Be the Boss of Fear (prequel to The Loveless Warrior)

14 Aug 2017, Posted by Kate Henderson in Katie's Blog


After quite some thoughtful consideration he said, “Can I put my hand around your throat?”

I was at a tantra event and that was the first thing this young guy requested in an exercise that involved asking permission to touch another for our own pleasure.

“Well yes you can.”

If I hadn’t been so surprised I might have said something much more revealing of my delight.

Often I go to these kind of events and I end up feeling like I’m still coaching clients because no one really meets me in moving ways. Not this night.

He ended up kneeling behind me with both hands around my throat, biting my neck. The event had only just begun but I could almost have left then because I was so satisfied. He was young, we’d never met before, he had no idea how I’d respond and he made a bold request to touch me in commanding ways right from the get go. And then he ratcheted his requests up in quick succession. I love going from 0 to 100 in intimacy with perfect strangers. My kind of man – direct, desirous and gutsy.

When I skied a lot I used to really like the motto “No guts, no glory”. It’s applicable in most endeavours. I skied fast (and I skied to show off). I also skied to scare myself a bit. The thrill factor goes way up on the edge of fear. That’s where we can tap into positive stress and the good kind of fight or flight adrenalin response – when we see our own fear and choose to chase it down to empower ourselves by eating it alive.

Bad stress is when fear bites at our heels and we run in the other direction. We let fear call the shots instead of beckoning to it, facing it square on and staring it down.

It’s so natural for healthy masculine expression to make itself known via powerful intentions. Intentions backed up with the desire and willingness to act. But these days that leading edge is so often fraught with cripling fear. We’ve become so shy to do what the fuck we want. Instead of feeling that fear and leaning into it we allow it to chase us all the way home and nag at us with depleting regret.

Don’t let your fears boss you around! Don’t let them be your bully. Jump in the ring with them instead and go a few rounds. Show them who’s who. Surprise yourself.

Fears are really our allies dressed up as monsters. We can let them lurk in the shadows and taunt us or we can pounce on them to have them vanquished.

At the tantra temple night we repeated the same exercise with different partners. I could feel the nerves in an older guy so when it was my turn I started very gently. “Can I touch your shoulder?”, “Can I touch your legs?, “Can I put my hand on your cheek?” Then when he openned and relaxed into a settled place where I’d gained his trust, I strategically escalated the fear factor and asked “Can I touch you wherever I want to?”

He said no.

Instead of taking that scary monster of the unknown by the throat and leading the charge with saying “yes”, he let his fear dictate retreat. He wasn’t prepared to take the chance and surrender to uncertainty, so he missed the opportunity to revel in the rich rewards that can come from risk.

I was never going to touch him in a way that was too much. He just feared I would. But he’ll never know that now. He didn’t get to feel the fight or flight rush of fear as he said yes to the fear of relinquishing control. And he didn’t get to revel in the liberating relief of finding that I would have carried on exactly as I had been previously – touching him in deeply reverent and tender ways.

No guts, no glory.