By Kerry and Diane Riley
Kerry and Diane Riley are Australia's leading Tantra teacher's and founders of the 'Australian School of Tantra' (ASOT). They have shared their deep understanding of sacred sexuality, heartfelt connection and committed relationship with thousands of men and women through their courses, books, DVD's.
Tantra is a spiritual science from ancient India, and in its basic essence is very similar to Taoism from China. Both involve balancing the male and female energies to create harmony, and both have an ultimate goal of spiritual unity with the universe or the source or God.
The Tantric interplay of the male and female energies was represented in Hindu mythology with Shakti and Shiva, and represented in Taoism with yin and yang. Both Tantra and Taoism aimed to create union of body, mind and spirit. And in both, sexuality was seen and practiced in a spiritual context.
Tantra emphasises that we deserve all the love and sexual pleasure we can possibly receive; that sexual loving is a way to reach the mysteries of the heart, the soul and God and Goddess within each person. It also teaches that sex is a way of bonding with a lover physically, emotionally and spiritually to create feelings of ecstatic pleasure, deep intimacy and expanded consciousness.
It's important to recognise that any judgments we have about sex reflect our inhibitions, and demonstrate that we are not entirely free and accepting of our own sexuality.
Well, what's the difference between Tantra and just having sex? One of the key differences is where the mind is. It's the same in life. One's experience of life depends on where the mind is. We are all living in the same world; but our experiences are determined by our perception.
And so in lovemaking it's not what we are doing that affects us; it's the attitude with which we are doing it that makes the real difference to our experience. If we can adopt the attitude that our lovemaking is spiritual, then our lovemaking will indeed become a spiritual experience. When I'm asked this question of the difference between tantric sex and just having sex I use the analogy normal sex is like running along the beach, it's a good exercise and shouldn't be stopped however tantric sex is more like tai chi or yoga or chi gong it's a different level of exercise it harmonises body, mind and soul, as does tantric sex.
Because tantra was traditionally only practiced in a spiritual sense it doesn't mean you have to be' holier than holy' or understand Hindu mythology to incorporate the practices into your love life. We teach a contemporary approach to tantra so it's assessable to anyone who has an interest in adding to and expanding the ways they make love - Tantra does not only include the physical, it affects you on all levels body, heart and soul.
Benefits and practices you can try:
There are excellent techniques in Tantric Sex to increase a man's ability to last longer using ejaculation control skills and practices to help with erection dysfunction and feeling virility. Viagra can help with performance but not with loving desire for his partner (unless that desire is only to perform). Women want to feel a man's love and connection not just his performance trying to get her to climax. Tantra teaches a man intimacy skills to turn sex into making love. I advise 'it's better to give a woman a little of what she wants rather than a lot of what you think she wants."
For an experiment ask your man 'How much love are you feeling while making love? ' Men are more conscious about getting a result … good sex and orgasm... than how much love they are feeling in their heart. Tantra education may be good for him to learn how to connect sex and heart feelings. Of course if he can't last long then he has no time to feel his love anyway because he is to busy concentrating on controlling- this isn't making love.
A practice to help him with control is strengthening the pubocoxigel muscle. One way to locate this muscle is to try and stop the flow during urination by contracting the pelvic floor. If you can do that, then you have found the muscle. It is taught in many texts that if a man contracts this muscle before ejaculation it will stop it. However if it is done incorrectly it doesn't work. For example, a common error that is made is trying to do it just before ejaculation - if you do it at 90% and you haven't practised enough it won't work and may even cause you to come.
It's best to do it in stages at 20%, at 30%, at 50%, at 75% and then 90%. I'm not suggesting men try the non ejaculation practices that are often given in Taoist texts, because if these are not done properly it can lead to prostate problems. So for these practices to be successful and healthy, full education / training may be necessary.
Breathing slower and deeper, and concentrating more on the 'out-stroke' than the 'in-stroke' can help. It's not the woman's responsibility; it's up to him to master ejaculation control. It's men's business. Men can have up to four sessions with a Tantra goddess skilled in teaching these practices to guide conscious men to be better lovers - these skills can also be taught in a couple's session.
Tantra for women
The following is an extract from Diane's Book 'Tantra secrets for women' (to be released later this year).
