Who You Are and What You Need
Before you start looking at your various options and figuring out which type of class might interest you, it is important to take stock of where you are in your Tantric journey, and in life in general.
Totally new to the teachings of Tantra? Don't be shy! You will be welcome at many workshops (obviously, steer clear of those designed specifically for people who are experienced and well-versed in Tantra). You might want to do some research beforehand, though (and reading this book is a good start) to get a basic overview of the topic and make sure it is something that interests you.
Most Tantric teachers and centers offer trial workshops or introductory classes. Some even allow you to buy videos or DVDs of past events. If possible, take advantage of these opportunities. It will give you a chance to observe the experience and see if it's a good fit for you before you fully commit.
As a novice, you might want to slowly ease into your educational program. When you first begin, it is probably best to look for a workshop where the demonstrations are not overly explicit or hands-on, unless you feel very comfortable with that sort of approach.
You need to decide whether to look for group instruction or one-on-one teaching. That is simply a matter of personal preference. Some new students fear they will be intimidated by the individual attention of a teacher before they are ready (although this fear usually proves unfounded) and would prefer to be able to “blend in” as part of a crowd. Others may want the personal attention of a teacher who is focused solely on them and can answer their specific questions, tailoring the material and the approach to the specific student.
The Shy/Reclusive Type
Perhaps you are the type of person who tends to be shy or uncomfortable in crowds (especially when potentially embarrassing personal topics such as sex are being discussed). Or maybe you are simply more of a homebody, or someone whose schedule and/or family situation does not allow a lot of free time to attend events in-person. Whatever your situation, you are in luck. There are many Tantra workshops and classes these days that take place online or via long-distance instruction. Obviously, you won't get the benefits of seeing a demonstration right before your very eyes, but you can still get many benefits from this type of instruction.
Some women feel more comfortable attending a Tantra workshop or class geared especially for female students. If you are female and nervous about going to a Tantra class, look for a “women only” event and enlist a few friends to go with you. Bonus: They will probably thank you for inviting them to this fun and enlightening event!
The Single Person
Not currently in a romantic relationship? No problem. You do not need to wait until you are “attached” to study Tantra. Single people are welcome in many classes and workshops. And in many ways, this may be the perfect time for you to pursue this new endeavor. You can focus all of your energy on your own spiritual and personal growth without worrying about neglecting a partner's needs. Plus, you will have a chance to reach an improved state of spiritual happiness before embarking on a new relationship. And when that perfect match does come along, you will be totally open and ready to share all of your Tantric wisdom.
In some ways, you may be at an advantage, in fact. This way, when you do find a “special someone,” you will be able to introduce her or him to Tantric thinking right off the bat (assuming your new partner is not already familiar with Tantra). That is much easier than introducing new things to an in-progress relationship, where you need to teach an old dog new tricks.
Here's a little secret: For single people, Tantra events can actually be a great place to meet new people, including perhaps a new partner. Some workshops devoted specifically to singles even incorporate a “meet-and-greet” type of gathering for just this purpose. Bonus: You know anyone you meet has a strong interest in Tantra. You already have something in common!
Many single people who do not want to attend Tantra events alone (or want to benefit from workshops geared toward couples) recruit a “learning buddy” to share the experience with them. This is a person who is not your partner romantically, but is someone you feel close to and comfortable with, and someone who shares your desire to learn this new philosophy.
If you go to a Tantra workshop alone, there is a good chance the teachers will pair you up with another single attendee of the opposite sex to act as your study partner. If you would be uncomfortable with this, be sure to ask upfront about the policy for single participants.
Couples (Where Both Parties Are Interested)
If you are in a relationship, it is ideal if you both pursue this interest in Tantra together. Not only is it a great bonding experience that is almost guaranteed to strengthen your relationship, but you can also learn new things that you can then practice as a mutual activity. A lot of Tantra workshops are geared toward couples, and the majority of attendees later call this a wonderfully positive, fulfilling experience — something they are glad they shared with their partner.
Couples (With One Party Interested)
Even if your partner does not totally share your enthusiasm for Tantra at this time, do not be discouraged. It is perfectly okay to seek Tantric enlightenment all on your own. And here's a little secret: When one partner begins exploring the world of Tantra and then goes home and shares this newfound knowledge (and sensual techniques) with her partner, she often finds her partner to be a lot more receptive and interested in the whole concept.
While most couples find the pursuit of Tantric teachings to be a profoundly strong bonding experience (even if one partner was not initially gung-ho about the idea), it can sometimes work in the opposite way. If your partner is extremely opposed to the idea, he may grow increasingly resentful of your new attitude and the personal changes in your spiritual beliefs.
The Tantra Veteran
Even if you are an experienced old pro when it comes to Tantra, you can still benefit from taking one or more Tantric workshop or class as a refresher course. Each instructor (or group of instructors) approaches the material with his or her own personal style and personality. And every workshop tends to be a bit different (even when presented by the same teacher), so it seems like you never walk away without learning something new. Not to mention, there's the opportunity to mingle and connect with other Tantric followers. And this is something that is always worth the price of any workshop admission.