Sex is energetic rape. (Benhayon, 2011, p.695)
Sexual exploitation is a hallmark of cults, and cult leader Serge Benhayon’s aberrant teachings and practices are integral to the profitability of Universal Medicine and its main recruitment arm, Esoteric Women’s Health Pty Ltd. Disturbing teachings on the disease causing ‘energy’ of normal sexuality, the karma of sexual violence and puritanical prescriptions for emotionless love making sit uneasily with in house assessments of ‘sexiness’. A culture of personal boundary transgressions, including inappropriate touching highlights the sexual confusion among devotees. The manipulation is essential to UniMed’s lucrative death drive; psychologically destabilizing followers, fracturing intimate relationships with non followers, and inducing dependency on dubious occult therapies
Marketing Esoteric Women’s Health – sexual double standards
Exhibitionism is nothing new from Esoteric Women’s Health Pty Ltd’s marketing contingent, Women in Livingness. The mostly female ‘Brotherhood’ of ‘Sons of God’ profess to ‘honour’ themselves by making online disclosures of everything from sexual abuse to gynaecological minutiae to their love-less marriage breakdowns. In recent months, they’ve sexed up the marketing and EWH’s company director and zero qualifications women’s health expert, Natalie Benhayon, is now selling the abusive practice of Esoteric Breast Massage and her upcoming Lovelife TV advertorial gig with assertions she’s a ‘single-by-choice’ ‘sex-bomb’, with six mirrors in her bedroom, who loves gazing at her own reflection.
Not only is the sex bomb marketing absurdly tacky, it’s confoundingly hypocritical. The Esoteric Women’s Health business model is ‘inspired by the teachings’ of her cult leader father, Serge Benhayon, whose unquestioned ‘One Unified Truth’ condemns both male and female sexual desire outside the context of a paid subscription to emotionless Esoteric ‘love’. He cashes in on passion killing and trauma triggering with his idiosyncratic views on ‘karma’ and his teaching that ‘sex = energetic rape’.
Benhayon’s teachings contribute to the high rate of relationship and family breakdown among his devotees, with partners finding themselves rejected sexually and otherwise because they eat dairy products, or drink a beer, or prefer passionate, non static love making and emotionally engaged love. Divorce and property settlements free up assets for increased expenditure on UM’s therapy and workshop habit, while the same unisex ‘sex bomb’ Sons of God who’ve rejected their non Esoteric partners are willing to dirty dance with each other for cult advertisements – filmed at events in front of kids.
The economics of therapy dependency
UM’s business relies on repeat consumption of its products – workshops, healings, subscriptions and other nonsense that Benhayon would not be able to sell without a the help of professional undue influence and bogus claims.
Like Scientology, UniMed makes money from claiming to ‘clear’ negative ‘energy’ – whether it be the ‘prana’ of dairy products, sugar or emotions; or invisible ‘discarnate entities’. But Benhayon’s most lucrative manipulations are psycho-sexual. The cult’s main recruitment gateway, Esoteric Women’s Health and its modalities are based on his teachings that breast and gyne disease, including cancer, are caused by ‘male energy’ – which comes not only from being in the vicinity of men, but from women engaging in activities like sport, using the intellect, and pursuing equal rights. The advertising of Esoteric Breast Massage tells women their breasts hold disease causing energy ‘imposed’ by men finding them desirable (as well as babies troubling their ‘self-loving’ mothers for breast milk). However, only Esoteric healers have the ‘energetic integrity’ to ‘clear’ impositions from the breasts.
There are many who have knowledge and perform great techniques, but very, very few can heal or conduct themselves with energetic integrity and energetic responsibility. In the end, it is not the technique itself but the energy the practitioner is in that will initiate a healing or add to the energetic harm that has caused the ill in the first place. (Benhayon interview, Spa Australasia, 2009, p.106)
Testimonials show women have been shelling out for breast massages for years. Most were blissfully unaware of nasty energy until an Esoteric busybody convinced them of their imaginary affliction. No one has ever been pronounced clear – that would be detrimental to cartel members’ income stream. Instead, lack of therapeutic results is attributed to clients’ lovelessness and residual prana, and punters return for the promise of benefits in their next lifetime. The most vulnerable patients are particularly susceptible. Followers dying from breast cancer are told Esoteric healing will help them reincarnate into the disease free Way of the Livingness – their level of initiation determined by how much money they spend and how much they can bequeath to the Benhayons and their dodgy church.
As detailed below, unqualified Benhayon also gets money out of sexual abuse survivors, styling himself and the practitioners he’s trained to clear the ‘energy of rape’, which he reckons remains lodged in the chakras for many centuries. Naturally, targets aren’t aware until they’re told of it and it requires numerous repeat healings to resolve.
