I am River and my mission is to promote the evolution of our species through healthy sex and relationship. I am a health optimization practitioner living in Austin, Texas, with one of the most beautiful brown females I’ve ever known.
I grew up in West Texas, spent a few years in the heart of San Francisco and have been in Austin for 30 years. I find joy on the trail by the lake, walking my girl, at Barton Springs, in yoga, riding my motorcycle, and enjoying the company of loved ones.
I was a good student who earned a doctorate degree and built my own business as a professional. I spent over 20 years with my shoulder to the grindstone, running my downtown office, serving people the best way I knew how, not believing in anything bigger than what I could see. And then I began to wake up. Curious about why we are here, my larger journey began.
It was my authentic sexual expression that pointed me toward answers. New things I felt in my body, radically honest people I met. I experienced unseen powers of the universe.
Years into this journey, my life purpose to be a sexual healer surfaced. I enrolled in every training I could find in the U.S. and traveled to India to learn by direct transmission. I completed trainings in tantra, kink, power exchange, relationship coaching and became certified as a surrogate partner.
I co-organize the Sacred Sexuality Austin meet up which meets each month on the second Friday in East Austin, and you are invited to join us. I also host the Surrogate Partner salon for therapists/counselors/coaches, and the Uncage Love podcast on iTunes.
And I was honored to be a guest speaker on the Sexual Health Alliance Spark! Roundtable on the Future of Disabilities, and a guest presenter at NMB United Virtual University in Let's Talk About Sex ... Surrogacy.
Although I am trained in the classic surrogate partner program developed by Masters and Johnson in the 1960s, a lot has changed in the area of intimate relationships since the Mad Men days.
My surrogate partner treatment method combines the legendary process developed by Masters and Johnson with more recent developments in the subjects of sex, relationship and intimacy. While following the basic M&J protocol, I draw on my various skills and teachings as needed.
The teachers who influence my surrogate partner method the most are Susan Kaye, Tova Feder, Betty Martin, Barbara Keesling, Katherine Woodward Thomas and Adele Kennedy.
I don't subscribe to the language of pathology.
The old way of seeing one another is that some people are "broken" due to past "trauma" and they need to see a doctor or psychiatrist to be "fixed." Once they are no longer "diagnosed" or they are "functional" using prescription medication, they are "cured." This system no longer serves us.
Labels like "erectile dysfunction," "premature ejaculation," "non-orgasmic/inorgasmia," "frigid," "social anxiety," "sexual aversion, "delayed ejaculation," "avoidant personality disorder," "sex addiction," and "uncertainty of sexual orientation" are out of date and harmful. These words insinuate you are broken, which you are not. They create a container of shame. Likewise, many of the "solutions" such as pills, surgeries and suppressing sexual arousal are a waste of time and money. Some might help temporarily but ... are you going to use these crutches for the rest of your life? Or would you prefer to permanently heal these pieces of yourself once and for all?
The new way of seeing one another is that none of us are broken. Instead, we are all in various stages of healing. To heal is to become the full expression of who we were meant to be. Every human can become more vibrant.
We all have fertilizer in our past, things other people might call "trauma" or "neglect." Each piece of fertilizer can be transformed into a beautiful flower if we learn the lesson it has to teach us. We transform our fertilizer when we learn the lesson that obstacle offers to teach us. Your fertilizer is beautiful because it's your personal roadmap to freedom if you know how to decode the map.
The more you transform your fertilizer into flowers, the bigger and brighter your garden becomes!
As I reflect on all I've learned in the realm of sex and intimacy, I am reminded that there is no substitute for real life experience. Even though I've completed lots of classes, I've learned more by pursuing radical intimacy in my personal life. The most meaningful growth occurs through direct experience. Not just talking about it. Doing it.
As for teachers, I trained with each of the following teachers in-person unless otherwise noted.
SURROGATE PARTNER PRACTITIONER TRAINING
I am honored to be one of the first surrogate partners certified by the Institute for Mind Body Therapy, trained by two legends in the field: Dr. Tova Feder, author of Sex is the Least of It and others, and Dr. Susan Kaye, who had the opportunity to work with Masters and Johnson early in her career. I am listed on the Institute for Mind Body Therapy site and on the Sex Surrogacy site.
