What I Love & Hate About Tantra & Sacred Sex. ~ Maya Yonika

Via elephant journal
on Jun 14, 2013
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Have you ever experienced the kind of relationship that, years after it’s ended, you look back and think, “How is it possible that I remained there as long as I had?”

But before entertaining further negativity, you remember how pivotal the experience was to your growth and evolution. You stand where you are today because of it.

That’s how I feel about tantra and sacred sex. I’ll tell you why.

Years ago, I was courted by a man who called himself a “Tantric Sacred Sexual Healer;” we’ll call him “Father Ron.” We’d been acquaintances for several years. He’d never failed to express his interest, and although I considered him charming and attractive, nevertheless I was sure he was a player, so never gave his advances any real consideration.

But, life has a way of finagling with our ideas about things, doesn’t it?

On my birthday, May of 2005, my brother, who was my father figure and best friend, passed away from a massive brain aneurysm. I was 33 at the time, in my sexual prime, and for the six months that followed his death, I lived in a perpetual state of anxiety, flip-flopping between grief and a burning desire to explore beyond the emotional, economic, and cultural bandages that had always enveloped my life.

My job, my relationship, everything around me seemed unbearably meaningless and flat. It was as if all of my unmet needs and desires were suddenly arising like phantoms from their 33 year slumber, dancing the jig in my gut, and whispering into my ears their perpetual arsenal of desires.

If I had had the money, I’d have put myself into some ashram, hidden away in the Himalayas.

Meanwhile, my Daka friend, Father Ron, was calling me “Goddess” and telling me how special I was. He was sure I was meant to be a Dakini, a Tantrika.

“I was born for it,” he said, and I had to admit, I’d heard this before, from others.

Ron wanted to see what it might be like if we were to enter into partnership, and invited me to live with him in his Temple-–and the cherry on top, what if we were to travel the world, and teach Tantra together?

Me? Teach Tantra? I had no idea what Tantra was. How would I do that?

But, he was the expert, and he was saying I was meant to do this, and certainly the name of Tantra sounded very cool, and sacred and mysterious. Surely it was full of spiritual wisdom and secrets, and regardless of the all the red flags about Ron, i.e. the voice of discernment that, like most women with histories of sexual abuse, and/or parental abandonment, I had never learned to hear or acknowledge or my over-sexualized, materialized, and objectified self was desperate to find the love and healing I needed.

So I went, and I’m happy I did. Here’s why. It will take some explaining.

I was hyper-sexual all of my life, but not in a completely joyful way. Really, there was a looming sense of obligation attached, a subtle form or prostitution or unconscious sexual trading that simmered within the petrie dish of so many relationships.

I sought safety and validation from the men in my life, from one partner to the next, and my happiness was contingent on the state of whatever relationship I happened to be in and they were always based around sex. After all, even though I’d have preferred otherwise, I’d never even thought to question if sex was the foundation of my relationships. Wasn’t that how it was for everyone?

I had no sense of discernment or self-control. My life was based on fear and survival. I was broke. I was bored. I was terribly uncreative. Still, if you asked me at the time, I’d have pronounced, with each man I was with, the truth of my undying love and commitment.

My patterns were so ingrained that I was enslaved to them.

I didn’t know how to let go. I was desperate. Surely then, I would find the healing I needed in tantra and sacred sex.

At the ‘Temple, “Sacred spot” (sensual massage) and “Sacred Union” (sex) became daily, if not two or three times a day practices, assuredly encouraged via an arsenal of spiritual linguistics, “It’s your birthright to be a juicy, orgasmic Goddess,” and “When the amrita (female ejaculate) flows, all will be happy and the rivers shall run clean!”

My dopamine levels skyrocketed, and my warning signals became eclipsed.

“How cool is this?” my mind said “I’m not only doing this for myself, but for the entire world!” Surely I’d found the deepest meaning and purpose.

Yet, without realizing, I was entering onto the ultimate spiritual battlefield.

