Have you heard of “doing”? I hadn’t, not until I read Gia Lynne’s new book On Blossoming.
Turns out, doing is a regular, openly talked about practice within her community, one she’d heard about as a teen and later deliberately set up for herself to be one of her first sexual experiences with a partner.
Now, this is not the focus of the book, but it is a whole chapter, in which Gia describes all the details.
So I decided this would be a great interview! Watch below to check it out:
We discuss many things:
- How her community’s focus on pleasure is different than what you and I grew up with
- Why her parents deliberately avoided telling her or her sister that they were pretty
- The communication skills that she learned from doing and why it simplifies consent
Connect with Gia at her website**
**While I endorse Gia’s book, I do NOT endorse the MeetUp group, community, or the classes they offer.
The community is controversial, called a “sex cult” by some. I do not hold Gia accountable for her associations or the crimes of others.
However, if I learn that the book leads readers to the groups, or that proceeds from the book support the groups, this post and all endorsement of the book will be removed from this site.
Read on for an account of a founding member’s (now ex-member) experience.
“I am a firm believer in everyone’s right to freedom of speech, and freedom to live their lives as they choose, Including sexually. Your body and your mind are yours to experience and to choose what feels true and right. There is a line though where this freedom ends, and it is not blurred or a gray area.
When a person or community causes harm, especially to minors, they clearly cross that line. RJ Testerman, the author’s father, was 32 years old and I was 12 when he started grooming me. At 13 we started having sex, at 16 I left home and started working for him in San Francisco, CA. At 17 he sold me to a madam. At 18 we started building the community that would go on to become the Welcomed Consensus. This building of the community included physical violence, mostly RJ hitting any woman who “resisted” her own “pleasure.”
This community replaced my own family and took precedence over any other relationships. The author’s mother, as well as other women, also became part of this community building. Over the span of the next 40 years, things would change as they are apt to do. The beliefs we all held as true loving ways to navigate the world became fixated practices. These practices morphed into typical cult mind control manipulations purported to be based on developing love and truth between men and women.
In hindsight, it is clear this was inevitable, because RJ is a traumatizing narcissist. I believed – up until 4 years ago when I had a massive breakdown – that RJ had actually saved my life. I believed that the abuse I suffered under his tutelage was because he loved me. He always told me I could count on his love and he would give me everything I wanted and take care of me forever. The problem being, he decided what I wanted, and I believed him. It is difficult to describe what it is like to believe one thing one day, and then know something entirely opposite the next day.
The truth was painfully unveiled for me, and now I am compelled to pull back the curtain for everyone else. I started a blog to expose RJ and his group, www.TruthAboutRJ.com. It is not just for the people who remain, like his daughter who wrote this book, but all of RJ’s children and their mothers who still surround and protect him.
I have been telling my story online for 6 months now. Although people in the cult call it a smear campaign, no one has actually denied that any part of my story is true. Nor has anyone explained how RJ’s version of what happened between us, the one I swallowed for decades, was correct and just. Ostracism has been the only response.
I will continue to tell the origin story of RJ and his group. I persist for all those people I helped to recruit and helped convince to get involved on any level with RJ. I persist regardless of the pain, for the people who send me email about recognize their own abuse by RJ and the group in my telling. It is difficult to hear how RJ used my relationship with him as proof of the legitimacy of his belief system and teaching techniques that include physical and mental abuse. Finally I persist because I do actually love them and now that I understand the abusive confusion they live in will not rest until he is stopped.
I am not fighting the contents of this book; it is not for me to judge or review.
The issue is whether the book targets underage girls and leads them to Meetup groups to recruit more people into a community run by a known pedophile and pimp. Although I believe the author to be bright and loving, she was also born and raised in this community. It took me 40 years to come to terms with the truth. What can I possibly expect of her?
Like so many problematic people, communities, and institutions, there is also good that exists here. There is valuable information that changes lives. The question is, how do we move on? How do we enjoy the useful information and push back on the harmful? How do we discern what of the information is part of an abusive money making system that uses subterfuge and deceit?
The only path I see is transparency.
Anyone reading this book should know the origin of the information. Like all sex books, this needs to be evaluated through the critical lens of consent. Where does the author get authority on this subject? Part of this community’s belief system is that it didn’t matter my age, I was responsible and RJ was just responding. He would say, treating my like a full human being. It is important that people know that this group does not hold to normal social morals or even laws when it comes to sex and the age of consent.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge Anya for her immediate and compassionate response to my call, and her willingness to put it all out there, my story, the author’s story, and the interview. It is an example of integrity in information sharing and very brave. Only through open dialogue will any of us truly begin to heal.
Thanks for reading,
I lived with this group last year. It’s a sex cult. The DOing is the Kool-Aid.
