boundaries, leaving the street-energy behind, practicing saying yes or no to verbal and non-verbal requests to hug/touch, etc. Its a great way to get that higher, more spiritual energy flowing. Everyone is there for the same reasons -- to enjoy intimacy in a safe environment -- and everyone is open and vulnerable and genuine.

The first gathering I went to was a Yum (They occur the last friday of every month). It was an informal gathering at the massage studio of one of the members. There was a massage table, a couple of foutons, a dance space, food and drink, and over the course of the night, I figure that about 50 people came and went. The rules of a Yum are that it is a safe space where talking, dancing, cuddling and touching occur but there are no sexual overtones whatsoever... It is an opportunity to connect with people and enjoy intimacy in a relaxed, no-pressure space where boundaries are respected. I enjoyed the ecstatic and improvisational contact dancing--it is quite beautiful to experience and watch.

There was a pillow fight between people seated on those balls that are used for stretching the back... people snuggling 3 and 4 deep on foutons... Lots of earnest conversation, laughter, smiles, languid caressing, and hugs--real hugs--the kind where people hold each other and relax and stay there a bit, sharing of themselves. It was a very genuine gathering, one in which I was able to let down my guard, as I so often do not in public spaces, because I've such an awareness of how much danger women are in, especially in situations where alcohol is used (LoveTribe events are safe/sane/sober). Also, there are no gender or orientation social barriers. Hetero men rubbing each other's feet. Gay women snuggling with hetero men. Gay men doing improv contact dance with hetero women. People being people, enjoying other people, without all the socialized and sexualized barriers. It really is Yummy :)

The Snuggle Salon on the Sunday I got back into town was wonderful. It was in an attic with sky lights, nice mood music, and about 25 people came and went. Most people wore pajama-type clothes. Several of the people there had been in the 34-mile 7 Bridges Bicycle event, so we rubbed them down. No kissing or sexal touch... it is like an informal version of the Yum. You have to have been to a formal gathering in order to attend. I felt so much lighter after attending. It was a great antidote to the anguish in MA.

The Rapture Dance was a lot like the Yum, only there were probably 150 people there and it had more of a party atmosphere. They opened the doors at 8pm, closed them at 9:30. It was held at a dance studio with 4 or 5 thousand square feet of space. It was divided up into areas. A social space with food and drink, a huge dance floor, a snuggle zone (500 sq ft of foutons, easy), a safe space (to be alone), and a play space. The snuggle space is for snuggling, tops and bottoms on, no overtly sexual touching. The play space is an intimate place for people to play sensually. Gloves, condoms and lubricants provided, if things go that far. And monitors there to assist, as well as to ensure people practice safe sex, including fluid-bonded partners.

There are many other types of gatherings, and an overlap between Love Tribe and other local organizations fostering community and/or alternative-lifestyle networking, like the Explorer's Club (Tantra) , Portland Ecstatic Dance, The City Repair Project, Darklady's pan-sexual and sex-positive events, PDX Bad Girls (BDSM for women), Cupcake PDX (fat-friendly), MeetIn Portland, Network for a New Culture, etc.

Portland is what I call 'cosmopolitan granola'. It is a metropolitan area, with all those amenities and sophistication, but there is a high concentration of educated, geeky, kinky, and green people. Or perhaps there is not a higher concentration, but rather that more people are 'out' about it. The Pacific Northwest is very friendly toward people who are in transition, transformation, or interested in living lifestyles that are different from popular/dominant culture. I enjoy it immensely because there is so much acceptance and self-expression and room for people to be whoever they want to be.

I hope, with time, organizations like the ones I've mentioned above will be more common. Unfortunately, it requires people with vision and motivation to create and sustain them, and it is a lot of effort. If you are interested in starting organizations similar to the ones I've mentioned, I strongly recommend contacting the people on those sites. All of them are good people who are eager to help others build community.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home