Couple Who Attended Sexual Freedom Festival Say Relationship Is Deeper & Stronger

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson

A LOVING couple who attended Northern Ireland’s first ever festival promoting sexual freedom have hit out at critics.

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson, from Donegal made the trip to Narrow Water Castle, Warrenpoint, County Down earlier this month to attend the Bliss Summer Festival.

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson

The festival, which originated in Ireland, was set up by organisers to promote “sexual freedom, health and pleasure in mind, body and spirit”.

As well as running a number of “playshops” that promote sexual exploration and freedom, the weekend seen participants taking part in sessions entitled everything from Cuddle Party, Arousal and Sensual Massage to Orgasmic Yoga, Erotic Party Games and the G-Spot Experience.

But before the event some local residents and public figures hit out criticising it.

UKIP councillor for the area Henry Reilly branded it “satanic” and said it would be “a weekend of debauchery” on BBC Radio Ulster last week.

While one of the venue’s trustees, Sir William Hall said he believed the festival was “lewd” and “lascivious”.

However, organiser Beth Wallace – who has nearly three decades of experience in the psychology and psychotherapy fields stressed that the participants of the festival were “consenting adults” and that “no legal boundaries were crossed”.

She added that the festival had a no alcohol and no drugs rule and a strict over 18s entrance policy and defended the event saying: “Human sexuality is not something to feel shame, fear or guilt about. It is something to celebrate and is a major source of our greatest power and freedom.”

Andrew and Taryn who are writers, artists and performers run an arts and events company Abject Revelry.

They attended the festival both as workshop and playshop facilitators as well as participants.

Andrew explained: “Our interest in conscious sexuality, tantra and conscious relationships is what initially drew us both to Bliss.

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson

“We had developed a workshop around our forthcoming book, Love With Ease, Please and were looking at appropriate events to deliver it.

“We resonated deeply with the Bliss ethos of promoting sexual health, sexual pleasure and sexual freedom and so were delighted that Beth agreed to have us both deliver our workshop and put on an Abject Revelry cabaret at the 2014 Summer Festival in Galway.

“This was our first experience of a Bliss event and it was a transformative one. Beth creates a very unique space at this festival. The drug and alcohol free aspect was a real eye opener. So different and so refreshing compared to every other festival experience.

“With drugs and alcohol removed there is an immediate shift to a much more present, safe and respectful experience for all concerned. In that space every workshop and talk was allowed to truly guide and be received with real connection and presence.”

Speaking of the comments by Sir William Hall, Taryn said he was “misinformed” of what the event was about.

She added: “The misinformation in Mr Hall’s concerns demonstrate that he has clearly never been to a Bliss event.

“If he had he’d know that those seeking lewd or lascivious orgies would have been sorely disappointed. It is also rather telling that he and many like him reduce the vast and joyous expanse that is sexuality down to just the physical act of copulation.

“Bliss in my experience is concerned more with exploring the other 99 per cent of the sexual iceberg.”

Andrew and Taryn have been together for three years and from the very beginning realised they had a mutual interest in sexual intimacy that went deeper than sex.

“From the very beginning we have been very open with each other and there has been no taboo subject and since we are both very interested in studying and exploring consciousness and sexuality these mutual interests are what brought us together and keep us together” said Andrew.

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson

Andrew Galvin and Taryn Gleeson

But that doesn’t stop people judging them.

Taryn added: “In our experience people can be wary and suspicious of others who are confident and open about sexuality because it’s not the norm and because they often have preconceived ideas about what they imagine the conscious sexuality crowd get up to.

“A big misconception about the Bliss Festival is that it is about hooking up with strangers for sex.”

Andrew says nothing could be further from the truth than the notion that the festival is about random acts of sex between random people under the influence of noxious or alcoholic substances and drink.

However, he added: “If you are on a path of self development and healing and ready to engage with and explore your own sexuality in a safe and supportive space then The Bliss Festival is the place for you.”

For Andrew and Taryn they believe attending the festival helps to strengthen their deep intimacy and understanding of each other.

Taryn said: “After Bliss last year we felt that the experience of the festival impacted both of us very deeply and very positively.”

Andrew added: “Our relationship is undoubtedly deeper and stronger as a result. Same for our relationships with ourselves. There is a great healing and confidence that comes from being your authentic sexual self.”

For more information on other Bliss Festival events log onto

About the Author

Tina Calder
Journalist, commentator, author and content creator specialising in showbiz, entertainment, business, trade, human interest and lifestyle.