In essence, tantric sex is a spiritual practice — like meditation or yoga. It is not meant to be self-indulgent and pleasure is not its only goal. Tantra uses sexuality, with all of its rawness, social stigma, fear, vulnerability, and ignorance to crack open the ego so that we can be present with our lover, and, ultimately, with our self.
The approximate Sanskrit definition of tantra is web, or that union of opposites that, when united, become one with everything in the universe. Tantric practice aims to unify the many and often apparently contradictory aspects of the self — masculine and feminine, spirit and matter, dark and light — into a harmonious whole.
Tantra is actually a branch in the study of yoga, or practices that help to unify apparent opposites. The practice of hatha yoga, for example, tones the muscles, massages the vital internal organs in our bodies, and contributes to overall good health. It harmonizes the body and the mind by connecting conscious breathing with focusing the mind. When doing yoga, you are actually performing an active meditation. You are focusing your energy on certain internal as well as external points. You bring much more awareness to the body and mind with yoga.Tantric Gods and Goddesses
Tantra is based on the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. One telling relationship in this pantheon is between Shiva and Shakti, representations of the male/female, yin/yang energies.
Shiva is the supreme god in Hindu tantra. He represents the male principle and the control and movement of time and all material things. His penis (
These two deities form a union that is necessary to keep the universe in perfect harmony, representing the life of every living human. According to tantric philosophy, life is a journey to become a balanced blend of both male and female, to become whole, or unified. Your sexual nature can lead you to this perfect balance of energies.Your Guru
The role of the guru in classical tantra is that of guide — a guide who pushes the student to the edge. The guru knows the student and the limitations in that person's life. He sets a path for the student that will ultimately lead the individual to stretch and grow in ways that the student might not attempt on his own.
The beauty of tantra is that it is a partnered path of learning. In a sense, your partner is your guru. To trust another with your personal growth is the ultimate act of surrender, and that's where breakthroughs happen. If two people can do that for each other, taking conscious risks that gently stretch the limits of their comfort zones, they can realize great growth — both individually and as partners.
To risk the vulnerability of doing it wrong, not looking good, being stuck emotionally, and facing your own shadows and life's challenges is to move closer to your own soul and toward the power that resides in self-realization. If you discover, for example, a fear of intimacy and move toward it with courage and trust, without denying it or trying to hide from it, the benefits are great.