'Traditional texts on tantra and Taoism were written by men and many of the practices strike me as having a male orientation about them, emphasizing techniques for the man to use for his spiritual enlightenment. Although the female was honored, the practices for her to do are not as easy to find. For example, so many of the contemporary books on tantra and Taoist sexology emphasize the forcing of the sexual energy, or Kundalini, up the spine with strong breathing and visualization to move it out of the sex center and into the higher center, known as the spiritual center, often called the crown chakra at the top of the head. This is most often done in a sitting crossed-legged position by oneself or with a partner sitting astride in a position called Yab/Yum.
Moving sexual energy into the brain for expanded consciousness can be of practical benefit for men to help them control ejaculation. However, for some women, this practice may not be suitable, particularly if you are not consistently orgasmic. The reason for this is that if you pull energy out of your pelvis and your yoni, then it is less likely you will orgasm, and that's not what most women want! It's only recently that women have strengthened their connection to their orgasm, so why do the opposite!
My suggestion for women is that once you are feeling sexually excited, concentrate on swirling your pelvis as in belly dancing movement imagining the energy rising naturally like steam from a simmering pot radiating throughout the body filling you with delightful pulses of sensual/sexual energy -not forcing any thing. According to Dr Stephen Chang "The Tao of Sexology' forcing can have detrimental effects '.
Another suggestion I give women can do is attend belly dance classes. This really helps a free and easy movement of your hips and promotes a good and strong connection between the mind and body, especially the pelvic area, the sex area. This can greatly enhance the pleasure you feel during sex. A practice you can do yourself at home is the 'Crescent moon'. Stand with your legs slightly apart and your knees bent a little, trace the shape of the other rim of the crescent moon with the movement of your hips. After a while, if that comes easily to you experiment with figure eights and a variety of movements. Close your eyes and continue and enjoy the flow of this very feminine movement. Try shutting your eyes for a few moments so that you can sense deep into your hips and pelvic bowl.
Tips from a man- what he wants
In my consultations with men, many express their disappointment that their partner doesn't move their hips enough. Men like it when their partner moves. Another thing men love is when their partner is making pleasurable sounds. So even if you are not feeling sexy, if you start to make sexy sounds it can trick the mind into actually starting to feeling turned on. I'm not suggesting a 'Sleepless in Seattle' performance but sexy sounds are well worth trying, let go of inhibitions and give it a try. These are keys of tantra for women: sounds and hip movement.
The most important thing conscious men want is for their woman to be really enjoying the lovemaking - releasing inhibitions and freeing the love goddess within. Experiment with some of these elements to create and sustain a passionate relationship.
There was an episode on 'Sex in the City' where a group of women friends got a Tantra Goddess, a female coach, to show them some magic strokes to use on their partner and how to create more sweet orgasms for themselves. These sessions are available through ASOT and can be done in your own home. Lots of fun and benefit, not only for you but your fortunate partner.
Tantra for couples
Tantra can bond relationships together, break habitual patterns, put new spark into relationship, balance desire levels and expand the way you make love on all levels. More and more couples are open to exploring tantra and not just accept the way it is after a few years together. A good practice for couples to try is to occasionally make eye contact during love making; it's common to shut our eyes to loose ourselves in the feeling, that's perfectly fine; however we are often not present with our lover and feeling the intimacy. 'The eyes are the window to the soul' it can feel quite awkward at first for some, but if you want to be an intimate loving couple, totally present, and fully opened to each other, then try allowing yourself to be seen by you partner.
A practice any one can try before sex or separate time is to sit opposite each other, hold hands and shut your eyes for a few minutes and think about some of the things you enjoy about your partner, because we often spend a lot of energy inwardly complaining about the things that annoy us or we want to change about the other. So for five minutes, let go of that, open your eyes and take turns in telling each other ten things you appreciate about them. When one shares something the other is to simply say 'thank you' and not comment. Just accept and enjoy. At the end have a hug and don't discuss it further. Do some thing together like a walk or simply a cup of tea. Sounds too simple… but try it and see the effect for yourself. Theory is knowing it, practice is living it! For more information and education on Tantra and any of the above go to www.australianschooloftantra.com.au