Stan Dale: Healing the Planet
With Sex, Love, and Intimacy
by Kathryn Roberts
(This article originally appeared in Passionate Living Magazine ©1993, NSS Seminars, Inc.)
Pioneers, visionaries, and crusaders in the sexual communities of the world are all heroes. They have touched many lives and assisted in the personal growth of thousands. We owe them a lot and thank them for their courage to follow their visions.
Passionate Living interviewed one of these sexual heroes, Stan Dale, to get a glimpse of what created his commitment and ability to contribute so much to the development and enhancement of other people's lives. The focus of Stan Dale's life work is to heal the planet. His Sex, Love, and Intimacy workshops are the vehicle and are sponsored by the Human Awareness Institute (HAI), both of which he created. Stan believes that everyone is equally capable of sex, love, and intimacy. "It is [their] inheritance as human beings. People think they know what these mean, but the meanings get smushed together." Passionate Living Magazine takes a look at his philosophy, life, and work as an embodiment of his spirit.
Philosophy: Creating a World Where Everyone Lives
Stan's philosophy centers around "creating a world where everyone wins." His messages are dignity, respect, reverence, and compassion. He also believes in "a no belief-belief system;" a philosophy that is all love-based with bits of spirituality permeating throughout.
Sex, Love & Intimacy
How does all this relate to sex, love, and intimacy? Stan defines sex as "a metaphor." He says, "There is no such thing as sex. Sex is a metaphor for how I treat you with all of my body parts: hands, heart, soul and lips. What you can do with the heart and soul is infinite. What you can do with hands, etc. is finite."
This leads to the understanding that sex is globally expressed in all transactions, interactions, communications, and relationships with oneself and with others. It cannot be separated from the self, one's identity, or the reality that it creates in one's lif e. For sex to be positive, it needs to be born out of love for oneself and for others.
Love and intimacy are intertwined in this view of sex. Stan defines love as "energy." "Everything in the universe is love. We are love. When we talk about love, it is one of the most painful things in the world. We learn about it in all the wrong places and look for it in the wrong places. When we are afraid, we take ourselves out of love, we cut off the energy. There is always either love or a cry for love. When I am in love, I am alive. Anything but love is an act of violence. The most insidious violence is spiritual violence—our thoughts about how 'un-okay' we are. People repeat what they learn and pass it down from generation to generation that they are not okay."
According to Stan, most people think that intimacy means sexual intercourse, but intimacy really means "into-me-see." It is a state of vulnerability where we allow our true selves to be revealed to another being. "Isn't that what we hope sex will be? People are afraid of being seen because they will be vulnerable and think they will be hurt. Most people do not have intimacy in their life because they are afraid."
The Power of Fantasy
Another hallmark of Stan's philosophy is fantasy. He talks constantly about the "awesome power of fantasy." It is the foundation upon which sits his belief in creating a world where everyone wins. The only reality we have is our thoughts which are interpretations of what we perceive and experience. "Thoughts can be changed from negative fantasy to positive fantasy. That becomes one's reality." Thus, we can create our reality with our minds.
The Human Being as Leader
Sex, love and intimacy sound great and Stan sounds like a pretty great guy. He is. He is also a real human being with imperfections. He makes mistakes and has all the problems of everyday life just like the rest of us. It is his willingness to be himself in front of people that sets him apart. He is willing to be vulnerable and let you see his flaws and weaknesses. They give him credibility and prevent people from idolizing him.
Another thing that sets Stan apart is that he provides an opportunity for people to honestly share how they feel about him and provide constructive feedback at any time and in any format. This is a more radical concept than it appears. Where else can you criticize the boss? Stan's employees do and so does everyone else in his life. He invites and welcomes this.
The Sex, Love, and Intimacy workshops are a stopping off place on the path of personal growth; they are not the end of the trail. He recognizes the need that people have to move on to new things and never tries to hang on to them. He encourages people to take advantage of many options for growth.
In Stan we find a man whose teachings border on intellectual and philosophical conceptualizations while having concrete applications to everyday life. His workshops focus on how to create for yourself all the sex, love and intimacy that you want in life. (These workshops will be described and discussed more fully towards the end of this article.) What is the world of Stan Dale? Where did he come from, and what brought him to the place where he is today?
Life History: Overview
Stan Dale is a synthesis of his heroes and his father, who was a major influence in his life. "If you want to know my father, know me. You are seeing my father, who was kind, gentle, caring, and took care of anyone in trouble." Stan's heroes, Superman, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and the Lone Ranger, are also parts of his identity. He integrated the qualities of his heroes into himself. "I am a conglomerate because I rewrote my script when I was able to see that parts of my father's script worked for me, but the other parts [of his script] did not and did not serve humanity."
