When we are looking to change ourselves, the first thing we naturally see is the exterior. We work hard on our exterior and go deep to cultivate our presence and awareness. Erwan and Alicia Davon work on this at a deeper level. They have been helping singles and couples create an eternal date for 25 years. This is a level of romantic relationship that can reach a higher stage of intimacy, sexual attraction and spiritual union in the long run. Erwan shares how they have been successful for over two decades dealing with the ups and downs, listening to mentorship, so they can stay their course.
We’re back with another great show with Erwan and Alicia Davon. My first teacher was Erwan, and made a huge impact on me by making one of my most miserable moments of my life that changed me and having me see who I am. I’m excited to have them. They talk about some war stories and how they affected the start of OneTaste, our relationship, and how they do the work they do. Ben then comes on the line and talks about what does he do when he doesn’t have any problems. What do you do when the war is over? We give him some thoughts about how to expand, and then we speak a little bit about his relationship and his love life. Thanks so much for joining us, for more shows please visit us at TuffLove.Live.
Listen to the podcast here:
War Stories with Erwan & Alicia Davon
Good to be here, Rob.
It’s great to talk to you, Rob.
I want to give credit where credit’s due. Erwan Davon is one of the most influential men in my entire life. Not that the experience was pleasurable in the moment, but very few people in my life have had such a huge impact on me, and I’m thrilled to have you, one of my first teachers, on the show to share war stories with. To make a very long story short, I was a numb, dumb, chauvinistic, misogynistic guy, a yuppie, in March 20th, 1999, came downstairs to this house in Marin County, sat in a room full of people, and totally made a fool of myself in speaking. Erwan was the first person to mirror back to me these parts of myself that I couldn’t see, the shadows. He said the solid truth, which is the basis of Tuff Love, then let me sit in that piece. It’s one of the greatest gifts we can give people is mirroring back what we see with approval, with intention, and let us not save us from ourselves. He let me sit and that morphed me and changed me. This entire life of mine was that one moment and I’m just grateful. Welcome to the show.
Rob, thank you.
You’ve been doing this work around helping people with relationships and sexuality for 25 years. I was talking to a new friend, Yuri, and he’s in commercial real estate, very successful. He wants to help other people. The money he’s gotten and the status he has is awesome and there’s something missing. What’s happened is he wants to give back to the world and do what I do. He saw me and Lightning In A Bottle and said, “How did you transition from your yuppie-ness into helping others?” I said, “It’s a rough business. There’s no other way to put it. I don’t want to make this pretty. It’s been a really long, rough ride.”You have been doing it much longer than I have. How did you get started? What motivated you to get in the world of helping others? How have you done it successfully for 25 years?
We did a series for our weekly students on what are the main ingredients of having something be successful, especially something like this. I’ll speak personally first. It started out in an extremely rough childhood. I won’t go through all the details, but my parents were breaking up. They immigrated. They were very intense characters. I ended up in therapy very early out of necessity. I ended up in the world of working with people, mostly being worked with very early. Then I got into transformational work and then I went into the University of California Santa Cruz and I started studying psychology. One of the things that happened is that I was forced into it early by accident and that difficult accident or the difficulties of my childhood ended up being my blessing. It got me going very early. One of the keys to having something be successful is start early. Another one was that I dove into it completely. First was in therapy, then I studied psychology, then I got into transformational work, and I was with a Transformational Organization for seven years. I ended up teaching their work, then I was with another organization, more sensuality-based, for about seven years as well. There was a lot of crossover there. I dove in fully, so I got involved in it by luck. There was a choice that I made. I made the choice early, but this is what I’m interested in and I followed through. I did the many long years of study and apprentice ship and involvement with other groups.
