Therapy doesn't include sex: This isn't sex therapy ("Sexual Healing," Niki D'Andrea, February 17). Sex therapy is practiced by licensed practitioners of clinical mental health, each of whom must — by law — have a copy of HIPAA guidelines, as well as a pamphlet titled "Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex."
The Phoenix Goddess Temple may address the same concerns addressed in sex therapy, just as I may have seen a few photos of brains and report to have studied the same material as brain surgeons. But the criteria for becoming a certified sex therapist include licensure by your state as a mental-health practitioner and don't include the touching of clients inappropriately.
New Times feedback
If anyone paid for services from a person who claims to be a "sex therapist" and is invited or engages in any sexual activity with this person, I would urge you to call your local sexual assault recovery (rape crisis) center or otherwise report this person.
Therapy doesn't include sex. There are many good reasons for this.
Ly-Lan Lofgren, city unavailable
No sex in O.C.: Niki D'Andrea included the Goddess Temple of Orange County as "one of" the types of temples mentioned in her article on the "Phoenix Goddess Temple." We put this in quotes because we don't consider the "Phoenix Goddess Temple" to be a legitimate temple of spirituality in the form ours is.
It is just as the article described — it offers sexual services in exchange for money, with some goddess information and ceremony offered in an attempt to bring it some form of legitimacy.
Those who run it, and other so-called "temples" like it, are using our religion — a very old form of spirituality for thousands of women — as a sly cover to avoid the legal implications of prostitution. If your reporter had actually looked on our Web site, (goddesstempleoforangecounty.com), she would have clearly seen that we are a spiritual temple for women honoring the Ancient Goddess. We have no sex or sexual services available at any time to anyone.
Our temple, one of very few real goddess temples in the modern world, is now inundated with men looking for sexual services. This is highly offensive to us and to the form of spirituality we have been practicing for many years. [There is a] vast world of difference between so-called "temples" and our church, which is registered as a church with the federal government.
There is no sex offered at our temple at any time under any circumstances. Our Sunday Services are for women only, as are our nine Holy Day Ceremonies each year.
We now have to have a conversation with the police of Irvine, proving once again what our organization is and does. Your reporter's careless mistake has caused this.
Reverend Ava Park, Irvine, California
Well, it's not below us: I found the photo by Jamie Peachey [on the cover of the "Sexual Healing" edition] to be offensive, and not because I'm some kind of Christian conservative, but more because I think it's a case of using an image of a woman's body to get more readers. Why not take a picture of one of the priestesses of the temple instead of some ridiculously large-breasted picture of an unknown woman?
I also found the title of the article leading, in that you obviously want readers to think of this temple as a place of prostitution. Why try to cause an uproar over something like this? Why not try to get readers through more cerebral means?
It should be below you to use blatant sexuality to sell your product. Pathetic.
Iris Dove, Mesa
Despicable practices: This is so sick. I am a licensed massage therapist [and had] to learn and practice so many draping rules and personal boundaries. To think that these people can get away with this is just despicable.
Rabina Kahn, city unavailable
Good luck to the temple: I wish [the Phoenix Goddess Temple] luck. Our society is so deeply troubled and confused about sexuality that [it] will sorely need it.
The wounded people who can't tolerate consensual activities between adults that they don't personally approve of will demand [the temple's] persecution.
William Roentgen, city unavailable
Honoring viewpoints: Thank you for writing this article. I honor your [writer's] role as a person of this world, in sharing [her] perspective.
There are many points in the article I disagree with. [But] in the realm of my own personal beliefs about inclusion and honoring everyone as a part of this spiritual world, I honor each viewpoint as part of God.
Kris Ellen, city unavailable
John defends his buddies: I would like to call you out on the puerile pap foisted on your readers as investigative journalism. It rather reminded me of the kind of bullshit papers that I used to crank out at the last second in college.
