The idea of therapeutic sex is contentious, to say the least. Through the ages, sex has generally been viewed under two different lights: an intimate connection shared between two lovers, or the wild search for pleasure with no interest in emotional ties. However, is it possible to successfully achieve a mixture of both? And if so, what are its ramifications? Sensa Nostra delves into the mind of Katy Surya, writer and world traveler. Through her experiences as a stripper, Katy enlightens us to the notion of therapeutic sex and the ways in which it can benefit both individuals and society as a whole.
My entrance into the sex industry was a slow progression in one way and a quick leap in another. I had previously done contemporary dance shows where I was topless, so I was comfortable being on stage partially nude. I later traveled and worked on a little tropical island in the Whitsundays that was known to be a place of complete debauchery and promiscuity. I arrived as this strange, hairy-armpitted, free-loving, hippie babe. I joined forces with this crazy American sweetheart and we were soon to be known as the island resort sexual deviants. Eventually I realized that instead of dancing like a stripper every weekend at the club, I might as well make some money out of it. In my eyes it was a fun way to support the next leg of my adventure.
Throughout my travels, I found that in India you have the freedom of having no identity, being lost in a world of billions of people, drifting through on your own personal pilgrimage. In Australia you have the beauty and freedom of nature, wealth, and wide-open spaces. And in Berlin, where I now live, you have the freedom of creativity and a wonderland of sexual exploration. For me, I found freedom in my ability to explore my own creativity in art, eroticism and comedy. I had worked behind the bar of a Melbourne strip club on and off for a year before I went into stripping, so I guess I had a realistic idea of what it would be like in Melbourne. However, industries differ between states and I was quite naive about the conditions, expectations and financial side of clubs in Europe.
Generally, it would appear that on the surface most men are looking for simple sexual entertainment in these places. Sometimes, however, after a few drinks or extensive conversations, stories of dysfunctional relationships, work issues and traumas arise. I often feel I am achieving a powerful level of internal strength in this job. It’s a difficult balance between trying to act in an honorable manner versus working to make as much money as possible. If I were to act solely as a counselor, I would make nothing and I would then feel as if I was wasting my own time. And then if I were to work solely as a hustler I would make a lot of money, but would feel morally bankrupt and dirty at the end of a night.
I have learnt how to accept rejection and how to behave with poise and grace in the face of this. Other times I feel I am learning how to charm, how to listen, how to communicate with love rather than simply pressure men to open their wallets. You learn patience, of course, and the art of seduction through dance. For me, these are powerful tools in life, and I work to bring them into my life as an artist and lover to benefit my own relationships and creative force.
Society has a natural tendency to condemn that which it cannot understand. When you see women at strip joints you may never guess how highly qualified or intelligent they really are. At the end of the day, you can’t control how other people view you, your job or your behaviour. If they want to objectify you in their minds then so be it. Women and men are objectified in any form of society, regardless of whether they are wearing clothes or not. As a concept, objectification is quite bizarre to me. My body is an object. No one can deny that it is physical matter. And when I wear what I wear in a club, my body becomes a rather sexualized object that I feel proud of and beautiful to be in. That doesn’t take away from my intelligence, wit, or whatever else it is that I feel makes me more than a physical object.
Through working with sexual energy over the years, the connections between life force, sexual energy, conflict, destruction, love, harmony and unity have all become apparent. This is where you can work to heal your clients and where the learning begins. If the vibration of this energy is inspired by love, then you are working in the deepest form of healing that can arise from sexual energy exploration. Peoples’ desire for intimacy, unity and love is expressed through their sexuality; so are their desires for power, domination, and their release of frustration. When you are working in the realm of sexual energy you are dealing with all kinds of human trauma: from the trauma of failed relationships, to sexual abuse, anger, conflicts from work life and suppressed desires. Any kind of work that engages in sexuality has the potential for the deep exploration of healing. However, this healing is dependent on the awareness of the person giving the service. It should be noted that not all women working in strip clubs see things this way. Perhaps I would be more valuable as a therapist. However a lot of people are naturally reluctant to visit therapists, and as such would rather hide out in their adult fantasyland.
To me, sexuality is not something to be feared, suppressed or looked down upon. It’s our life force. It’s a powerful dynamic, harboured deep in each of our desires. This doesn’t mean one has to heavily engage in uncovering its mysteries or completely ignore its potential. It simply means that there is a powerful energy to be explored and enjoyed. When you know how to use it to create healing and transform our animal urges into spiritual insights, it will alter your existence and open the doors to deeper self-discovery for both you and those you influence and connect with. In the words of Osho, a renowned Indian guru, “sex is a deep search to uncover; not only bodies, not only the opposite sex’s body, but everything that is hidden.”
In this line of work, I have discovered more about myself and human nature, love, attraction, fear, resentment, dynamics of power, conflict and the human psyche than in any other job I have ever experienced. It is incredibly exposing and challenging for all those involved, including customers as it often conflicts with the moral constructs that their society has ingrained into their existence. It’s in the environment of a strip club where I’ve discussed philosophy, life, the afterlife, death and loss with men who, in one way or another, are held accountable for the deaths of other humans. From the heads of fire departments or doctors to men I would assume to be hit men. It’s in this vulnerable space, where you can see into the depths of their innocent souls. At their core, they are childlike and innocent, just as am I. We come there for an exchange. I offer them the sexual expression they think they need, yet quickly it transforms into a therapeutic exchange that they had not expected.
A lot of these men have experienced great trauma and there is a need for them to connect with divine feminine energy. However they are at a loss of where to find it. So, they go to strip clubs to get drunk and talk to women who will listen to them in exchange for money. It’s rather sad on the one hand, yet on the other, thank god these places exist – otherwise there would be a lot of unsatisfied sexual energy floating around and potentially leading to all kinds of violence.
You never truly know the extent of your influence in this world, and that is what I am working towards uncovering. I spent a lot of time working in India contemplating my future career paths and how I would best create change in the world. The type of change that brings greater love, compassion and humanity to our existence. It was then that I decided that I would like to work with warlords and criminals, as well as any human who is suffering regardless of their past, present and future existence. The ideal I am aiming for would be working on transforming society into a more sexually open, loving and caring dynamic in which women would feel sexually empowered and fulfilled by their men.
Ultimately, through my experiences I have come to learn that the world has so many pleasures and mysteries just waiting to be unearthed. I view sexuality as one of the many luring enigmas of our past, present and future. Not just that, but I believe that one who delves into their sexual realm and the desires that encapsulate it, can break down barriers towards their inner happiness. In turn they can heal, not just their own emotional wounds, but those of the people they interact with on a daily basis too.