What's all the hype about Tantra or Conscious Sexuality? What's so great about it, and how could my sex be any better than it is already? What do I have to do to make it better?
The fact that there even is hype around sexual practices that are 'different' to the ones that most of us have learned here in the western world is testament alone to the fact that our sexual education is based around guilt, shame and fear. If it was so good, why would we want anything different? Men are taught to have as much sex as possible with as many women as possible from a young age. Women are taught that to deny men sex is prudish or frigid or that to actively look for sex is slutty. These factors create a situation where healthy, respectful and open expression of sexuality is impossible at worst, and extremely difficult at best.
Porn has become the greatest 'how-to' of sex yet trying to learn sex from porn is like watching Oceans Eleven and believing that one can easily rob a financial institution. I'm not anti-porn. In fact I quite like watching porn, but I don't use it as a how-to, or as my main means of getting turned on. Porn makes sex look easy and very, very exciting regardless of one's sexual orientation. Sex partners in porn are always 'ready to go,' they go for ages and always finish a 'money shot' or a clear (usually female) orgasm. Why stop at just one orgasm and is orgasm the only way to have pleasure in sex?
How can sex be better? To put conscious sexuality into perspective, let's assume that the average, or usual sex that people have is rated (on a scale of 1 to 10) as a 5 or 6. Then let's say that the best sex that people have is around a 9 or 10. After learning to be conscious in sex, that is to say present, connected and aware of one's own physical experience, what is a 9 or 10 in a person's current experience then becomes their 5 or 6. To put it another way, if the 'best' sex you've had or currently have becomes your 'average' sex, what would your 9 or 10 look like? It is possible!! I know!! In his book “Passionate Marriage”, David Schnarch describes this kind of sex as “Wall-socket sex” like being plugged in to 240 volts.
What needs to happen to become conscious about sex? Firstly it requires the desire for something more, or different; a commitment to one's own spiritual or personal growth. Usually change is rarely, if ever welcome since it means moving outside of our comfort zones, and often being in a familiar situation is preferable to change no matter how uncomfortable that familiarity is. In saying that though, I feel it is safe to say that most who have braved moving outside of the comfort zone can look back and wonder why they didn't do it sooner. And I believe that most of us have at some point in our lives. The beauty of moving into a new, conscious way of relating within my sexuality is that what I have learnt around sex can also be applied to so many other areas of my life, and it can for yours as well. I'm more aware of my body, my breath, how I move, the words I use, how I feel inside myself, how I see and interact with others, and most of all I feel so much more alive! I could write a thousand words on how different my life is since I took the journey into conscious relating and sexuality and still only scratch the surface. I invite you to find out for yourself.
Next it requires some new learning. A new perspective on the how-to. We've all been taught most of the things we probably now take for granted, like tying shoe laces or using a fork. Yet most of us have had some training. The same with sex. How many of you have had actual training in sex? Do you know how to touch yourself or another? Do you know how to maximise your breath for increased pleasure? Can you tell what is an authentic yes or no on a deeply physical level? Do you know your own anatomy and which 'bits' can give more pleasure? Can you clearly state your needs and desires in a healthy, respectful way? Do you even know what you like? Can you separate orgasm from ejaculation (not just for Males anymore)? Are you OK to hear a 'no'? Can you stop in the middle of sexual activity if something isn't working for you, or do you just 'push through' it? Many will go to a fitness instructor to learn the best way to get fit, and yet so few go to a sex educator to learn how to find the best way (as individuals) to have sex? Would you? Is there guilt, shame or fear around wanting to learn more, or to be sexually free?
I've talked in other blogs about Tantra and choosing a practitioner and won't go into it much here. Some schools of sacred or conscious sexuality will attach spiritual, binary or dogmatic practice to their teachings, yet I find that for consciousness to be effective it needs to be individual to each person so that they are free to express in their own unique way. Naturally there are areas where all people will connect and there will be behaviours, beliefs, practices and so on that they will have in common. After all, “no man is an island”. So even though each person's version of consciousness, and their expression of that is unique, there will be connection with others simply because we are human and our capacity as humans to have 'individual' experiences is limited. We have bodies, arms, legs; we eat, talk sleep etc, and while there are exceptions, even these exceptions are not singular in occurrence.
If you're looking for another way to express and live your sexuality that will open your life in ways that you may not have thought possible, I invite you to find a practitioner who will be able to support your desire and journey with you into that new place. An ecstatic life awaits you!