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The Truth About Tantric Sex

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The Truth About Tantric Sex

There’s a scene in my women’s novel where the main character, Lorna, has an amazing sexual experience. It’s not because her partner has any special abilities in bed, but rather that Lorna, on a new quest to live spiritually in her everyday life, opens herself to the energy of source during the encounter. “The expression ‘best sex I’ve ever had’ seems a massive understatement,” Lorna marvels afterward. “This feeling of expansiveness, of being at one with the world, is the best anything I’ve ever had.”

I didn’t know until I recently spoke with Miranda Shaw, author of the book Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism, that what Lorna had glimpsed was a Tantric sexual experience. Shaw, an associate professor of religion at the University of Richmond, says Tantric sex is not so much about sex as many of us think. Instead, the intimate act is merely one of many vehicles practitioners use to connect with the cosmic flow. Western teachers who focus on boosting your sex life through Tantra have it wrong, she claims–the emphasis is more appropriately placed on boosting your enlightenment.

That’s not to say sex doesn’t enter the picture. Read on for more about this fascinating practice–and some of Shaw’s tips for bringing a piece of it to your own bedroom.

Can you describe what “Tantra” is?

Tantra emerged in India in the seventh century as a way to weave (that’s what the word Tantra means) every aspect of daily life, including intimate relationships and erotic experience, into the spiritual path. Strands of Tantra exist in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions, although my study is Buddhist Tantra.

So Tantra involves much more than sex?

Yes, there are many practices: methods for working with energy, images to contemplate, sacred sounds (mantra) to chant. The central goal is to realize the inherent beauty and perfection of the world and sacredness of all beings, including oneself. Romantic partnerships are a focus of Tantric practice because they are fertile ground for revealing the beliefs and emotions–the illusions–that cause us to suffer and act in ways that harm others. The goal is to see reality as it is and respond appropriately, with clarity and compassion, in a way that contributes to the evolution of the planet toward greater well-being and happiness for all living beings.

But sex is also a major part? Why?

Rather than something that detracts from religious life, sexual experience is a prime opportunity for spiritual cultivation if approached meditatively and as a yogic practice. The central purpose is to tap the cosmic energy that flows through the human body, heighten and concentrate the energy through sexual union, and then use the energy as fuel for spiritual transformation.

Tell me a little about a full-blown Tantric sex ritual as practiced by a serious practitioner?

I prefer the term “sexual yoga” to “Tantric sex.”  The practice is advanced and rather technical–a kind of inner “rocket science”–that incorporates mindfulness meditation, emptiness philosophy, yogic breathing, mantra recitation, visualization of deities and symbols, and movement of energy and inner fire (called kundalini) through the subtle yogic anatomy of channels and energy centers (chakras) along the spine. My book, Passionate Enlightenment, describes some practices–-ways to meditate and images to envision–to direct sexual union to spiritual ends.

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Meryl Davids Landau

Meryl Davids Landau is the author of the new spiritual women's novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog, which ForeWord Reviews calls "an inspirational gem that will appeal to introspective, evolving women." The novel was recently recommended by Yoga Journal's Blog and Spirituality & Health. Read excerpts at www.DownwardDogUpwardFog.com. Meryl also writes for O: the Oprah Magazine, Whole Living, Reader's Digest and other national magazines.

77 comments

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7:57PM PDT on Aug 31, 2013

Thanks.

7:37AM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

“Sexual yoga” may be a pretty apt description as breath control is a crucial part of a great tantric experience. So is the concept that the journey is as important as the destination.

4:20AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

BLAGUE DU JOUR 1 :

Difficile d'aimer les hommes, mesdames ?

* Les gentils sont laids!
* Les beaux ne sont pas gentils!
* Les beaux et gentils sont gay!
* Les beaux, gentils et hétéros sont mariés!
* Les pas si pires et gentils n'ont pas d'argent!
* Les pas si pires, gentils et avec de l'argent pensent qu'on ne veut que leur argent!
* Les beaux sans argent courent après le notre!
* Les beaux pas très gentils ne nous trouvent pas assez belles pour eux!
* Les hommes qui nous trouvent belles, qui sont gentils et ont un peu d'argent sont timides et ne prennent pas l'initiative!
* Les hommes qui ne prennent pas l'initiative sont effrayés dès que nous la prenons!

Maintenant on sait pourquoi il y a autant de femmes merveilleuses célibataires.

9:45PM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Must be doing something right.

7:29PM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

Interesting, thank you

7:26PM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

http://www.amazon.com/Meditation-Lovers-Modern-Tantra-Kristine/dp/B003YL4N96

6:24AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

it helps if you are emotionally connected to your partner, it is the most awesome experience one can have, always like being in the heavens

3:41AM PDT on May 11, 2012

some of the best experiences of sex that keep the energy flowing and the spark lit is to add spirituality to the whole aspect of it! its like saying a prayer before eating. respect the person, have regard for the act. ensure both are on the same wavelength. tantra is all mantra if either partner thinks one less of the other!

7:45AM PDT on May 1, 2012

it about love.... nothing else.

7:44AM PDT on May 1, 2012

Anyone else notice that the girl in the picture is in a WEDDING DRESS???!!!!!
WAIT UNTILL YOU ARE MARRIED PEOPLE!!!!!

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