Capitalizing on deviance – the doctrines
Ex students tell us Serge described his childhood experience, at a UM presentation, of his father masturbating in front of him in the shower. His rants on sexual violence are well documented. One of the many young women who’ve stayed in Serge’s home over the past twenty years told us Serge liked his houseguests to keep the bathroom door open when showering. Combine the above with Benhayon’s near unparalleled grandiosity (a rival to the likes of L Ron Hubbard and Shoko Asahara), his con artistry and dishonesty; and his history with his current wife who moved into his home at fourteen against her mother’s wishes, and we form a picture of a self styled cult messiah and career scam artist, with undefined personal boundaries, a medical fetish for gynaecological disease and death, and perverse fixations on sexual power.
Compliance trumps consent
Sex for Benhayon is about compliance. Typical of a predator, consent is not within his consideration.
Sex can be exoteric as long as it is about honouring self and your fully complying partner. This is an important developmental step to understand, for without it, one cannot make love where the esoteric is in expression. (Benhayon, 2011, p.441)
Typical of a narcissist, he claims sex is about ‘honouring self’. ‘Exoteric sex’ refers to any sexual relations that take place outside the context of his prescriptions for emotionless love making. Partners of followers know that compliance is key to the cult scam. Whether it be food choices, listening to music, the choice of literature in one’s home, or intimate activities, Serge holds all the power. ‘Honouring self’ is an oxymoron – involving surrendering personal autonomy, rejecting partners and families, and giving everything of value to worship him and adhere to his ‘Way of the Livingness’ under the prying judgement of the group.
The quote speaks volumes about his compulsions; his lust for dominance and his incomprehension of equality in relationships and the importance of informed consent. I experienced that first hand in his treatment room when I received the sleazy ovarian reading I neither asked for, or wanted, and said so – repeatedly.
Love is not emotional; it is an emanating presence that has not one ounce of emotion in it, but the emanating aspect of the joy and harmony that is God. (Benhayon, 2006, p.26)
An emotion is never a true feeling. It is at best the true feeling of your reactions to what you originally felt. Know this energetic truth, for emotions are the root cause of all diseases. (Benhayon, 2011, p.80)
Emotional shut down alienates followers from loved ones who may rival or challenge their devotion to the cult. According to Benhayon, love-making is only possible with another emotionally stunted, cult adherent – a codependent narcissistic sociopathy.
You don’t need someone to love you. Cos the truth is no one can love you. You are love. You can feel someone’s love of themselves and you can join that, and that’s beautiful. That’s what making love is about…
You cannot receive love from another. You can only love and be love and then if you allow yourself to feel that a person’s in love, you get inspired to be love yourself, then you two of you are in-love with yourselves. And should you do things together, then you’re making love. That’s how it works. It’s not something you can give another. (Benhayon, transcript of Esoteric Development Group lecture, 2010)
Lousy personal boundaries
As discussed in a previous post on Esoteric personal boundaries, Benhayon also has a deranged view of familial love – building a straw man argument from nonsense that some society somewhere or other deems hugging unacceptable within families. He claims the ‘energy that comes through a hug’ might be ‘interpreted as sexual’ if the person doing the hugging is not an Esoteric adherent.
Why is it not acceptable in society
- for a father to hug his teenage son as he did when he was a boy?
- for a father to hug his daughter when she becomes a woman for fear of it being interpreted as sexual?
- for a man to hug another man?
If one is contracted/reserved you don’t know what energy comes through a hug. If you are open its all there to see. (EDG lecture notes taken by Michael Dixon, February 2011)
Yet he’s not bothered about unsavoury interpretations when taking to Facebook to describe his daughter as sexy.
Followers also accept blatant transgressive behaviour, such as inappropriate touching marketed as ‘healing’. Pressing someone’s anus to dispel sadness’ is bad enough, but the cult is also studiously refusing to disclose the age of the young woman in the image.
They’re also fiercely defensive around his history with his current wife, who first moved into his home at fourteen and he thoroughly burned out as his junior tennis pupil. Benhayon is profoundly possessive and Miranda lives in isolation, never seen out of range of Serge or one of his upper rung of parasites in many years.
Dangerously confused about acceptable boundaries, followers participate en masse in the predatory grooming of children, taking their kids to lectures where Benhayon gives explicit instructions on seduction techniques. Natalie has no higher education or formal qualifications, yet held youth groups where she pressured children as young as twelve to make disclosures of their sexual activities and use of pornography, and then went on with Esoteric Women’s Health to hold the grubby Girl to Woman Festival – targeting girls as young as eight with dubious Esoteric products. Marketed to the community as a ‘child welfare event’, the festival featured a grooming tent where little girls were applied with makeup. Parents also continue to send their juvenile daughters to stay in Benhayon’s home, and proudly put girls’ names and images to online testimonials vouching that he isn’t a predator.
