Thursday, November 7, 2013

Same Sex Tantra

One of the most obvious variations on tantra is not age, or weight, or disability, but changing the number or gender of the people involved.  This has historically been a problem for a lot of Westerners interested in Tantra, because the initial teachers of Tantra in the West were mostly men from extremely traditional and homophobic societies like India.  

These gurus insisted that tantra, to be spiritually sound, MUST involve a man and a woman, because the spiritual energy supposedly created through tantric sex must come from the polarity of male and female, yin and yang, sky and earth.  How could one celebrate the mystical union of Shakti and Shiva with two Shaktis?  Or three Shivas?  Or two Shaktis and three Shivas?

Needless to say, this created a lot of resistance among the early adopters of tantra, who tended to be liberals, hippies, and lifestyle adventurers.  Partly as a result, quite a few people who encountered Tantrism in this form rejected the religious beliefs involved in it and concentrated on the purely physical and secular side of Tantric sex.  (As you know, if you've been paying any attention here, I am in this secular camp, as were most of the couples I interviewed.)

But many of the people involved in tantra were attracted to it in the first place by the idea of "sacred sex" - the possibility of making sex a joyful part of the celebration of the spirit.  In rejecting traditional Asian-born gurus and their Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist ideas about proper sex roles, they also set about reinventing the whole idea of "sacred sex" in ways that better suited a Western, counterculture ethos.

Urban Tantra
Barbara Carrellas was one of those who rejected the traditional sexist religious ideas behind Tantra and who has attempted to reinvent Tantric sex in an aggressively GLBT-friendly and kink-friendly form.  Primarily because of her book by that title, this has become known as "Urban Tantra."

Carrella was angry at what she saw as a strong traditional bias against anyone outside the standard mold of "normal" sexuality, and this contributed to an angry, edgy, political tone that many people still associate with Urban Tantra.  However, she has been a major influence in bringing the joys of Tantric sex to people with non-standard sexuality and gender, helping handicapped people do tantra, exploring what BDSM means in tantric terms, inventing ways to incorporate fetishes and other kinks, reimagining Tantric sex for people with alternative and transgender identities, and helping adapt the form and meaning of the tantric ritual to include groups of more than two people.  It's worth visiting her website just to see the variety of special concerns and inventive possibilities that she (and others, too) have addressed within the framework of Tantric sex.

She has also partnered in two online instructional projects, The New School of Erotic Touch and The Orgasmic Yoga Institute, which offer just about every kind of explicit instructional video you could wish for on a monthly subscription basis.  I have not tried it, but it looks like you can download over a hundred hours of instructional video on topics like yoni and lingam massage techniques for a one month membership of $39.

One reason I'm including this information here is that my own first-hand and second-hand experience with Urban Tantra is zero.  I didn't set out to interview only straight couples, but that's what happened.  Because of the way each couple introduced me to other couples, my interviewees ended up being as straight, monogamous, and conventional as I am.  That leaves me in the somewhat awkward position of saying, "Hey, I know all this wild, radical stuff is out there!  Here's a starting point so you can go look for yourself!"

GLBT and Poly Tantra - Info Needed!
This can be frustrating, because I do get questions about tantra for gay and lesbian couples and for groups of more than two people.  I happened to get two requests in the same month from lesbian couples, and it frustrates me that I haven't been able to interview any same-sex couples who are tantric veterans.
So here’s my request:  If you have experienced tantric sex in a GLBT or polyamorous relationship, can you describe the tantric sexual practices you followed?  What changes did you make to the traditional m/f tantric practices?

I would welcome input along those lines from both men and women in same sex relationships.  I can use my imagination and make suggestions, but as you know if you've read this blog, I tend to focus on the kinds of practical tips and solutions that come up when people encounter unexpected problems, and that's exactly where imagination and theory fall flat and real experience is king.

Let me hear from you at <shaktiamarantha@gmail.com>!

Edit:  To read the response from a lesbian couple, go here: http://moderntantra.blogspot.com/2015/01/mailbag-5-tantra-for-women-and-fc2-for.html



Contacts
On the male side, I have been corresponding with two Brits:


Jason's contact information is:
Tantra4GayMen: www.tantra4gaymen.co.uk
Skype: jason_tantra4gaymen
Twitter: jason_tantra | Facebook: jason-tantra@tantra4gaymen.co.uk



Gary O'Brian runs a regular tantra newsletter for men in Britain.  You can contact him at:  gary_obrien_99@yahoo.co.uk



I haven't had a chance to interview them, but if you have specific questions, you can try sending a message to either one.



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