by David Townsend
(Reprinted with permission)
It's my delight to be at least a little acquainted with Allen Silver, a Sacred Intimate based in the Bay Area with a long, deep practice of erotic service. (You may also know him as one of the hottest daddies ever in gay erotic film.) A few weeks ago, I heard Allen give a wonderfully smart, grounded, articulate interview about his new memoir and manifesto, Man of Use.
I wish there were more books like this out in the world, by men who understand erotic service as a calling, in the most authentic sense of that word. As Allen makes clear, that calling is the realization of something intrinsic and essential to his deepest nature, a fulfillment of the core of his being. "There was a calmness that came over me when I discovered that this is what I was put here on this earth to do," he writes. The story of his journey into this work--of how he discovered his gift for it, how he trained, and how his practice has evolved as social expectations have shifted over two decades--is a moving narrative of one man's journey into greater wholeness, the transformation of his wounds into gifts. It's a story of the soul's healing being inseparable from repair of the world.
I found his understanding of authentic service--as possible only when grounded in self-awareness and self-respect--to be one of the wisest aspects of his short, personally revealing account. It's an insight he expresses further in the interview. It's when we've brought enough wisdom and compassion to bear on our own life to see it clearly that we can dedicate our own presence, within a clearly and intentionally built container, to the good of another. It's not about setting ourselves entirely aside, but about making of ourselves an instrument of peace, of healing, of joy during an encounter in which we are as wholly present as we are capable of being.
My own prayer of preparation for sessions has long been, "God be in my ears and in my listening. God be in my heart and in my loving. God be in my cock and in my desiring. God be in my mind and in my understanding. God be in my lips and in my speaking." It's not only each of those elements that's important for me, but the sequence of my attention to them.
For Allen, playfulness, vulnerability, and trust in the moment are the touchstones of practice. And his own mantra is, "I am Allen Silver. I am a man of use. I have something to learn from the world. I have something to teach others in the world because I might know things that they don't know. We are on a journey of discovery."
Like Moses' burning bush in the wilderness, the calling is to be aflame, and yet not consumed.