As an introduction to Calle Rehbinder’s tantric teaching at the JoyRide Malmö festival in 2014, Calle was interviewed by Charlotte Rudenstam, one of the administrators of the festival. This is what came out of that interview:
Calle Rehbinder invites you to playful tantra at The JoyRide Malmö – love in action
Meet Calle Rehbinder, who together with his beloved wife Jennie led groups focusing on love since the mid 2000s.
To me it’s like Calle is swimming in a sea of love, exploring sexuality, sensuality and intimacy from many different angles. He can dive in to a shamanic drumjourney, as well as pledge for love and sex as a birthright on the political scene.
The last few years he has also returned to playfulness and created a new workshop where he combine playfulness and pleasure: Tantra lila!
When Calle Rehbinder is around, I often hear him from a distance. It’s that big happy laughter of his, that he shares with the world.
– Life is to rich and interesting to allow myself to be bored, states Calle.
Life is here to be lived, to be enjoyed in many ways.
That’s why I see Calle Rehbinder as a hedonist, enjoying lifes pleasures, being a vegetarian gourmet, loving french cheese and knowing a lot about the gifts of Dinoysos.
Sometimes Calle, having a background in theatre, seems to think that most people take life to serious, so he puts on the red nose of a clown… and meet life from that perspective.
Calle is a very dedicated person, he really loves to take a discussion about… anything I guess… and when discussing he really loves having “the last word”.
One of the fields Calle Rehbinder is exploring and debating is sexuality. He can talk about sexuality from any angle… philosophy, history, artistry, pornography, playfulness, spirituality… you name it.
Calle brings his vibrant self to The JoyRide Malmö – love in action, where he well lead at least two workshops. And we are so happy that the Rehbinder familj joins us.
Calle why do you work with sexuality?
I work with sexuality because I feel that it is one of the most important issues to address in our modern society. We need it badly.
We are starving for sensuality, and we are sexually crippled, afraid of our own bodies, compressed by shame.
Something has to be done. A lot has to be done.
I started this work when I was very young, with myself.
First by getting aware of all the crap we all are fed with from childhood, and then by processing it – my own shame, my own distorted self image, liberating myself from old conditioning and gaining more and more awareness, both intellectually and emotionally. I have continued doing this my whole adult life, and I’m still doing it. Everything always starts with yourself.
Is there a specific moment in your life that you would like to share. A moment where you decided “your path”?
There has been a long row of specific moments, from when I started doing art nude photography back in the early 1980’s, and when I started writing erotic short stories in the early 1990’s, as well as including sexuality in theatre and ceremonial work. So artistically speaking I have been sexually active since I was still in my teens.
But the most important moment came in 2001, when I met my life partner Jennie, the woman who is now my wife, my best friend and companion as well as work partner and co-teacher.
Meeting her really got me started expanding this work of liberation, way beyond myself. My relationship with her really is the most important that ever happened to me.
We are both very interested in sex, we enjoy sex, and we are also both very interested in relationship dynamics, love, sensuality – and we are both keen on teaching. So that led on to another very specific moment – our first love workshop for couples, in the summer of 2004 – and that changed everything.
How did you choose your field, your perspective?
I read my first book about tantra back in 1990, and it just clicked.
I was immediately attracted to the idea of spiritual sexuality, of transforming sexuality from something embarrassing and shameful into something holy and liberating, a kind of worship rather than something degrading.
So I started processing these ideas, integrating them into my own life.
But it took some years before I found a partner with whom I could share these ideas fully. When that eventually happened, that’s when I really got started.
Already after just a couple of years into our relationship, Jennie and I had ideas about creating workshops about love and sex, and in 2004 we had our first workshop together. Our main focus is not on tantra, but on love, sensuality and sexuality, utilizing techniques and attitudes from many different paths, of which tantra is one of the most important, but not not the only one.
We are very non-dogmatic, rather pragmatic, and we use whatever we experience as functional and practical – from ancient tantra, tao and shamanism to modern theatre exercises as well as science.
How has working with sexuality changed your life?
That depends on what you mean by change.
Since I have always had a keen interest in sexuality, from so many different perspectives; artistic, philosophical, spiritual, relational, recreational – and more – I’m not sure if working with sexuality has changed my life from something else to working with sexuality – it has always been there, for many years in the background, but finally it came through.
This is what I do.
But on the other hand, saying YES to love and sexuality has of course influenced my whole life in every way possible. I chose love, focusing on building positive relationships, and I chose to see sexuality as a resource, a blessing, a never ending source of life, love, flow, pleasure and happiness. And that is also what I see as my foremost gift to other people.
What insights would you like to share with the participants?
First of all – that sex is not dangerous.
Sex is a fantastic natural force, a gift that we should enjoy and utilize in all possible ways. That sex is very much more than just fucking, that sex can serve so many different purposes, and that we can go on exploring different aspects of sexuality for the rest of our lives, and never ever know everything.
I also want to share a total openness and a joyful vulnerability around sex, and inspire our workshop participants to let go of the shame we have been brought up to integrate in our own bodies. It takes time, but for every fragment of shame we lose, the more joy and pleasure we will get from life.
Another very important insight I always include in my teaching is LOVE – what love is, from a scientific (biological, psychological) as well as emotional point of view. How can I expand the love, be more loving, fill my life with love? These are also important and basic questions I include in my work.
Interview by Charlotte Rudenstam, 2004