Tantric Sexuality: How it Helps and Hurts Relationships
Tantric sexuality awakens entirely new realms of love, intimacy and lovemaking. Yet, the idea of this powerful and deep form of physical intimacy couldn’t be more often misinterpreted. Because of that misunderstanding, and the misguided approaches that accompany it, too many individuals and couples fail to experience the benefits they could. Why? They don’t get the positive results simply because Tantric sexuality alone rarely helps. Separated from the larger context of Tantra’s purpose to unite, Tantric sexuality appears only as a new age way of having better sex. That simplistic approach can leave one or both partners disappointed, or worse yet, further disconnected from themselves and their partner.
Tantric sexuality belongs within a much bigger and much more powerful approach to love and loving. Held in this more complete context, the possibilities for both singles and couples remain endless and eternal. The potential for love and pleasure behind anything your conscious mind can currently conceive of waits for you, but only if you know both where and when Tantric Sexuality will support you; and where and when it could make things worse. While Tantra is about uniting, when two people aren’t prepared and don’t bring a holistic perspective to the practice, you or your partner can end up feeling more alone and disconnected.
Tantric sexuality is not a set of techniques you learn, it’s not something you do, it’s something you live. It’s something you give and something you receive. Starting outside the bedroom.
What is tantric sexuality?
To prepare yourself to experience the power of Tantric loving and its inherent blessings (and challenges) let’s give the phrase Tantric sexuality definition. Tantric sexuality emerges as a subset of practices within the greater exploration of Tantra. The Tantric approach as a whole originated from various forms of Eastern spiritual traditions as a pathway to the Infinite, as a way to know what some of us might call God. Others of us might refer to this presence as Life, Universe, the Field, Truth, or the Divine.
The Tantric path invites the human, egoic, or personality parts of ourselves to discover, allow, and embrace our ability to merge with the boundlessness of our spiritual nature and our soul. At its essence, the Tantric path connects us with the universal energies that flow within, between, and beyond every human being.
Tantric sexuality, within the larger context of Tantra, invites and encourages the use of various sexual approaches and practices to bring us, both ourselves and our partner, closer to our divine nature. When we include presence, attention, and an open heart, Tantric sexuality practices – before, during, after and sometimes in lieu of intercourse – allow the bodies to be a gateway to unity of heart, mind, body, spirit and soul. With its purpose of divine union, Tantric sexuality can be practiced individually and in partnership because it draws us into a multifold union – including but not limited to union with self, union of divine masculine and feminine, union of human and divine, unity of two partners, unity of vision, and unity of humanity.
Approached alone, out of context, and without understanding of the whole Tantric spiritual practice, Tantric sexuality may not bring the intended effects. It is the false perception that Tantric sexuality is simply a new way to have sex that will give you or your partner more satisfaction, and even fix what ails between you, that leads to pain in couples who try to practice it without knowing its full purpose and power.
To offer a specific example, one of the first places many couples run into trouble, whether newly partnering or whether married for decades, is that the heart, with its inherent love and emotions, must be included and embraced. You cannot practice Tantra or Tantric sexuality without a willingness and intention to open your heart. Yet, many use sex, even in long term marriages, to unconsciously avoid connecting through their hearts. Many are afraid of the vulnerability and intimacy of a truly open heart; yet, this is one of the many gifts and powers of Tantric practice.
The masculine and feminine view Tantric intimacy differently
Another reason why an exploration of Tantric sexuality can leave partners divided instead of united happens is because in Tantric union both the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine must not only express themselves but connect and honor each other. These two essential and innate energies within each of us first align internally each person in the relationship and then their polarity must ignite between the two partners. Unfortunately, most individuals and couples do not grasp the importance of this natural interplay of giving and receiving, leading and following, penetrating and being penetrated – not just sexually, but also emotionally.
Hence, when a person with a more predominant feminine sexual essence seeks out an understanding and definition of Tantric sexuality, that person’s heart will tend to lead. Their imagination, desire, and focus tends to rest on their hunger for closeness, connection, and unity – all aspects of the feminine.
On the other hand, while most common but not exclusively true, a person with predominant masculine energy who searches “what’s Tantric sexuality” will tend to hold in their mind images of orgasmic pleasure in both themselves and their partner. They’ll often imagine a limitless freedom in sexual expression with less awareness of the unity created in that freedom.
The masculine imagination often maintains the sense of two distinct sovereign beings sharing ecstatic experiences, while the feminine will tend to imagine and feel the dissolving of the two into one being – craving opportunity to be seen and known so fully that all sense of separation melts, where we lose the sense of where one body begins and the other ends.
These two perspectives of the masculine sovereignty and individuality married with the feminine unity and oneness are the very reasons Tantric sexuality can transform relationships. Accordingly, it is also the very reason it can further separate two aching hearts.
