Origins and philosophy of tantra
As we all know, sex has been around for a very long time whether you believe in Adam and Eve or evolution. Tantra grew from ancient Eastern philosophers who believed sexual energy could be a conduit for enlightenment when combined with universal energy and the human body. Tantra is translated from Sanskrit and means “tools for expansion”. Its teachings and practice is over 1500 years old, and along with yoga, originated from India. With a tantric sex practice, you can become more aware of your sexual energy and use it to be more in tune with yourself, a partner, as well as the world around you. Similar in many ways to yoga, tantric sex focuses on creating a special space for practice, engaging in deep, restorative breathing, mindfulness of our body responses, connectedness to our own energy and those around us, and not rushing through the practice.
It’s not just about the orgasm…
The practice of tantric sex is not focused on achieving orgasm, but rather enhancing one’s entire sexual experience. With all the commitments and responsibilities we have in our daily lives-- demanding careers, recreational activities and hobbies, or raising children-- we often look for a “quickie” to fit into our busy schedules. In his song, “Suffragette City”, David Bowie’s lyric, “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” sums this up succinctly. Although satisfying on some levels, a quick sexual release does not allow us to truly connect with ourselves or our partners nor enjoy the experience of getting there. The Western notion of sex differs from tantric sex as it’s commonly believed to begin with arousal, moves on to penetration, and ends in orgasm-- no matter what your sexual orientation. Many people believe that if this course of action isn’t followed through or if orgasm isn’t reached there is something wrong and a diversion from this path is just foreplay and doesn’t really count. The Eastern philosophy of tantric sex, takes the focus (or pressure) off of the orgasm. Instead, it focuses on the journey: the increases, decreases, and plateaus of arousal and how to move between them, being present and mindful of what you are feeling, awareness of your own energy and how it mingles with your partner or universal energies, and simply honoring yourself or each other. I regard tantric sex as akin to surfing. The goal of a skilled surfer is to ride a wave for as long as possible controlling his or her body to stay balanced on the board. Surfing creates a mind-body connection with the energy of the ocean, the surfer’s awareness of his or her own energy, and using learned skills to guide the surf board. Don’t get me wrong, orgasm does exist in tantric sex, but you can learn to control your own release by being tuned into your body’s sensations, breathing, and staying focused. When you choose to orgasm, alone or together with a partner, the experience can be amazing!
Preparing yourself and creating a sacred space for tantric sex
Tantric sex can be practiced alone or with a partner or beloved. If you are on your own, tantric practice is an act of self-love, can be very emotionally healing, and can help you be more aware of your energy and how to use it for more satisfying future sexual experiences with a partner. To begin with, bathe or shower, shave or trim body hair, cut your nails, and moisturize your body. It’s important to honor yourself, partner or beloved with a groomed and clean body. Next, create a sacred space, whether it’s your bedroom or your living room with pillows and blankets on the floor. Make this comfortable and inviting. Dim the lights or light candles, but not so dark that you cannot see your own body, partner, or beloved. Be mindful of any running appliances, electronics or cell phones that can distract your focus, and that pets or children are safely secured or in someone else’s care. If you like, put on some relaxing music, burn incense, or have sensual treats like fruit, chocolate or wine available to enhance your experience in your sacred space. Now you are ready to explore tantric pleasures…
The resources I used for this blog entry were “What is Tantric Sex: basics about Tantra by Cory Silverberg at http://sexuality.about.con/od/spiritualsex/a/tantra101.htm and from the book, Sexy Spirited and Strong: becoming a Positive Energy Woman, by Meloney Hudson and her website, www.sexyspiritedandstrong.com.
Log onto www.weisspsychotherapygroup.com for future blogs on tantric sex exercises and techniques.