Is sex a mystical gateway, to a boundless place of untold pleasures and exquisite pains, in your life?
Sex, I think, is different things at different times of our lives. It reflects what we are seeking, at that juncture, and therefore, who, we are attracting into our life. For it is a union of energies after all, and as they say in the song, “it takes two to tango, baby.” Occasionally that saying has some negative connotations, and similarly our sexual experiences can at times be defined by our partner’s energies, for good or bad.
Making love, having sex, it is a moment when we return to our interior universe and tune into our sensory responses. It is an intensely personal experience, which is also shared, in an intimate revelation of our essentially animal natures. We roar and groan, grunt and gasp, in a symphony of respiratory action, for our ride to pleasure is carried on each breath. It is that breath, which makes sexual activity a possible doorway to the divine. Reading Tim Winton’s novel, Breath, you can sense the parallels between experiences of the ocean and sexual experiences. Metaphorical language used to describe the tumbling; submerged qualities inherent inside a wave are similar to the ocean of bliss, inside us, which can well up during sex. At times we are letting go to the inextricable force of the sea, as we must’ let go’ to the surging currents within our sexuality. We ride upon, and inside, our wave of ecstasy and our breathing triggers the biochemical reactions, which can awaken orgasmic brain activity.
Sex is most often heightened at the beginning of a relationship, when two individuals come together as strangers and begin a process of removing outer signs of independent identity. Clothing, which like a uniform represents each individuals place and possibly role in society, is stripped away and they stand naked before one another. Clothing can hide essential truths, about who we are, and allow us to pretend to be someone we are not. Sex asks of us, right at the start, to play the hand we have been dealt by nature ( I suppose cosmetic surgery has interjected here). Sex asks us to bring the bare truth to this union, as the key to opening a doorway to bliss. Our feelings, at the beginning, can be on a knife edge, as we show parts of ourselves, normally well hidden, and vacillate between hopes and fears, regarding our acceptance by the beloved. We are not only showing our arse in public but celebrating its function and uses with another. It is a merging process, as we share and discover our erogenous nooks and crannies with another. Our normally vigilant guard comes down and our pupils dilate, as we hold the gaze of our lover and drink in the cause of this new delight. There is the magic of the unknown in the air and it is charged with the frisson of the archetypal merging moment. There is glory and boldness, and there is surrender and humbleness, there is the charging of the stag with antlers aquiver, and the dissolving into an endless ocean of energy. There are intense moments of you and equally intense moments beyond you. There is the ride and there is the fall.
Once committed to the fruitful sexual act, and thus rewarded with acceptance by our new sexual partner, we bring a sense of hope and with it the possibility of a clean slate, in regard to an ongoing mutually rewarding physical and emotional relationship. For ‘gateway’ sex, as I call it, is a magical, sacred space and we can only access it when we have hope in our heart. The sexual realm, can ask all of us to embody archetypal energies, no longer displayed by our genders in the modern age. It can create a dichotomy or unresolvable dynamic tension, where what we play out sexually can never quite fit into the rest of our lives. It has a special place and demands distinct rules around it, for it to survive and prosper in the twenty first century. So many relationships break down here, as the magic fades in the harsh light of the day and countless tiny grievances mount up to close his or her heart away. Once that heart and hope are locked away then sex becomes a macabre shadow dance, where the bodies go through the motions but with no soul at play. It can be like someone has switched off all the nerve endings, and more importantly all the meaning, from the activity. It is like making love whilst encased in a thick glove of suspended despair. The individual has returned to that individual space and no merging is possible anymore. When love dies it is a very sad day and our consciousness’s run endless reruns of sepia tinted memories to drive all joy away. Grieving the loss of love is probably the most traumatic experience we all will experience in our lifetimes. Like the bush after a fire, everything is black and burnt away. There are skeletons of trees, which mark how high our joy once reached. The echo of love’s laughter keeps the birds at bay. For a time nothing new will grow here and the skies are always grey.
Many of us have put away the magic of sex into the bottom drawer of an old cupboard, which we never use anymore. Somewhere inside of us we have sworn off this disrupting force and condemned that last great hurt to be the final one. We may masturbate our selves, often or not, but without the emotional commitment of another’s fumbling touch. Sex is a momentary relief to help us get to sleep or a frustrated release that doesn’t stain the sheets. Layers of emotional scar tissue have built up hard upon our souls and the smile we may offer another is firmly closed indoors. When, and if, love returns to these shores it faces a long thaw and the messianic job of raising Lazarus from the dead. I know from my own personal experience that there can be a physical delay in being able to respond sexually after a long lay-off. It is like those layers of calcified hurt must be given time to melt away before my penis will trust enough to fill with blood and stretch out to meet the new day.