The transformation of Tantric sexuality depends on an acceptance of, and a generosity with, the polar opposite needs and desires between the divine masculine and feminine energies in the relationship. To resist this pairing of opposites will bring pain and limit the power of this potent path.
Tantric sexuality alone cannot save your relationship
Now let’s get truly honest about the power and potential of tantric sexuality and why most couples aren’t ready for it; why they need to prepare themselves.
As we’ve said, Tantric practices, including Tantric sexuality, are by design and definition about creating unity (yes, that’s the feminine aspect, but it cannot be experienced without the masculine aspect of individuality). For everyone that vision of unity is an astoundingly beautiful desire and goal. Astounding.
Great desire has great power and what most don’t realize is that any desire for, or intention of, unity demands that we illuminate and remove everything that separates us. That means that by definition Tantra, which has been translated in English, as a “weaving”, or a bringing together, must bring up to the surface anything that stands between us and true union. Some call this experience turbulence. Some call it button pushing. Some call it sh** hitting the fan. The very agitation or hurt couples may be trying to move beyond with Tantric Sexuality may appear worse initially. If you’re not prepared for that natural process, you and your relationship can have a set back.
This means that for a couple, or an individual, who practices Tantra and Tantric sexuality, the very engagement with these practices is basically guaranteed to bring up unresolved issues within you and between you.
While someone may want to improve their sex life through Tantric sexuality, they can’t do that without improving their heart connection, their communication, their authenticity and their practice of honoring of themselves and another.
Most sex problems aren’t sex problems.Joanna Shakti
We must be willing to talk about what has been stuffed under the metaphorical rug. We must address the unspoken hurts. We must face the resentments and the self-abandonment that brought them on. Tantric sexuality calls us to get present to anything else that stands between the union of our hearts and souls.
It’s true, Tantric sexuality is not the faint of heart, but it is for the courageous. Anyone thinking tantric sexuality is a simple path to better sex will likely have a a rude awakening.
These truths are not here to scare you. They are here to invite you to make a conscious choice to embark on this incredible path in a way that supports the well-being of both you and your partner.
When an individual or couples stays with the path of sacred love, Tantric union, and Tantric sexuality it will bring you exactly what is needed to know the most exquisite love and pleasure possible.
Orgasms and Emotions
Another unanticipated surprise of Tantric Sexuality is that, in its power and intensity, it becomes a force for healing within, between, and beyond us. Tantrically generated orgasmic energy can have a ripple effect through the body that can release years of stuck, buried emotions, cellular memory as some might call it.
That release can be accompanied by unexpected outpouring of tears or surfacing resentments or anger. On the other hand, barrels of intense laughter might also come pouring through. Quite often tears and laughter come one after the other in the safety of a genuine Tantric union.
Unfortunately, if you or your partner isn’t grounded in themselves, is insecure in their own adequacy or lovability, they can take these emotional experiences personally.
If that happens, or if you judge or reject them in yourselves or your partner, instead of healing we hurt. In that kind of unintentional unconsciousness, we not only lose the healing opportunity available in the release, the personalization, blame or judgment tends to erect more walls between you.
Approached intentionally and consciously, Tantric practice and Tantric sexuality can radically transform both your personal life and your romantic life in ways that currently you can’t imagine.
Questions to ask yourself as you consider the Tantric Sexuality path
Choosing this path can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make, if you choose it with your whole being, if you choose it consciously. That does not mean you have to have love and sex or emotions all figured out, quite the opposite in fact.
It doesn’t mean sex has to get all serious all the time. Definitely not. And, it might sometimes. That’s what you need to decide if you are willing to embrace.
Tantric loving is a path of discovering, surrendering, and opening to that which happens beyond your current awareness, so consider…
- Are you willing to have a conscious relationship with you?
- Are you willing to open your heart wider?
- Are you willing to learn how to talk authentically about sex and love and all their dimensions?
- Are you willing to embrace big wonderful emotions? Are you willing to welcome the uncomfortable, contracting ones?
- Are you willing to welcome those emotions in yourself and your partner?
- Are you willing to face unresolved issues in your current (or even your past relationships)?
- Are you willing to recognize and release beliefs, rules, expectations and judgements that limit your capacity for love and pleasure?
- Are you willing to accept that your partner (or past partners) are not all to blame for your romantic and sexual “results”? (In other words, are you willing to look at your contributions to the challenges?)
- Are you willing to be patient and compassionate with yourself and any partner you might have?
- Are you willing to get support from experts or professionals if you or your partner need it?
Answering yes to these questions will give you the staying power needed to receive the fullest benefits of Tantric love and Tantric sexuality – healing, uniting and ecstatic ecstasy.
If you answered no, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the Tantric path, it simply means that you’ll want to pay particular attention to these areas of resistance, discomfort, or fear. You’ll want to bring them a good deal of compassion. You can’t go wrong in your choice and sometimes the lessons, growth, and discovery are just easier than at other times.
