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EP016: The Union of Sex & Spirit with Yogi Joel Benjamin

episodes show notes Jul 17, 2020
 
 

Today’s conversation with Joel our first deep dive into the connection sex and spirituality.

Joel helps us try on the ancient Tantra concept that everything about our experience on earth is spiritual -- including our sexual energy.

Prior to the pandemic, I visited Joel’s gorgeous studio in Seattle where I learned to celebrate, cultivate, and conserve my own lower chakra energy. The experience was an embodiment of transforming crotch-centered connections into a heart-centered community. 

Enjoy the show.


We talked about:

  • Tantra yoga [7:53]
  • Union of sex and spirit [17:13]
  • 3 Cs of sexual energy [27:39]
  • Who takes these classes? [40:31]
  • Special Gifts [47:33]


Mentioned in this episode

 
Find more about Joel here:

 

Get connected!

 

Episode full transcript:

Mike Gerle  0:00  

This is the GerleMen podcast. My name is Mike Gerle, and then the host and founder of GerleMen.com, a community of gay men and anyone self identified as the other, designed to help you own your personal dignity, strengthen your connection to your chosen families and thrive in general society. today's conversation with Joel is the podcast first deep dive into the connection between our sexual behavior and our spirituality. Joel helps us try on the ancient Tantra concept that everything about our experience on earth is spiritual, including our sexual energy. Prior to the pandemic, I visited Joel's gorgeous studio in Seattle, Washington where I learned to celebrate, cultivate and conserve my own lower chakra energy. The experience was an embodiment of transforming crotch-centered connections into heart-centered community. Enjoy the show.

 

The moment you realized you are game and you were forced onto the path of the other. So you know oppression inside and out. the calling of otherness has led you on your own hero's journey. And that journey has prepared you for greatness. You were a man answering the call to brotherhood to conscious sex into heart centered connection. Welcome home, brother.

 

Welcome to GerleMen podcast, Joel.

 

Joel Benjamin  1:27  

Thank you, Mikel.

 

Mike Gerle  1:28  

It is great to see you. I wish we were in person. I've had, you know, the pleasure of being in your studio and in your workshops a couple of times. And the trip from LA to Seattle was totally worth it, mostly because of you, also Seattle is just stunning. I like to start every asking each guest you know how they're feeling because I believe understanding our state of being helps us get what we want. So how are you feeling?

 

Joel Benjamin  1:59  

I'm feeling I'm a little bit nervous just because I've never I've never done a podcast before. So I'm just putting that out there then I'm a little bit a little bit nervous.

 

Mike Gerle  2:09  

That's real.

 

Joel Benjamin  2:10  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I otherwise I feel good. I slept good last night. Got my practice in this morning. So I'm I'm good.

 

Mike Gerle  2:18  

That's great. What's your morning practice?

 

Joel Benjamin  2:21  

I chant. Yeah, each morning. Yeah. So that's, I go through about it's usually about half hour, 45 minutes. Each morning of chanting.

 

Mike Gerle  2:32  

That's fantastic. So can you give us kind of like an arc on how you got into yoga and then how you got into the men's work that you do in yoga and the Tantra and all of that just basically kind of get us just oriented on the map of like, who Joel Benjamin is, and then we're gonna dive deeper.

 

Joel Benjamin  2:54  

Okay. I've always been in the fitness industry, when I was In high school, in the 80s, I taught aerobics classes, and then became a personal trainer. When I was living in Manhattan and managed health club when I first moved to Seattle, I didn't really do any yoga up to that point, though, I was more, you know, into the weightlifting and, you know, things that everybody every, you know, gay man did in the 80s and 90s. And then George Bush became president. And looking back on that

 

Mike Gerle  3:36  

That's why I'm laughing!

 

Joel Benjamin  3:37  

Imagine if he'd be the president right now. But if you put yourself back to when george bush became president, it was pretty traumatic, you know, just in that he just seemed he just did not seem equipped to be president. And there was all of the questions about how he became president. And it really was something that was keeping me up at night. And I was having a hard time accepting. So I wandered into my first yoga class, basically. And I was struck by several things. The first thing that really hooked me was just the sense of community. You know, I had never been to the class before, and I felt so welcomed and just so just, you know, it was such a comfortable place to be even though I had never been there before. And then the more I kept showing up, the more I started to realize that, you know, I could cope with george bush being president. So I literally I credit George Bush for you know, getting me into my first yoga class, because weightlifting just wasn't cutting it for me. It wasn't getting rid of the eggs, basically. Yeah. Yoga, yoga got me there.

 

Mike Gerle  4:40  

So you got into yoga. So when did you open the actual Smith and I just flat out admitted I'm so jealous of your space. It's so beautiful. It's exactly it everything from the way it looks. You're in it right now. Right?

 

Joel Benjamin  5:09  

Yeah, yeah.

 

Mike Gerle  5:10  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  5:11  

And when I said yes to taking the space, you know, there needed to be a build out. I didn't have any money saved for that. So I just kind of put the word out to the Yogis who had been practicing with me over the years. And I found out I had like three carpenters practicing with me, and a couple of electricians practicing with me that I didn't know that that's what they did for a living. And for about three weeks, I'd show up at this space. Every morning. There'd be like five people waiting outside saying what are we doing today?