Returning now to that time, when we have just established honest sexual union with our new partner and that sense of being ‘in love’ is reciprocated. Can you remember what it is like? When every part of their body is simply amazing and emanating some intangible quality. To touch their skin is the greatest pleasure you have ever known and it is all holistically connected with some cosmic secret that you just had no idea about before it happened. When you wake up in the morning and glance over at this beatific being, lying next to you and the realisation hits that you and, he or she, are ‘together’. This is the magic realm and it is often bitter sweet for our cynical selves to recall this state of ‘in loveness’. We have developed the habit of ‘putting down’ such heightened states labelling them as ‘the honeymoon period’ and quickly assuring the occupants that it will be over before you know it. You cannot stay too long in fairy land and Peter Pan must grow up to face the grim realities of a real relationship. Yet today, even in the age of ‘fast food’ marriages and divorces, we still clamour to be ‘in love’ and now the Internet has brought the supermarket experience to shopping for love and relationships. In aisle one, we have forty five year old, divorced Capricorns with a penchant for reading the newspaper on the loo; in aisle two……..
How do we integrate magic into our hum drum lives? How do we honour the gods in our lovers and in ourselves? Can we maintain a sense of reality? Can we go to work; support the family; clean the bathroom; listen to the gripers and whingers in the average world; and still delve into the delicious, dripping divinity of another realm?
Is sex a mystical gateway, to a boundless place of untold pleasures and exquisite pains, in your life?
Eco Living magazine presents:
Tantric Sex or Tantra?
By Diane and Kerry Riley
Tantra is a spiritual science from ancient India and in its basic essence is very similar to Taoism from China. Both involve balancing the male and female energies to create harmony and both have an ultimate goal of spiritual unity with the universe or the source or God.
The Tantric interplay of the male and female energies was represented in Hindu mythology with Shakti and Shiva, and represented in Taoism with yin and yang. Both Tantra and Taoism aimed to create union of body, mind and spirit. And in both, sexuality was seen and practiced in a spiritual context.
Tantra emphasises that we deserve all the love and sexual pleasure we can possibly receive; that sexual loving is a way to reach the mysteries of the heart, the soul; the God and Goddess within each person. It also teaches that sex is a way of bonding with a lover physically, emotionally and spiritually to create feelings of ecstatic pleasure, deep intimacy and expanded consciousness. It’s important to recognise that any judgments we have about sex reflect our inhibitions and demonstrate that we are not entirely free and accepting of our own sexuality.
Well, what’s the difference between Tantra and just having sex? One of the key differences is where the mind is. It’s the same in life. One’s experience of life depends on where the mind is. We are all living in the same world, but our experiences are determined by our perception.
And so in lovemaking it’s not what we are doing that affects us; it’s the attitude with which we are doing it that makes the real difference to our experience. If we can adopt the attitude that our lovemaking is spiritual, then our lovemaking will indeed become a spiritual experience. When I’m asked this question of the difference between tantric sex and just having sex, I use the analogy: normal sex is like running along the beach, it’s a good exercise and shouldn’t be stopped however tantric sex is more like tai chi or yoga or chi gong; it’s a different level of exercise – it harmonises body, mind and soul, as does tantric sex.
Tantra was traditionally only practised in a spiritual sense, but this doesn’t mean you have to be ‘holier than holy’ or understand Hindu mythology to incorporate the practices into your love life. Modern teachings of tantra are accessible for anyone who has an interest in adding to, and expanding the ways they make love.
Benefits and practices you can try:
There are excellent techniques in Tantric Sex to increase a man’s ability to last longer using ejaculation control skills and practices to help with erection dysfunction and feeling of virility. Viagra can help with performance but not with loving desire for his partner, (unless that desire is only to perform). Women want to feel a man’s love and connection not just his performance trying to get her to climax. Tantra teaches a man intimacy skills to turn sex into making love. For an experiment ask your man ‘How much love are you feeling while making love? ‘
Often men are more conscious about getting a result … good sex and orgasm… than how much love they are feeling in their heart. It may be that a Tantra lesson would be good to connect sex and heart feelings for him. Of course if he can’t last long, then he has no time to feel his love anyway because he is to busy concentrating on controlling himself – this is not making love.
A practice to help him with control is strengthening the pubocoxigel muscle one way to locate this muscle is to try and stop the flow during urination by contracting the pelvic floor. If you can do that then you have found the muscle. It is taught in many texts that if a man contracts this muscle before ejaculation it will stop it.
However if it is done incorrectly it doesn’t work. For example, a common error is trying to contract this muscle just before ejaculation. If you do it at 90%, and you haven’t practiced enough it won’t work and may even cause you to come. It’s best to do it in stages at 20%, at 30%, at 50%, at 75% and then 90%. I’m not suggesting non ejaculation practices that are often given in Taoist texts, because if these are not done properly it can lead to prostate problems. So for these practices to be successful and healthy full education / training is necessary.