MAIN TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS:
- Dr. Susan Kaye - surrogate partner training program, ongoing mentor
- Dr. Tova Feder - surrogate partner training program
- Barbara Keesling - Sexual Healing book and personal conversations
WHEEL OF CONSENT / SCHOOL OF CONSENT
The Wheel of Consent, developed by Betty Martin, may be the most profound teaching related to touch in our time. I am honored to sit on the leadership team of the new School of Consent, as an Advisor, assisting in the development of the school. I am also a certified Wheel of Consent Practitioner and Workshop Facilitator.
- Betty Martin - like a pro training in 2012 and 2017; Ethical Practices: Containers, Conversations and Assessment Protocols for Somatic Sex Educators and other Sex Workers; Teaching the Wheel; ongoing mentor
I am a professionally certified Conscious Uncoupling coach, trained and certified by New York Times best selling author and creator, Katherine Woodward Thomas, MA, MFT. I also engage in ongoing supervision by Katherine Woodward Thomas.
Tantra is arguably the oldest form of worship known to humankind. I enjoy playing with western techniques, and am a professionally certified TantraNova practitioner and teacher. At the same time, my deepest journeys have been following eastern teachings.
MAIN TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS:
- Swami Satyananda Saraswati (books and videos) - kundalini tantra (my tantra yoga guru since 2011) Swami Satyananda Saraswati took mahasamadhi in 2009, before I knew who he was. If I could have dinner with any one person, it would be Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
- Swami Yoga Kanti - the Satyananda kriyas and tattwa shuddhi at Rikhiapeeth Ashram in India
- Swami Shakti Murti - the Satyananda kriyas and tattwa shuddhi at Rikhiapeeth Ashram in India
- 5-Day Shiva Yagna - Rikhiapeeth Ashram in India
- Kalpana - personal training in Satyananda yoga
- Navvaratri - Satyananda yoga
- Swami Satyadharma - Satyananda yoga
- Freddy Zental - personal intensive, TantraNova teacher certification
- Elsbeth Meuth - personal intensive, TantraNova teacher certification
- Rod Stryker - tantra intensive conference
- Alex Jade - body electric school tantra workshop
- Jay Craver - body electric school tantra workshop
- Everitt Allen - singing bowl yoga
- Siri Bahadur - gong bath yoga
- Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche - tsa lung, 9 breaths of purification
The kink community provided safe space for me to express my deepest desires and passions, which lead me to open in all areas of my life. I am eternally grateful to all who teach and contribute to this vibrant community. Midori is my single greatest teacher in this universe.
MAIN TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS:
- Midori - forte femme women's sensual dominance weekend intensive, passionate bonds weekend workshop, interrogations, predicaments, rope challenge
- Laura Antoniou - passionate bonds weekend workshop
- Mark Yu - energy and kink
- Lochai - rope and bondage
- Fakir Musafar - sacred hook pull
- Cleo DuBois - sacred hook pull
- Arielle Webb - jealousy, self after care
- Slave Tomo - hojojitsu
- Topologist - takate kote
- John Baku - fetlife purpose and history
- Lizard - rope
- Ruby Rider - pegging
- Kinky College
- Joules McKnuckles
- too many individual classes to name
I think of Toltec as Mexican tantra. I have been blessed with the opportunity to apprentice with two of the greatest teachers: HeatherAsh Amara and Raven Smith. We are the Eagle Knight lineage of Toltec which was brought into modern times by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the Four Agreements and teacher to HeatherAsh and Raven. I served briefly on the board of directors for the Toltec Center of Creative Intent, the only Toltec church in the US.