 

Mike Gerle  5:42  

Wow.

 

Joel Benjamin  5:43  

Literally the Yogis who had been practicing with me in my old space, called the yoga shack, basically created their practice space yoga Smith, the Yogi's who built it, basically. And I think that's one of the main reasons Why it does feel special when you come into the space is because it literally was built by the Yogis who practice here.

 

Mike Gerle  6:07  

Wow, that's a lot of love that is really inspiring to talk about that love and that interdependence with other people.

 

Joel Benjamin  6:15  

Totally, totally that and the fact that the building that the Smith is in, it's just, you know, it's the two story brownstone, and it was built in the 1880s. And downstairs has always been a saloon. So the story is that this space upstairs from the saloon used to be the brothel.

 

Mike Gerle  6:35  

Oh, wow!

 

Joel Benjamin  6:36  

I think that's one of the reasons why it feels good up here as well, because a lot of a lot of good times.

 

Mike Gerle  6:44  

Well, that's amazing. Well, let's get into it. Yeah, that makes me want to think about you know, you offer a lot of traditional practice, but you know, this podcast is for gay men. And maybe Can we just jump into that let's start talking about you know, Tantra and these Have your body work classes? And what are these different? What are the different offerings? First of all that you have?

 

Joel Benjamin  7:07  

Well, I've been a I am a licensed massage therapist. I've been one for about 25 years. You know, when I started teaching yoga, what I found, and probably what most people find as you get older is that each thing that you do in life, I think, you know, if you really if you take the time and look back becomes a stepping stone for the next thing that you do. Sometimes it's an obvious link and sometimes, you know, the connections are not as obvious. But I was a massage therapist, you know, in addition to teaching yoga, and when I first opened yoga Smith, I was looking for ways to generate revenue and a woman had approached me because she wants she was teaching couples massage workshops. It was mostly straight couples who would show up every now and then there was a gay couple who would show up but it was mostly straight couples and it kind of planted the seed in my head about how you know, why not offer this to gay men, you know as a way to learn how to you know how to give and how to receive a massage. So I kind of thought about it for several years. And then probably like three years ago, I made the investment bought, you know, 10 massage tables for the studio and started you know, offering the bodywork workshops, and it's kind of a tiered thing, everyone has to take the intro workshop first. And that's where you basically learn the basics. You know how to give a massage and how to receive a massage. And then from there, that opens the door so that you can participate in the other bodywork events that I that I host one is the bodywork exchange, or basically, it's set up pretty much like the intro workshop, except it's a little more I like to just call it lightly guided as opposed to the intro workshop, which is me talking through the whole thing. So it's, you know, the tables are all set up half the group lies down on the tables. They're the receivers for the first half of the event and then everybody, you know swapped places. Once you know everybody has received the full body massage, and then the other event that I host is called, I call it Tantra edge. And that one doesn't involve massage tables. That one is we start off with about a half hour of jockstrap yoga. You know guys...

 

Mike Gerle  9:32  

Which I love, that is so sexy.

 

Joel Benjamin  9:35  

I think it's sexier than naked yoga. I think that leaving little bit to the imagination...

 

Mike Gerle  9:40  

I think it is too.

 

Joel Benjamin  9:42  

Yeah, and what's what's not sexy about a roomful of you know, dudes in jocks.

 

Mike Gerle  9:47  

Yeah, and I like to teaching naked yoga. And it's great, but I mean, the very, I've always had the same experience from my very first yoga class that was naked, which is, this doesn't feel strange at all.

 

Joel Benjamin  10:00  

Exactly, exactly. No, it feels totally natural. Yeah, totally, totally natural. Yeah. And what I've found also is, is that you know, guys need support when they exercise. Like, I'll practice naked sometimes by myself, because I'm going at my own speed. So things need adjusting, you know, I can take the time to adjust.

 

Mike Gerle  10:20  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  10:21  

But you know, when you're in a class, not everybody is as good at listening to their own body and going at their own pace. So I found that you know, yeah, if everybody were jocks, and then you know that Okay, everybody is going to be safe while they're practicing. Yeah. So, so we start off with with jockstrap yoga, and just to kind of warm up and to kind of, you know, start to feel sexy and just to get the vibe going. And then we transition to partner work, partner energy work, and that's all guided and then we form a circle of chairs and half the group sits down in the chairs and they're blindfolded. And then the other half of the group, basically, you know, you and the guys in the chairs don't know who their partner is. And it's basically the whole rest of the of the event is Tantra edging. Okay, and it there the it's not it's not jacking you know, it's like you see how edging is, you know, put out there like on Twitter and stuff and usually it's just like, you know, this frantic jacking and then when the dude starts to get close, it's hands off, you know?

 

Mike Gerle  11:36  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  11:37  

Cool down things, settle down.

