While “spiritual” and “strip club” might not be terms you would normally think of in the same sentence, Lana Shay believes differently. On this episode of SLSP, host Tatiana Berindei and tantrika, exotic dancer and writer Lana Shay dive deep into the role of spirituality in sex work. About to release her new book about her ten-year journey as a sex worker, Lana shares with our listeners her vision of a conscious strip club and how she sees the new wave of spirituality in the sex work industry unfolding. Tune in to this fascinating, stigma-reducing and consciousness-expanding conversation!
Hello everyone! Welcome to the Sex, Love and SuperPowers podcast show. I am your host, Tatiana Berindei, and today I have a delightful guest with me, Miss Lana Shay.
And we are going to be discussing: Can sex work be spiritual? Let me tell you a little bit more about Lana before we dive in. I think we’re in for a real treat today with this topic.
Lana Shay is a writer and the co-founder of psychedelictimes.com, purecombo.com, and lanashay.com. She has traveled to six continents and spent a cumulative of seven years outside of the U.S. She’s a trained dance instructor, yoga instructor, reiki practitioner, massage therapist, combo practitioner, certified life and recovery coach, and has studied tantra for the past eight years.
Writing has always been a passion on Lana’s. In her personal blog, The Sensual Foodist, she writes about the role of nourishing food in the bedroom and between lovers. This concept gained interest from individuals seeking support in intimate relationships, and eventually developed into a co-authored book, Conscious Love, Enlightened Relationships and Soulful Sex, which was published in 2016. Lana’s articles as The Sensual Foodist can be found on goodmenproject.com, sakara.com, realfoodswitch.com, and various sites about holistic living.
The working title of her new book is Erotic Hustle, Redefining Sin through Sacred Sexuality. So, let’s give her a big warm SLSP welcome. Thank you so much for joining us on the show, Lana.
Thank you, and thank you for that incredible introduction.
You are so welcome. I’m going to throw you in the pool, just like I do with all of our guests. Going to start this off by asking you, what are your superpowers?
This is such a fun question. Super powers. I will start with one superpower. My superpower is sensuality.
How is that a superpower?
Is it a super power because I can experience things on a deeper level when I fully tune in with all of my sense.
Absolutely. And that is the tantric path, after all, right?
Beautiful. I love it. So, I am really curious. You know this topic of, can sex work be spiritual, is a fascinating one for me. Because I think there is a lot of stigma around sex workers, around strippers, people who work in that industry. And you are someone who’s coming with a very different background and holding a very different space around it, which is why I wanted to have you on the show. Because I think you’re holding a really unique perspective and a really valuable one.
So, I would just love to hear a little bit from you, sort of how you got into that work. What your interface with it is. If someone is listening to this and they have no experience of you, they have, you know, this is just like a, “Huh?” Kind of topic. Like, “Oh. This piqued my interest, so I’m going to press play and see what’s here.” How do you want to introduce us to this topic?
The topic of sex work being spiritual?
Yeah. And just your foray into it. What’s your background with it?
I can definitely say that my first introduction to sex work, and specifically exotic dancing, was not focused on spirituality. I didn’t have any awareness of bringing spirituality into that space. It took a while to get there.
Because I started as a 22-year-old way far out in the country, in Wisconsin, in a tiny little dive club. I was there simply because I wanted to make money fast and easy so I could travel outside of the U.S. as fast as possible.
And correct me if I’m wrong, it seems like a reason why most women go into that work, is because you can make a lot of money fast.
Absolutely. And the freedom in it is that you can work anywhere in the country. Sometimes, if you can set it up the right way, anywhere in the world. Also, it can be really fast money. And there’s no schedule. Most places, you choose when you go in. So there’s some freedom there, as well.
So, how did you go from there to bringing spirituality into it?
It was a process that, I think it unfolded over the course of 10 years, but really in the past, I’d say, four years. That I really started to see a different terrain I would walk into a gentlemen’s club. A lot of deep internal work with plant medicines and psychedelics have definitely been brought into this work.
Say more about that. Like, just in your own process, in our own personal path, or are you actually using them within the context of the gentlemen’s clubs that you’ve been working at or that you have worked at?
That’s a great question. I would love it if I could incorporate, legally, plant medicines and psychedelics within the walls of a gentlemen’s club, though I was doing this work all on my own and then bringing my insights and practices to the work when I would be in these gentlemen’s clubs.
And so, how did you do that? What were some of the insights that you had, and how were you able to translate that onto the stage?
Yeah. So, I knew everything on just a cognitive level. Just, I understand this, almost like a book, academic sort of feeling. Okay, I’ve learned tantra. I know these techniques. I know these practices. And I felt them, and was starting to really get them into my body. Though, I believe that plant medicines and psychedelics really helped me integrate these practices into my being. And it was a felt sense, and became part of who I am, as opposed to just understanding them, and knowing the material, and very technical sort of thing. And it became part of me, and part of my practices.
So, what would you see were some of the biggest insights you had in those journeys?
Yeah. Insights. So, I do detail one specific experience in my book, and that is when I saw with Ayahuasca for the first time. I didn’t have any relationship, I hadn’t developed a relationship with this medicine, and didn’t know exactly how to navigate. So I drank two cups. I’ll put it really blatantly, even for people who might not know, have any reference point for that. That’s not any sort of required amount. Every individual is different. Someone can have one cup. It’s like a shot glass. Like an ounce. So I had two of those, two ounces. And I’m a very sensitive person. I’m sensitive to everything that I take in. A sip of wine, for example. I can feel it. Just to give a reference point.
So, I had a good amount during that first journey. The messages that started coming in, once I was fully deep in this experience, and had totally disassociated with the external world, was this whole internal journey of my womb space, and what was going on in there, and visuals there. It was, like, all of these colors, and crystals, and fractal, beautiful, sacred geometries. And the message coming in was that this space is sacred, and that sex is sacred, and that connecting with somebody else through sex or lovemaking is a sacred act. Anyone is privileged and should be honored to enter my space, and to enter anyone’s space in that way.
And to hold this sort of connection in a really high place and be really intentional. And that was a really strong message, and it’s almost, it’s difficult to put into words. It was more of a feeling that became part of me.
I get it. I really want to dive into this, because you’re totally speaking my language here, and we have to go to a quick break. So, before we go to break, will you tell our listeners where they can go to find out more about you?
Perfect. So, we’ve been talking with Lana Shay about, can sex work be spiritual? More when we get back. Stay tuned.