Stan incorporated his heroes into his script. "Martin Luther stood for principles and revered human beings. He saw peace as the way. He asked people of all colors and backgrounds to love and not to hate, and that's a very important part of who I am. Gandhi said you can kill my body, but you can never kill my soul, and with that he was able to bring Great Britain to its knees. That is a very important part of my not backing down to authority. The Lone Ranger was never violent. It became apparent to me that he and the other heroes of old did not use violence and represented good overcoming evil. He also embraced this Indian as his best friend.
That opens to me that whole acceptance of everyone on the planet of different races and religions. It is also pure male bonding. (The word "kimosabe," the Lone Ranger's name for Tonto, means friend.) Superman was definitely the quintessence of the man who could do good all over the planet in an instant. He had the power to save humanity and he never showed it off. Clark Kent was just this mild mannered guy who did not need recognition for what he was doing."
Stan's life began December 20, 1929, in the Bronx, New York. Soon after his birth the family moved to Manhattan where he grew up. Both of his parents were from Odessa, Russia; About six years ago, Stan's "uncle," actually a close friend of his father, revealed some details of their story. Stan's father had been a captain in the secret police at the beginning of the Russian revolution. He and the "uncle" may have even been responsible for killing their countrymen in the name of the revolution for altruistic reasons. Stan's father's brother-in-law was arrested on a conspiracy charge, and the two friends thought they might be next, so, they took Stan's mother and one year old brother and escaped under gunfire across the Polish border. First they went to South America and then immigrated to the United States. Stan's father never told him about his life in Russia and his parents never spoke about Russia to Stan. They spoke Russian only to each other. Both his parents were Jewish but essentially abandoned their religion. They were determined to be "American."
Stan was prejudiced against his parents because of their accents and because of the anti-Russian sentiment during the McCarthy era. He thought, if they were Russian, they must be bad. As Stan matured, he was sorry that his parents did not teach him the language or anything about his Russian heritage.
Stan talks lovingly about his father, who owned a candy store and gave bums off the street food, drink, and money if they needed it. "He was gone most of the time at the candy store in Manhattan and left early in the morning and came back late at night. They served meals there too, starting with breakfast. I rarely saw him except on Saturdays when I worked in the candy store and on Sunday when it was closed. I began to work there at age six or seven. My dad wanted me to stay home because I was eating the profits. I was a "candyholic." I liked meeting the people at the candy store, and it helped me to be gregarious because my father was a role model. I learned compassion from my father because he was so good to the bums. My dad never spanked me and only once tapped me on the shoulder with his fist and asked if he ever had to do that again. He told me how it hurt him to do that."
Stan's happiest memories of his childhood are working in the candy store where he could be with his dad who "was the Damon Runyan character always there for other people. I was being molded into that script, and my father didn't do a thing." The biggest impact on Stan as a child was his father. His father was "warm, gentle, outgoing, tender, always did for others, never threatened or put me down, loved me for who and what I was, hugged and kissed me, making me know that is what 'real' men did."
His mother also had a big impact on Stan in quite another way. "The gift of my mother was teaching [me] compassion." Compassion learned from abuse. Stan's mom often threatened to commit suicide. She told Stan that she loved his brother, Gene, (eight years older) more than him. She was constantly screaming. Stan's most painful memories are of his mother beating him with his "father's strap to the point I had bloody welts if I took money or candy. If I hid under the bed she would pull me out by the hair and beat me some more because I was a man and should not cry." It infuriated Stan's mom if he stole money or candy from her purse. He feels that he did it "because that was the closest I could get to my father." "Be cause of all the pain I suffered, I was able to see that it was a universal condition and the child becomes the parent and so forth."
Later in life, Stan was able to forgive his mother for the cruelty to which she subjected him. When she was an old woman, he asked her to tell him about her life and from that telling, Stan acquired a better understanding of his mother. Stan related to us her story: "My mom was a violin virtuoso. Her mother had divorced her dad and remarried the stereotypical stepfather. One night when she was eight, he came home and smashed her violin against the wall in anger. So something snapped in her, and she made a commitment to hate all men and to hate women because her mother had divorced the father she loved so much. On top of that, she married a man and had two sons. When my mother told me this story, I realized she was just a hurt eight year old girl, and I stopped hating her. I think that is where some of my compassion came from." Stan believes that all people have their own stories that caused them to be the way they are. His compassion is a driving force behind his work. Stan can feel the pain of others because he learned it first hand.