A lot of people who want to get into the field, they want to get into it very quickly. If they were going to be a surgeon, they wouldn’t think, “I’m going to get into this very quickly.” They would know. I don’t know how many years of schooling to be a surgeon, so it’s maybe a six to ten-year process. That made a huge difference going through that six to ten-year process, and then staying fully committed. Because over those 25 years, we did some of those together and you’re another person who’s in this field for tremendously long period of time successfully. There were lots of ups and downs and it was staying with it and staying with. There was a vision, dedication, mentorship, and implementing all of that, and ideally starting early. The last thing I would say is that choosing a direction that’s true, a direction that feeds our heart that we’re absolutely passionate about, having that honest investigation and inquiry is very important to stick with something in the long haul, especially something like this. The human being, much less the romantic human being, I don’t know of anything more challenging. The challenge is I have to go through the challenges I see other people go through. It’s a very challenging area as well as a very rewarding area.
You have to commit in the highs and lows and keeping that focus. We see ads on Facebook, “Follow this list and make yourself a fortune or read this one thing or post this one thing.” It’s not like that. It is every single day working towards your craft and improving it. Alicia, I met you in 2003. When did you commit to this?
I would say six months or a year later when I committed to it. When we met, I was in the Pleasure Course. That experience totally blew my mind. I remember sitting there at the end of the third day of the Pleasure Course and we’re also high and everything’s so expansive and I felt so taken care of and my heart’s so full. I did not want to go home. Soon after that, I decided to switch from the track I was on to become a therapist. I was in the middle of that process. Instead, I finished my master’s degree and then I joined Erwan’s organization because I wanted to devote myself to it and be a full part in it as my work.
Erwan, it might not be known for those who followed Nicole in OneTaste path, there’s the story of the monk. I think she calls you the monk, who had the first ohm with her, we called it due date at the time, but you’re the guy who had that first. Tell us about the organization now? Tell us about what you do, what’s your favorite part, what are the difficult parts. How do your students often come to you and where do they go? You can give me an overall feeling of what you do now.
The main thing that Erwan and I do is we support singles and couples in creating what we call an eternal date. That is a romantic relationship that reaches higher and higher piece of intimacy and sexual attraction, spiritual union over time. It’s for both singles and couples. We do that through spiritual inquiry, psychological inquiry, sexual development, training in romantic skills. The foundation is cultivating presence and awareness in relationships. That’s where we’re coming from. Singles come to us because they want to get into a relationship and they want to learn how to create that long lasting, juicy, soulmate relationship that has that amazing spark, passion, stability, hearts and intimacy. Couples usually come to us because they’re together and things are either great, pretty good, or challenging. A thing in common is they usually want to get the spark, the passion, and the chemistry back in their relationship. I’d say those are the two main reasons people come to work with us.
We teach people to meditate. We started almost with the free weekly groups every week and we have people meditate in the live groups. In the phone conference calls we don’t do that obviously, but that’s one of the defining factors. We find that being present and being awake, there’s no substitute for that. I bring in the Zen and the yoga. Alicia’s more schooled in psychology than I am. I have a bachelor’s degree and she has a master’s degree. We also find that where people are really challenged, the biggest novels are psychological. In workshops and seminars, some of which are very good, you can learn things and really open up, but it’s not going to stick unless there’s a psychological change. We call it a person’s relationship blueprint. We work very in depth with what is that blueprint that people relate from psychologically. My blueprint, before I started this work and before I got into therapy myself, was from my relationship with my parents and their relationship. It was not a good relationship blueprint. It was not going to lead to an eternal date. I needed that work myself, and I find that most people need to deal with those psychological issues in depth.
Otherwise, the change or the transformational process or learning of skills doesn’t really work. They don’t really stick. We work with people psychologically in depth. In terms of getting the spark back, extended orgasm practice, sensual practice. We have all of our couples and singles who have research partners do practices, like one of them is deep touch, one hand on the heart, one hand on the abdomen, sometimes talking deep touch with some massage to get connected, have a physical practice. That can go all the way to extended orgasm, so that it’s got the juice and the attention on the woman and the energy is flowing and that extended orgasm ability spills out into other sex acts. Those are the three primary buckets that we work with people in. What we found to be very effective is you have to have presence as the cornerstone. Otherwise, we can’t remember to be great with somebody or to be aware. We have to be present. If we’re present, then the rest of the stuff tends to flow, the skills, the extended orgasm practice, the communication practice, and the touching practices.
