Tantric Yoga: Sacred Sex
When practicing tantric yoga one practices sacred sex. Tantra is a way of spiritualizing and utilizing one's powerful sex drive to find Union with All That Is.
"Wherever two lovers are, there is God. Wherever two lovers’ energies are meeting and mingling, there is life, alive, at its best; God surrounds you."--Osho
Friend, this body is a great ocean,
Concealing reefs and sea-vaults heaped up with jewels.
Enter its secret rooms and light your own lamp.
-- Robert Bly & Jane Hirshfield,Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems
My lips could resist rushing to you and needing
To befriend your blushed cheek,
But my eyes can no longer hide
The wondrous fact of who
You really are.
The Beautiful One whom I adore
Has pitched His royal tent inside of you.
--Daniel Ladinsky, The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz
Tantric Yoga is indeed a juicy subject that many a spiritual teacher and priest shy away from; besides warning to stay away from it, for sex is bad, unspiritual, evil, etc. Many of the Western religious paths renounce sex and hold celibacy as the high road to God. And many conservative pathways of the East say the same. They say sex is fine for householders, for man and wife, as long as it is being used for procreation. The idea of sex being sacred and utilized as a spiritual practice is seen by these conservative practioners as abhorrent.
For myself, I do not consider myself a tantric yogi by any stretch of the imagination; however, in my studies and spiritual practice, I have come to appreciate what tantra yoga can offer. With the above mentioned views of so many spiritual masters that sex is to be avoided, I struggled in the beginning fighting my sex drive. When I had sex, either with or without a partner, I would feel shame and swear I would do it no more. Only to have it repeat again after a period of suppression.
Then when I started to read the many tantra yoga books out there, I started experimenting, by offering my action to God and to practice positions and control to bring more consciousness to making love. Not only was sex feeling sacred; it was becoming far more enjoyable.
In fact sex had become profound.
Do I feel that sacred sex is a pathway? For some it is, for others celibacy may be their road. And maybe paths need to cross at various periods of time in one's life. I feel that the important thing is not to cling to either: to have sex or not to have it.
Years ago, during a very trying time in a relationship when my partner had become not sexual. After several years of this forced celibacy, I couldn't take it anymore and I was thinking of having an affair. I didn't care about with whom--I just needed sex! But I couldn't go through with it; it just wasn't a noble thing to do. I would have to use deception. That night of my decision I had a powerful intimate dream with a spiritual teacher named Karunamayi, who whacked me on the base of my spine in the dream. I awoke in absolute bliss. Not only that, I had no need, no craving for sex. If my partner had wanted sex I would have joyfully participated. But I didn't need it. I was free of both attachment and aversion. There is no greater feeling than that freedom.
And then that freedom gradually subsided and those urges would come and go, and new partners arrived to teach me in the art of practicing sacred sex.
The key to making sex sacred, to have union with your partner as is the goal of Tantra, is to remain conscious, focused on one's true partner, the Beloved--God. The more one can be focused on the Beloved in all one does one is practicing Yoga, union. It's no different with sex; in fact, it is even more important. In our pornography-rich society, it is far too easy to see the other as another body with which to find some moments of pleasure. But that kind of sex, of writhing bodies always leaves an emptiness, that perhaps next time, there won't be that little fall. Yet there always is.
Not until sex becomes sacred will there not be that let down. So how does one do that?
In all you do.
Be aware of the moment.
Your breath, your partner's breath.
Where bodies are touching.
Your tips of your fingers as they travel and explore.
Define no body part.
Have no goals.
Let your thoughts come and go.
Do nothing. Don't try to please. Don't worry about being pleased.
Let the unfolding happen.
I had a beautiful experience with a woman who was a Dianic witch, who taught me in a time of making love to not be afraid of my thoughts. For you see, I would be plagued with thoughts that were very abusive towards women, gathered from my male buddies, porn, and just the male-dominated society I grew up in. As I was looking into her eyes, with these horrible thoughts flashing through my mind, she told me to speak them out, to let them go. She, being in that centered place of knowing the Truth, could hear and take in the lies of all that programming. And I did. I called her "bitch." And those thoughts never came back. It was such a healing.
Chanting is a great way of focusing the mind and being Present. Not chanting out loud, although at the time of climax saying a sacred Name aloud and sending forth the energy up one's spine is very powerful. For it is offering this powerful moment to the Divine.
As I have an affiliation to many of the Indian expressions of Divinity, I may chant silently, "Ram," or "Om Namah Shivaya." By chanting I can keep my focus on what is truly happening, that I am making Love to the Beloved. Otherwise, my partner is just a body to gain some pleasure from.
Also, as a male, it allows my body to relax and enjoy the dance without the overwhelming desire to climax, which may or may not come.