Thank you for sharing, Sasha. You have a unique perspective which we can all benefit from. If you don’t feel like answering, I understand, but if you’re open to having a discussion, do you think DOing is unhealthy or the context (the group) in which it was taught?
The practice was exploited in the context of the group.
That was my hunch. Context is so important. When sex is added to a context, it often magnifies the situation. Sex can make a good thing better and a bad thing worse. The tricky part is knowing whether what you’re starting with is healthy or unhealthy. And part of context is who is involved, since what’s unhealthy for me might be healthy for someone else. That’s why my work tends to center on boundaries. I think we can sense it most of the time, but tend to talk ourselves out of our warning signals.
I’m grateful for your voice, Sasha!
There are always warning signs. What I understand now that I didn’t understand before is that cults and abusers have systems and strategies in place for breaking down the personal boundaries, overriding the intuition, and shutting down the critical thinking of their marks. I will soon be posting an article to http://www.truthaboutrj.com about the red flags I experienced in the early stages of my involvement with the Welcomed Consensus.
Thank you for creating a forum for open discussion, Anya. Your inquiry is much appreciated.
Hi Anya and Sasha,
So glad there is a discussion about this. Not Just the Welcomed Consensus use thought reform techniques. Many of the people I have read and listened to were in yoga cults! I love yoga!
It is the deception part that is damaging, for sure. I recently posted a blog about how this specific cult works. Sexual addiction and spiritual materialism is just a small part, but DO dates are definitely the hook to get you started. Yes there is benefit in manual stimulation of the clitoris, and these folks didn’t invent it, More house in Lafayette California did in the 60’s. RJ took the information and used it as a business model. There are many who have done this, RJ is the only one I know of who has morphed into a destructive practice. Here are more details, https://www.truthaboutrj.com/blog/sex-cults-and-rock-n-roll-part-2-during. Thanks, to both you.
I love yoga, too! I can’t imagine how it’s turned into a cult… But I certainly knew about One Taste and OMing. I have always steered clear of them, because there didn’t seem to be enough emphasis on communication and consent and privacy. I believe they turned genital stimulation into a destructive practice, and they closed up shop after it all came out. I heard they also learned the practice from Lafayette Morehouse. More here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-06-18/the-dark-side-of-onetaste-the-orgasmic-meditation-company. In my opinion, any sexual practice can be used for good or ill. As DOing is described in the book, I think it’s educational and good.
Try listening to Rachel Benrnstein’s podcast http://matthewremski.com/wordpress/those-wounds-are-a-kind-of-ink-conversation-with-rachel-bernstein-on-indoctrination-podcast-pt-1/ you can find out about how many organizations use systems of control to make money and get followers, it is chronic in yoga. I imagine you have heard of what’s happening with Bikram? It is how abusers get away with this stuff for decades. http://www.espn.com/espnw/culture/feature/article/23539292/after-serious-allegations-founder-bikram-yoga-practitioners-crossroads.
It’s funny you used that link about One Taste, I guess you haven’t read that part of my blog? The founders of One Taste were trained by RJ and the Welcomed Consensus and lived in their SF house before every meeting More house. The destructive practice of this kind of genital stimulation continues, with no emphasis on consent, communication or privacy in the Welcomed Consensus, the group this author teaches for and lives with and her father RJ runs. One Taste was shut down by the FBI, they didn’t close willingly, because they had enough complaints. The WC is much smaller and stays under the radar in most cases. DOing is trademarked by the Welcomed Consensus so even if you are trying to keep distance from endorsing them, the use of their trademark is exactly that. Promoting “their” practice of DOing is promoting their abuse. You are right, everything, even sexual practices can be used for good or bad. In this instance it is being used for harm, there are other people who have taken this practice, developed by More house not the WC, and not perverted genital stimulation.
Even friends who haven’t been involved in this group for years struggle with the aftermath, let alone the more recent survivors. It is difficult for survivors to watch someone try and salvage DOing when they are still struggling with the sexual addiction this group instilled through this practice and others. You are not the only one who can’t imagine what it is like to be lied to and tricked, that is why groups like these are so effective.
I’m really grateful this dialogue is happening and you are brave Anya to not shut it down. It is a good example of how integrity is demonstrated, please note that neither the author or anyone in her group is willing to engage and her interview has been taken down on other sites because of it. It is also shows how even well meaning people with big hearts can unknowingly stray into legitimizing and endorsing hurtful groups. Your defense of this information is fine, but this still feels like promotion to some folks. This author was an integral part of some people’s abuse, is it for them to rise above and realize she is indoctrinated to a huge extent? Forgive her for she knows not what she does? Maybe but that doesn’t make it less painful for those suffering from her or the groups actions. Have you asked “Gia” to explain these charges?
No, I haven’t asked Gia to engage on this. I suppose a simple thing I can do is change the blog to “doing” rather than “DOing” to avoid the trademark issue. Thanks for letting me know.