A lot of people try to fix the exterior, and they don’t do what’s deep down hard work, that psychological that triggers from the childhood relationship to the parents. You tweak that underneath side that a lot of places don’t go but we go for therapy, but then you also mix it with a practice and extended orgasm. The external date’s always a good time. Maybe you can share what’s one person’s transition from someone who felt closed, down on life, and not believing they could have a relationship and watch them transition to someone who had what they want. Do you have a story in mind of someone that went from A to B? What did they do and how did you move them through that?
I thought of Monica, that’s not her real name but I’ll call her Monica. She is fabulous. I remember when she met us, her friend brought her to an event that we were teaching and she said, “I’m going to bring my friend, Monica, to your event. She’s so great and she lives in a closet.”I said, “What? She lives in a closet?” She’s like, “Yes, right off the kitchen.” I’m like, “This will be interesting.” She shows up at our event and she’s just the cutest. She’s got these blue eyes and I could see this spark and this desire for life. She had this thing, like she kept herself small. She was shy, even the way she walked was a little closed. Her thing was that she wanted to have a relationship and she didn’t believe that she could have it, and she was perpetually single and suffering about it. She ends up in the Pleasure Course. I remember this moment where she realized for the first time that she could have what she wanted, have control over what she wanted, she could ask for what she wanted, she wasn’t going along the trajectory as a passive participant in her life. I remember her face lighting up and all of us looking at her, and it was like looking at a new woman, and that was the beginning. We’ve been working with her over the years. We’re still working with her. Over the years she went from that woman to getting into a relationship with a man who was also in our programs. They’ve gotten married, Erwan officiated their wedding, and they now have two children. They’re living in San Francisco and she has everything she wants. This is not like a magic bullet story. She’s been devoted and on this journey for eight years, creating what she wants in her relationship and it’s amazing to see.
We all have our own internal closets. Just know that when a woman escapes from her closet, we can all get out from ours. All of us have had some story of the structures that we create around ourselves that limit us. Maybe it’s not a physical closet, but we all have our own. I know all three of us have worked very hard to get where we are. I’m grateful again to have what we have.
There are different ingredients. There’s vision or romantic vision and eternal dates. There’s having some support and teaching. There’s dedication. There’s also circumstantial support that we have friends, community life, the times to have that transformation, have a relationship where sometimes people will want to do their relationship and have that work, and they’d give it about this much time. It really requires a circumstance in the situation that supports it.
Hello, Ben. How are you?
I am doing well.
Thanks for being on the show.
How can we make this most optimal? What would you like to talk about?
I’m in a place where it’s just hard and hearing you guys just hearkened back to that was like, “Am I doing the right things in my life? Am I having enough?”Boxes were checked but it’s still struggling. Then I signed for this intense transformational program down in Vegas. Since then, I’ve been 100% on all my waking hours and I watched my mood kick up. My purpose in life have been flowing beautifully. I realized coming into this call that I don’t quite know what to do with coaching when I’m in a good spot, like there’s no problem to solve. What do I do now?
Your question is, “What do you do when there’s no problems?”
You want to take a crack at that?
It’s a situation a lot of people encounter. When there’s no difficulty, the human mind, the part of our mind, the ego, in a spiritual sense is the thing that obstructs us, it doesn’t know what to do because it’s always surviving and dealing with some challenges, problems, and issues. Then sometimes when things are going really well, it’ll mess things up just to have something to work on. Life begins in a certain sense, a certain level of happiness. In a way, it begins after the difficulties and the challenges are addressed. We all have difficulties and challenges. We all need to address those. When we’re not coming from “There’s something wrong,” life doesn’t lose its dynamism. It doesn’t lose its action. There’s no less possibility. There’s no less places to adventure and grow. They’re just more fun, they’re just more intensive.