It is clear that Niki D'Andrea already had made her judgment about the Goddess Temple before she ever put pen to paper; simply put, this was a hatchet job by a second-rate hack from the word "go."
I am familiar with the temple, both in Phoenix and Sedona, and count many of the practitioners as friends. These people are, by and large, kind, giving, compassionate people driven not by the almighty dollar but by a deeply held system of beliefs and a desire to contribute something good to the community and the world.
It is regrettable that Ms. D'Andrea didn't avail herself of a session at the Temple, as it could have been enlightening to her, and possibly, hopefully, they could have removed the large puritanical stick wedged in her anus.
John Kevin Felsch, Scottsdale
Do you get to pick?: Do you get to pick which goddess you want to rub your Root Chakra?
Bob Fairlane, city unavailable
A "goddess" speaks: I am one of the goddesses at the Phoenix Goddess Temple mentioned in the article by Niki D'Andrea. While I can understand her skepticism as an onlooker, I certainly don't agree with her views.
I offered a couple's healing session to Niki and her girlfriend, but she didn't receive a session from me or anyone else while she was at the temple.
I have studied sexology at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, where I was accepted into the master's program without preliminary college because of my experience in the adult industry and training in tantra. I dropped out because reading about sex and analyzing it isn't my path.
If there are people emotionally damaged by our tantra sessions, I would sincerely like to hear from them. I have heard of way more positive testimonials than negative experiences.
I myself have had miraculous healings through my hands since I came to practice at the Phoenix Goddess Temple. I had someone come to me after a car accident. I prayed to Jesus and Mother Mary to help me, and after he got off the table, his pain and numbness were gone. He let me know by e-mail weeks later that he was truckin' around the country pain-free and still off his pain meds!
Leila Swan, Phoenix
Alex, you don't know Niki: Who cares? The person who wrote this article seems to be pushing an agenda rather than writing a balanced piece.
Might want to check and make sure you're a journalist rather than a sexually obsessed, religious nut-job pushing your version of truth. You're as bad as the Muslims who snip little girls' privates to make them chaste. Grow up!
Alex Kasper, city unavailable
A fractured life: I have visited this temple, and I respect what they are doing. Their principles address the whole person. If we separate sexuality and make it a crime or sinful to touch, we end up with a fragmented experience of life.
Mare Simone, city unavailable
Heal the planet with sex: Time to legalize prostitution. Whatever two (or more) consenting adults agree to do sexually is none of anyone else's business. Look how many marry for money. Is that any different than having sex for money?
Save the jail space and the time and money wasted in courts for real criminals. Cheaters will cheat whether it's with a prostitute or their neighbor's partner. So that's really got nothing to do with it.Prostitution alleviates sexual tension and the likelihood that sexual predators will prey on your son or daughter. Sexually free societies are less likely to be violent.
Maybe that's how we heal the planet. More sex for everyone!
Janet Lessin, city unavailable
Mainstreamers ruin everything: It is unfortunate that the Phoenix Temple chose to allow the press to enter. Such places should avoid the press like the plague.
Much as such practitioners wish to spread their message, and to expose more people to alternative forms of healing, the reaction of the press and mainstream medicine are typical and well displayed in this abysmally biased article.
Evan Sarver, city unavailable
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Tantra is the way: As someone who researched and practiced a variety of tantric traditions solo and with a partner, I believe that the temple constitutes a gateway to many teachings.
On Friday nights, we teach aspects of tantra that open doors for those who might be willing to do the work. Sadly, most people are unwilling to do the work it takes to attain mastery. The people in their lives would be better off if they did.
[Because] 70 percent of women report they aren't orgasmic during intercourse [and] 60 percent of men say they are unable to satisfy their partner. This condition is correctible, but it requires study and practice.
Daka Rose, city unavailable
You gotta feel it to believe it: While your article may attempt the illusion of balanced reporting, I must say that I find it biased, ignorant, and inflammatory.
Shama Helena, city unavailable