Tantric Sex for Women: A Guide for Lesbian, Bi, Hetero, and Solo Loversby Christa Schulte
Using an inclusive, empowering approach, this book explains how every woman heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual or solo can add relish to sexual encounters and increase her pleasure through use of tantric methods. In a warm, knowledgeable tone, Christa Schulte explains all the basics of tantric sex, including how to become more body-aware, how to
Using an inclusive, empowering approach, this book explains how every woman heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual or solo can add relish to sexual encounters and increase her pleasure through use of tantric methods. In a warm, knowledgeable tone, Christa Schulte explains all the basics of tantric sex, including how to become more body-aware, how to cultivate pleasure using all five senses and how to practice "Tara-tantra," a woman-centered tantric method of her own creation.
Exercises form the heart of the book and cover numerous practical strategies for helping women enhance their sensitivity, remove barriers to fulfilling experiences, and explore the spiritual dimension of their sexuality. Not only does Tantric Sex for Women show its readers how to expand and enhance sexual gratification, it promotes an attitude of remaining open to the many ecstasies of everyday life.
This book contains crucial information for women of every sexual orientation interested in fulfilling their sexual and sensual potential.
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Tantric Sex for WomenA GUIDE FOR LESBIAN, BI, HETERO AND SOLO LOVERS
By Christa Schulte
Hunter House Inc., PublishersCopyright © 2005 Krug & Schadenberg
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Wisdom of Tantra for Women
GAINING FEMALE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT FEMALE DESIRE
Tantra is one way-which I personally find wonderful-to experience love and sexuality as being connected. It is a way to give sexuality, as an expression of love, room for cultivation and refinement. The word tantra means network, connection, web, and expansion. It is a word from the language of weavers, and it represents the weft, the string that is pulled through all the warp strings, binding them together.
Tantra means the complete acceptance and weaving together of all our feelings (even the so-called "negative" ones), and the forging of creative bonds with other people. This includes liberation from the prison of polarities and transcendence of social and physical boundaries. It also means beginning with what we have and then expanding it in the direction of our possibilities. In tantric rituals we activate, honor, celebrate, and cultivate our sexual power. We lead it through the inner flute of the individual chakras up to our crown (see Chapter 2) and arethereby able to create a balance between spirit and material, intellect and emotion. That is to say, we dissolve polarities. (The dissolution of polarities by consciously connecting them is a topic very dear to me, since even as a young girl with an "overdose of Catholicism" I had a great longing for a connection between sexuality and spirituality, below and above, inside and outside, between myself and the world.)
Tantra is, for example:
a fine web of tender connection a dance between the polarities ecstatic abundance in the everyday a feast of the senses finding sense in sensuality a queen's path to the power of love a key to the heart a sweet condensation of passion the most challenging and fastest way to enlightenment a medium for the adoration of women passionate movement and sweet stillness expanding between heaven and earth to our true size the cultivation of our love energy beyond old relationship models a way to heal our sexuality the constant birth of new life force the joy of submitting to life a multiplicity of forms of ecstasy the possibility to transform existential fears the power of the quiet encounter a fleeting experience of eternity self-love in connection with other self-lovers a gentle or stormy way to help stretch boundaries playful swimming in the ocean of desire a meditation on love luxurious food for the skin experiencing the unity of uterus and cosmos the restoration of female dignity letting yourself be enchanted by the female scent the way of the lotus blossom through the mud into the light
Practically speaking, this means that, within a secure, respectful framework and a creative, loving atmosphere, we will begin to activate our sexual power and to reveal the potential of our ecstatic energy through physical exercises, massages, breathing processes, "encounter" games, and touching our pleasure centers. You will find examples of all these activities, and more, in this book. By dealing playfully with this ecstatic energy we learn to hold it, to steer it in various directions, and to let it flow more freely. Particularly good, and developed especially for our Western sensibilities, is Margot Anand's variation on tantra, SkyDancing.
