Alex Steelsmith
Sex and Tantra: The Tantalizing (or Not) Possibilities
From page 204 of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman's Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine (published by Hay House)

Tantra may be less sex-centric than you think, depending on how you define it. There are various definitions, but the term generally refers to practices based on beliefs outlined in certain Hindu or Buddhist texts. A core conviction underlying many tantric practices is that the world we perceive, including our bodies, is a microcosmic manifestation of divine creative energy. Tantric practitioners use ritualistic techniques in an effort to reach higher spiritual states by balancing and channeling this energy in their bodies.

"Tantra, like yoga, is sometimes simplified in ways that might make it seem almost unrecognizable in its native context."

Although in the West we associate tantra with sex, many traditional tantric rituals don't involve sex but focus instead on meditation and adherence to rules of moral conduct. When sexual practices are involved, they're seen as a catalyst for creating experiences of mystical ecstasy that differ from sexual pleasure in the usual sense and may not involve orgasm.

With popularization in the West, tantra, like yoga, is sometimes simplified in ways that might make it seem almost unrecognizable in its native context. Just as many who practice yoga have no idea of its original significance in the theistic tradition of Hinduism (as a practice emphasizing the renunciation of bodily and mental activity), some proponents of tantra may be unaware of its original cultural roots. You can find a wide range of information about tantra online-along with plenty of hyperbole, exaggerated claims of sexual feats, and links to pornography. Despite this oversexualization, and although tantra may never become as acceptable and accessible as yoga, it similarly has a lot to offer Westerners.

<< More Articles