 

Mike Gerle  11:40  

My boyfriend who's 17 years younger than me, is constantly telling me about things that people don't understand who are younger is it just edging at all is that people might not know what that is. And that's not I mean, the way I know you know, it's it's basically your stroking, you can do it with yourself or with somebody else but it's like working on yourself stroking your own dick and tell you know you're close to coming in and then just not coming. I mean that's basically the generic version of edging right? Yeah. Oh, you're getting really really close to orgasm and then not having an orgasm and...

 

Joel Benjamin  12:16  

Right.

 

Mike Gerle  12:17  

Apparently you know that a lot more than we think we know Joel so sometimes we need to break it down.

 

Joel Benjamin  12:25  

Totally. Yeah. And I mean and you know you can you can approach it from that perspective, the the whole you know, not coming thing to me that's a negative then you're focusing on not doing something No, as opposed to focusing on cultivating that energy. To me, that's what edging, that's the purpose of edging, is to cultivate that energy, you know, because otherwise, you know, you're stroking your cock or someone else's stroking your cock, you get to the point of ejaculation, you go over and then you need a nap. Basically, because All that vibe that you just worked up, you just released, as opposed right? With tantric edging, it's about cultivating that vibe. It's about finding those, those plateaus. So it's not just a steady climb and then over the edge, and it's also about not breaking contact. You know, there's none of this, basically, because there's a whole series I call it the deep stroke sequence, basically, where it's a whole series of very creative cock strokes that you cycle through, you know, you cycle through them. I mean, you remember them, workshop, you cycle through them. And basically what that does is it keeps your nervous system guessing, because your nervous system knows where this is going. Because we've all been doing this since you know, since we discovered with doing this does, you know so that pathway has been worn. You know, very, very smooth and it's you know, it's smooth sailing down that down that down that path, but by constantly changing it up, and I mean you know in the workshops, I'm like a drill sergeant every five or 10 seconds I'm like change up the stroke guys change up the stroke it It allows you to not break contact, okay because the person who's receiving basically is kept at this really nice heightened plateau as opposed to it just building, building, building, building.

 

Mike Gerle  14:31  

Yeah, I mean, I would just like to speak to that I it speaks exactly what I'm trying to do with the GerleMen podcast is take us from to I believe in crotch centered connection, I believe that we can get some place from hookups and from like, sex is really, really positive. But when we just leave it at sex, and we're missing this whole other realm, like all the chakras, basically, we're not moving that energy up into our bodies and then we're not able to have such a heart centered connection. And, you know, I, that was what was cool about doing that one workshop I did with you was I felt that I felt it moving up, I felt it like, you know, in my gut in my chest, I even felt it, you know, like, all the way up and out and just, I was able to have that more intimate energy with these guys. And I loved like buzzing with that energy. Yeah. That's incredible.

 

Joel Benjamin  15:36  

Yeah, we're all capable of that. It's just, it's just that, you know, most of us have not been introduced to that capability that, you know, inherently is part of, you know, who we are. And yes, and, you know, drawing the energy up from our cocking our balls to our heart, you know,  and it It becomes a meditation when you start to internalize what's going on as opposed to just focusing on the external. And that's the whole point of the blindfold during the Tantra edge is that the guys who are receiving, you know, you don't know who is, you know, working on you, because you're going to have multiple partners working on you during the course of the event. So you take away the sense of sight, and you can hear the person's breath, you can feel their touch, you can smell them, but we are very sight centric, you know, being so you take away that sense, and people go in work, and then it really does become a meditation. It's the same thing with you know, kind of a side effect of constantly changing up the strokes is you can jack and just put it into automatic pilot, you know, and your mind can be anywhere else. But by constantly changing up the stroke, you have to be present. Gotta pay attention to what you're doing. And that's what meditation is all about. It's just being present, you know, being present moment.

 

Mike Gerle  17:11  

Yeah. Well, then, can you? Yeah, then I love this whole idea about the union of sex and spirit. That's Is that what you're talking about? What do you mean by that, like a union of sex and spirit? You know, some people would think that's impossible.

 

Joel Benjamin  17:26  

Yeah. And that's, I mean, that's because that's what you know, we've been told for a very long time is that

 

Mike Gerle  17:32  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  17:33  

Spirit's over here. And sex is over here. And there's this giant chasm between the two and the, you know, the two shall never meet.

 

Mike Gerle  17:41  

Right. And like sexual even prevent spiritual connection. There's that kind of because of the judgment and stuff like that. So that's reason I'm just like, yes, please tell us. Please talk about this. How sex and spirit actually come together somehow.

 

Joel Benjamin  17:57  

Hmm. I mean, I think it's the it's the basis of Tantra. I mean, it's the thing that kind of turned me on about Tantra. You know, from the first time that I learned about tantra, you know, there's two things that make Tantra unique. The first thing is that it's the oldest spiritual practice known to mankind, fill the spiritual philosophy known to mankind there may have been ones before Tantra but as far as the written you know, history is concerned, Tantra is the is the oldest and antrat is the only spiritual philosophy that includes our sex life in our spiritual life and people who've heard you know the word Tantra in the West a lot of them think oh yeah, that's that that's that like mystical you know, sexual practice and it is but you know, ancient Yogis in caves didn't didn't think well let's come up with this, you know, mystical sexual practice. Basically, the foundation of tantric philosophy is that all aspects of your life should be part of your spiritual practice. That's why sex is included. It's because all aspects of our life should be part of our spiritual practice.

