Alternative Medicine
Tantra: Sexual Healing

Medical education, while requiring enormous time and energy, has generally been lacking in three important areas, namely: 1) nutrition, 2) spirituality, and 3) sexuality. Of these three, nutrition remains a footnote in training, but education in spirituality and healing has actually made its way into almost all medical schools. Education in sexuality is lacking, not only in medical school, but also throughout society.

Erectile dysfunction, ED, affects an estimated 30 million men in the United States . 10% of the male population experience chronic ED. It affects 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70. In 2006, the combined sales of Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis were $3.1 billion. One of the most recent additions to ED treatment is Extenza, a “male-enhancing” drug. The Extenza television ad targets “sex as performance” to make the sale.

Sex in America averages 6 minutes of foreplay, 4 minutes of intercourse, for 10 grand minutes! Tantra provides a new (or very ancient) way of looking at sexuality that liberates men, in particular, from the deep belief that sex is a quick performance. When a man understands and practices the core attitudes of tantra, his partner and their relationship will be transformed.

Tantra, an ancient, Eastern system for spiritual evolution, means, “to weave.” It is the conscious weaving together of sexuality and spirituality. Most people, who know something about tantra, have heard that there are techniques that allow a couple to make love for many hours. That's true, but the very long durations are not at the heart of the matter.

Tantra is part technique and part attitude or philosophy. Most tantra teachers and books focus on techniques. My belief is that the attitude is central to tantra, and that techniques serve the purpose of helping people get to the attitude.

Tantric Attitudes

1. Letting Go of Attachment to the Goal, the Orgasm.

For men, this is the biggest task, because we are goal-oriented and performance driven. Men want to make sure that they “do a good job” and that their lover has an orgasm. If she doesn't, he takes it as his personal failure. Because sex is viewed as a performance, men can become concerned about their ability to maintain an erection. That hidden, but endless fear of poor performance has led to the huge sales of drugs like Viagra and Cialis.

When people make a conscious effort to detach from the goal, they step into the moment. “Foreplay” is really “being immersed in the moment,” and taking the time to explore together. Orgasms do not disappear with a tantric approach, but people have much better conscious choice about it, and, with practice can choose “if and when” they want orgasms. Tantric lovers spend a long time in the sensuality, simply because it feels amazing on all levels. However, choose the amount of time that is right for you and your partner.

2. Setting the Intention

Take a minute before making love to set the intention, which upgrades the experience from pure animal level to something much higher. A couple can light candles or incense, or create their own ritual during which they state their intention to invite the spiritual element into their lovemaking. The other intention is to state that, “Our love making is a matter of the heart. It IS about love. WE are about love.”

3. Learning to Fully Give and Receive

In the beginning, in order to understand the tantric attitude, a man might spend an hour giving his partner an erotic massage. She is discouraged from responding and trying to excite him. It's her night to receive. It might be another night when he is the one who fully receives, and she is the one who fully gives. This is quite an interesting experience, because we want to give-respond-give-receive, etc, which is quite normal. We are programmed to respond as soon as our lover “gives” to us. Because of that programming we never learn to fully give or fully receive.

Once lovers have experience with fully receiving and fully giving, they can go back to fully interacting — touching/kissing – then responding. Once you are able to give 100% and receive at a 100% level, you will never be the same, and as you entwine in your Tantric Sexual Dance, the giving and receiving blends in a very natural way, and you will experience your lover's touch and kiss in a way you never have before.

4. Open Communication

Tantric lovemaking is often done with lights on. People are encouraged to be as open as they possibly can about how they are feeling, what feels good, what feels great, what does not feel good...“a quarter of an inch to the left please! And could you press just slightly more gently.” With open communication, with the lights on, men and women “see” each other for the first time. Men do not usually understand the anatomy of a woman's genitals. Men, the performance guys, are supposed to know how to do it all, fix cars and the plumbing. Men are the answer guys!

When communication is open, a man can explore her genitals “for the first time,” and she may provide detailed, specific information, that is often absent in lovemaking, about what really feels good and what does not. Men and women need to be able to ask for what they want. It's hard for most people to ask for what they want, and to be very specific, because openness leads to vulnerability. Making love involves merging and letting go of one's ego. Competition, comparison, and performance are part of the ego-mind. If either of you think you are “the best” in some aspect of lovemaking, you're coming from your head and not your heart.

5. Vulnerability

Moving into clear and honest communication may create a vulnerability and openness that is a new experience. Many women hold a lot of pain in their genitals. For them sexuality and their heart are very connected. So, while a man may think that “pounding a woman” like the powerful animal that he is – makes him the world's greatest lover, most women are quite skilled in faking orgasms, so as not to offend the male ego. Women like a slow touch, and soft caresses in order to open up emotionally and spiritually. They also will not fully open on a physical level until they feel safe. Once a woman feels safe, she will open up physically to a man, but if she has been sexually traumatized, the tantric approach allows a space to arise in which she is free to allow that pain to emerge. She may cry, sob, or express a wide range of emotion.

No Right or Wrong

You cannot “Do tantra wrong,” because genuine lovemaking is not about “doing.” It is more about “being.” Out of a loving, safe state of “being,” the tantric physical pleasure is beyond words, and the heart/love connection can soar to profound levels. There is a reason for the phrase “making love.” Tantra is about making love and connecting, but not about performance.

Women are naturally tantric. They are wired for love making, and not for their partner to treat them as if sex is an Olympic sport. Their natural approach, what they like — is tantric. They are not mainly goal-oriented.

If a man and woman have a large capacity for love, a big heart container, then they are just going to fall into each other, merging, without “training.” The fact is that you can't train to have a large capacity for love, so lots of folks involved with tantra stay focused on technique, because they basically do not know how to love.

