Is it true that Tantric sex was created primarily for men?
That is a common misconception that appeared in virtually all popular and scholarly writings on Tantra before I undertook my research. But I discovered extensive evidence to the contrary. First, mutuality is a core principle of Tantric relationship. From the first meeting onward, there are protocols to ensure that the man doesn’t manipulate or exploit the woman–she holds the right of choice. Second, Tantric texts emphasize what a man has to do to appeal to, please and merit the companionship of a woman, but there are no corresponding requirements for a woman. In fact, he has to do anything she requests and assure that she is satisfied. The practice is described as his offering of pleasure to her for the sake of her inner yogic practice.
Are there aspects of this “sexual yoga” that the uninitiated can practice?
Sexual yoga is an advanced practice, but anyone can adopt a Tantric, or spiritual, approach to sexual experience. At the core is seeing the experience as an energy event–that is, a merging of two energy fields–and being attentive to how the interplay of energies ignites a dynamic inner landscape of vitality, light and imagery. Allow the light, heat and however that energy manifests to illuminate and replenish your psyche, generate positive mind-states and emotions, and nourish your creativity and life journey.
Contrary to popular belief, the intended benefits of Tantra do not include enhanced sexual pleasure. For that, India has other practices, known as the “arts of love,” as taught in the Kama Sutra. The purpose of this branch of knowledge is to bring a more sophisticated artistry to the stages and skills of lovemaking in order to devote the sexual experience to spiritual cultivation.
Here are a few specific practices:
• Gaze into your partner’s eyes. Sit facing your partner for at least 20 minutes, gazing into one another’s eyes. The idea is to strive to glimpse the pure essence of your partner–the divine, sacred core. You can boost the level of engagement by joining palms, left hands facing upward and right hands downward. Envision sending energy through the right hands and receiving through the left, circulating the current of energy that flows through both bodies, counterclockwise. This practice can be done on its own or as a prelude to union.
• See yourself as radiant light. In the middle of your lovemaking, envision yourself as an enlightened being floating through space in a sphere of light. The powerful energy available during lovemaking enhances your ability to do this. Radiate the joy and harmony of your union throughout the entire universe in the form of light rays or drops of nectar that spread happiness, illumination and healing to all beings everywhere.
• Offer pleasure to the goddess. One sexual ritual anyone can do is called “stri-puja,” which means “worship of the woman.” The man creates an altar-like setting with candles, incense and other symbols of sacredness. He then makes offerings (such as flowers and other gifts), feeds her delicacies, strokes her body with a moistened flower, massages her feet with scented oil, kneels and bows before her, and praises her. The erotic union that follows is his offering of pleasure to her, his goddess. This practice challenges the woman to embrace her sacredness, while, for the man, it is an opportunity to cultivate and express his appreciation and adoration. Surrounding the experience with sacred intent, making it a ritual, can lead to a deeper level of communion and open the way for positive emotions to infuse the relationship, such as greater harmony and gratitude for one another. The experience can go in surprising directions. (Do know that Tantra is not heterosexist. Gay and lesbian couples can adapt this practice however it suits them.)
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