 

Mike Gerle  19:17  

I really love that and I think especially for gay men, we learned growing up but it's safer to compartmentalize our lives you know, and really have it as a kid growing up, I knew I was gay, in my senior year in high school, and I would sneak out and have sex with my boyfriend and then wake up the next morning and put on a suit and go to church and be somebody completely else and, and I enjoyed the spirituality of church. I enjoyed the sex. It never occurred to me that I could bridge them somehow.

 

Joel Benjamin  19:51  

Yeah, yeah, I don't think I don't think it. I mean, it's, it's becoming more and more you know that those teachings are becoming more and more accessible in our culture, but we still have a long way, you know, to go before, you know, there's that alternative that coexists with basically what we've all been taught. So, yeah, but it is becoming, you know, more and more accessible, you know, for, for people for and not just for gay people for straight people, you know, as well, you know, straight people were exploring Tantra before even, you know, gay people were I mean, as far as just, you know, you look, you go into, you know, the section of a bookstore that has, you know, tantric philosophy, the majority of it is geared towards straight people, you know, there's a handful of books that are geared towards, you know, towards the gay men and gay women. Yeah, I'd say that we are definitely leading the way, you know, or at least are catching up in putting it out there into the world.

 

Mike Gerle  20:57  

What do you think are some of the energetic Mental, What are the breakdowns? What do people that you've worked with? I mean, we're gonna have to get through to go from thinking sexes, maybe even like dirty and out there it's not connected to me it's it's bad and then coming in and actually making that a spiritual process, you know, have you seen people evolve? I would imagine you have people come in Did you say you had one guy actually left a class once? I mean, which is fascinating to me because anybody if you're interested in this I was not surprised at anything you were very, very clear about everything that's going to happen in there. But what why do you think a person would leave after knowing work, step by step what was gonna happen?

 

Joel Benjamin  21:44  

I don't think that that he did know step by step. What was what was gonna happen just knowing after the fact where he was coming from coming into it. It was what we were talking about before it was it was a compartmentalization. I think that there were aspects of what he knew what was going to go on that he was really intrigued by. And then I think the aspects that scared him, or that he wasn't ready for, he just didn't think about, but then you're confronted with it, you know, when you're lying on the table, being worked on by, you know, several different partners, and trying to find something to love about each person that you work on during the course of an event. And that works on you during the course.

 

Mike Gerle  22:33  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  22:34  

You know, and I think that can be a really challenging thing for you know, for people is to really, you know, find something to love about, you know, and not just the people who are you're connecting with during a workshop, but just in general. Yeah, even people who you disagree with, you know, profoundly if you find something to love about them, then you can at least meet and talk and be kind to one another. So I think that contributed to that. But as far as just, you know, guys who've never experienced something like this and never experienced that, that connection between, you know, sex and spirituality, you know, I'd say there's no there's nothing, there's nothing, you know, more grounding, and more just tribal, and more ancient feeling, then a whole room full of men breathing together, and, you know, sighing out on sound together, and experiencing, you know, deep, you know, physical pleasure together, you know, to me that spiritual.

 

Mike Gerle  23:41  

And I agree, and I think it's, my, what I make up about that is that it takes a special kind of courage. It's not the courage to have sports sex, which I'm a fan of, I'm a fan of all kinds of sex, you know, and it's a different courage than going to a like a dungeon party or a sex party that, you know, all of those acts would happen much more intensely at an event like that where I think a lot of gay men are, we've gotten comfortable with that. But the whole idea of having connected sexual experience with another parent person, when you've actually looked them in the eyes, and you're seeing their spirit, when you're seeing the divine in them, and then encountering, you know, engaging in sexual behavior. That's, that's the big ask. That's and and I love it because I just that that's a special connection. That is a special, special connection, you know, and I would imagine that your regulars I feel connected with those guys like I do, and these heart circles I do with men that you know, in other disciplines, and I would imagine the same connection is happens with with your guys.

 

Joel Benjamin  25:00  

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I think I think just the base of it all is willingness to be vulnerable, you know, you you allow yourself to be vulnerable. And it kind of opens you up to all of these just experiences and connections that otherwise you basically would have just been, you know, keeping it at arm's length.

 

Mike Gerle  25:22  

Yeah. And I just want to jump in here. And I don't think I mean, just to clarify, you're not talking about sexual vulnerability.

 

Joel Benjamin  25:27  

No, no, just just being open to the experience, you know, and not letting your fear prevent you from experiencing the things in life that you're drawn to. Yeah, there's a power in being vulnerable. And in fact, I would say that that's being vulnerable is one of the most powerful positions that we can allow ourselves to take.

 

Mike Gerle  25:52  

Yeah, I would join you and say that vulnerability is the ultimate act of courage.