Another traumatic part of Stan's early life was his membership in a local street gang. He felt like he had to belong for his survival, and was scared for his life most of the time. "At twelve years old until about sixteen I was part of a street gang. I was able to be more of a peripheral gang member because I was the most scared. I was continually being sick and creating ways to not show up. The gang would go on little rumbles and create problems. We were the big bad guys, the meanest on the block. It was similar to turf wars. Some of the guys carried knives but no guns. One time at our high school basketball game, there was a fight with another gang. There were some slashings. It was the first time I saw people with their abdomens ripped open and their faces slashed. There were about four guys hurt. Because of the code of ethics, no one could squeal. It was then that I realized I had to get out of it no matter what the cost. It scared so many people, it was a perfect opportunity for some of the kids to say no more of this. The gang slashed tires, created havoc, taunted girls. That was how we showed we were men. We threatened other gangs' members. Our gang was called the 23rd Street Hawks. It was a whole area in downtown Manhattan, similar to the movie "West Side Story." We did blood rituals and sliced our wrists and put them together to be blood brothers." Soon after the school fight Stan quit the gang.
Stan's brother, Gene, was more like a second father because of the age difference. He left home at seventeen to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and later became a movie actor. Stan did not have much contact with him, and found out six years ago that his brother had died.
Stan's sexual education began at age twelve. "My father never spoke to me about sex, and my mother said it was dirty and nasty. I had to find out all about it myself" Stan talked about his first memories of sex. "Painful, confusing. At twelve years old, I was at the RKO 23rd Street Theater for a Saturday matinee, and a lady sat next to me. She was about 25 and put her hand on my leg and unbuttoned my fly and reached in and played with me. After awhile (and I was enjoying this because I didn't even do this to myself) she said "Can we go someplace?" We went to the elevator shack on top of the six story building where I used to play spaceman. And there she asked me if I had any rubbers. I said I didn't wear any, thinking she meant galoshes. Then she said, "Do you have a handkerchief?" So my first intercourse was on the concrete floor of the elevator shack with my penis wrapped in a handkerchief. It was horrible."
"The next year a barber named Joe in the same building had a prostitute come once a week to take care of his favorite customers. One day he told her to take care of me. He had a room in the basement with a bed set up there. So my first positive, beautiful sexual experience was with this mulatto prostitute. She was sweet and gentle with a little bit of a southern drawl. She said, 'Honey, you don't have to worry, I'm not going to hurt you'. I will never forget that. I never got to see her again."
Stan's situation at home was difficult. He says, "The first time I left home was when I was twelve. My mother made me eat fish, and I hated it. Fish was a traumatic food for me. My mom and I argued about the fish, and so I got up, ran to 34th street, and got on a train. The train took me to Miami. The conductor caught me, and the police were waiting for me in Miami. I was sent back under police protection to Pennsylvania Station. I thought my parents would kill me, but my mom was glad to see me, and things got better at home, but never really great." By age 16, Stan had essentially left home, staying with friends' families and working.
High school English created the opportunity for Stan to find a career that was to eventually give him access to a deeper and broader world view and expose him to people, places, and experiences that shaped the direction his life has taken. He began a career in radio in his high school Radio English class, doing programs on the New York City owned radio station. "I started doing all sorts of radio. The first thing I played was the part of Louis Braille in his life story. There were lots of other programs, too. I got so fascinated with radio that I hardly ever went home, and I got jobs at various radio stations. I would stay with friends' families. I went directly into commercial radio after high school. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was my first radio job, then to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and then to Winston Salem, North Carolina." There he met the infamous Betty, his first wife, who eventually changed the course of his life. He was married at nineteen.
Stan's radio career took off. Betty became a born-again Christian. Eventually, Betty and radio were to lead Stan to Japan and exposure to a world where sex was okay; to experiences that made him look more closely at his life; to ways of being that he later incorporated into his workshops.
From 1951 to 1953, Stan was the announcer and narrator for The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. "I was even the voice of The Shadow for a short while with WXYZ in Detroit. I loved this. It was live radio. Brace Beemer was the Lone Ranger. He was 6' 4" and looked like the Lone Ranger except that he had a beer belly. But it didn't matter on radio. John Todd was Tonto. He was 5'3", a Shakespearean actor, and seventy years old. As a kid, I had listened to The Lone Ranger and here I was part of it! It was like waking up one day and finding out you are a star. The radio work was long hours of rehearsal, and there was tremendous tension because we had to be perfect. The producer yelled at me one day and said, 'Stan, the spot is 58 seconds, not 59 seconds, not 57 seconds.' I lived in total terror that I would fuck it up. The producer was a terrible guy and The Lone Ranger was the number one show. He had a wonderful way of making you feel like shit. The actors and actresses were the biggest in the field, and I was only twenty-one years old."
