About Safer Sex-Positive & Spiritual Communities

3SC Background, Mission & Vision

We are a group of volunteers who formed in May of 2022 to address allegations of harm occurring at ISTA (International School of Temple Arts) and Highden Temple. Many of us had been hearing of and/or experiencing this harm directly, or toward people close to us for years. All of us have had both positive and negative experiences in our extensive participation with sex-positive and spiritual communities over the last fifteen years.

We believe that there are many teachings and practices within the sacred sexuality, sex-positive, and neo-tantra fields (including within ISTA) that are useful and transformative, and many that are harmful. ISTA has a large following and plenty of people who can attest to having good experience with them. Unfortunately, there are also many accounts of people being harmed in various ways, including not having their reports of harm or critical feedback taken seriously or handled in a professional or caring way. 

Oftentimes, it can take years of involvement before a participant realizes that they have been harmed or feel healed or supported enough to take action. Our goal is to advocate for those people and pave the way for transformative justice and community accountability, and in doing so, create a blueprint others may follow in the future when facing similar challenges.

Mission

The prime directive of our work is to make sex-positive and spiritual communities safer for all, which includes: 

– Collecting and providing evidence of patterns of harm, so organizations can understand the types and scope of harm they have caused and take appropriate action to repair past harm and reduce future harm.

– Advocating for individuals who have been harmed by these organizations to receive appropriate acknowledgement, reparation, and/or support for their healing.

– Promoting that effective and transparent feedback, harm reporting, and accountability processes are essential for the safety of every sex-positive and spiritual organization.

– Offering informed suggestions and encouragement for organizations to radically update their structures, curriculum, policies, and practices in regard to harms caused by: trauma activation and reactivation, sexual assault and harassment, student/teacher power dynamics, lack of informed consent, racism and cultural appropriation, and most importantly, the risks of high-demand group culture, coercive communication norms, and lack of healthy feedback loops.

Vision

The greater purpose of our work, as we look to the future is:

– To model and advise others on how to employ transformative justice ideas and practices (instead of punitive systems) to create crucial cultural shifts in our communities that will substantially and sustainably reduce harm, including harms that result from not having restorative processes in place.

– To normalize that it is necessary for every sex-positive and spiritual community to develop and continually revisit and update their best practices regarding:

  • informed and ongoing consent
  • trauma-informed curriculum and facilitation
  • teacher/student power dynamics
  • cultural appropriation and systemic racism
  • the risks of high-demand (cult-like) culture

– To support the wider community in learning about and developing the patience, participation, persistence and compassion that transformative justice processes require. 

Leadership Team

Lalita Diaz (she/her)

Lalita Diaz is a neo-tantra teacher and psychotherapist in-training.  She has over 13 years experience with navigating sex-positive and spiritual communities. She has been publicly critical of some ISTA teachers and practices for many years and was relieved to find a committed group of people willing to take action. Lalita is a strong supporter of transformative justice approaches to community healing and evolution. She is devoted to learning and proliferating wisdom about emerging community-created solutions that address the unique problems people face in sex-positive and spiritual communities. She holds a BA in communication from UC San Diego, an MA in education from UC Berkeley, and has an MA in psychology in progress at the California Institute of Integral Studies. 

Cara Cordoni (she/her)

Cara Cordoni is an entrepreneur and a certified Leadership Coach since 2009. Cara attended her first ISTA retreat in April 2021. She returned as an assistant in October 2021 and attended L2, her last retreat, in April 2022. In June 2022, she came in contact with the Issues with ISTA Facebook Group and recognized that along with many others, she had been harmed. Cara experienced triggering of existing CPTSD, including depression, panic attacks, and nervous system dysregulation. Cara’s recovery journey has included education, individual therapy, recovery group participation and community engagement. Cara joined the 3SC volunteer team in August 2022 and has taken an active role in both the processing of survivor reports and the mediated talks with ISTA.

Dave Booda (he/him)

Dave Booda is a writer, musician and social entrepreneur. He’s the co-founder of IntimacyFest and has led over 300 workshops on connection, touch and relationship. He has consulted for and facilitated experiences for companies, retreats and conferences in the areas of group cohesion, creativity and communication. He has published over 200 essays for boodaism.com, and played over 1000 shows as a touring singer/songwriter. He is a former naval officer and currently lives at the Emerald Village in San Diego, California with his wife Vicki, and their dog Thanos.

Sherry (she/her)

Sherry has been involved with the sacred sexuality community for 20 years. She has an extensive background with neo-tantra and has trained with Margot Anand, Steve and Lokita Carter, and Deborah Anapol. Sherry has hosted conscious play parties and polyamory potlucks, and been featured on discussion panels and led restorative justice groups to deal with challenges in the sex positive community. Sherry has helped produce educational films on women’s sexuality, and specializes in creating sacred spaces for art and celebration. She is a licensed minister who regularly leads earth-based holiday ceremonies and rituals for hand-fasting, sacred union, pregnancy termination, gardening, and more. Her connection to being on the leadership team for this project has been as the admin for the Facebook group and holding the container for people to safely share their issues they had in either ISTA or Highden within the group.

Kristen O’Guin (she/they/flexible)

Kristen O’Guin has been a sexual empowerment coach and sacred sexuality educator since 2005, working with individuals, couples, and ENM groups, as well as teaching classes and workshops she created. She helps people learn how to have more fulfilling intimacy, including teaching sexual practices.  Kristen is an advocate for sexual minorities, being queer and nonbinary/agender herself, and facilitates LGBTQ+ trainings. She is anti-racist and against all forms of oppression.  She has done various kinds of work related to sexuality, including sex-positive performance art and hosting many sex-positive gatherings.  Kristen has had many teachers in the realm of sexuality over the years, including tapping into the wisdom of her own body, and getting her masters of education in human sexuality studies from Widener University.

Michael Author (he/him)  

Michael Author is a former, co-founding member of 3SC. He supports individuals who are desiring more magic, mystery, and community in their lives, and mentors men surrounding sexuality and confidence. He has created a modality called “Depth Sexuality,” and in the past he has created an educational platform for non-monogamy called “Open Love Style,” and a sexuality-based community called “The Super-Secret Open Love Collective.” Michael is a stand for truth and compassion for those who have been harmed in sexuality-centric spaces.


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