 

Joel Benjamin  25:57  

I agree.

 

Mike Gerle  25:58  

We can clench your teeth and go into battle, you know, knocking things down and whatever. But and that's a form of courage and thank you for men and women who do that, it takes courage to be vulnerable and saying, I need on a physical and spiritual level a connection with you know, and I encourage anybody listening to take that chance and get within Joel's class because, you know, you set up a whole structure for that, that I think does fit into regular everyday life. You were getting that into that just a few minutes ago that you know, we can come up with this vulnerability like in a class where we're with another man and what you're talking about this? I forgot what I don't want to call it as circle jerk.

 

Joel Benjamin  26:51  

Tantra Edge.

 

Mike Gerle  26:52  

Tantra Edge.

 

Joel Benjamin  26:54  

Yeah.

 

Mike Gerle  26:54  

Which is way different.

 

Joel Benjamin  26:57  

It's an elevated circle jerk.

 

Mike Gerle  26:59  

Yeah, yeah. It really is because you're, you're Yeah, you're asking the guys to be energetically, spiritually connected with each other.

 

Joel Benjamin  27:08  

Totally, totally. And it's just, it's taking that, you know, that circle jerk growing up we either participated in or always fantasized about participating in and taking it to the next level, you know, allowing it to evolve, you know, to basically what is, you know, when most people think of, you know, a circle, jerk, you know, you you, you elevate it, and then it becomes something meaningful, you know, and really powerful and a form of spiritual practice.

 

Mike Gerle  27:39  

Yeah. And so you talk about the three C's of embodying sexual energy. Can you talk about that?

 

The, like, cultivate,

 

Joel Benjamin  27:47  

cultivate,

 

Mike Gerle  27:48  

celebrate and conserve, and what does that mean?

 

Joel Benjamin  27:52  

Yeah, I mean, cultivating is cultivating that energy, you know, so it's like normally, well, not normally but you know, most guys when you start to feel horny, you know, the when you start to feel that energy, the first response is to get off. You know, the first response is to either get yourself off or to go on Grindr find someone to get you off, you know, and the first response to that energy, you know, I mean, sexual energy is one of the most powerful healing energies that the body produces, you know, on a cosmic level sexual energy manifest is creative energy, most powerful energy in the universe. You know, nothing would be here without creative energy, we wouldn't be here without creative energy. So why would you want your first response to that energy welling up in your body to be to get rid of it?

 

Mike Gerle  28:14  

And just to be clear, I mean, the street term for that might just be horny.

 

Joel Benjamin  28:49  

Yeah, warning. Exactly. Exactly.

 

Mike Gerle  28:51  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  28:52  

And so instead of responding to that, you know, with with basically just the way that we've all been trained ourselves to respond to it, which is to get off and to release that energy. It's just a change of intention. You switch your intention to instead of getting off, you change your intention to cultivating that energy. It's just like, oh, okay, it's already getting started. So I'm just going to help it along and celebrating that energy, you know, starting to really understand the benefits of that energy. And, you know, how it how it feeds the rest of your life. You know, I mean, it's not just in the moment, you know, how it feels good when you're working with that energy? It's okay, well, how is that energy now? You know, when I when I, you know, you know, put my cock back in my pants and walk out my front door, how is that energy going to feed the rest of my life? You know, how is it going to feed whatever creative projects I'm, you know, working on how is it going to feed every interaction that I have? How is it going to feed how other people perceive me? You know, because when you're filled with creative energy, you're like a magnet. People are drawn to you. And not just sexually, people are just drawn to you because you're vibrating at such a high frequency and then to conserve, which is basically, you know, you choose not to release that energy. Not all the time. I don't I mean, you know you you've taken the workshop so I'm very clear in the workshop that there's no shame in ejaculating. You know, you just don't have that be the go to each time you experience that energy so you consciously decide more often than not to conserve that energy as opposed to releasing that energy.

 

Mike Gerle  30:37  

Yeah

 

Joel Benjamin  30:37  

That's the cultivate, celebrate and conserve.

 

Mike Gerle  30:41  

I love that I played with that in a certain what I do now is our well, when we're able to have hookups sex. I'll just start there because I just had a conversation last night with four of my friends who are all kind of still have a lot of shame about hooking up or not shame they just think it's completely and theoretical to having a full sexual and connected life and I believe we can have both are what everybody needs to do what works for them, I'm talking about me, but when you're talking about feeling this you know cultivating that energy and celebrating it for me if I am online now I just or like a hookup app or something like that and I feel that energy happening, I instead of like you said it is this weird feeling is I need to like release that instead of releasing it, let it go and just let it well up and meet I have all of that. And the way I celebrate it now to be very I'm very, very conscious of the time between we agree to hook up and when the act happens. And as I've just decided to just instead of just focusing on what's going to happen when I get there or when he gets here. I've just felt that energy and sometimes I started to think this might be the best part of this whole three step process of getting horny and like having all this energy, and then getting off is like getting off is kind of always just, you know, not as delightful as the other two steps.