For example, extended orgasm, there are a lot of people out there with challenges with their sex life, but there are a lot of people who have great sex lives. Now we have great sex life, that doesn’t mean that our sex life can’t get better. If you speak to people who are very spiritually developed, much more spiritually developed than myself, they’ll tell you that there’s not an end course. It’s more like an unfolding and an expansion. The movement, the dynamism, whether it’s between two people getting to know each other, experiencing each other, going to different heights sexually, whether it’s alone in meditation even we’d go to new places. Whether it’s wandering around San Francisco, we don’t need to be getting to the doctor. I have this electric bike. I love my electric bike just going around to new places that I’ve been. I was more aware and it was like, “This is amazing.” In Zen, we would say beginners mind.
We were once creating a place to play, and there was all the game and there wasn’t the right way of doing it. I had this flash of like, “All of life is a place to play. It’s all a game and there’s no right answer.”
Your problem is you don’t have a problem, which is a problem. There’s always a next level to get to. What I hear also is that you giving back is your way to have more?
Let me ask you a question, Ben. Congratulations that there’s no problem. My question to you would be what do you want?
I run a non-profit. There are some specific things that I have, I’m getting a motorcycle both the object and the image of that are like, “That sounds good to me.”More broadly, I want financial freedom, abundance, which is a thing that I have been lacking for a while now. Rob, you’re right. This giving back, it’s where I feel most alive. I want to be able to create that at a level, at a caliber that I haven’t yet. I have a big impact there. I create very well one-on-one. I’m able to create it pretty well in groups, but I want to be able to create that the way that I have participated in others doing it.
You want to make a bigger difference with people?
A bigger difference with more people.
That’s an interesting area to focus, very heartfelt area. That brings up the question, “What is going to make a bigger difference with people?”There are a lot of things that will support people and help people. The only thing I’ve found personally that makes the difference is that people really want to be made, although sometimes they’re not aware of it. The difference that scratches that itch that wants to be scratched, although we kind of scratch it in a lot of odd way is to increase a person’s consciousness or awareness to increase their joy in the moment, their joy in being. A function of being more aware is usually a function of being still. It’s usually practiced as meditation. Sometimes it’s practiced as psychological inquiry. It’s usually practiced as not changing anything but deepening our experience of what’s actually going on. Our current experience of what’s going on is the joy and the satisfaction that you’re experiencing in your life.
Sometimes for people, the challenges or the difficulties or the pains that they’re experiencing within themselves, like logically or relationally or in their body. There’s something about being with all of that and not changing it, but unpacking it, unfolding it, and experiencing it. That has the effect of enriching and deepening our experience in the moment. That itch you’ve scratched or we’re just happier, and we’re able to contribute that to others. Then others are more able to be happy regardless of what’s going on in their job or their relationship. Then what’s interesting is that they do better at their jobs. The best advice I could give somebody who’s in a relationship or about to go on a date with their partner or about to go into a bar and pick somebody up, meditate for half an hour in the car. Before you do that, I guarantee you have a different experience.
Instead of trying to do better at relationship center, and then you will do better.
Center, and then you will do better. We’re here as the place for learning skills and we teach people the stages of a relationship. Where do you go through introducing somebody in the new and exciting stage, middle game, and the committed or eternal day? There is a place for skills and learning, but after the awakening process.
That’s a great framing. I’ve very much approached life the opposite. I finished my doctorate in psychology. I’ve done lots of skill building and checkbox stuff and building that quiet center being.
