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10 Tantric insights to transform the sexual experience

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

“In your body, there exists a subtle current of electricity, very subtle. But the subtler it is, the deeper it goes. It is not very visible. Scientists say that all the electricity that is in your body, if put together, can be used to light a five-candle bulb. It is not much. Quantitatively it is not much, quantitatively the atom is not much, but qualitatively… If it explodes, it has tremendous energy in it.” Osho, Philosophia Perennis, Vol. 1, Talk #8

armand-sagredo-tantra-yoga-nidra-Tantra is the practice of consciously creating conectedness. It is an ancient technique that comes to remind us that our bodies and what we do with them is sacred. Through sexuality we grow spiritually and get closer to not only our partners, but ourselves, and God. Tantra helps us heal and empower our relationships through expanding our consciousness and our ability to be present, open up and share.
Tantra is an ancient practice dating back to the fifth century, and as a meditation practice it has influenced Hindu, Sikh, Bön, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. It spread with Buddhism to East and Southeast Asia, and contains enormous cultural significance in central Asia.

Even when they are not practiced within a greater spiritual context, tantric values and tools may influence a great change in the way we go about sex, leading to greater pleasure and satisfaction for both men and women.

Frustrated by how little we know about each other’s bodies and how much we assume about and project over sexuality, I decided to share some Tantric insights and suggestions that can completely transform the sexual experience.

  1. present-4First and foremost advice to make a priority and a habit: Be present! Presence is tricky and there are just so many ways we distract ourselves from being here and now. Whether it’s alcohol, or drugs, or distracting thoughts, let’s not be somewhere far away while being quite literally in someone else! What presence takes is some confidence that the person in your bed indeed wants to be there and that what is created right then and there- between this person and you, with the lights on or off, has the potential to be sexy, amazing and fun without the need of any super skills! And it most certainly is!
  2. images (1)Most of these will sound like common sense, but we can only wish they were: Be with ME! I’m not your ex-girlfriend, nor any other girl you’ve had sex with. You don’t have to seem or pretend to know what I, or any other woman or all of us together (God, if it was even possible!) want. It’s enough to just be curious about finding out. What does my body react to? Which parts are more sensitive than others (apart from the obvious!)? The fact that something has worked with someone somewhere is just so random that it can never be taken for granted. Sexual experience is about knowing alternatives and being comfortable with experimenting! Learning about someone’s preferences, differences, weird little things that make them shiver is magical, it’s like learning a new language without having a manual…
  3. images (2)What’s even more beautiful about it is it cannot be recreated! The energy that two human beings, two bodies create together is unique… It would create so much more respect if we were accept it and move past comparing and rating each other! There are no better or worst experiences, but only different ones. What makes us compare and rate them is to what extent they align with our own preferences. Yet, in sex and in life everything is dynamic- what once gives us pleasure, we will not react the same way to another time. Sexual experience is situational and for the most part making the most of it requires you to be flexible, open-minded and free of expectations!
  4. No scripts- Take it easy. Go slow. Build the energy. Flow with it. It’s sad that because of the easily accessible pornography and bad literature on sex, people view sex as a show they choose to perform in, yet having to abide to a certain agenda. There is no agenda. No script. The longer, the better (for many of us). Some of the best experiences I have had in life, in general, are the ones that have evolved and transformed on the go, naturally… The intimate moments I remember the most clearly are the ones who have been an almost-never-ending journey through pleasure, excitement and exploration. When we kiss and talk, talk and kiss and… I wish we would never let ourselves give each other only the mechanics, only the bare bones of sex!
  5. tantra coupleStay there! Tantra claims that as individuals and as lovers we are at all times immersed in the energy of love, life and sex, in kundalini. To follow the energy means to be sensitive to the processes that are taking place and the changes that occur for one reason or another. As I have already mentioned, it is about being in the here and now, with your partner, accepting everything that comes along without pertaining to traditional or popular scripts about sex and intimacy. Everything is okey when the partners are all respectful, loving. A guy may lose his erection, starting to jerk of hastily to bring it back. The attitude with which this is done may disturb the energy a lot more than having the penis soft for a while, if it magnifies the idea that there are certain ways in which things should be to be “right”, as if it is all about the physical component of it. Instead, when this occurs, the lovers can go back to caressing each other, reconnecting with the flow of energy, building to higher and higher states of ecstasy.
  6. awakening kundalini reikiDon’t make it all about the achievement- whenever I have refused to go further with someone, it has been because I have felt that the other person’s focus has been oriented towards a certain goal, making me feel as a mean to its realization. Sex should not be orgasm oriented. Orgasm in tantra is associated with the release and, thus, loss of the vital kundalini energy (life energy). This is why after orgasm, people feel tired and need to sleep. Tantric sex is meditative. It runs on no schedule. It can take hours, if certain techniques to raise the energy to higher chakras and work with certain body parts are acquired.The greatest about it is that compared to “standard” sex, there is no game over. The problem with sex being orgasm-oriented is, one, people are objectified, two, pressure is involved which makes it all about achievement. When I give tantric massage on special occasions, I make sure to explain that it has no goal and no time frame. And because it is so free of pressure, both I and the receiving partner are at ease. A loving atmosphere is created and, indeed, the whole process feels a lot less “sexual” and a lot more loving. It’s all about the energy passing through the skin, giving pleasure to someone else, while yourself enjoying the process. This is when you don’t get tired, you don’t get bored or anxious.
  7. The principles of tantric love-making are that every time you stop just before the point of no return and continue shortly after, you don’t lose the energy (as if you, simply let it happen), but continue from a higher level of sexual arousal building up to more and more intense levels of ecstasy.  The benefits are for both men and women as it allows women to relax and receive the attention and treatment they need.
  8. largeTouch lightly unless otherwise specified- the lighter the touch, the more intense is the reaction. Pain is not cool (except in some circles). Whenever pain is brought in the equation, this takes away from the energy. Pain is there for a reason- it’s a signal to be aware and be ready to fight or run. When my brother was 15, he used to squeeze the breath out of me in rear moments of sudden exposure of love. But it’s amazing to find out that there are grown up men out there who have no idea how much strength they’ve got in their hands (quite literally!). Bruises, hickies, blue spots are NOT sexy! Mindfulness how you place your body weight over another human being does not take too much! Always check with your partner and follow his/her reactions to see whether more pressure is acceptable and appreciated. Certain spots, of course, are more sensitive compared to others. It’s hard to believe there are still people out there not knowing this, yet pay attention: the clitoris is the most sensitive part in the human body. “The clitoral head alone contains 8,000 nerve endings—4x as many as exist on the larger head of the penis. As if 8,000 weren’t enough, the clitoris interacts with over 15,000 other nerve endings in the pelvis.”[1]