 

Joel Benjamin  32:18  

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I found that what it does is then it, you know, even random hookups become meaningful there, because you're actually connecting with someone, you're not just using each other to get each other off, you know, so you don't have to even use the word, you know, tantra, you know, you can just say to someone, you know, hey, let that edge for a while, you know, because edging basically forces you to communicate, you know, you got to look each other in the eye periodically and say I'm getting close. And you know, once you kind of get into the groove of edging and cultivating and celebrating that energy together for a while, then you really start to feel its power. And then you start to think well do I want to release because I'm really digging the way I feel right now, you know, so it'll, it becomes the choice not to release doesn't become an act of denial, of self denial, basically, it become a choice where, you know, Okay, I'm gonna, I want to, I want to keep feeling this, I don't want to release any of it. So it's not such a it's not such a, you know, most guys like, Well, how do you do that? How do you how do you you know, you know, choose not to cum, it's, it's like it once you've, you've cultivated that energy for a while, you know, and usually it's not like a long period of time. Usually it's like 20 to 30 minutes of cultivating that energy either by yourself or with someone else. You come into this state of, I don't like this term, but it's a term that most people are familiar with. glooming I call it you've never heard that. Yeah. Good. Hopefully, hopefully. It doesn't like spread because, okay, it's this weird term that I won't even say it again. But basically, it's, it's what it's how people describe that state of, you know, when you see guys being edged like on Twitter or whatever, it's just kind of just this blankness in their in their face, it's like they they go into a trance basically. And I call it cresting because it's a state of it's a very internalized state, and that's why their face gets relaxed. Why, you know, from the outside, it looks like they're not really there. But it's a very internalized, energetic, but at the same time, very, very calm place. It's a really nice place to be and that's what that energy does for us. When we cultivate it for an extended period of time and allow it to really spread throughout our body and you get to that place you get to that cresting zone and then you really start to debate in your mind will do I want to come? Do I just want to be here for a while?

 

Mike Gerle  35:03  

Yeah, I've seen that especially in BDSM scenes where some people stand in line for these guys who know how to connect with the guy on the table and have a have a true that experience you're talking about what you described, I've never really I've seen the guys having that experience. But and what I've seen though is the other guy is just really in tune with the you know, both guys are really in tune with each other and able to get I do like that whole idea of cresting it's just you know, it's like a huge way that you're kind of controlling, right? Yeah, totally. How many orgasms is the right amount of orgasms for a guy to have?

 

Joel Benjamin  35:45  

You know, there's like, there's some formula that that like in Taoism, and I'm trying to remember what it is it has to do with like your age and off the top of my head. I don't remember what it is, but what I tell guys is It becomes self experimentation. Okay? Like when I work with guys one on one, inevitably, almost I always ask them how many times a week just on average, do you ejaculate, you know, and for most guys, they should be ejaculating half as much as they do. And it doesn't mean that you doesn't mean you stroke your cock any less, it doesn't mean that you hook up any less. You just choose not to ejaculate after every session, you know, at the end of every session, but what I tell guys is, you know, cut it in half and just start to notice how you feel on those days or those periods of days. When you don't ejaculate. Notice how much more energy you have. Notice how much more you know, clarity of thought you have and notice how much more creative energy you have, you know, to focus on the things in your life that you're trying to make happen. And then it becomes it's really up to each Individually, you know how long they want to be in that period between ejaculation, you know, some guys, younger guys, the periods are definitely shorter, you know, but it's up to each guy, you know? Yeah, you know, some guys, it's, you know, every couple of days. Some guys, it's every couple of weeks, guys every couple of months.

 

Mike Gerle  37:22  

Well I love that and I love that it's, you know, you're taking our physiology into consideration your age and everything, I just find that super useful. And the older I get too, it's easier to come less and I'm enjoying it more so. And I understand that like things change, you know, as you get younger or older, where where that comes with being able to find that as a as an energy center as a fuel, as a retreat or, you know, it's I love it. I love it and that's coming from highly sexualized gay upbringing I will say, you know, it was all about getting off when I was young. you know.

 

Joel Benjamin  38:06  

Completely.

 

Mike Gerle  38:07  

I thought it was gonna die without it.

 

Joel Benjamin  38:09  

Yeah, yeah. And for a lot of guys, you know, that's, that's, that's basically you know, the pattern that they set up for themselves when they were young and then they just continue that pattern throughout their life and they don't even think about, you know how they feel after they ejaculate. And for the rest of the day, and, you know, for for, you know, the next several days I don't remember where I where I read this, but it takes our body, a third of our energy, basically to replenish our sperm supplies after we ejaculate. So, you know, you think you think in terms of just you know, forget the energetic component, you know, forget the spiritual component just from a physiological perspective. You know, that's a third of your energy that's not going to support your immune system. It's not going to support your digestion, it's not going to support, you know, mental focus, it's just going to, you know, replenish your sperm supply that you probably, you know, shot down the shower drain, you know, so it makes you It makes you think twice about ejaculating. It's like, Okay, do I have, you know, then the next, you know, couple of days? Would it be okay to operate, you know, kind of just on, you know, not as many cylinders as I normally would have going.