It’s beautiful how you’re saying it because you were embodying it. There’s calmness, there’s a vulnerability. I feel like I know you better even in just a couple of minutes because you’re meditating right now. There’s an inwardness, there’s a subtleness, then we can go do all that other stuff. We’re trained to go and do. It’s like the faster we go, the faster we need to go. I do not want to talk about world politics. I refuse to talk about world politics, but there’s nothing that’s really going to make the difference besides an increase in awareness. That’s true for each of us personally as well. It’s the most important thing. It’s really the source of the joy when we can contribute that to others. That’s a rare contribution and it’s just beautiful that you’re placing your life where you want to make a difference with others, and you’re ready to contribute that. I hope that makes a difference in you before to follow your goals.
Thanks, Erwan. Meditation is not really part of the Tuff Love curriculum. That’s why I love guests on the show because I’m like, “I walk into a bar, calm and present compared to that normal, frantic, anxious, this is going to go well, self-doubting, the mind, the monkey mind really in place.” I want to thank you for that. Then my contribution to you, Ben, my personal experience was there was a certain level where I didn’t believe I was worthy to be in front of that room, or worthy to make that much of an impact. I have my own foot on the brake in terms of, “Who am I to do this show? Who am I to stand in front of an audience?” All this self-doubt, maybe you’re hitting the next level of acceptance of your awesomeness and your greatness and keeping yourself small is very comfortable, like a closet, and maybe it’s time now to take it to the next level.
Thank you for that.
Is there anything romantically that you’re interested in or you’d like to ask us about to move forward in your little great romantic relationship? There’s always different stuff that we want to move forward and fun places to go. Is there anything like that for you?
For me, romantic life is a complicated one. I dated this incredible woman for four years. Her name’s Liz. We moved in together and moved across the country together, we were on the tenure track. We broke up about a year ago, shortly after starting the non-profit that we’re still running together now. I’ve done a ton of work around that in a year. Did a year of mentorship with Ken Blackman. Now, she and I have this ever-burgeoning relationship, constantly something new, but not romantic, yet there’s still something. It’s a place where I’m in the own community, I’ve hit a place of fullness around sex where I spent almost my entire sexual life desperately hungry and knowing that there would never be enough sex, knowing that there would never be enough of that type of love. I hit a place where there’s not a grasping there. I feel ease, like I can let it come and go as it will. No one in that realm do I have the connection that I do with Liz as much as I wish I did. I wish that it was somewhere over here in one of these other simple relationships, but instead it’s with this woman who frequently drives me crazy, that I often want to shake. It would be so simple if that connection where anywhere else.
Do you want to move that connection forward romantically? My first piece of advice is make up your mind.
The place I get stuck with that is in wishing things for other than they are.
How is it not okay?
I feel like she said, “I don’t want this as a romantic relationship.”
You have to respect that. If she said she doesn’t want it as a romantic relationship, you have to take a step back. That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep increasing the amount of fun that you’re having with her. There’s a lot of ways to have more fun from the activities that you choose to the conversation topics. As you increase the fun, it’s not exactly the romantic fun, but it’s like the physical fun. If you go to an amusement park with somebody and you ride roller coasters, and then afterwards you get off the rollercoaster, we have some way of measuring how turned on are you to each other, you’re going to be more turned on. She said not romantically right now, so you have to respect that, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for friendly touching, not a place for roller coasters, not a place for fun, and that can increase the environment that something romantic can spring up in. One of the ways to transition a relationship from not romantic to romantic, to escalate the relationship, is through a more physical way, a friendly touch kind of way. It’s often a barrier that people don’t know how to get romantic with each other for different reasons.
One of the ways is you can increase it physically in the activities and the touching like that, and then you’re always getting a read for how she’s responding. You may find that she may find that she’s getting turned on. If she’s not, you back off. If she says, “I don’t want this to be romantic,” you back off, but she may get more interested. We found that to be extremely common that if you’re good at seduction, be it from a woman’s point of view, from a man’s point of view, the other person will usually get more interested. We didn’t expect to be each other’s number one, when we got together we really didn’t, but we were having so much fun.
