We’ve heard that one before! (cue: eye roll) Which, if you’re in the right crowd, unfailingly leads to the inevitable freaky sex position exchange, either verbal “Are you into Tantra? Like Sting and Diddy??” or the unspoken, raise of the eyebrows etc – it’s debatable which is more awkward, and annoying! (patience, yogis). Really though, just because tantric sex conjures up poster boy Sting, his sinewy Ashtangi bod and steamy rock star stature coiled up with partner Trudie Styler for hours at a time doesn’t mean Tantra isn’t serious business! Oh come on, we see you blushing.
In her recent Wash. Sq. Journal article, Stefanie Syman, author of new yoga tell-all book The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, gives us a lesson on the history of Tantra and how it became the butt of yogi jokes, and all about, well, booty.
On Tantra’s shocking rep:
The feature that has most intrigued and shocked observers—both Indian and Western—is that Tantra enjoins the aspirant to either visualize sex or engage in acts of ritual intercourse. The purpose of this conjugation, often depicted as the union of Siva and Shakti, is to reach Samadhi, a blissful state of consciousness devoid of any sense of personal identity. Succeed, and not only do you turn your mind into a “point of awareness,” as Ram Dass once put it, you obtain special powers (siddhis).
Though pre-marital sex, especially combined with a spiritual practice, was/is a religious no-no:
The Tantras’ philosophical and ritual apparatus however, didn’t put off all Americans. If missionaries were affronted and aghast, spiritual entrepreneurs saw Tantra as an opportunity. In 1905, less than a century after Ward published his treatise, Pierre A. Bernard set up the Tantrik Order (T.O.). The Order mashed up Hatha Yoga and Tantra with sexual magic and other Western occult practices.
What’s your take or experience with the Tantra..?
PS. Sting shattered all our fantasies with a tabloid interview where he said, “Yes, you can have sex for six hours, but it includes dinner, a movie and maybe a lot of begging! Tantra is a well-documented science, it’s not just about sex. It’s a devotional exercise to express adoration. Sex is a sacred act and incredible fun.”