My partner showed me the tools to direct my fears, judgments and tribulations inward. I learned how we project our denied pain and wounds onto others, and how to take self-responsibility by keeping my emotions “at home” by keeping myself centered. The tools made sense and I ruthlessly sought the places in myself that were triggered by the mirror of my reflection, especially those of Father Ron.

Although we had agreed to be in an open, poly-amorous, relationship, the deeply centered and loving experiences that I’d hoped for, found no ground to manifest. Between euphoric moments, I was looking obliquely at Ron’s perpetual sexual focus and what was turning out to be an endless revolving door of lovers.

But wasn’t poly and sacred sex meant to be deeper and more present than this? I mean more like the way he spoke about it.

But, it seemed like what was happening was really just a lot more sex. But maybe I was missing something. Surely it was my fear and conditioning talking, as he so confidently suggested. I had to admit, there was something there, and dealing with Father Ron certainly was great fodder to learn to go inside and “bring my shadow into the light.”

But when I became tired of the intensity and requested he give the lovers a rest so I might emotionally catch up, I was accused of “being in my fear,’’ “projecting from my wounds” and “coming from my victim mentality.”

The numbers of lovers was inconsequential. “I had to face my shame, guilt and fear around sex.”

Something didn’t feel right, and after a while, I just had to ask, why does he need so many lovers? Where is his ability to be quiet, centered and contented? Is all this drama really only because of my issues? But I kept coming back for more over and over again.

And of course, they were my issues, but not quite in the way things were being presented.

I sat, day after day, in talks and workshops, listening to Ron prattle endlessly on about the Goddess and authenticity and the sacredness of sex. But his words, so often, were completely antithetical to his actions.

I’d never faced anything like this. I hadn’t known it existed. Was any of this even real? Here I am learning about ‘sacred relationship’ in the most unhealthy and contracted experience of my life! I was profoundly confused and conflicted, pounding my head against the wall.

Until I finally got it! This is why I love Tantra and sacred sex.

No one, no matter how hard I tried, was going to save me.

There was nothing ‘out there’ to find. I’d spent the entirety of my life in this pursuit of something outside of myself and I had hit the wall for the final time. It became painfully clear that I had to learn to stand strong on my own. Otherwise, I would sentence myself to a life dependent on the actions of others, and in that, there is no liberation.

Since that time a wonderful ease and relaxation has descended into my being. The ferocity of my pains and fears has quieted and calmed. I no longer have to give my body or my power away. I have become my own teacher and guide, knowing that which I seek was within me all along.

Having worked through my own fears and delusions, denials and masks, I make healthier decisions. I am safe in the context of relationships, because I no longer need or depend on them. I no longer will place myself in harms way. Rather, I will only participate in the deepest, most authentic love, a love that is real and joyful. A love no longer contingent upon sex, but rather sex contingent upon love.

This story, I have come to understand, on one level or another, is profoundly common.

Share this with every woman you love.


maya yonikaMaya Yonika is the author of No Mud, No Lotus: a Memoir of Sex, Betrayal, and Spiritual Awakening and a Personal Empowerment and Integral Self Development Coach. She lives in Ubud, Bali.

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Assistant Ed. Rebecca Schwarz/Kate Bartolotta



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16 Responses to “What I Love & Hate About Tantra & Sacred Sex. ~ Maya Yonika”

  1. Ron says:

    Brilliant. Been there – although not in the way you experienced it.

    The several lies of Neo-Tantra. Right next to the great Powers of Neo-Tantra.

    And my name is Ron. Too much fun!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring story. Why didnt I read this sooner? I suppose we have to learn these lessons for ourselves. Very profound. Very true.

