I finally got someone I was seriously dating to join me in a Tantra workshop. The mere suggestion lit up my boyfriend's eyes with excitement. Images of naked people (more specifically us) in erotic, sometimes hard to perform positions flashed through his head. The primal lure of sensual pleasure and the most amazing orgasms ever fed his lust-filled imagination.
If I told him the reality of the workshop, I'd never get him there. So, I lied.
I felt bad when we arrived to the tantra class and watched him become utterly confused—deflated. It was a bit more therapeutic than he realized. There was no perfectly defined naked Playboy or Playgirl model to greet us with a fruit plate, a cocktail or sex enhancing drugs. The room is filled with regular people—old and young, with various body types and sexual preferences, wearing comfortable, loose clothing.
It became al to clear he entered a workshop more akin to Birkenstock-wearing new-agers, journaling and yoga mats than a member’s only voyeuristic sex club (think Eyes Wide Shut).
I felt bad for the set-up (and the small non-refundable financial investment) but, I knew he would come to love the practice. If I told my boyfriend at the time what class was really like we’d never have been able to do those meditations together. We’d never have stared into each other’s eyes while holding each other and trying to synchronize our breath. We’d never have spoken honestly with one another about how we felt without looking away.
And as I stared into his anxiety-ridden eyes that fought the desire to dart all over the room while I poured my heart into our shared space, I realized we were never going to be a match. Tantra will always help us see the truth and heart of the matter whether we like the answer or not.
When looking back, these tantra exercises seem silly bordering sappy when taken out of the context of the workshop. It's a challenge to find the right words that explain how great it was to connect deeply with someone you loved on heart level---even if their connection wasn’t the same.
But tantra is the kind of sexy that’s shaped from the inside out as it focuses on building intimacy and connectivity with yourself and another. To me, it’s the best of mindfulness meditation, therapy, honesty and partnered yoga combined.
The true art of Tantra is not about the fluff or fluffer.
There are definitely classes or teachers out there who would teach the same class I took with a more pornographic, Hollywood-friendly approach, which would be fun in its own way. There are also many erotic books with lots of naked pictures depicting people and deities in fancy sex positions that beckon us to try them out, it’s important to realize those pictures are just the sales pitch—one I bought into as well.
Tantra is about learning how to play and harness the sexual energy behind just getting off.
The word tantra means to weave. It has philosophical and spiritual roots in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. There are different types of tantra:
With the promise of better orgasms, longer erections, and increased health and well-being, the tantra that most Westerners think of when they want to try it out is red. Totally understandable. But, the practice of Tantra can be that and so much more---if we allow it.
In a society where sex is often reduced to its most primal urges, Tantric exercises could really help each of us deepen sexual intimacy with others or ourselves. Tantra is a solo practice as much as it is a couple’s one. If your partner isn’t willing to practice with you, having a solo tantric practice can still help enhance your relationship.
Tantra could also be a great supplement to counter the emotional disconnection related to sexual objectification that is sadly so prevalent in the world today. (Not that a little consensual sexual objectification is a bad thing.) When we live in a world where a President can be elected after objectifying women it may be time to reconsider where we are breaking down as a sexual society.
Tantra could be a valuable sexual education tool for our youth.
With the lack of good sexual education classes in schools just imagine how great it would be to have a tantric class that not only taught about sexual anatomy and procreation but actually linked how to have healthy, sex-positive, loving, emotionally intimate relationships with ourselves and others. Tantric education has the potential to counter the attitudes and cluelessness behind the rape and slut-shaming culture that has become way too pervasive in our society.
Tantra can also help heal sexual wounds.
Sexual wounds inflicted by trauma such as rape often cause shame, guilt, and confusion. Tantric exercises performed with a well-vetted teacher can help bring about self-transformation and personal power those who have experienced these wounds. An experienced tantric teacher can help someone who has been abused to reconnect to the joy, love, innocence and personal power behind consensual sex in a connected healthy way.
Tantra is a healing, loving energy that beckons to be experienced and played with. It’s the slowing down of the primal urges to bring mindfulness and respect to the forefront of sexual relations with ourselves or others.
It is designed to increase pleasure and love in ourselves and our partners in whatever type of sex we choose to have. And at the end that does lead to even greater sex!
Author: Heather Dawn