MAIN TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS:
- HeatherAsh Amara - four years in official apprenticeship, fire walking and similar practices, sacred time management, conscious relationship, sexual integrity, dream circles, inner fire training, too many individual teachings to name
- Raven Smith - two years in official apprenticeship, deepening retreat, toltec cosmology & tools, too many individual teachings to name
- Jai Cross - two shamanic journey courses (online), too many in-person teachings to name
- Amy Zielinski - manifesting well-being (online), deepening retreat
- Laura Toups - deepening retreat
- Arielle Webb (Critter) - recapitulation, jealousy and other classes
Burlesque gets me excited about communicating without words. My stage name is Tsunami and here are my performances to date:
- November 17, 2013 - Tsunami in Cosmic Gimp at Brass Ovaries' student recital
- March 21, 2014 - Tsunami in Superhero in the Spring Fever show at the North Door
- April 19, 2014 - Tsunami in shibari suspension by Charm, with Nikki, at Amour Fetish Party
- July 26, 2014 - Tsunami & Grace in Dandini at Brass Ovaries' summer show
- March 27, 2015 - Tsunami & Grace in Lady of the Lake in the show Nymphs of Avalon at the Marchesa
MAIN TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS:
- Ms. Sophie - two erotic performance courses
- Danae Paskero - pole-certification level 1 and 2, personal training
- Arabella Kali Ma - dance of the immortaless
- Arielle Webb - sacred striptease and lapdance
- Michelle Shimmy - the shimmy
- Cleo DuBois - sacred eros performance
- Bo Eason - one person show training
- Zein Al-Jundi - Syrian/Egyptian bellydance
- Hossam and Serena Ramsy - Cairo bellydance and beat
- Coco Lectric - burlesque
I am a Yoga Illumined yoga teacher training graduate. Asana is only one part of yoga, although most westerners believe it is all of yoga. It is simply the part practiced on the mat.
MAIN TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS:
- Zoe Mantarakis - yoga illumined teacher training, which includes hatha yoga, mantra and meditation inspired by yoga-vedanta, the yoga sutras of patanjali and the teachings of shri brahmananda saraswati, ramamurti s. mishra; and too many individual classes with Zoe to count
- Sumukhi - yoga illumined teacher training, which includes hatha yoga, mantra and meditation inspired by yoga-vedanta, the yoga sutras of patanjali and the teachings of shri brahmananda saraswati, ramamurti s. mishra
- Shiva Rea - tantra asana
- Baron Baptiste - Baptiste intensive retreat
- Bhagat Singh (Chrispy) - asana
- Ann Hyde - Forrest yoga
- Ricky Tran - sanskrit and asana
- Lauren Zinn Buck - creative asana
- Fumiko Takatsu - face yoga
- and too many individual classes to name
Animal energy gifted me with a profound new understanding of energy, which I use daily with my canine as well as my fellow human animals!
MAIN TEACHERS AND TEACHINGS:
- Cesar Millan (videos and books) - pack leadership, energetic communication
- Kim Kelly - canine training
- Tara Stermer - canine aggression and translation
- Asia Voight - shamanic animal communication
Every bite we take is either alive or dead and I love eating foods that are alive. My diet is mostly raw vegan. I have been vegetarian for 28 years, and about 98% vegan for 12 years.