In keeping with his twisted pronouncements that charity and altruism are ‘evil’, compassion is ‘drinking the poison’ of another, ‘death is a healing‘, rape is karma for being a rapist in past life, and that rape and murder are not evil ‘in truth’, Benhayon rants in suspiciously graphic detail about underaged sexual violence. He also also reinforces obedience with threats that coming into contact with someone who has consumed liquor or marijuana, or has been in ‘pub energy’ leaves one and one’s children open to being ‘entered’ by supernatural entities.
A follower told me of one of the faith-full who had grown up living above her parents’ pub and was relieved to have Benhayon validate her vivid experience of entity rape. Students live in fear of karmic rape as payback for mythical crimes committed in past lives, and rape by imaginary demons if they fail to live ‘Esoterically’.
It’s all about power and nothing to with health. None of his teachings mention the pleasurable or healthy aspects of sex in consenting adult relationships, nor does he suggest how followers might improve their sexual relationships – except to sell a charade of intimacy he strictly controls. He views the female body as a locus for disease, and women and girls as perennial victims. To Serge, sex is something women hate, or at best endure out of emotional neediness, and ‘at the expense of their bodies’. That might be true for the women who’ve copped him as a partner. His characterization of men as lust crazed, emotionally stunted animals who only partake to ‘relieve themselves’ could be a projection of himself. He’s externalized that jaundiced view of sexuality into a religious doctrine and anyone who doesn’t subscribe is declared a detractor ‘Judas’, condemned to lifetimes of disease and disability, and a member of the ‘Astral cult’.
Most people have sex to either satisfy another so that they are liked and continue to be needed, or for relief. (Benhayon, 2011, p.93)
Women sleep around because they didn’t get the affectionate male energy from their father; men sleep around because their mother rejected them – both are using sex for relief. (Benhayon, 2011, p.417)
You know what you’ve been married 20 years, you sleep next to an empty person. You have not made love once, you have not met your partner and she has not met you. Truth is she doesn’t like having sex with you but she does it to relieve you. (Benhayon, transcript of audio recording, early 2010)
8. And so, accepting sex at the expense of their bodies is part of being a woman in this cult, for you are frigid, cold and not beautiful if you do not. And therefore, it is the woman who is at fault if they say no to sex … the kind that men like to use to relieve themselves by using the woman…
10. Men are from birth unlovingly conditioned to be a certain way, and then they are blamed for being that way.(Benhayon, EDG Message 23, Date unknown. p.7-8)
Even lesbianism is a reaction to ‘hurt by the opposite sex’.
Our greatest form of rejection comes from the opposite sex. As women, if we have been hurt by the opposite sex we can shift the energy in our ovaries and then be able to be with a woman rather than a man. If we deal with the hurt then next life we can chose to be with either a man or a woman. (Esoteric Development Group notes taken by Elizabeth Dolan, October 2011)
(He makes no such pronouncements on male homosexuality because the men’s reproductive health market is not such an easy touch. Although UM does market a menstrual cycle app to blokes. Serge denies Leonardo Da Vinci – in his previous lifetime, when he wasn’t Serge – was gay, presumably to avoid stigmatizing himself with his own homophobia.)
Benhayon’s sexist views that women have zero sexual agency, are incapable of harm or bloody mindedness and that men are always at fault in relationship failures, infantilizes and disempowers women to keep them servile. Much motivation for his sexist doctrines is a desire for revenge – arising from perceived threats to his superiority and his grudge against smarter, wealthier, stronger and more handsome rivals who won the girls who rejected him. He’s learned to pretend at ‘gentleness’ to disguise aggression, albeit poorly – emasculating male followers and alienating non cult partners to monopolize the women.
Cashing in on sexual abuse – the practices
As if that profile wasn’t dire enough, Benhayon styles himself as a sexual abuse therapist entitled to touch the genitals of sexual abuse survivors and market it as ‘healing’.
Followers manipulated into thinking that is an acceptable practice participate in the technique at Esoteric healing workshops, inappropriately touching each other and learning to do it to their clients.
The one in six men and one in three women who has experienced sexual abuse are another target market for Benhayon’s psychologically abusive practices. They’re told they deserved it because they were abusers in a past life.
Even if one believes in karma and reincarnation, traditional teachings on karma at least allow for the accumulation of ‘merit’ – that actions performed for the good and with good intentions ameliorate harmful actions over time and lifetimes. But Benhayon teaches benevolence is evil. The only escape from karmic payback for Universal Medicine clients is to pay up for the UM commercial consumption cycle and commit to the impossible austerities of his Way of the Livingness religion.