There was this point where we had been dating and having fun on and off, and then I was overthinking everything and it was like, “No, we should not be romantic. We should just be friends. That’s what we should do.” Then Erwan was so great about it. I remember being at his house, and then he takes me into the office, and we sit down at his desk. We’re talking about something with this new computer or something like that and I’m like, “He’s really okay with just being friends.”Then later he was tickling me and I was getting turned on and then he came towards me. I saw that he could go forward and back and pay attention, and that was such a turn on, so I just lost it. He takes me into the office and he’s like, “What do you want to do today? We could take a walk to the park. We could see a movie, no making out, no kissing.” I was getting more and more turned on as he was going down that list because he was being light and fun and teasing me.
That worked for you, Ben?
Yes, it does. Thank you, guys.
Thank you, Ben. Thanks so much guys for being on the show. Do you guys want to give a little pitch, how do people work with you? How do they find out about you? I know you’re doing some free consultations, thought I’d just give them a scoop of how they can find you.
Erwan and I are based in San Francisco, so most of our courses are there. We also teach in Maui, so you can come and work with us. You can fly up to San Francisco, you can fly to Maui. We have weekend seminars, weekly programs, and retreat courses. The Pleasure Course is where most people start working with us. It’s a weekend seminar in San Francisco. You can also start with the Paradise Vacation course, which is in Maui. I’m offering for anybody who contacts us from Tuff Love, a free consultation. It’ll be 45 minutes all about you, your love life, your goals, your desires, what you want, whether you’re single or a couple, and we’ll talk all about how working with Erwan and me will support you and your goals. Then if you end up signing up for one of our courses, you’ll get 10% off of whichever course you sign up for if you tell us you came from Tuff Love. We’d love to work with you and we really appreciate you being here with us. You can email [email protected]. You can also call 415-770-4070 and you’ll reach us.
I just want to give one more shout out to remind that this man changed my life, and so if you’re looking for that life changing experience, I can endorse it from my own perspective. If you’re a little curious, get a free consultation, that’s worth it.
Thank you all so much. To everyone, please visit us at TuffLove.Live for more podcast, more shows, more guests like Erwan and Alicia. Go forth, be free, get some nookie, think of us, and I will see you. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for joining us for Tuff Love, an amazing show as always. Thank you so much, Erwan and Alicia and showing us what you do and how to do it. I’m really grateful for the impact they’ve had on my life. Thank you, Ben, for being so real and vulnerable and speaking about some things a lot of us think about but don’t have a chance to talk about, so we’re grateful for that. Thanks so much. We’ll talk to you soon.
About Erwan and Alicia Davon
Erwan and Alicia have a unique approach to relationship coaching that combines their educational backgrounds in psychology and aspects of Zen Buddhism to provide a holistic method to effectively improve connection with the self and others.
Erwan studied psychology after a difficult childhood and an early introduction to therapeutic work. He went on to live and study in a Zen Monastery, direct a yoga ashram, and began teaching personal development at one of the world’s largest personal grown organizations. Erwan’s passion for helping and teaching people led him to found Erwan Davon Teachings in 1993, specifically to help people improve their relationships.
Alicia Davon holds a Master’s degree in Integral Psychology with a focus in women’s romantic and sensual expression. She trained as a therapist before meeting Erwan and led numerous women’s groups devoted to female pleasure and life fulfillment from career to relationship. She met Erwan 15 years ago and started teaching with him soon after.
Together, Erwan and Alicia developed The Pleasure Course, which has helped thousands achieve their ideal love lives. They provide a safe place to explore psychological inquiry, pleasure, and sexuality.
They have spent 20 years perfecting their curriculum and techniques and are excited to share their expertise with newcomers so they can help improve chemistry, connection, communication, and passion in others’ lives!