    Men kind of know that, and go there straight away, which is another no-go. Play around it, never suck it hard (or at all) and if you’ll touch- touch lightly[2].

  9. SONY DSCCreate your own language- another tool you can lend from Tantra, is creating a body language to use in the heat of the moment. Sometimes talking out loud takes away from the passion, but small gestures used over time can help you keep the communication alive while not letting it disturb you. For, instance during tantric massage the person who receives the massage may apply slight pressure to a certain easily accessible part of the body of the massage giver to ask him/her to slow down. A squeeze may be translated as “I’m almost losing it. Stop right where you  are!” This type of “language” may help introduce more comfort and clarity for both sides.
  10. Expand comfort zones, but Respect boundaries- besides a source for great pleasure and intimacy, sex can help us move beyond certain fears, taboos or traumas. Through sexuality and love-making we can heal ourselves and expand our comfort zones. For this to happen, trust and comfort should be present. One should never test someone else’s boundaries or reactions going all the way. When boundaries are to be challenged, it must happen with a) consent, b) patience- sometimes people need time to figure out how they feel about stuff, c) with care and not for the sake of  building a sexual repertoire.

Share your feedback or suggestions using the form bellow. Thanks for reading! <3


[1] http://www.valleyadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=15092

[2] Well, what I mean here, of course, is that touching directly the clitoris is usually very painful because of the too intense direct stimulation of nerve endings. Of course, women have different preferences. But it’s safer and often more enjoyable for both parties to experiment with pressure and intensity over time.


Race in Sex

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Maggie Nazer“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” Oscar Wilde has got it right. Sex is a complex social issue which embodies layers of hard-to-handle gender and social status controversy. Adding politics of race in the equation only serves to further on heat up the already problematic topic of sexuality. Exploring how racial matters influence sexual perceptions, stereotypes and misconceptions, however, is more than needed. It is an eye-opening process that gives insight on the ways devaluation of people is done in present days, dating back to the slave era. Evidently, Afro-Americans and individuals from other racial and ethnic groups present in the States have gone a long way since the abolition of slavery. Yet sexuality is everything but “race-blind” as seen in both the prevalence of endogamous marriages and the “white-supremacist” nature of many interracial marriages; the objectification of both women and men of color in interracial sex and porn; and the domination of widely spread sexual stereotypes discriminating the same groups.  