Followers are taught the ‘energy of rape’ ‘wounds the chakras’, where it can remain lodged, magically giving rise to ‘trauma and chronic conditions’ for thousands of years. Only Esoteric healers have the ‘energetic’ qualifications to ‘clear’ it, and to decide when a client is healed. Given the rate that long term customers still undergo healings and still experience illness and misfortune, the success rate is dismal.
Benhayon’s students and paid propagandists publicly insist it’s not abuse, swearing blind that the region below the pubic bone is not the ‘genitals’ and there’s nothing sexual about touching the pubis to ‘clear’ the energy of sexual abuse.
Their false sense of entitlement arises from Serge’s con that ‘the work’ has made them special, superior, Esoteric ‘Sons of God’, and no matter how damaging or hateful their behaviour, they see it as ‘loving’, ‘soul-full’ and ‘in truth’.
If any of us did the same they’d have us arrested.
Paid propagandist, Rebecca Baldwin, has participated in the technique and is not concerned that her hand ended up on a student’s penis without his consent, and to his great discomfort and disgust. She was in her truth, which she believes makes it okay. The student reported Serge (who instructed workshop participants to do it) to the useless Health Care Complaints Commission. I had previously reported those images. The best the HCCC could do was tell us they did not condone the practice but they would need further evidence the touching occurred without consent.
Students’ refusal to see anything wrong with these practices makes UM workshops and practices an open hunting ground for predators, with sexual abuse survivors highly vulnerable to revictimization, and children in attendance. Potentially, predators can put their hands wherever they are ‘in truth guided’ as long as they blend in and pretend it’s Esoteric ‘healing’. With no formal training in anatomy, hands can end up anywhere when ‘students’ grope for the ‘sacred chakra’. Serge told the HCCC that was beyond his control.
The exploitation continues with exhibitionist students putting their names to explicit accounts of their own histories of sexual abuse in Benhayon’s defence.
Sexual exploitation in cults
Religions have manipulated the sexuality of followers throughout history. Many instil obedience by inducing guilt and a sense of pollution. Cultic manipulations are more extreme again. Robert Jay Lifton defined cults as having three characteristics: ‘thought-reform-like practices, a shift from worshipping spiritual principles to worship of the person of the leader, and a combination of spiritual quest from below and exploitation, usually economic or sexual, from above.’ (Lifton, 2000, p.11) Genocidal cult leaders, Jim Jones, David Koresh and Pol Pot, controlled the sexual activities of their victims; demanding celibacy at times, and also forcing couples to have sex, sometimes in front of other cult members. The more garden variety cult leaders, such as A.J. Miller of ‘God’s Way of Love’ play match maker and relationship breaker at whim.
Cult expert, the late Margaret Thaler Singer, regarded sexual manipulation as a means of inhibiting behaviour that reflected the person’s social identity prior to joining the cult. The aim is to supercede personal identity with group approved behaviours, ideologies and beliefs.
Old beliefs and old patterns of behaviour are defined as irrelevant, if not evil. (Singer, 2003, p.66)
Sexuality in cults is almost always monitored or controlled in some way. Pairing off with another means you may care more for that person then for the leader or group mission. So cult leaders develop ways to ensure that allegiance goes to the top, not sideways in pair bonding. (Ibid., p.317)
Serge Benhayon’s subversive teachings and direct meddling in relationships spell doom for healthy sexual partnerships and also cause chronic psycho-sexual confusion and distress among the faithful. That correlates with decreased personal autonomy of cult members, the deterioration of relationships outside UM and increased dependency on the group.
The effect on followers and their partners
A correspondent shared how Serge’s teachings affected his intimate life.
My long term partner went from being interested in sex, to telling me she had no urges and only did it for me all within 2 years, and it wasn’t loving for her to do so. When I expressed concern that as 40 somethings this was dismal news she said I was pressuring her, which is like ‘rape’. When we did get intimate, it was done in a very controlled way with me not able to look interested at all outside of the obvious giveaway. All spontaneity was gone. I was told I had to be ‘loving’ and in the right space, which is not defined (but I later realised is not possible when I am pranic) therefore our intimacy dropped from a lot to 3-4 times in 1 year! (By the way, I never pressure and have always been loving so it was a situation I couldnt redress.) This is very common story for UM partners I have found from speaking with others. Serge gains control of them sexually and removes the love partner by making sex expression between them dirty and lower.
The relationship is over.
The ultimate control freak, Benhayon isn’t satisfied with merely controlling the sex lives of his followers. His aim is complete enslavement – breaking down his followers’ personalities until nothing is left. It’s part of his Livingness death drive, his denigration of human life, the human body and relationships, for power and profit.
Benhayon, S. Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, UniMed Publishing, 2011
Benhayon, S. The Way It Is, UniMed Publishing, 2006
Lifton, R.J., Destroying the World to Save It, Owl Books, New York, 2000
Singer, M. Thaler, Cults in Our Midst, Jossey Bass, San Francisco, 2003