Balancing Act—Finding Your Inner Sex Goddess
I have a sacred spot. It’s not in Sedona or near the shrine, adorned with deities and religious medals, that I keep in my bedroom. No, this spot is internal, south of my navel, north of my thighs, in the vicinity of what others refer to as the G-spot. I learned this at a tantra session led by instructors who trained with Charles and Caroline Muir, a couple who’ve been leading seminars on tantra yoga for more than 20 years.
It’s taken me a while to reveal the coordinates of my spot, so consider how long it has taken me to want to go looking for it. Like many of my generation, I didn’t learn much about sex when I was growing up. My parents didn’t volunteer information, and I didn’t ask. I knew people did it, but as for what they got out of it, aside from offspring, I didn’t have a clue. Among my family and friends—solid midwesterners, all—pleasures of the flesh were considered not just a sin, but a waste of good cookie-baking time.
But I was curious. I knew well the textbook hidden in my father’s sock drawer that detailed the act in the style of a Lego instruction manual. And I paid attention during sex education, when the gym teacher, in white shorts and Oxford shirt, began the excruciating session with talk of “closeness” as experienced by our mothers and fathers. That hour contained a much grittier description of what I had read in the sock drawer, and it would take me years to understand why anyone was compelled to commit such an act—or to believe that anyone in my house was doing so.
Eventually, of course, I grew up and got to the point where sex was do-able—something I could do with my eyes closed, though I was never the type, say, to do it with a blindfold on or my hands tied behind my back. But there’s a lot I’m still curious about. Over the years, as a husband and partners have come and gone, I have thought—more than once—that I just may be missing something. It’s not that I’m dysfunctional, but there are many things about sex I don’t know and still don’t ask, like, Why is passion so ephemeral and intimacy so elusive? Why is the balance between giving and receiving sometimes askew? And, simply, am I doing it right?
Tantra, a set of practices based on Hindu and Buddhist philosophies, explores just this terrain. Lately, there’s been quite the buzz about it in my self-enhancement-loving crowd. Its aim is to help you achieve better union with a partner, yes, but also to set you on the path to communing with something more profound, like the great cosmic universe. Of course, the sex part gets all the press.
My friend Dawn Beck, along with her partner, Gerard Gatz, recently completed level-one instructor training with the Muirs. She explains that we all have issues with sex—feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and shame from childhood, or relationships gone sour—that limit our capacity for intimacy. Acknowledging and getting past such issues is one part of tantra. Learning about uncharted territories within the geography of mind and body—spots, of course, but also practices, like deep breathing and quieting the mind—is another.
And there’s this: Dawn mentions that with practice, I could achieve an orgasm of such duration, intensity, and scope that delight would reverberate from one coast of my body to the other.
The prospect makes me a bit nervous, but I decide to go ahead. Yet I don’t quite know what to expect: skill drills? A tangle of naked bodies in a big puppy pile of sensation? Weeks pass, and I cancel three times before finally going through with it.
The day of the session, Dawn and Gerard explain that there will be meditation, massage, and chanting of words that resonate with the chakras (the so-called energy centers of the body). I’ll also experience some scene-setting (low lights, background music) to help me, the goddess of the session, relax before learning about that sacred spot.
The theory is that when the spot is massaged, gently and for some time (the Muirs suggest a couple of hours for the first practice), the sensations and emotions evoked can stimulate an awakening, transforming the quality of your sexual experiences and infusing your life with new vitality. But even this isn’t tantra’s raison d’être, practitioners say—it’s love, higher love.
Tantra is not just about what happens after you strip off your drawstring pants: It’s about yielding to a vulnerability that goes beyond that of physical nakedness, and admitting to a lack that many have but few fess up to. It’s about elevating sex to more than just bouncing on the bedsprings.
In the Muirs’ weekend and weeklong workshops, there is frank discussion about the male and female genitalia (the penis, by the way, is referred to as the lingam or “wand of light”) and there are lessons about touching, kissing, and other lost arts. (No public nudity is required.) The Muirs provide instructions on tactile exploration of the spots of both women and men, which can then be practiced privately with a partner, as homework. (The man’s spot is in the general vicinity of the prostate gland.)
There’s also instruction, for women, in how to have a vaginal orgasm, which we’re encouraged to have as frequently as possible. In tantra, such orgasms are thought to generate copious amounts of energy that can be shared with a partner and used to fuel creativity, work, and love. Men, however, are taught to have orgasms without ejaculating—a tougher sell, to be sure—because tantric lore holds that the fluid loss saps their vital energy.
As I sample the basics of tantra—the rose petals, the candle-illuminated bath, the landing of a beachhead in the sacred regions (the troops will come later)—I must admit that I do it with a bit of internal eye-rolling. As I drive home from my session, I feel the polarities of my day when my son calls to ask me to pick up hot dogs, a reminder of the life that exists outside of rose petals and sacred spots.
But over the next few weeks, I acknowledge the potential. I vow to practice with my partner, provided he’s willing to consider sex as something to be honored and given big chunks of time to explore, something to experience, maybe, on floral-scented sheets.
And then I want him to be able to laugh with me, acknowledge the distance traveled between the sock drawer and now—and put this sexual awakening stuff aside and have dinner. Hot dogs, anyone? For more information on the Muirs’
Source School of Tantra, call 888.682.6872 or go to www.sourcetantra.com.
Check out www.sacredtantra.com, the website of tantra teacher Robert Frey.
Helpful books include The Art of Sexual Ecstasy, by Margot Anand and Tantra:
The Art of Conscious Loving, by Caroline and Charles Muir.