I’ve been reading reviews of With The Kisses Of His Mouth, novelist Monique Roffey’s account of her sexual adventures in the small ads, French nudist resorts, English sex clubs and…‘tantric workshops’. Good luck to her. But I put ‘tantric workshops’ in quotes because they don’t seem to have had very much to do with Tantra.
I do get a bit irritated when the Tantric tag is attached to things that really aren’t Tantric at all, whether by journalists or by those running courses. I don’t doubt that the workshops were invaluable and professional but why call them Tantra if they’re not?
Because Tantra was not founded by any single person and has never had any sort of ruling body to define its beliefs, so its teachings have varied from century to century, place to place, and guru to guru. But there are certain essentials and if you really want to practice ‘Tantric sex’ it’s important to understand what they are.
A great deal of fiction nowadays surrounds Tantric sex. The problem is that Tantra was not founded by any single person and has never had any sort of ruling body to define its beliefs, so its teachings have varied from century to century, place to place, and guru to guru. Quite frankly, there are lots of self-proclaimed Tantric gurus out there writing books and running courses that have little or nothing to do with the real thing. If you go on such a course you may have a great time and learn new things. That’s fine. But authentic Tantric sex is a lot more than staring into eyes and lighting incense.
What makes Tantric sex different is not its range of physical sexual techniques (potent though they are) but its range of psychological techniques and the intention behind the sex. The prolonged state of excitement which Tantric sex is capable of creating is only a beginning. It’s aim is the attainment of a quite extraordinary state of mind known as ananda or bliss.