"Hold on just a second. I got to get the tape off this damn—uh, I cover it up so the NSA can't watch me while I'm spanking bitches."
It's with this line and his disarming smile that Steve Piccus, aka Steve P., aka Steve DeAmore, officially introduces himself from his place in La Mesa. We're on a face-to-face Skype call, and while I can hear him just fine, his face doesn't appear on my iPhone until he removes the tape he was using to cover the camera on his computer. I laugh at the NSA remark, not sure if he's kidding. He later says he's actually "never thought too much about" NSA spying, but I imagine that in Steve's world, it's better to be safe than sorry.
For a week or so, I've been watching Steve's instructional five-DVD set, White Tiger Tantra: Awakening & Releasing Powerful Female Orgasms. I'd learned about these DVDs where men often learn about such things: at a bar. A male acquaintance had them in his possession and described them as "funny," "cringe-worthy" and "disturbing," but also "fascinating." Naturally, I was interested, so I borrowed them. After a week of sporadic viewings of Steve, usually wearing a tie-dyed shirt and jorts, doing what I can describe only as somewhat complicated and highly penetrative fingering techniques on oily vaginas, I decided that I really needed to interview this guy. I tracked down an email from the website (whitetigertantra.com), and after some back-and-forth with his assistant, I was finally on Skype with the man himself.
To say Steve is verbose on this call and in all our conversations since is a grand understatement. In this initial interview, I don't think I ask one question in more than an hour. To say he's passionate about vaginas is an even bigger understatement. He throws around words like "twat," "pussy" and even the c-word with abandon and often refers to himself and his coaches as "vagina mechanics."
"You're hitting sometimes pressure points, sometimes trigger points. You hit here and you stack it there and then release it—all of a sudden it starts cycling through their body," Steve explains when we meet up a few days later at a coffeehouse in South Park (yes, it was awkward talking about this in a coffeehouse). "They start shaking like a dog shitting peach seeds."
Steve's been at this for more than a decade. He's lived in San Diego most of his life and has studied to be a holistic-health practitioner ("a fancy name for giving a massage," he says), but didn't want to devote his life to it because he didn't like to massage hairy guys. He's made most of his living since the '70s working as what he calls a "master hypnotist" and has taught classes on everything from "Becoming a Powerful Man" to seduction techniques. The latter landed him a prominent role in Neil Strauss' bestseller, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.
"I'm not a pick-up artist, even thought they wrote about me in that book," says Steve, who acknowledges that a lot of what he teaches men can be used to pick up women. "You have to be careful about what you teach, even though it's their karma." These facts alone could make for an entirely new article on Steve, but we're here to focus on White Tiger Tantra, so I often have to reel him back in.
"It's about humans. The human interaction is really what it's all about," he says. "We're in the—and this sounds real mushy but we're in the business of helping love grow, not hijacking lovers."
Whether someone's learning Steve's techniques from the DVDs or from private seminars that he says he charges up to five figures for, his mission seems straightforward: He wants to teach women how to move on from what he calls "adolescent orgasms" (aka clitoral) that last two to eight seconds to orgasms that last 30 seconds, one minute, even 30 minutes if they keep at it. Most of these techniques are also meant to produce female ejaculation. When fluid builds up in the Skene's gland, Steve claims that, with practice, a woman can have multiple orgasms, "teargasms" and/or sustained orgasms. One of the women in the testimonial portions of the DVD describes her experiences using the techniques as "amazing," "awakening" and "a lot more squirty." And lubrication, preferably in the form of grapeseed oil, is a must.
To achieve this, Steve teaches what he calls "sensual enhancement massage," which starts out as an external massage (he calls it "warming the kettle"), but then moves to an internal massage (read: inside the vagina using eight distinct hand-and-finger techniques) that's meant to stimulate the G-spot, A-Spot and all sorts of pressure points in between. (He prefers to call these places "sacred release points.")
Still, to call Steve a feminist is a bit of a stretch. He's arrogant, brash and while I wouldn't consider myself a prude, I found his descriptions and generalizations about women, lesbians and even men to be jarring. Not to mention the fact that he often brazenly refers to himself as a "pussyologist," "twat freak" and "vagina mechanic" (he even has the latter registered as an internet domain name). However, I did find his intentions to be, to some measure, honorable. He claims he's turned down offers to sell his techniques for millions of dollars, because "they wanted to turn it into a porn thing."
He won't say who's made those offers, but the fact that he's turned them down speaks to his intentions: He really does want to help people. Brash as he is, he maintains that people get too fixated on the sexual nature of White Tiger Tantra and don't focus enough on the sexual empowerment aspects that are at its core.
"I teach them how to help themselves, because that way it becomes empowering," Steve says. "So I give them the power of how to do this, then if they go off to be with a girl or a guy, they have it. I've taught women and they start teaching other women about warming the kettle. It's crazy."
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