 

Mike Gerle  39:28  

Yeah, I think that's great. I think it really is easy to understand. If, let's just say hypothetically, somebody is at the gym, and they're able, you know, able to, like have the choice of getting off or not with another guy. My experience is that the workout is almost impossible. If I try to if I if I come right before I try to work out.

 

Joel Benjamin  39:53  

Yeah, yep.

 

Mike Gerle  39:54  

I mean, that's just a very base level exam. That's not all this spiritual stuff and it's just an everyday.

 

Joel Benjamin  40:00  

That's, but that's most people's, you know, reality is, you know, a lot of guys will wake up in the morning and before they even get out of bed, you know, they'll masturbate and you know, then you just want to roll over and go back to sleep. No, because you're starting off depleting yourself.

 

Mike Gerle  40:19  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  40:19  

You know.

 

Mike Gerle  40:20  

As opposed to I think people don't understand that they're cutting themselves off from creative energy from all that stuff that you mentioned earlier that you know, instead of pumping yourself up, you know that so you know, it's can be a touchy subject but what kind of guys end up in your classes?

 

Joel Benjamin  40:37  

I'm pretty specific as far as you know, how I put my myself and my group out there you know, so I think that draws a certain kind of guy toward my classes and my workshops, meaning

 

Mike Gerle  40:54  

You're talk about like your Instagram account and your...

 

Joel Benjamin  40:56  

Yeah.

 

Mike Gerle  40:57  

Those things.

 

Joel Benjamin  40:57  

Yeah, lots of pictures of sexy guy but at the same time, you know, you read the, you know, the captions and it's all being supported from a spiritual perspective. And that's really important. It's really important that guys understand that. Yeah, there's going to be sexy, naked dudes in the room with you. But we're all here to learn something together. We're all here to become better human beings together. So you know what's important, I think what's important to, is to the circle of men who participate in each workshop is that all the other men who participate are able to meet the group, the circle where it's starting from. So it's really important to me that guys who participate in the workshops have already been working on themselves, you know, spiritually, emotionally and physically. It's important to have some sort of a practice. To have had the curiosity beforehand that you started to delve into it on your own, because it's gonna make the experience of, you know, the whole group a lot better if everybody is starting from similar places. And you know that. Let me just ask you a question for my boyfriend. Are the guys hot?

 

The guys. I mean, I mean. 

 

Mike Gerle  42:24  

I know what you're saying, I just, I'm just gonna get it at home if I don't ask that question.

 

Joel Benjamin  42:29  

No, no, that's, that's, that's cool. I think I think the guys are hot, I think the guys are hot. I think anybody who is grounded and lives in their physical body and is comfortable in their own skin, there's a sexiness to that, for sure, you know, but guys take care of themselves. You know, the guys who participate in the workshops take care of themselves, you know, they go to the gym, you don't have to have a perfect you know, West Hollywood body to come to the workshops, but you have to have enough self love just inherently you have to have enough self love to take care of this, you know, on some level, whether that means doing yoga, whether that means, you know, swimming, whether that means hiking, you have to have some sort of a physical practice that supports your physical body. And I think that's sexy. You know.

 

Mike Gerle  43:19  

I agree.

 

Joel Benjamin  43:20  

All body types are sexy, you know, but someone who takes care of themselves spiritually, mentally and physically, I think is just inherently sexy.

 

Mike Gerle  43:29  

Yeah, from visiting a couple times. I would be there all the freakin time. If we were closer. I would say that you're, you know, the pictures are accurate. And the men are all interesting. They're all different ages. Yeah, they, they all do have those three things in common that you're talking about. Yeah, physically, mentally, spiritually.

 

Joel Benjamin  43:47  

They're all I mean, I think like probably one of the, you know, like, the top end. I mean, there's, you know, there's a couple of guys who are in their late 60s or 70s in our group, we're gonna all be there. Someday, you know, and I think that, you know, it's really important, as you know, I mean, I like to think that the gay community is starting to move beyond just kind of the the focus on youth and beauty and having that be, basically, you know, the way you get in the door to everything. And I think it's important as teachers that we lead the way on that, that we show that you know, what, you know, when you're in your 60s and 70s, and 80s, you're still you're still sexy, and you still want that connection with other people and you've got a lot to offer younger guys, that, you know, you could save them a lot of heartache by, you know, being there and connecting with them and then they won't make the same mistakes that you made along the way. You know.

 

Mike Gerle  44:49  

Well, I'm finding getting older, the guys who are, have invested in themselves on mentally, physically, spiritually, they're, those are the ones that are still you know, lots of men are attracted to them on all three of those levels mentally, and spiritually. But if we don't invest in ourselves, then we just went from being young to being old. And so we had used to offer and now we're old and that's the reason we become isolated.

 

Joel Benjamin  45:16  

Right.

 

Mike Gerle  45:17  

So, with that in mind, I like to ask everybody the same questions on the podcast, especially people who are are modeling these things. So how do you invest in yourself? in your own dignity, I would say, Well, you know, starting with your practices, or what do you do to feed Joel Benjamin's energy?