Tantra Yoga Meditations
The following tantric meditations can be done, clothed or naked; sitting holding hands or entwined sexually, in a sitting position or prone. The important part is that you can look directly into your partner’s eyes. This can also be performed solo by imagining a deity of your choice that you want to connect with.
Tantric Yoga Meditation #1
The following meditations can be done, clothed or naked; sitting holding hands or entwined sexually, in a sitting position or prone. The important part is that you can look directly in your partner’s eyes. This can also be performed solo by imagining a deity of your choice that you want to connect with.
Sit with your partner, looking into his or her eyes.
As you breathe in, imagine white light, like a beam descending into the top of your skull, your crown chakra as well as a beam of light ascending from the earth into your perineum, the base of your spine, the root chakra, with the two beams merging into your heart at the end of your inhalation.
Hold for a moment this light in your heart. This light of both Heaven and Earth.
Then as you exhale though your nose, imagine this divine light moving from your Heart to your partners, and say inwardly: Thou art That. This is the acknowledgement that your partner is Divine, that God resides with him or her and is manifesting as him or her.
As you do this try to feel your partners affirmation that you are That Divine Being.
As the exhalation ends, in that pause between breaths, be completely silent in your mind. For it is in the Silence that all forms cease and there is only One.
As the breath wants to return repeat the process by inhaling the two beams of light into your Heart.
And do this for as long as you both like.
Tantric Yoga Meditation #2
Join sexually with your partner.
Look into your partner’s eyes.
Breath in a single beam of light, coming out of the Earth’s Heart.
See that beam move into your interlocking genitals. Each of you tighten your perineum, performing a kegal.
Hold your breath for a moment, not forcing it.
Relax your perineum and breath out, imagining that beam of light going up the spine of your partner, while he or she is imagining the same going up yours.
At the end of the exhalation imagine the two strands of light merging again at the top of your heads into a ball of light.
Gently hold that pause between breaths and feel this ball of light, this sphere of Oneness.
Then repeat the process.
Recommended Sacred Sex Books
The following are some of the books I recall reading when I began to explore this new (or should I say old) way of looking at sex.
Jewel in the Lotus: The Sexual Path to Higher Consciousness, Sunyata Saraswati and Bodhi Avinasha,
Sexual Secrets: Twentieth Anniversary Edition: The Alchemy of Ecstasy,by Nik Douglas
Aghora, At the Left Hand of God(v. I), by Robert Svoboda
The Tao of Sexology: The Book of Infinite Wisdom, by Stephen Thomas Chang
What about The Kama Sutra?
Personally, I'm not a big fan of the Kama Sutra. I love the pictures! Yes, all the positions can spice up lovemaking, with many of the positions doable only for athletes in their prime. But I find it old-fashioned, very Indian and way too ritualistic. Following the directions of the author of the Kama Sutra one needs a lot of time devoted to setting the mood, practicing the positions, etc. For a householder who has a family to tend to, who works in the busy world that we live in, tantra in the way of the Kama Sutra is not very practical.
Simply being loving and present is far more accessible to everybody. For after all, it can only take an instant to be united into the Awareness that there is only One. And that is the real goal of tantra: not how many positions one can perform.
What about same sex?
The Beloved is sexless. The Beloved is neither male nor female, as well as being all possibilities. The Beloved dwells in all beings and sees Itself as Love with the eyes of Love. Tantra is about coming to a point of Awareness of Love making Love to Love. So what does it matter what gender is playing with each other. In the Kama Sutra and the Tao of Sex there is a prohibition to males being with males, as the anus is seen as a negative conduit. Of course it is fine for women to be together; it is said to be a natural inclination and quite divine. Then again, these teachings were all written by, I presume, straight males, and what straight male has not fantasized about being with two women. Anyway, if sex is just sex and no love is involved it is just sex. If you are able to gaze into the eyes of your partner with the desire to see the Beloved, Who awaits beyond all definitions, all judgments, than you are performing sacred sex; you are doing tantra yoga.
What about masturbation?
Again, where is the Beloved. The Beloved rests in you and everybody. Masturbation has such a stigma in this country of America--there is so much guilt about doing it, so much shame. Especially with males, the sexual drive is often very strong, and can be all consuming. Karunamayi gave great advice at one satsang. She said it is better to masturbate than to push sex onto your partner. When I was a young man learning about sacred sex I remember having that urge and my partner not wanting to join me. So in front of my altar I masturbated putting my focus on a female aspect of the Beloved. It was so freeing. It transformed the act that has been stigmatized as shameful to something sacred. Also, masturbation can be very helpful in learning control, especially for males. It is important to be able to have orgasm by choice in order to increase energy, to make the orgasm even more powerful, and most importantly, to ensure your partner has reach satisfaction. A word of caution about sex toys: Because vibrators can be so intense, one can become addicted to that intensity and will find it hard to achieve orgasm without that intense vibration.
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