In a welcome distraction from the economic doom and gloom that domiantes the media this weekend, I’ve found myself absorbed in a story carried by the Sunday Times Style Magazine. The piece focusses on a “new” sex therapy that revolves around what are termed “sharing groups”. These sharing groups do vary in form but it seems, according to The Sunday Times that some promote antimonogomy. The story seemed fairly straight forward and interesting – monogamy is constructed as one of those “ludicrous, unnatural social conventions that stand between you and spiritual enlightenment”. The solution seems to be get naked and explore yourself sexually with whoever you want. All this apparently features on a new DVD. There are some rather terrific quotes – perhaps notably “you make my vagina tingle” and the piece seems to really dismiss the group in the final paragraph (after a generally positive piece) as horny hippy loons. The paper also directs the readers to trueryan.com to read more about “sharing groups”. So off I went, and a bit of Googling later (isn’t it scary how much we leave on the web?) you could be forgiven for having a totally different view of he groups from reading the web. Far from a radical antimonogmy movement, there is no mention of nudity, let alone sex on the various sharing forums. All in all, it seems a rather interesting group that I want to know more about but after an hour of surfing the web I feel I now know less than when I started. As well as the Ryan site there is a sharing group site here. That site contains details of a future “sharing retreat” bu again the whole sex/naked thing is really not there and you have to construe the word ‘honesty’ pretty widely to think that’s a hint that you’ll be nude. Anyway, details of that retreat can be found here.

The below text is a commentary on a May 2008 retreat in Spain. After the Sunday Times piece, many of the sentences take on a new meaning:

‘We gathered 3 times a day and every single time it felt fresh. Each of us
sincerely exploring our edges, feeling into each other, offering feedback and
holding the space for whatever wanted to arise. There was nothing to do yet
everything was taken care of, without anybody leading. From the first moment
everyone’s contribution to the flow of the group created a powerful collective,
balancing itself. When we bubbled up, one of us would remind us to drop. When we
drifted into a story, one of us would remind us to be still. When we got really
serious, one of us would lighten us up. When we were guessing, one of us would
see clearly. Since we have been back we have realized how powerful this group
was for us. This profound and nourishing experience of living together as a
group is a great encouragement for us to keep expanding and connecting. ‘

If on the other hand you did more around ‘The Workshop’ DVD referred to you realise that the piece is really based on that film, shown earlier this year as part of the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It’s that film that provides the picture on the right. Thanks to the joys of the Internet we can find out a bit more about this “guru” Ryan Spielman who The Sunday Times link to and who promotes these “sharing groups”. He appears to feature in a few YouTube videos. Here we apparently see him (I could be wrong) putting his yoga abilities to good use:

OK, maybe I’ve been a little mean – here is the trailer for the film on YouTube. It looks rather good.

Errr….hang on…did they say aliens? – that wasn’t in the Sunday Times piece – I can’t think why. So what do these grous stand for and can attendees at the 2009 Malaga retreat expect much talk of aliens – it’s a shame The Sunday Times didn’t dig a little deeper!

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