 

Joel Benjamin  45:36  

Hmm. I practice. I mean, I think that that's really important. I think some form of practice every day is really important and it doesn't have to be a whole elaborate full practice every day. But what I tell the people who you know who practice with me is the same thing that you know that I do myself is that you know, on those days when you've got 10 minutes, sit down at home for 10 minutes, then that's your practice. But something every day, you know, roll out your mat. And whether you actually do, you know, a full, you know, asana practice, or whether you just hum for 10 minutes, something every day, that's one of the things that I've found, helps me sleep at night. And just helps me feel like I'm practicing what I preach. You know, I think that that's really important. It's there's the saying that you practice for your students, and you teach for yourself. The basically, you know, what you learn in your own practice is what then you have to offer.

 

Mike Gerle  46:46  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  46:47  

And inevitably, while you're teaching, and I mean, you know, this as a teacher, while you're teaching when you're giving, you know, you start to make all of these other kinds of connections and you start to really understand those concepts that kind of came to you during your practice, you start to understand them at a much deeper level by sharing them with other people.

 

Mike Gerle  47:09  

I never made that connection before I kind of got it. I'd heard you say that before. But yeah, that all that practice, whether it's meditation or reading, or studying, or being open, is it's for the other people in my life who are going to interact with me.

 

Joel Benjamin  47:24  

And by giving it to them. That's how you're growing as an individual.

 

Mike Gerle  47:30  

Yeah, that's fantastic. What are your special gifts? What are your greatness? You know, what makes you special? And do you think that has anything to do with you being a gay man?

 

Joel Benjamin  47:40  

I think most of what I do and how I kind of move through the world has to do with you know, me being a gay man. I think that gay men are are given a very special gift. You look back through history and you know was always, you know, the gay people of the tribe who were, you know, the shaman and the medicine people and you know the peacemakers of the tribe. And it's because of the qualities that just are inherent to being gay, you know, just the fact that, you know, from a very early age, you realize that you're different than other kids forces, well not forces, but it kind of opens you up to going inside, you know, to internalizing, and to being much more introspective, I think, than other little kids are. So from a very early age, you start to become, I think, much more self aware than other people who are, you know, represented by society as a whole, just it's always out there for them to see they see themselves represented society, all over the place. And for gay people it's becoming more and more now, but you know, still we're not the majority of the population. So I'm hoping that that introspection from an early age continues because I think you grow up to be a much more centered, much more compassionate, much kinder, hopefully much wiser individual than you would be at a younger age. Basically, I think anybody who's paying attention during their life acquires wisdom as they get older. But I think that because as gay people, our introspection usually starts at a much younger age, we acquire that wisdom. We start a lot earlier. So we get more and more of it as we go, because we got a head start basically.

 

Mike Gerle  49:45  

Yeah.

 

Joel Benjamin  49:45  

I think that those are the things that motivate me to want to share those things. And I'm, I don't have it all figured out. But I'm pretty confident in certain things and in the ways that I know that you know, that worked for me. And those are the things that I share the things that I know are the things that that I share. And what I think we all find is that we know a lot more than we think we know.

 

Mike Gerle  50:11  

Yep.

 

Joel Benjamin  50:12  

And that when we actually share those things that we have the courage to, you know, to open our mouths and our hearts, be vulnerable, and put it out there. What we find is that everyone else is thinking and feeling the same thing. Everyone has the same insecurities. Everyone has the same, you know, wants and needs and desires. And it just takes someone to kind of get the ball rolling, and it just helps open people up.

 

Mike Gerle  50:41  

Well, and thank you for doing that for getting the ball rolling, so to speak with men, you know, connecting, moving from, you know, connecting their hearts and their crutches and their spirituality. Thank you for that. Well, I've really enjoyed this conversation in every conversation we've ever had. So thanks for doing this and thanks for rewiring your whole studio just for this interview. No, I'm just joking. I know that you needed to redo a lot of stuff for your online things. And I do want to mention that now that you've gone online. So these classes are offered now, if you're anywhere on the planet listening to this, you can join Joel in Seattle and see this beautiful space and then maybe actually go there sometime.

 

Joel Benjamin  51:29  

Yeah.

 

Mike Gerle  51:30  

Joel, thank you for being here and thank you for the work that you do.

 

Joel Benjamin  51:34  

Absolutely. Thank you for the work that you do, Mikel.

 

Mike Gerle  51:37  

Thank you.

 

Thanks for listening to the show, my friend. Now stay connected by subscribing to GerleMen podcast and sharing with your friends on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or anywhere else podcasts can be found. Visit the web page at GerleMen.com. Sign up for the newsletter and find more details about each episode. Let's make this a conversation, because I'd really like to hear from you. Join us on Facebook at GerleMen. Submit your questions, suggest topics or just chat with your brothers. Want to add your own two cents? Use the voice memo feature on your smartphone, ask a question or say anything. We just might play it on the podcast. Email the file to [email protected] Until next time.

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