Most people who are drawn to Tantra and sacred sexuality tell me that they want to have better sex and deeper connection to their partners. First of all, that’s wonderful! We all deserve to experience the delicious bliss of good sex, but Tantric practices are far more powerful and have a greater purpose than keeping things hot in the bedroom.
Many have heard of the word Tantra through pop culture, for example when the singer Sting said that he was practicing Tantric sex by making love for hours on end with his lover. That was great publicity for sparking curiosity about this ancient Indian practice, but what does the actual philosophy of Tantra have to do with your orgasms?
Let me reveal something important that’s behind the curtain of the Western-popularized practice of Tantric sex. The reason why original Tantric sexual practices include lengthening the time of orgasm is because Tantrics believe that the moment of orgasm offers a direct experience of the Divine. The belief is that the bliss of orgasm is the closest we’ll get to God before we die, so let’s make the most of it! Tantric sex is a way of ritualizing sexuality to create an attitude of worship with something that we may otherwise approach as ordinary.
It’s really something you have to experience for yourself. When I began studying these philosophies, I was skeptical of the claims being made. “Sex can lead you to enlightenment!” Or, “Pleasure can heal you!” It sounded like a great idea but if I had been experiencing sex and pleasure for all this time, wouldn’t I be enlightened by now? What I didn’t understand was the importance of awareness and intention. How I use my mind while I am experiencing pleasure is what makes the difference between physical enjoyment and a transcendental experience. I discovered that not just orgasm, but pleasure alone had the capacity to become a transcendental experience if I was able to breathe with it, surrender into it and be completely present to feeling. Practicing this is when not just my sex life, but my whole life changed.
Even something as powerful as sex loses its power if we are not fully present to the experience. Being fully present means going all the way in wholeheartedly, which allows sex to become a spiritual path in and of itself. This has helped me be more wholehearted in the simple experiences in my everyday life and recognize the pleasure all around me, which has turned my consciousness from anxious and depressed to being more open and curious.
From the Tantric perspective, extending the orgasmic state can create a lasting transformation in consciousness. It takes an incredible amount of discipline to cultivate and harness sexual energy, but when we can maintain an extended orgasmic state, the doors to the Divine are flung open to nirvana. It is said that orgasm is like a taste of god, or even a taste of the release of death, being called “Le petit mort” or “little death” in French.
We, as a culture, are addicted to immediate gratification and it’s too easy to get a quick fix these days with pornography. This is an example of how medicine can become a poison. Tantra is meant to help you get beyond sex, and to use the energies of sexual desire for liberation from desire itself.
People who come to Tantra with a history of sex or porn addiction often experience an increase in sexual desire at first as the primal energies are cultivated. It is important to maintain focus and learn how to process this energy or else it can lead to addictive behaviors. This is why it is necessary to follow a solid practice and ideally work with a teacher that will help you stay with it.
For those who have experienced sexual trauma, harassment, or deeply engrained religious beliefs that have made them feel bad about sexuality, Tantra can be a pathway of liberation. It can allow one to feel the innate “goodness” of their body and for pleasure to flow through where pain used to exist. In these circumstances it’s important for people to focus on changing their negative relationship with sexuality while developing healthy boundaries.
Using Tantra and sacred sexuality to heal yourself is not a “one size fits all” prescription. What is right for one might be harmful to another, and knowing what you are looking for is an important part of starting the Tantric journey.
Sex is one of the most powerful ways humans can impact each other, and just one profound sexual experience can change someone’s life. Treat it with the reverence that it deserves by recognizing that you are moving life force energy with each orgasm that rattles your walls.
This article first appeared on the author’s blog and is used here with permission.
Miriam Elyse is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Certified Tantra and Intimacy coach, and the founder of Pleasure as Medicine; a business created to help people heal through pleasure and connection. She also leads trainings, retreats and pilgrimages around the world. You can connect with her at www.MiriamElyse.com.