Why the path of Tantric sexuality can be easier for singles
Singles so often say, I’ll explore Tantric sexuality when I have a partner. Yet, waiting denies them an immensely important opportunity. Remember we said that the Tantric path is a path of uniting and that we have to clear out anything in the way of our union? Why would you not clear that out before you meet someone new? This is where couples have the disadvantage.
In their Tantric journey, couples find themselves invited not only to clear out anything that stands in the way of uniting with themselves, they also get to clean up anything unresolved in their relationship or marriage. Then sometimes, on top of cleaning up their current relationship, they also have residues of past intimate relationships to release and make peace with so that they can be fully available – heart, mind and body – for the present possibilities of love and pleasure.
Additionally, the two people in a partnership may approach the Tantric path quite differently and on different timelines. It’s not uncommon for one partner to feel like they are waiting for the other. Now, from the Tantric perspective, all those differences are part of the path and serve both people, but the differences are still not always easy.
Singles, because you are not in a relationship, all you have to pay attention to is yourself. You get to release what doesn’t serve you, learn how to open yourself to both deeper love and deeper pleasure. You get to consciously complete with any past relationship residue without having to concern yourself with anyone else’s needs, process, or timing.
The bonus is that in your newly developing wholeness, with your more open heart, with your great sexual wisdom, with your deeper understanding of the divine masculine and divine feminine you will attract a very different – and much better fitting – partner than you would have before embarking on the Tantric Sexuality path.
When singles explore Tantric loving and Tantric sexuality before they meet their beloved, their new relationship will start from much higher ground, so to speak, and will hold the capacity to merge into more exquisite realms of love, passion and pleasure.
How to evaluate Tantric sexuality classes
Because Tantric loving and Tantric sexuality are multidimensional and immensely powerful explorations into the most profound experience and possibility of intimate relating, you may want to consider training programs or Tantric sexuaity classes.
To compound the challenges of embarking on this path, the Tantric sexuality journey requires us to openly speak about sex and all it’s details. Yet, we as a society are deeply conditioned against talking about this essential topic.
Here are 6 things to look for when evaluating Tantric sexuality classes.
- Are there multiple levels to the approach? Before we can dive into the depth of Tantric lovemaking, we need to build our comfort with sexuality in general. We must develop our capacity to talk about it. We must consider our limiting consciousness about the topic. Although most people don’t believe they have limiting beliefs when it comes to sex, most are shocked to discover their own pleasures boundaries or ceilings and are happy to release those upper limits. A good set of Tantric sexuality classes will start with an exploration sex, passion, and intimacy
- The classes should equally address the heart center and the sexual center as it is the union of the two that ignites the greatest ecstasies.
- Classes should address the interplay of masculine and feminine energies in a way that allows them to understand, honor, and support each other in ways that makes love, intimacy and sex all that more profound for everyone despite our differences.
- They will include men, women, singles and couples in the mix, as we actually learn best in community. Hearing another’s story can teach us so much about our own. Often listening to another couple or individual discover or release old ways of being, can allow us to release or open something in ourselves that we might not otherwise have had access to, or even known existed. They do some of the work for us.
- Tantric sexuality classes will be clothes on events and, whether hosted in person or virtually, you will feel like you are in a space that allows you to relax and receive what’s on offer. Any Tantric sexuality class must build a conscious container that allows you to feel safe to go at your own pace, be where you are, and that everyone, including you and your partner if you have one, agree to relate to each other consciously.
- The Tantric sexuality classes will be progressive so that you can build on what you are learning and be supported when you struggle or stumble. We must build in time for integration, discovery and advancement if we hope to be truly transformed.
Finally, when it comes to Tantric sexuality for beginners, most importantly, however you choose to learn, you are not pushed to go beyond your comfort zone in a way that doesn’t feel good to you. You’ll want to be offered possibilities that you can choose to step into, one baby step at a time. And, you must know clearly that you have the choice whether to take those steps.
Those on the path of soul love and its stages know that talking those tiny steps consistently will take you a long way, surprisingly quite quickly.
Finally, be wary of articles and classes that focus on Tantric techniques. That approach is similar to the “pickup artist” approach in dating where they want the “good stuff” without possibly being available for a true relationship.
Tantric loving is a holistic journey of heart, mind, body, spirit and soul for individuals and couples. When you prepare all these parts of you, when you attend to them in your partner if you have one, then your Tantric sexuality journey, from moment one, turns into a continually expanding, ever unfolding experience of deeper and deeper ecstasy – where heart and body unite and spirit leads. A journey of Divine Union.
Because of its deep commitment to the necessity of a holistic and intentional step-by-step approach to love, intimacy and passion, conscious men and women have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy’s weekend retreats to cultivate sacred union in and out of the bedroom. You too, are invited…
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.