From 1991 to 2001, David Joyner was arguably the most famous purple dinosaur since Dino on The Flintstones. And now, the man who played Barney is a tantra massage specialist and spiritual healer. In a new profile by Vice, the former star of Barney & Friends talks about the tantric sex practice he runs, and uh, needless to say, this job is vastly different from the one he had at PBS.
Joyner has been following this tradition of spiritual intimacy for a long time. As Vice reported, he's had his practice since 2004, and his tantra journey began many years before that. In a 2017 interview with Business Insider, Joyner mentioned that he's been studying tantra since he was 19 years old. He told the site,
“And a lot of times when people think about tantra they think it's all about sex. Well, tantra's much more than that. Because tantra deals with loving energy, life force energy, and energy that rises through your system. Now, it's no accident that I've been spreading ‘I love you’ all around the world.”
For $350, a client gets a session with Joyner that lasts three to four hours, Vice reports. The cost includes “a ritual bath, chakra balancing, and a massage. Also on the menu: cosmic, mind-blowing orgasms.” Joyner explained to Vice,
“When the lingam [penis] and the yoni [vagina] meet, there’s a certain energy that takes place that hands on the body alone cannot create.”
Does this mean intercourse can be part of the session if the client is on board? To quote one of the songs in Barney's repertoire, B-I-N-G-O.
Though the clients Vice spoke to seemed into Joyner's healing practices, his methodology is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea. Joyner told the site that the best way to arrive at a “higher and more blissful state of awareness” is to engage in penetrative, unprotected sex. He believes condoms “block the energy.”
When Vice spoke to Moksha Tantra Center founder Matthias Rose and tantra life coach Kaya Kwan Yin, both seemed less than OK with Joyner’s methods. Rose feels that in a tantric healing session, intercourse is “almost always never needed—particularly for healing purposes.” And Yin questioned Joyner’s belief that condoms “block energy.” She called this “shady” and “ridiculous,” adding, “Having sex with clients in the world of tantra is more of an anomaly than the norm.”
As far as the legality of his practice goes, Joyner told Vice that he’s OK as long as he doesn’t charge clients for their first session. However, California defense attorney Jonathan Kelman told Vice that isn’t actually a loophole, and if a client were to reach out to authorities, he could potentially be charged with prostitution. However, none of the clients Vice talked to said they felt pressured or coerced into sex, and one said Joyner wears protection when she insists.
While dancing around in a purple dinosaur costume for a decade seems like a career path that couldn’t be further from his current line of work, Joyner said, “A lot of the elements of Barney were a lot of the things I was training with in tantra.”
“The energy I brought up [while] in the costume is based on the foundation of tantra, which is love," he told the site. "Everything stems, grows, and evolves from love. Even when you have emotionally blocked energy, the best way to remove it is to remove it with love, and then replace it with God’s divine love. Love heals and allows you to continue to grow.”
Welp, there you have it. The guy who wore the Barney costume on TV for a decade now has a tantric sex practice. What a world we share.