Beautiful sex, beautiful life

I’ve been bursting to write to share my recent tantra experience, but I wanted to let my life settle back fully into it’s regular routine so I could judge how much of an impact it has actually made on me.

After four weeks I can tell you that learning a little about tantra has truly influenced my life for the better. I realise the weekend workshop I attended recently only glanced the surface of what tantra is and how it can become an intrinsic part of your life. I had just a small taste, but what a sweet taste it was.

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With my limited experience, this is my understanding of tantra…

The underlying belief centres on the conservation of sexual energy in order to prolong youthful vitality. This is achieved by retaining the essence that is usually lost during ejaculation for men and menstruation for women. I think you would need a deep understanding and commitment to the practice of tantra to follow the path of virtually ceasing ejaculation/menstruation, but there is so much to be learnt from tantra without following that particular path.

To me tantra represents a shared and mutual awareness and respect of your own and your partners pleasure and needs – in relation to sex and in life.

The most significant insight for me was to realise that the difference between average sex and good sex is mindfulness. Often in long term relationships making love is rushed or has become an afterthought – a means for sexual satisfaction and release. It can become a shallow experience. By giving sex priority at the time you and your partner are truly together and at your most vulnerable (turn the TV off/don’t think about what you need to do when you’re finished or how busy your schedule is tomorrow) and focusing on what gives pleasure in that moment without thinking of the end game, orgasm, sex can become a communion between two people, a kind of meditation. Making love is not another task to be achieved in your day, it is a sensual experience, a joy to be savoured.

This awareness and generosity also spills over into other aspects of a couple’s relationship and into your relationship with yourself.

And couldn’t the same principle of being present and mindful during love-making be applied to life? Experiences had while on auto-pilot are not rich in sensual detail. Without the memories of smell, sound and touch (ie. atmospheric conditions of wind and temperature) an experience becomes forgettable, disposable. They do not enrich your life and make it memorable.

The taste I have had of tantra has awakened for me a deeper sensuality and respect for life. But what I really took away was how important it is to be present and live in the moment – whether you are making love, eating a meal or taking a walk on the beach.

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This mindfulness is the focus of Margot Anand’s The Art of Everyday Ecstacy. the idea of living a full, rich and pleasurable life. I would recommend anyone who yearns for inner tranquillity and purpose read it.

Her writing opened up for me a whole new attitude towards the true pleasure. Continue reading

Tantra / Tantric sex – what is it?

Are you familiar with the practice of Tantra? Does the term make you think of spiritual ‘woo woo’? Do you association it with yoga or religion or do you think it’s some kind of sleazy sex practice?

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The first I heard of Tantra was a mention of it in the movie “Go” (starring Katie Holmes – pre-Tom Cruise). Imagining discovering tantra with the gorgeous Marcus, the character who described hours spent love making with his girlfriend, left me with pleasant associations of the term.

When I met a guy recently who admitted to being a tantra devotee I was more than a little intrigued. I started looking into a bit, and when the opportunity presented itself to participate in a weekend “Art of Love” workshop in my capital city, I couldn’t resist signing up.

So what is Tantra? Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more in a few weeks, but in preparation I’ve spent some time searching the internet and thanks to Wikipedia and Google, I think I have a basic understanding…

Originating over 3000 years ago in India, Tantra is said to be born of the blissful practices of the god Shiva and his wife Shakti… the ‘yoga of love’ (a beautiful story if you’re interested in mythology). Tantra had a strong influence on both Hinduism and Buddhism.

According to André Padoux, “Tantrism” is a western term and notion. As the interest in Tantra has grown in the West, it’s perception deviates remarkably from the Tantric traditions. It is seen as a “cult of ecstasy”, combining sexuality and spirituality to correct Western repressive attitudes towards sex. Hence for many modern readers Tantra is now synonymous with “spiritual sex” or “sacred sexuality,” a belief that sex should be recognized as a sacred act capable of elevating its participants to a higher spiritual plane.

The practice is used to develop a deeper and spiritual connection with your partner; to build and prolong sexual pleasure with no emphasis on orgasm to enhance your physical pleasure and personal connection. It’s-about-the-journey-not-the-destination kind of sex. Sounds fun!

Margot Anand encapsulates it beautifully: “The Tantric path teaches us to embrace and unify the ordinary, the erotic, and the sacred dimensions of life…”

I’ll keep you posted 😉