Since in 1967 the US Supreme Court deemed anti-miscegenation laws (laws prohibiting individuals from different races to marry) unconstitutional, the public approval of interracial marriages has risen with eighty percent- a figure worth our admiration, yet failing to tell the whole truth about the persistent racial and racist issues affecting deeply the way people connect and build relationships within and outside their race. The 8,9% number of interracial marriages can be considered rather low for a country as multiethnic and diverse in population as the USA. While the popular modern trend of “cohabitation” should undoubtedly be considered, it is also an easy solution to the problem of dealing with the reaction of the society which respects the abstract idea of an “interracial marriage”, but is still immature as to how to react when faced with it.  Another example of racism in action in the context of intermarriages is the legal union between rich white men and poor women from developing countries or different racial backgrounds in general. Popular among American and European men this practice reinforces superiority claims from whites, while encouraging poor women to consider voluntary prostitution and arranged interracial marriages as tempting options to secure a living. “Bride-hunts” conducted by wealthy white men in countries like Thailand, for instance, or their respective parallels in one’s own country reinforce the racist stereotypes which often qualify women of color as the negative  “submissive, easy, pleasing” or even the positive “motherly, perfect- house-wives”, in addition to creating the contrasting image of white women depicted as “feminists and unsuitable for family life workaholics”. The case of “marriage squeeze” offers yet another opportunity to look at racial and sexual issues within out-marrying. “Marriage squeeze” stands for the trend executed by “well-educated”, “wealthy”, “desirable” Afro-Americans to marry white women rather than women from their own race because of the higher societal status white women inherit. Leaving more than 50% of Black women between 30-35 unmarried, this practice also contributes to the reinforcement of the racist perceptual superiority of white women.

The above examples illustrate not only the prevailing racist issues surrounding the practice of marrying outside of one’s race, but also the constantly occurring objectification of men and women of color within the context of interracial sex. Objectification is a philosophical term that stands for the treatment of people as things. It is exercised through the assumed ownership of humans, the denial of their autonomy and their treatment as interchangeable tools. The wide-spread modern myths of black men’s sexual prowess and black women’s submissiveness and sexual appetite are easy to name examples of racial and sexual objectification that are historical offspring of the slavery period in the US. Slave breeding practices and statutory rape laws both enhanced sexual debasement and cruelty against African-Americans who were considered moveable property across the United States. These inhumane practices led slaves to either confront their masters, and thus be beaten and tortured, or accept the savagery and use it as a way to secure protection. The English regulations executed in the colonies stated that “Indians and Blacks, as well as their children, were prohibited by law from defending themselves against abuse, sexual and otherwise, at the hands of Whites” (Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, Failing Our Black Children: Statutory Rape Laws, Moral Reform and the Hypocrisy of Denial (2002)). Additionally, after the termination of the Atlantic slave trade slaveholders forced coerced sexual relations and reproduction between male and female slaves and favored Black female slaves who produced a lot of children. Since the laws declared that every child born by a slave mother became a slave, masters attempted to increase their profits by becoming “slave breeders” and reducing their costs on purchasing human labor. Exploited by their mistresses and used as walking “sperm banks”, male Afro-American slaves held a similar disadvantageous position: they did not own their bodies. Even worse: they were perceived as if they were only bodies.

Sadly, objectification of people is still prevailing. And despite no one is protected, marginalized racial groups are even more vulnerable to sexual stereotyping and dehumanization. While it is already hard to be a woman and not be perceived as powerless and submissive, imagine being an Asian, Latino, African-American or even an Eastern-European woman. It is important to note that stereotypes play a crucial role in sexuality and result in serious psychological and social repercussions which endanger the well-being of individuals within the society, create misunderstanding and disturb the natural processes of creating connectedness between humans. Stereotypes kill intimacy and establishes sex as a mere physical process in which people are reduced to their body parts and are limited to exhibit only certain sexual attitudes. When people are put in categories, rather than seen holistically, the relationships they create are castrated. Robbed of genuine appreciation for the uniqueness of the other person, they can only reach mediocre levels of substance, depth and, thus, satisfaction. Unfortunately, men and women from different racial and ethnic backgrounds not only suffer from sexual prejudices, but also reinforce them. Black men, for instance, are commonly described as very athletic, muscular and promiscuous, and often try to maintain these stereotypes through stylizing their bodies and adopting behaviors perpetuating the very same attitudes which are destructive and limiting to them.

In a world obsessed with sex, race is a factor which cannot be underestimated. Exploring race within the framework of sexuality reveals layers of unsettled social polemics and points at various challenges which are yet to be overcome on our way to becoming indiscriminate. Nevertheless, it serves as motivation to be more aware and mindful of the ways we objectify both ourselves, and others; more committed to being truly authentic and more sensitive to the factors which prevent us from creating valuable human connections.

