If you're still holding onto fond memories of Barney the dinosaur, I suggest you stop reading this immediately.
Every kid watched Barney growing up; it was almost like a right of passage. You knew the songs, you knew the characters, and you knew you wanted to be one of the kids who was on the show.
The man behind the suit, David Joyner, led a fairly normal life before becoming a childhood icon, though he did have some odd jobs.
"I would stand in store windows and I would stand there as a mannequin, just frozen," he recalled.
But now, we've just found out that Joyner has a...let's call it a new career path.
In 2004, Joyner opened his own tantric sex practice, where he is a tantra massage specialist and spiritual healer. Sessions last three to four hours, and cost around $350. You know, if you ever wanted to receive a "cosmic, mind-blowing orgasm" from the man who played Barney.
In an interview with Vice, Joyner explained the goal of each session is not only to orgasm, but also to release a woman's energy.
“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,” says Joyner. “Even through G-spot massage, it’s still not the same energy that flows.”
And don't you worry, it gets weirder!
“The energy I brought up [while] in the [Barney] costume is based on the foundation of tantra, which is love,” he explains. “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.”
“Before I got into the [Barney] costume, I would pray and ask God to allow his loving divine spirit to flow through me through the costume and let that draw the kids. That energy would always draw them in,” Joyner says. “Children are more connected spiritually than [adults]. A lot of times when I see infants and I’m out and about at the grocery store or whatever, they start staring at me. I make the joke, ‘You know who I am.’”
Yikes, right? The kicker to all this is that it might actually be illegal. In the state of California, massage with the intent of arousal is against the law, because it's considered solicitation. Joyner says he has a police offer friend who makes all potential clients sign a contract saying they're not cops, and that since the first session is free, it's legal because there's no money exchanged. It may not protect him in the long run, however.
“You can’t legally have sex with someone in exchange for money," California defense attorney Jonathan Kelman says. "If I have a client who gets arrested for exchanging a Big Mac for sex, that’s, by definition, prostitution."
Joyner finds all his clients either through word of mouth, or through Tinder. He also says that not all sessions are intimate.
“Not all of my sessions have sex or ‘spiritual intimacy.’ It’s only in the full sessions, when someone is ready to take the sexual energy to a higher level," says Joyner. "Because then it’s about understanding that when the lingam and the yoni connect there’s a spiritual exchange that takes place, not physical pleasure. It’s not about sex or trying to coerce someone into have sex. It’s about removing emotionally blocked energy."
He also says that playing Barney was meant to be.
“I always said it was never an accident, and that I was meant to do this character,” Joyner says. "Because a lot of the elements of Barney were a lot of the things I was training with in tantra."
Maybe Joyner is the guy I matched with on Tinder last year...