The Impact

People have a number of reactions to TBS retreats. Here we post poetry, stories or comments by attendees and members of our community.

“I feel very supported at TBS as one of the few places I can be my authentic self.”

“Felt absolutely empowered and honored-that’s why I come to TBS.”

“It was a joy to see…(the leaders)…working together and to feel the connection they appeared to have. Each contributed obviously from their heart and from their intellectual gift of insight. The music was rich, and each led components of the various rituals in ways that created safety and affirmed embodied sexuality.”

“The quality of my TBS experience has a lot to do with the men who attend with me. My orientation is heterosexual, so of course the women are important to me as well, but it’s the interaction with other men that keeps me coming back.

Part of this draw is the particular men I’ve come to know in the community, men who are glad to see me, and who give a lilt to my heart when I see them. Another is that as a community of men and women, we encourage serious communication on many levels, intellectual, emotional, experiential, spiritual and sexual. In such an environment, we men can doff our armor and put down the shields we have been socialized to carry as protection against other men. The “new guys” who arrive come to a group of men who are used to communicate in these ways, and who are comfortable and vulnerable in “going deep” with each other. The newcomers are thereby encouraged to join in and play by rules that may be unfamiliar or even uncomfortable for them. It came as a great compliment that a man in observing my interaction with other men concluded that I must have a homosexual orientation.

(Don’t worry guys, nobody’s going to change your sexual orientation, it’s not that easy.)

That said, there is a range of physical interaction and affection among men that in the world is sublimated into team sports and other forms of male bonding ritual. At TBS, these ways of relating among men are not sublimated but openly celebrated. There’s a way we men can hug, touch, hold hands that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. In celebrating the bodies of other men, we get to celebrate our own embodiment, our raw physicality. There’s a way that men can hug with an exuberance and closeness that feels in a way freer and less carefully modulated than the way we hug women. For lack of a better word, manly affection is different.

A fringe benefit of this way of relating is that it improves our interactions with women. While an armed warrior with shield and spear at the ready can have an appeal to women, it’s a limited way for us to be in the world. When we men can drop our competition, our testing of each other, our need to prove our “masculinity”, we become much more attractive to women. We get better at hearing what women say. The vulnerability we experience with the other men allows us to be vulnerable with women, to let them know what’s really up with us, to risk honesty over posing or strutting. The women see this and believe me, appreciate it.

The effect of deeper connections among men is to deepen all the connections in our community. That’s what brings me back year after year.”

~Brian B.

Bonfire of the More

crackles of
scented desire
circulating ‘round
the fire
calling forth
rhythmic moves
dancing with
bare feet shoes

this beat is my
dance wild and free
grounded in the
world as pulsing

i step into the
ecstatic bonfire
into the flaming
heat of light
my body’s
burning inside
torched by loving

this beat is my
dance wild and
grounded in the
world, pulsing

let me stoke your
infinite beauty
blow on your
engage in
surrender my

four eyes
throughout the
two bodies
making one light
flickering flames
rising to
seeking form

over and over
fiery love merges
in illuminating
and undulating
dimensions open
to transcend the
releasing a
mandala of
absolute sacred

the beat is our
dance wild and
grounded in the
world as pulsing

surrender to the
bonfire’s trance
allow every
moment longing
to meet
praise the voice
in oxygen
setting ablaze
kisses so sweet

this beat is our
dance wild and free
grounded in the
world as pulsing


“The retreat affirmed many aspects of who I am – spiritually, emotionally, sexuality, intellectually — at this point in my life’s journey of discovery.”

“I was very moved by the sense of community and intimacy that developed throughout the retreat.”

“I valued the experience of community and support for the sacredness of the body and sexuality. I admired leaders for leading such a large group and left on Sunday feeling pleased, connected, affirmed. I was/am also aware of how wonderful it is to have a community open to sexual possibilities – the gentle engagement between men, the loving embraces and tender moments; the support and engagement among women and the sense of commitment to celebrating sexualities and gender richness that is so evident in the space created during this retreat leaves me in awe and filled with hope.”

“(TBS) Rocks! It is a group, a place, an event where sexuality can be celebrated. It is a retreat where relationships of all manners can be accepted and enhanced. Where the fundamentals of healthy relationship are taught and experienced in an open and loving space.”

“I look forward to the next time — I will be back.”

“TBS is my family of choice now and I am so grateful for everyone that brings this magical event into manifestation.”

“I love you! (thats!) I needed this retreat experience. Thank you times a million.”

“After searching my city for a community of compassionate individuals who were open minded, intentional and heart centered, I found TBS. Never before in my life have I connected so deeply, with so much care, love and thoughtfulness. Many in this community are wilder in their taste for passion, seek true openness in friendship and love, enjoy personal growth and complete vulnerability. Never before have I been so connected to friends who deeply listen and want to fill their lives with love.  This is my tribe.

My first retreat changed the way I looked at men, women, couples, relationships and what it means to be truly present for others. Now as a member of this tribe, I value any opportunity to share my heart and soul with those who desire to explore what it means to give, listen, be available and take care of one’s own self.

With every smile, hug, kiss I am honored to feel such deep connection. If you have an open heart, an open mind and a soul that loves to expand, TBS can be your tribe too.”