 


Tantra Workshop in J-term! @Middlebury College

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Tantra Workshop in J-term! @Middlebury College

“Tantra is the science of transforming ordinary lovers into soul mates. And that is the grandeur of Tantra. It can transform the whole earth; it can transform each couple into soul mates.” Osho, Philosophia Perennis, Vol. 1, Talk #8

Tantra is the practice of consciously creating connectedness. It is an ancient technique that comes to remind us that our bodies and what we do with them is sacred. Through sexuality we grow spiritually and get closer to not only our partners, but ourselves, and God. Tantra helps us heal and empower our relationships through expanding our consciousness and our ability to be present, open up and share.
Tantra is an ancient practice dating back to the fifth century, and as a meditation practice it has influenced Hindu, Sikh, Bön, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. It spread with Buddhism to East and Southeast Asia, and contains enormous cultural significance in central Asia. The tantra workshop aims to bring together open-minded students who are interested in learning about the practice of tantra and discuss sexuality and the act of love making from different perspectives, both from a philosophical and physical standpoint.
In addition to discussing tantric techniques and values, we will engage in some exercises and activities to awaken our senses and spread loving kindness through meditation, visualization, breathing. The workshop will not include nudity nor sexuality; rather, participants should be ready to appreciate the philosophical and cultural significance of tantra through an introduction to basic, non-sexual practices. Participants should be willing to go out of their comfort zones, and contribute for the creation of a positive and safe environment for conversation.


December in Bali

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Maggie Nazer in Bali, Indonesia 

Man is 70% water. The rest is passion.

It was a hot December night in Bali. Loud music heated up the atmosphere even more. We were in Sky Garden— the most popular club in Kuta, where the delegates of the UN youth conference I participated in decided to spend the night. The day was long and tiring, but I kept dancing.

There were quite a few guys I liked. The other night as we swam in the ocean, I was teasing on purpose the hot Turkish guy, knowing that the only thing sexier than having sex is not having sex. He invited me to sleep in his hotel room, but I refused wanting more…

And then he came. The French guy. Felipe. He came to me and held my hand for a while, smiling. I don’t know what we talked about, but I know I felt weird. This, indeed, is the curse of people who adore illuminating conversations, yet succumb to casual chatting. As we danced together, my body was searching for the touch of his skin. He was so beautiful, so educated, so European, radiating confidence in the perfect proportions.

My favorite dress had never looked better on me than on that day. As I posed for photos, I felt someone looking at me. It was Felipe following my moves while talking others. I smiled. We walked towards one of the discussion rooms, sat together and whispered. We talked about books and ideas, and polyamory, and each new topic led to new exciting discoveries. My favorite thing in the world was happening — from strangers we were becoming something else. And we were competing with the time, fighting to make the best out of every minute.

I went back to my hotel to get a nap, and he asked if he could come see me after his meeting. An hour after I had changed into a T-shirt and shorts, the knocking on the door woke me up. When I opened his presence filled the room. He said we could sleep a bit, lied next to me and hugged me. I closed my eyes, curious- could I sleep next to a stranger, and did he really want to sleep?

I felt his breath fondling the skin of my back and I shiverred. Holding my breath, I lied still. Soon his fingers started rambling all over my neck and he kissed my shoulder… slowly, faintly. With tenderness only a few men possess; kiss with, touch with, love with… But the phone rang. The receptionist was calling… to wake me up. We had to go back. Taking off my clothes I sat on the bed to put my leggings on, stretching my legs opposite the wall, absorbing every passing minute, the movement, his being there and watching.

After the closing ceremony we walked down to the shore, sat on a bench and talked for hours. I asked him why he had approached me and he told me that while posing for photos on the first day I had touched his arm in a very special way… These words had a powerful effect on me. He could read the language of my body better than anyone I had met.

“— When we were in your room and I was kissing you…, I didn’t  know if I should stop, but your skin was speaking to me and I carried on. Your skin wanted me and shivered when I kissed it. We have been making love since we met and shook our hands and yet if I want to be with you, it is because I can see you are a woman who knows how to receive pleasure, to fully enjoy. Every time I kiss your neck, you move your hair aside so that I can kiss you more and more…”

I love with my whole being. With my eyes which need to see radiance; body wanting to be caressed, loved, respected; mind longing for mutuality (mutuality not only in the feelings, but also in perceptions, in the way we view reality, in the attempt to achieve both the possible and impossible).

It didn’t matter it was just a night we were given to have each other. The sexual expression of our equilibrium of energies was to be the natural progression of the act of sharing. It was yet another way to converse and learn about each other and from each other. And there was nothing I wanted more in that moment.

“Let’s go!”- I said.

*

The article was first published in the Middlebury college newspaper “The campus”, Vol.112 NO.9, November 14, 2013