  3. alison678 says:

    I am so sorry you had this experience, but in the end your truth won 🙂
    Tantra is a deeply misunderstood and misused concept that MUST be practised hand in hand with Sutra and from a authentic teacher. Please read more from a true Buddhist Master http://kadampa.org/en/reference/why-practice-tant
    I hope this is helpful to anyone reading this article
    with love

  4. Brennan says:

    Thank you for this, Maya! I swear this is not a plug but last week I wrote an article about my sexual journey that feels all too similar to yours: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/06/discoverin

    What I didn't write about in that article (among other things) was an experience I had where I was rejected by a man on the dancefloor and a wave of emotions came up that I immediately tried to squelch. Something must be wrong with me that he rejected me, I though. And then, something must be wrong with me that I can't just bounce back from that experience. No one will like a girl who is disappointed, feels sadness, etc. But I kept with those feelings of sadness and disappointment and anger and finally experienced a calm in which I was able to say to myself, with more surety than ever before "Nothing is wrong with you, Brennan." That was one of many aha moments that led me to write the article.

    Again, thank you for sharing your story and I plan to find your book!


  5. guest says:

    Celibacy has its advantages. Just a personal observation, not a recommendation.

  6. Allison says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Ive been through a similar experience and did not think it could possibly be real, it's great to hear other people who have been through the same.

  7. I’d never faced anything like this. I hadn’t known it existed. Was any of this even real? Here I am learning about ‘sacred relationship’ in the most unhealthy and contracted experience of my life! I was profoundly confused and conflicted, pounding my head against the wall.

  8. mayayonika says:

    Hahahahaha. Perfect! 🙂 Nice to meet you, Ron.

  9. mayayonika says:

    That it does! Personally, the more celibate I become, the more happy and clear. I'd have never believed life could be so sweet being on my own…but I must admit…it's wonderful!

  10. mayayonika says:

    Allison what I'm learning is this story is ridiculously common- but lawsuits or the threat of them have silenced many. When enough women speak out, this will become common knowledge in support of this happening to less women. The trick is to avoid direct confrontation – it's the message not the name that's important.

  11. Natasha says:

    Tantra and sex are not synonymous. Tantra is a science, of which sex is one of thousands of aspects, certainly not the most efficient practice in the process of attaining enlightenment. people get hooked on sex and remain stuck in their lowest 3 chakras, hooked on pleasure, survival (pro-creation), fear – like animals. low and unfulfilling. no wonder every sex addict who ever recovered feels like they are born again. Tantra is a science that oulines the path to moksha (liberation – freedom from shadows in this earthly life). I am tired of crooks mentioning TANTRA and SEX together. Read up, people.

  12. Cate says:

    Hi maya, I just watched a certain documentary and wanted to know what happened to you. I was so happy to

    Read your perspective. You are a beautiful woman and I understand why Father Ron was so bewitched by you. And I use the term bewitched only in the best way. Your words above ‘why did he need so many lovers, where was the centered ness, calmness within’ got to the heart of the matter. Throughout the biopic you walked with a stillness and grace that was undeniable. I believe father Ron was and probably still is searching for his own stillness. He wanted what you naturally just radiate. As a pretty down to earth non spiritual person that found the film fascinating on many levels, I was taken in by your journey. And overjoyed at your strength and no nonsense enlightenment.


  13. Deja says:

    Maya, thank you for sharing your story

  14. chef johnny says:

    excellent, great honesty and inspiring story about self realization. thank you.

  15. beatriz says:

    hi… I read your words and I say to mayself, tantra is so much different that what that guy told you… tantra is lbieration, tantra is not depending on men, is learning how no to depende, tantra with no meditation is nothing, and tantra is a lot more profound than having goodess sex… we don´t call the women goddess, I defend the name of tantra as it was thousands of years ago… its origin is budism… I hate most of the tantra how is treated today.
    thanks for sharing

  16. Ray says:

    in my brief stint in tantra I encountered the very same essence of what you outline here.. I kept thinking there is something wrong with me.. I am the contracted one.. But it eventually hit me that with all my contractions, I am whole, I am evolving and open in the most innocent and honest ways.. I was hoping find more than what I already have, but realized that what the Dakas and Dakinis promise are just a perpetuation of their own illusions.. And if you date pierce through their true motives and tear down their castles made of sand you will be shunned and labeled as “unevolved”..”stuck in the mind”.. Have I learned from it? Yes I have! But it boggles me how many can keep the lie going and sidetrack so many! And the truth is that many would rather pay those that keep spinning the illusion than find their own truth!