There is a moment when you ask a man you’ve been dating if he’d like to do tantra with you and watch his eyes light up with excitement.
Images of naked people in erotic, sometimes hard to perform positions flash through his head.
He can’t wait! The primal lure of sensual pleasure and the most amazing orgasms ever feed his lust-filled imagination.
Take that same man to a tantra class and watch him become utterly confused—deflated.
He looks around the calm, therapeutic setting of a typical class. There is no perfectly defined naked Playboy or Playgirl model to greet you with a fruit plate, a cocktail and 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’s clear he’s 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 admit, it was a set-up.
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.
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.
These tantra exercises seem silly bordering sappy when taken out of the context of the workshop. Even I find my mind drifting off to some cheesy classic romance movie and my eyes rolling as I try to explain how great it was to connect deeply with someone you loved. 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.
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. But, the true of art of tantra isn’t about the fluff or the fluffer.
Although there are 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. I mean, who doesn’t love making love?
Tantra is about learning how to play and harness the sexual energy behind just getting off.
Red Tantra is more focused on sexuality and sensuality.
White Tantra is more about spirituality and enlightenment.
Black Tantra is about power, control and manipulation.
The tantra that most Westerners think of when they want to try it out is red. With the promise of better orgasms, longer erections, and increased health and well-being, who doesn’t want to get some Red Tantra in their life?
However, in a society where sex is often reduced to its most primal urges, the practice of tantra can be so much more. 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 dating world today.
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. Cheers to California who recently passed a law that requires teaching sexual consent in classes! Perhaps it’s time to consider Tantra too?
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.
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 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 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 yeah, in the end that does lead to bigger, better orgasms!
More on Tantra with my teacher, Dawn Cartwright:
Author: Heather Dawn
Image: aeneastudio/ Flickr
Editors: Khara-Jade Warren; Katarina Tavčar