Penis / Phallus Worship

Woman worshipping the penis of a naked sadhu

Are Monasteries Hotbeds of Gay Sex?

Monk performing "auparashtika" on a princely visitor. Hmmm!
Temple of Chhapri, Central India, 12th century CE.
Copyright: Raymond Burnier. Image, courtesy of Jacques Cloarec, Paris.

Monk sexually caressing a layman, who salutes him respectfully.
Temple of Visvanatha, Khajuraho, Central India, 10th century CE.
Copyright: Raymond Burnier. Image, courtesy of Jacques Cloarec, Paris.

The photographs of temple carvings above, were taken in the 1930's by Raymond Burnier, a photographer, and lover of Alain Danielou. Alain was a French artist, musician, writer and student of Indian culture. He published books on Yoga and the Kama Sutras in the 30's and 40's. According to this site, these photographs depict a tradition of homoerotic sacred art now mostly effaced from Indian temples as a result of the systematic campaigns of “sexual cleansing” of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, both of whom attempted to re-write the historical record by erasing all traces of the Indian homoerotic tradition.

Mindful Blow Jobs

On a meditation course in Majorca in 1971, I met a guy who had evolved his own form of sexual-spiritual tourism. He worked on Wall Street, and for years he had been going to India, Thailand, and other Asian countries to visit temples and monasteries and attend meditation retreats. And the sex, he said, was "The best he had ever experienced anywhere. Those monks really know how to give a blow job. They come to your room at night and do you with total mindful awareness and incredible skill. And from meditating all day, your body is so tuned that you can have the longest and most intense orgasms ever."

I had just completed a month in total darkness, doing asanas and meditating all day, from full moon to full moon. Then I spent almost a month gradually decreasing the amount of time I spent meditating, from 10 or 12 "rounds" a day. A round for me was a 45-minute meditation session preceded by asanas and pranayama. Roll out of bed, pranayama, asana, pranayama, meditation, pranayama, asana, pranayama, meditation, that kind of thing.

The last six weeks I was there I had many hours a day of free time because I was only meditating twice a day for 45 minutes. I needed to get out of my room, so I walked for miles along the beach everyday, and came hours early to Maharishi's lectures because I had nowhere else to go. I was too wide-open to sit in the dining hall and chat with people, so I would just go hang out in the lecture hall and BE there. Then I would write in my blank book - somewhere I had developed the habit of journaling, writing in a black blank book with a fountain pen.

There were several of us who used to show up an hour or more early for Maharishi's evening lectures. One of them was Amanda, about whom we will hear later. Another was this guy Steven, who worked in finance in Manhattan, and over a month or so I got quite an earful of his stories.

Steven said, "You go to a temple or monastery in Asia, and sit there meditating all day. The monks check you out so subtly it's almost invisible. Am I being cruised or not? You just feel a tingle on your back, or neck, or crotch, as they look at you through half-closed lids. The electricity builds and builds until your skin feels like your balls, tingling. At meals, or moving around, there are the briefest glances, a hint of a smile, maybe a promise of delight later. You don't know for sure who is cruising you and who is just a really friendly monk. After all, you are a Westerner, an exotic delight to them. Fresh meat.

"All day long the sexual tension builds, and meditating with a hard-on is fun even though your balls start to ache. Then at night, you lie in bed awake, savoring delicious sensations, and wondering if you made it all up, was there really a silent promise of a rendevous? Then quiet as a cat, some monk sneaks into your room. Each time is different. One monk slipped under my covers so quietly I hardly knew he was there until he started touching my cock, which was already hard. Another time, a monk came into my room and just stood there looking at me. I drifted awake, went over to him and could feel his throbbing cock under his robe, so I went down on him. The whole thing takes place in total silence, just some heavier breathing, as we try to keep it quiet. You have to regulate your breathing, make it deep and steady, and this makes the pleasure spread deep into your body, spreads the tension everywhere, so that when you come, you come with every cell.

"The atmosphere of something deliciously naughty, sweetly forbidden, combined with the hours of meditation and breath awareness, just makes for the most intense inner fireworks I have ever experienced. Nothing else even comes close. There is a feeling of pure love, just utterly sweet. The best sensations. I have had sex stoned, on acid, but nothing compares. I work in stocks, and arrange to be gone for a month, two to three times a year. Oh, and when you leave, they give you the name of another monastery or temple that is friendly to western meditators.”

Sex as a Form of Worship

Steven continued, "And it's amazing to really feel worshipped. Those people know how to adore a cock. And how to savor a sensation. First of all, they think my cock is huge, even though it's not, by American standards. And no one has ever given me a blow job like those monks. They pay the same total attention to sucking cock as they do to meditation. There is no hurrying, that's the great thing. You are trying to be quiet and trying to prolong it as long as you can, which of course makes you hornier and ready to burst, but you want it to last because the sensations are so intense and you have spent the entire day savoring electricity. They worship you as a god. They do sex as a form of puja, a worship of the life force. They know something we don't, in this culture."

Devotees worshipping a lingam, a penis

"In some temples, they have a stone phallus as an altar, and they pour butter over it and chant to it as the symbol of God. It's called a Shiva lingam. It's the most beautiful, hypnotic ceremony I have ever seen."

Free-standing Shiva linga from the 1st Century B.C.

Then Steven started telling me about the sex going on during the meditation retreat we were on, about group sex in the rooms on the upper floors of the hotel. Years later, I happened to hear through the TM gravevine that he was telling the truth – there was a lot of sex of all kinds going on at this meditation course.

He apparently had good radar to detect what was going on. I was totally oblivious, completely absorbed in my meditation program, and totally uninterested sexually in anyone I had seen there, except for Amanda, who only had eyes for Maharishi. She barely glanced at me. It had just never occurred to me to use a meditation course as a place to have sex, until a couple of years later, when Amanda and I happened to be on the same meditation course in Switzerland.

One other topic Steven mentioned was a Buddhist teacher by the name of Nagarjuna. "You have to read Nagarjuna," he rhapsodized. "His descriptions of the emptiness at the heart of everything – just brilliant."

I have written a little about Nagarjuna in my Tale of Two Paths, but I just now realized, just put it together that Nagarjuna was a great one for sneaking around at night to have sex. Before he was given the ultimatum to take religious vows or be killed, Nagarjuna was an adept at tiptoeing into harems at night and having sex with the king's wives – so maybe he is the Patron Saint of sneaking around having forbidden sex.