Tantric techniques can assist in prolonging and improving the experience of love-making – for example breathing slower and deeper and concentrating more on the out- stroke than the in- stroke can help. It’s not the woman’s responsibility; it’s up to him to master ejaculation control. It’s men’s business. Men can have up to four sessions with a Tantra goddess skilled in teaching these practices to guide conscious men to be better lovers. Also these skills can be taught in a couple’s session.
Tantra for women
‘Traditional texts on Tantra and Taoism were written by men – and many of the practices strike me as having a male orientation about them, emphasizing techniques for the man to use for his spiritual enlightenment. Although the female was honored, the practices for her to do are not as easy to find. For example, so many of the contemporary books on tantra and Taoist sexology emphasize the forcing of the sexual energy, or Kundalini, up the spine with strong breathing and visualization to move it out of the sex center and into the higher center, known as the spiritual center, often called the crown chakra at the top of the head. This is most often done in a sitting crossed-legged position by oneself or with a partner sitting astride in a position called Yab/Yum.
This practice of forcefully directing the Kundalini up the spine can be good for men to learn because the energy in the genitals generally builds up quickly for them and, as a result, they often ejaculate too soon before their partner’s sexual energy has time to build. So moving sexual energy into the brain for expanded consciousness can be of practical benefit for men to help them control ejaculation. However, for some women, this practice may not be suitable, particularly if you are not consistently orgasmic. The reason for this is that if you pull energy out of your pelvis and your yoni, then it is less likely you will orgasm, and that’s not what most women want! It’s only recently that women have strengthened their connection to their orgasm, so why do the opposite?
One suggestion for women is that once you are feeling sexually excited, concentrate on swirling your pelvis, as in belly dancing movement imagining the energy rising naturally like steam from a simmering pot, radiating throughout the body – filling you with delightful pulses of sensual/sexual energy. There is no need to force anything, when it can flow. According to Dr Stephen Chang “the Tao of Sexology’ forcing can have detrimental effects ‘. Another suggestion is to actually take a belly dancing class. This really helps a free and easy movement of your hips and promotes a good and strong connection between the mind and body, especially the pelvic area, the sex area. This can greatly enhance the pleasure you feel during sex.
A practice you can do yourself at home is the ‘Crescent moon’. Stand with your legs slightly apart and your knees bent a little. Trace the shape of the other rim of the crescent moon with the movement of your hips. After a while, if that comes easily to you, experiment with figure eights and a variety of movements. Close your eyes and continue and enjoy the flow of this very feminine movement. Try shutting your eyes for a few moments so that you can sense deep into your hips and pelvic bowl.
Tips from a man- what he wants: In my consultations with men, many express their disappointment that their partner doesn’t move their hips enough. Men like it when their partner moves. Another thing men love is when their partner is making pleasurable sounds. These are keys of tantra: sounds and hip movement. Another key is to be aware of the PC muscle and contract it during lovemaking to create pleasurable sensation for him and you. The most important thing conscious men want is for their woman to be really enjoying the lovemaking – releasing inhibitions and freeing the love goddess within. Experiment with some of these elements to create and sustain a passionate relationship. There was an episode on ‘Sex in the City’ where a group of women friends got a Tantra Goddess, a female coach, to show them some magic strokes to use on their partner and how to create more sweet orgasms for themselves.
Tantra for couples: Tantra can bond relationships together, break habitual patterns, put new spark into relationships, balance desire levels and expand the way you make love on all levels. More and more couples are open to exploring tantra and not just accepting that ‘this is the way it is’ after a few years together. A good place to start as a couples is to hold hands and shut your eyes for a few minutes, and think about some of the things you enjoy about your partner, because we often spend a lot of energy inwardly complaining about the things that annoy us or we want to change about the other. So for five minutes, let go of that, open your eyes and take turns telling each other ten things you appreciate about them. When one partner shares something the other should simply say ‘thank you’ with no further comment. Just accept and enjoy. At the end have a hug and don’t discuss it further. Do something together like a walk or a simple act of having a cup of tea.
Sounds too simple… but try it and see the effect for yourself. Theory is knowing it, practice is living it!*
For more information and education on Tantra and any of the above go to www.australianschooloftantra.com.au
*excerpt from ‘Sexual secrets and Practices for women, unleashing the sex goddess within’ by Diane Riley (to be released later this year).
**for full instructions see ‘Sexual Secrets for men, what every woman would want the man to know’ by Diane & Kerry Riley.
Bio: Kerry and Diane Riley are Australia’s leading Tantra teacher’s and founders of the ‘Australian School of Tantra’. They have shared their deep understanding of sacred sexuality, heartfelt connection and committed relationship with thousands of men and women through their courses, books & DVD’s.
©Eco Living Magazine