MAIN TEACHER AND TEACHING:
- Gabriel Cousins (books and audio only) - Conscious Eating is my food bible
- Dr. Raphael Kellman (online only) - Microbiome Summit
- James Maskell (online only) - Evolution of Medicine
- Epigenetics Summit (online)
- Heavy Metals Detox Summit (online)
- Dirty Genes Summit (online)
- Parasite Summit (online)
OTHER BIG STOPS ALONG THE WAY
In addition to the categories above, many teachers have influenced me in lasting ways such as:
- Sheelo (an apprentice of Stan Grof) - psychedelic psychotherapy, holotropic breathwork
- Deborah Sundahl - G spot and female ejaculation workshop
- Debra Haffner - sexual education for children
- Teri Ciacchi - priestess at two Aphrodite Temple retreats
- Charla Hathaway - various aspects of tantra and touch
- Bart Whittington - pelvic floor massage
- Arabella Kali Ma - radical radiance
- Drea Marz - orgasmic meditation coach
- Wim Hof - autonomic nervous system training
- Rachel Cherwitz - orgasmic meditation workshop
- Keith Paolino - orgasmic meditation workshop
- Nicole Daedone - one taste origins
- Shane Melear - body and energy healing
- Byron Katie - new year cleanse weekend workshop
- Dr. Christiane Northrup - ageless guru (online learning)
- Robert Evans - platform
- Matt Thomas - branding and platform
- Randy Davila - getting published
- Matt Sonzala - podcast production
- Brandon Burchard - Next Bold Move (online learning)
- Pedram Shojai - Urban Monk Academy (online learning)
- Diane Samsel - Voice Dialogue
- Liana Chaouli - image therapy, completed her courses Live Your Life in STYLE and Virtual Style Academy (online learning)
RIVER'S FAVORITE PODCASTS
- Pleasure Mechanics - speaking of sex podcast
- James Maskell - the evolution of medicine podcast
- Pedram Shojai - the urban monk podcast
- Daniel Vitalis - rewild yourself! podcast (Daniel retired this podcast, but he is truly one of the great cyber-personalities)
FAVORITE CYBER PERSONALITIES
Way too many to name because I am a podcast and webinar junkie but some of my favorites are:
- Dr. Marty Klein - trainings on Infidelity: After an Affair, Who Owns the Relationship?; If it isn't "Sex Addiction," what is it? And how do you treat it?; Power dynamics in intimate relationships; and Intakes, Sexual Intelligence
- Dr. Chris Donaghue - Sex Outside the Lines, liberating sex from culture, psychology and normativity
- Marc David & Emily Rosen - conscious sex and relationship online conference
- Tanja Diamond - The V Summit
- HeatherAsh Amara - toci radio
- Devi Ward - better love and sex podcast
- Neil Sattin - relationship alive podcast
- Osho - meditation series
- Devi Premal & Miten - meditation journey
- Arielle Ford - finding your soulmate
- Hay House world summit
- Joe Vitale - law of attraction, wealth trigger
- Steve G. Jones - wealth trigger, hypnosis
- Arianna Huffington - fearlessness series
- Richard Bartlett - matrix energetics
- Lee Holden & Rachel Carlton Abrams - taoist sexual secrets
- New School of Erotic Touch videos
- Body Electric audio series
- Caffyn Jesse - taoist erotic massage
- Che - the way of the courtesan
- Bliss Bringers podcast
- Oprah and Deepak meditation series
- Healing Trauma Summit by SoundsTrue
In high school I was an honor student graduating with a 4.0+, class president, varsity volleyball player and sat on the homecoming court. In college I tested out of all math classes and spent a year as a cheerleader and sorority sister. I then moved in with my boyfriend at age 19, and worked my way through college. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, I spent a year as a slacker and then headed to law school where I earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
Opening my own law office straight out of law school, I built a thriving trial practice by the courthouse that lasted 21 years, specializing in high conflict divorce and custody cases.
For most of that time, I was a tireless political activist, becoming a professional lobbyist and community organizer for social justice causes and helping to change a variety of laws within the criminal justice system. I co-founded the Sunshine Project for Police Accountability, was the president of the local ACLU in Austin for years, an ACLU national campaign coordinator for the drug policy project, and sat on these boards: Texas Table, Texans Together Education Fund, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable, ACLU of Texas and the City of Austin Police Oversight Focus Group. In the end, I was a finalist for the city-manager-hired position of Austin Police Monitor who presides over the Police Civilian Oversight Board in Austin.
... And then I grew tired of fighting and decided it was time to start loving.
River is a professionally certified surrogate partner, a certified tantra practitioner, a professionally certified Conscious Uncoupling coach, a graduate of Yoga Illumined yoga teacher training, Midori's Forte Femme feminine dominance and Passionate Bonds trainings, and an Advisor at the School of Consent, as well as a Wheel of Consent Practitioner and Workshop Facilitator. River is recovering from over two decades as a trial attorney, social justice lobbyist, activist and community organizer.
River lives and loves in Austin, Texas, enjoying her canine companion, yoga, the trail, the springs, her motorcycle, dabbling in burlesque performance and escaping to the mountain hot springs.