Most tantra teachers and seminars focus on technique, with conscious breath control being one of the most important techniques. There are volumes of tantra books that teach “technique.” In my opinion, tantric techniques help people reach central tantric attitudes.

Sexuality and Consciousness

Tantra, “the weaving together of sexuality and spirituality,” leads to deep levels of love, as well as access to higher states of consciousness and the potential for profound, blissful spiritual experiences. It is the joining of two hearts and two souls in a very real, deep way.

Tantric lovemaking may be the single fastest way to access higher states of consciousness, but it really helps if the man and woman's level of consciousness are relatively the same.

There is no judgment here about high or low, but it is true that different people have different levels of consciousness. There are some people who have unconditional love for everyone. There are others who are angry on a daily basis, and who find fault with others frequently. They are not terribly happy.

This judgmental man and the woman with unconditional love won't be happy making love. He may be very happy, because he is the recipient of her unconditional love. That is the only way she knows how to BE. However, he will never be able to give what she is capable of receiving.

In general, what does she like? She wants slow caresses, massage, taking your time, not rushing, gentle kisses that build slowly. Ten minutes of forceful, aerobic sex is often both emotionally and physically painful and not connecting for women.

If this is true, why is a woman's usual preference not common knowledge? Because men don't know what women want, and because women don't want to offend the male ego!

Transforming Marriage

Now that you understand the tantric attitude, do not hesitate to read books, watch DVD 's, and go to seminars to study tantric technique.

Please understand that without understanding the central tantric attitude of being present and detaching from goal-orientation, lovemaking will just be another thing you have to learn, rather than something you cannot wait to dive into!

The tantric attitude shift starts with letting go of attachment to the goal, and to performance.

That shift is huge, and brings a total transformation into lovemaking. In addition that shift from “Doing” to “Being” will transform your love affair. Men, if you give her this gift, she will be able to love you in a way you have never imagined.

Until men move into the tantric attitude, they are unlikely to ever receive the profound level of love that so many women are capable of giving.

Once this gift is given, man and woman are set for a very long period (months, years, or a lifetime) of happiness (physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual). Sexual healing brings radical transformation of romantic relationships.

You don't need me to wish you, “Good luck.” I would only say, “Good luck” if you were attempting to “do” something new. I'm not asking you to consider that. Tantra simply asks you to let go into the moment, and give up the idea that making love is about performance.

Tantra teaches you how to bring love (physical, mental, and spiritual) into your relationship repeatedly and frequently. The philosophy that inspired tantra is similar to meditation, (which trains us to let go of our minds and live in the moment) and to yoga (which helps bring mind and body into balance).

Yoga means “union.” Yoga, meditation, and tantra are very close “relatives.” Meditation is great for the mind. Yoga is especially good for the body. Tantra is excellent for uniting a couple through spiritual sexuality.

Tantra builds on these ancient practices to bring intimacy into the moment, where the mind is quiet, “now” is the only time that exists, and a goal (orgasm) does not exist as an immediate thought.

I asked a number of women to read this article before publishing it. Many said, “You need to get this information out in the world.”

When a man understands what women really want, and makes an effort to make these changes, his wife or lover will respond in a way that may astound him. When women are made love to the way most women want to be, they give back to men 1000 fold.

Men complain about what they don't get “anymore” from their partner. “She gets headaches all the time. The passion of the first year has worn off. She's just not the same woman I met.“

Right, she's not. She has had enough sex, but perhaps no real love making, and after awhile, parts of her body and heart begin to shut down. If men understand the tantric attitude and put it into practice, a tremendous amount of marital conflict will disappear.

What do you think happens to men who spend a lifetime in a marriage in which sex is performance?

Performance gets old and most people get tired of performing. In a lifetime of marital, sexual performance, she gets irritable and alienated. He can't figure her out and succumbs to a life of less sex and more Viagra.

Sexual health is critical to marriage and committed relationships. Tantra is not a New Age fad or a strange Eastern kinky practice. It is truly a way to bring sexual healing. It all boils down to this simple phrase:

“Tantra, the merging of sexuality and spirituality, asks you to give up the idea that making love is about performance.”

David Gersten, M.D. practices Nutritional Medicine and Integrative Psychiatry out of his Encinitas office and can be reached at 760-633-3063. Please feel free to access 1,000 on-line pages about holistic health, amino acids, and nutritional therapy at www.aminoacidpower.com.

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Transformational Talk:
Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? If you've got some chronic ‘itis' like sinusitis, dermatitis, cystitis, gastritis, colitis, arthritis, thyroiditis or other ongoing physical aggravation, chances are something you are doing is making things worse. This could be something as simple as not taking medications/ herbs /remedies properly or as complex as poor self care – too much sugar, fat, alcohol, processed food, TV, Internet or too little sleep, sex, exercise and real leisure. No joy in love or work may also be a factor. While figuring out how you're making yourself sicker is the first step, changing your life is the real challenge.

Here's the tip. Check if you're ready to honestly'assess your lifestyle. If no, you won't even see the solution. If yes, consider that you already know the answer. Sit in silence. Listen for guidance. Watch your dreams. If still stymied, ask a spouse or friend for an honest opinion.

Once you know what you need to do, tell someone you trust. Be gentle and patient with yourself and ask them to do likewise. Bad habits usually develop from misguided attempts to regulate stress or manage uncomfortable feelings. Find support for emotional healing. Don't attempt giving up old ways until you've found nourishing replacements. Start small. Try one tiny change that really makes you feel good. Take your time and watch as slowly, surely you take back your life.©

Penelope Young Andrade, LCSW www.penelopetalk.com Call: 858-481-5752 fax: 858-484-8374 email: penart@abac.com

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