"For awhile I portrayed Jesus Christ on a show called Unshackled. This was a live studio show on WGN in Chicago and was on the radio all over the world. When I read the part of Jesus Christ, people looked at me as if I were God. They would even come up to me after the show and touch me. I was the center of attention; I was God. Also, Betty, my wife, had become a high pressure salesman for Christ, It made me feel weird and awesome because I did not even believe in God at that time. As I got older, I was able to see that the message of Christ is love. Of course then I would go home and fight with my wife, and the pedestal was gone."
"In later years when I reflected on those shows, I came up with 'The awesome power of fantasy.' These shows were all predicated on fantasy, and that was how I was able to develop the hypothesis that all of our thoughts are fantasies that create mental images. That was what we created on radio, mental images. Our minds cannot do anything but create mental images. When we talk about the mind, we are talking about a fantasy machine, no different than motion pictures, stories, or television. You can have the life you want because you can create any fantasy/thought you want. Most of us create negative fantasy/thought: watch out, be careful, you will be hurt. Those early radio shows were the foundation for my thinking."
"This is really the centerpiece for everything I do; having people see that life is fantasy and their thoughts can be changed from a negative fantasy to a positive fantasy. When you have a positive fantasy, not only do you feel better but you are saving your life. Negative thoughts create tension and illness and disease (dis -- ease)."
Stan and Betty were married for eight years. "Evangelists were coming home for dinner and putting pressure on me and praying for my salvation. She put gospel tracts in my sandwiches. It was real psychological warfare. Finally, I didn't want to go home, and so I moved out. We had two daughters aged four and seven. She said that, if I cannot have you, no one can. This was around 1955. At that time, if there was any change in marital status, draft deferments became null and void, so I was drafted. It was the worst and best thing that happened.
"I was at the top of my profession in radio, and now my career was destroyed. Betty took my two daughters and moved away. Everything I had was gone. I came out to visit my brother in Hollywood who had become a movie actor and was on television. My car was broken into, and everything I had in the world was taken. I started life allover again. So here is compassion again. I know what it is like to have your whole life torn apart."
The First Transition
"I was sent to Korea and Japan. The peace talks were on in Korea. I was with the Armed Forces Radio." It was in Japan, a trip born from his divorce from Betty which forced Stan into the draft, that Stan formalized his ideas of what sex really is and the potential it has for good in people's lives.
"Keenan Wynn was making the movie, Joe Butterfly. It was filmed at a geisha house. He invited us to a party there but the party was boring, so I started walking around the house. It was beautiful with waterfalls and ponds filled with koi. An elderly Japanese man came up to me and started talking. He got a translator, and we talked for three hours in his quarters. I fell in love with him because we talked about how we both hated the army and about our families and, at the end of three hours, he invited me to live at his house. I said, 'I am a private in the army. I don't see how I can live here.' He looked at me in a way I'll never forget and said I would find a way. A week later the four star general in charge of our area said he wanted me to do a radio show that involved a lot of travel. I told him I could not live on base and do the show. He said I could live off base, and so I moved to the geisha house for the next seven months. I became known as an American male geisha.
"Living in the geisha house was the single most important event in my twenty-seven years. I thought I knew everything about sex. There was no 'sex,' intercourse, there. What I learned was sense and reverence. At my workshops, what we teach is reverence and high sensuality. Where do the senses stop and sex begin? We demystify the craziness around sex, and we revere each person. I learned an adage back then. If God wanted to hide, he would hide in human beings because that is the last place we would look. So in my workshops we look for the God and Goddess in each person. I used to hate God because the concept of God as a jealous, angry, vengeful being, all the negatives, made me sick. We call God 'the father'. I would never do to my children what they said God would do to his. So I recreated God and an adage that has served me well: 'I know you; you are just like me.'"
While learning about some of the more spiritual aspects of sex at the geisha house, Stan also learned about the mechanics. He learned "from the sexologists in the sex drug stores in Japan. These were stores that sold dildos, vibrators, false vaginas, lotions, potions, and condoms. Everything that you can imagine that was sex paraphernalia. You would go in the store and sit down and have tea with the old men and women that ran the store who would explain everything that you wanted to know. Nothing was taboo. Everything was discussed. There were about six of these shops in Tokyo. That was how I got my sex training. I brought back a vibrator. After meeting my second wife, Helen, we used that vibrator from the very first day. It made her eyes bug out." [Stan remarried after his stint in the service].
Upon returning from Japan in 1957, Stan returned to Chicago to work in radio. "Everything in me was bubbling and churning because, when I got back from Japan, I had learned to look at life in a whole new way, and had learned about reverence, which is how a high geisha treats her clients." He got his job back as Stan the Record Man and continued it until 1968 when the show was converted to a talk show. Stan also did the news, announcing, and other radio work.
(read more in part 2 or return to the main Stan page)