Are You Ready for the New Sexual Revolution?

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Western Culture Embraces Tantra

Yet another wonderfully liberating paradigm shift is occurring in the realm of sexuality. Not since the ’60s has such a quantum leap in our openness to exploring this mystery taken place. And this leap promises to open doors to experience that we western world humans have rarely imagined as even possible. As the Baby Boomers pass through middle age, more and more of us are searching for a deeper understanding of the age old question, “So, what is the meaning of Life?!” Developing a spiritual practice that resonates with one’s personal needs is overtaking the scientific “God is dead” perspective of the late 20th century. Tantra, the ancient spiritual path that celebrates sexuality as a path to God, is enjoying a revival of interest that is expanding rapidly with far-reaching implications.

Tantric practices have roots in India and China, at least two thousand years old. A Sanskrit word meaning “expansion through awareness”, Tantra is a spiritual path whose practices open doors to bliss through use of the breath, sounds, movement and imagery. Unlike most spirtual paths that discourage if not villify “the temptations of the flesh”, Tantra sees the body as a sacred temple that serves us as a powerful vehicle to experiencing God. Sexuality becomes a profound experience of flowing Source energy between lovers, expanding into ecstatic states of consciousness. For long-term lovers, Tantra reawakens the passion of the Honeymoon phase, but with even greater depth and fulfilling intimacy.

Western culture, even during its most liberal times, has operated under a cloud of fear around things sexual. The diverse motivations and benefits to maintaining a veil of shame and sin, especially for women, provides in itself a fascinating historical and sociological exploration. Certainly, the evolution of expanding norms for sexual expression has thankfully been accelerating over the last century, after a Victorian Dark Age. The decade of the Roaring ’20s brought radical changes in dress for women with it’s short hemlines, short hairstyles and happy discard of the imprisoning corset. Racey behaviors from smoking to sex contributed to an acceptable air of sophistication for more women. Attitudes were beginning to shift amongst many, but the realities of unwanted pregnancy limited sexual exploration on a broader level.

The development of “the Pill” in the 1960s altered the sexual landscape in western culture profoundly. For the first time in history, women had access to a technology that could provide reliable and discreet birth control. Suddenly, the possibility of enjoying sexuality without fear opened a tidal wave of sexual exploration that became known as the Sexual Revolution. Increasingly, over the last three to four decades, the acceptable standards of sexual expression, be they the preferences in one’s personal life or the graphicness of imagery in the public media, have expanded enormously. Language and behavior in the written and visual media are often highly descriptive of sexual activity with only the most exposing images of genitals during intercourse and erect phalluses remaining banned to the pornography category. Simulated intercourse, as long as genitals are not shown, is perfectly acceptable and enjoyed in almost any R rated, mainstream Hollywood movie.

Nonetheless, though more people than ever in western culture feel free to be sexually active, the quality of the sexual experience remains an issue for many. The mountain of information available about the biology of sexuality and reproduction, the access to a variety of birth control options for both men and women, and the acceptability of marital counseling as a positive resource have not bridged the all too common gap many couples experience between their romantic fantasy of passionate loving and the reality of their intimate contact. Today, more and more couples are finding that Tantra provides understanding and tools that allow them to experience a more loving, passionate, intimate and deeply satisfying connection with each other than they ever imagined possible.

Tantra is not a new technique about which to feel performance pressure. Quite the opposite, it is an invitation to relax and enjoy oneself and one’s partner on deeply appreciative levels that bring immediate rewards. The experience of opening the heart is powerful. All that is required is willingness. In our modern world of frantic timelines, this willingness can be more challenging than meets the eye. Nonetheless, the rich body of literature from recognized Tantra teachers such as Margot Anand, along with a variety of Tantra courses and workshops provide safe, reassuring access to this profound body of information. The time is ripe for the Sexual Revolution of the new millenium. Congruent with the concept of the global village and with the concept of balance in Tantra, the ancient wisdom of the east joins with the drive for individual freedom in the west in a synergistic marriage of profound impact.

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Ecstatic Marriage and Family Institute of Fenton River Center

Brian Ahern and Holly Rawson
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