Sexual Healing and Tantra
Getting real with the truth about sexual healing, what it is, and its relationship to tantra.
The term "healing" conjures up images of fixing something that is viewed as broken or unhealthy. Sexual healing would be needed to heal a physical illness or to correct behavior that is sexually dysfunctional or deviant. Pedophilia, sex addiction, impotence, and frigidity are some examples of conditions for which sexual healing through the aid of a medical or mental health professional would be most appropriate.
Tantra is not a method of sexual healing so much as it is a useful tool for bringing about a change of negative or uncomfortable attitudes towards sexuality and becoming more open, relaxed and sexually whole. Tantric practices, among many other things, help to dispel the most common myths and misconceptions about sexuality to establish an intelligent, rational setting for a natural, healthy, more enjoyable sex life. Tantric practices are useful in enhancing sensitivity to simple sensual pleasures, realigning unbalanced energies, and liberating us from unhealthy cultural beliefs regarding sex and sexual pleasure.
A major part of tantric practice is to pay close attention to what we see, hear, smell, feel, and taste without analysis or judgment. The more focused attention given to the senses and sensual stimuli, the more sensitive they become, and it takes less to arouse them. Because sex is a highly sensual activity, the enhancement of all sensual perceptions has a direct positive effect on libido and the ability to sustain sexual excitement. More pleasure is enjoyed from less and less effort, and without overindulgence. Tantra helps to take us back to a time when a simple touch brought a rush of warm feelings of joy and ecstasy, and this way, the pleasure of touch is greatly extended far beyond the mere moment of physical orgasm.
Within every one of us are differing energies. Among them are Shiva, the masculine, calm and dynamic; and Shakti, the feminine, earthy, creative, and intuitive. When these internal polarities are balanced and integrated, we are able to take full advantage of the qualities of both such as clarity and intuitiveness, peace, and power. The result is a dynamic whole, the interplay of yin and yang, each capable of giving and receiving (sharing equally) pleasure with a partner. Encounters with others, both sexual and nonsexual feel more egalitarian when there is the lack of competition and constant worry and fear about unfair advantage. Fear and worry block the flow of energies, particular the energies needed for relaxation and fulfillment. Tantric relationships generally promote more cooperation and freedom to experience the joys of sexual playfulness.
Sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life. Without it, life would cease to exist. Tantra is a discipline that originated in India and the east, where sexuality has at times been less repressed than in the west. The western current shame-based attitudes towards sexuality have led to the abuse of sex so much that it is exploited to manipulate and to sell virtually any and every product ever marketed. What a confusing concept! Tantra takes us away from the falsity that sex is nasty, evil, disgusting, or sinful. In fact, sex is considered sacred because it is associated with the supreme life force. When viewed in a way that is perfectly logical and rational, the possibility of a happy healthy sex life without being doomed to the depths of hellfire becomes all so real. Tantra empowers us to view sexuality in a way like any other, without negative or positive connotations, and devoid of guilt, disgust, and shame.
Equally damaging is the idea that only skinny people are sexy, or that there is any such physical standard requirement that must be met in order to be sexually desirable or to be permitted to enjoy the basic and normal joys of the body. All this is as if sexual satisfaction is a scarce commodity, to be enjoyed only by a select few. This all-pervasive fallacy is the root of many an eating disorder, and self esteem issue. When we consider that a majority of Americans are overweight, we see the widespread result of poor sexual relations and demeaning sexual attitudes. Tantra practitioners dismiss such beauty standards as a form of discrimination, which is discouraged, and a problem of separation. The tantric ideal is that people are all connected, all beautiful, and all divine. Therefore, any sort of physical requirement is absolutely absurd. Tantric practices require that we befriend, love, care for, and respect the body as a divine gift. To be sexy is a state of mind--being open, connected, and receptive to loving touch, no matter what weight, height, age, color, or shape.
Sex and sexuality are but a very small part of Tantra. However, almost all exposure to tantra by westerners derives from misrepresentations and misunderstandings of the practice through some well-meaning so-called healers and some not so well meaning profiteers. Most often they make easy money by claiming that tantra is limited to sacred sex and a neurotic quest to live out bodily passions. This hyperbolic emphasis on sex positions, prolonged orgasms, sexual healing, controlling ejaculation, etc. simply preys upon the western aversion to sexuality, the unhealthy western fascination with sex and everything sexy, or both and has very little to do with authentic tantra. Tantra is actually a very simple, deep, subtle spiritual practice in which adherents learn to use sensuality, creative energies, and breath to become completely present to reality, with an open heart, in order to simultaneously experience a greatly expanded state of love-based consciousness.
Lisa D. Branscomb, J.D. is the founder of LifeBliss Solutions. LifeBliss offers workshops, retreats, celebrations, and individual coaching on ways to use sensuality and tantric arts to create a richer, healthier, happier, more delicious lifestyle. For more information see LifeBliss Solutions.