Teachers and Students

From Spring 1995
I have one hard and fast rule about students. I’ve had a lot of arguments with other teachers about this rule, but for me there is very little room for compromise on this one point: teachers don’t have sex with their students. The reason is quite clear to me. If you have the responsibility for guiding someone’s spirit and mind through religious and magical training, and you have the confidence and intimacy of the person’s body as well, you have too much control over your student.
In the spirit of compromise, I have conceded that if a student has someone else as a primary source for either sex or training, then a teacher and student might have a fling, especially if the sexual tension is getting in the way of getting anything else accomplished, or if it’s a case of true love, or if there is some other extenuating circumstance. Of course, a teacher involved with a student who is otherwise sexually occupied opens up the whole problem of trashing the student’s relationship, another thing with which I have no patience.
I can hear the howls of protest now—they most often come from someone who has had an affair with a student. I suppose there can be success in combining sex and teaching. It is far more likely, however, that at some point, when students either choose a personal religious path that might disagree with their teacher’s or when students want to end the sexual relationships, they are faced with the fear of losing one for the sake of ending the other. To lose both at once either by the student’s choice or the teacher’s is to leave a gaping hole in the life of the student and perhaps also of the teacher. Such a rending can cause only pain.
Many cults in social or religious guise try to control simultaneously the body, mind, and spirit, for this is the best way to enslave. What a teacher may do for the sake of love creates a very real danger of destroying the spirit and free-will of the student who follows in perfect love and perfect trust. How to avoid this trap? If sex is inevitable, find your student other teachers. If no teachers are available, hold off on the relationship until the student can become a peer. Sex should always be among equals, as should religious debate. And as long as students thank me for stating this over the protests of their teachers, I will continue to hold this opinion.