The heart is the most important place for the transformation of physical-emotional energy into spiritual energy. When we connect our sexual energy (in the narrow sense of the word) to the love of the heart, the way is made clear for a third form of energy: mental and spiritual energy. This is the form of energy that flows most gently, most permeably, most quickly through our life-field; it can connect us to others both subtly and intensely, and it is often the foundation for the creation of new ideas or life goals. When sexual energy reaches our spirit by way of the heart, we are able to experience our ecstatic capabilities-for example, in the form of deep feelings of joy, clear visions, feelings of love for ourselves and others, and openings and connections to cosmic energy. From there, in return, we are able to develop a spirituality that is close to life and can be experienced directly. The way of the heart facilitates a joining of sexuality and spirituality that is actually always present. Happiness, therefore, has in reality arrived long ago. We can relax and trust that we will find it again somehow.
When these joyful experiences contrast with the many forms of repression present in a woman-hostile and ecstasy-hostile society, crises must result (for example, when we notice how hard it is in the everyday world to create the conditions necessary for having these feelings). These crises can be conquered through an increased overall energy level, through strong connections from a desiring woman to another person via erotic feelings, and through a deep understanding of ourselves and our world. This happens in a process that I understand as follows: the development of a self-aware, self-contained, and self-sufficient femininity, one that is less and less dependent on outside acknowledgment and is formed more and more by loving encounters and relationships in a broad space and at a tender pace.
Origins of Tantra
Tantric rites began in the Zami cult, a woman-centered sexual cult founded in India by women belonging to a secret sect, as a system of worshiping the yoni. Yoni is the Sanskrit name for the female genitalia, with all its little erogenous parts: clitoris, labia, mons veneris, vagina, G-spot, womb, etc. However, yoni is much more than an anatomical term, and that's why I prefer it to other names for the same body parts. It is the holy place of female desire, the lap that births new life, and the praiseworthy location of a woman's deepest power. In the allegedly three-thousand-year-old Zami cult, which aimed to reach spiritual, divine planes, sexual exercises were passed on from the older women to the younger ones for the growth of female power. This conclusion is drawn from traditional depictions of women in sexually unambiguous poses and writings, from which we can also conclude-as the Indian archaeologist GitiThadani has proven-that it must have been a highly pleasurable form of learning.
In the end, the Zami cult was apparently stopped by the rising patriarchy, insofar as the women were forbidden, under pain of extreme torture (such as physical mutilation that included the hacking off of feet), to pass their knowledge along. Later, only a few secret terms indicated these cultic origins; for example, the heart's center was called "the breasts of the sister," and the meditating spirit, which today often has a masculine association, was called "the mother's lap." This means that even in earliest tantric ages, female powers included not only the biological ability to give birth but also the ability to create intellectual life. The two abilities were not seen as separate from one another, but rather were worshiped as the female mystery and were the basis of the belief that the origin of all life is female-including the first images of divinity and the first representations of couples.
With the development of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other foundations of tantrism, new perspectives and valuations of women and men arose, all the way up to the clearly patriarchal representations found in today's Western-influenced tantrism-for example, the tantric melting position of Shiva (or Buddha), the male god, as a big, self-contained figure, and Shakti (or his Dakini, the embodiment of female divinity who sits on him) as a tiny figure of a woman. In the sense of the yin-yang principle, it is said that every woman can integrate the male side-with the image of an inner beloved, embodied by her actual beloved-into her inner identity through a fusion of energy. (For men, correspondingly, the reverse is true.) Still, the starting point is that of a polarity. The old patriarchal principle is at work here, according to which opposites are created so that they can be integrated. A consensus is reached about the alleged archetypal opposition between men and women, and these placatingly simple polar qualities are constantly reideologized and respiritualized. So a quality like aggressiveness is more likely to be connoted as masculine than connected, say, with the female archetype of the Amazon. This polarized thinking, then, reduces us to the usual societal women's roles from which we can then be "rescued" by fusion-either directly with men or with masculine forms of energy.
Many feminists who are usually open to impulses that further their own sexual development are concerned by the recent trend toward tantric workshops and groups, since even in the outer structure of rituals, heterosexist prejudices and restrictions are visible. If, however, I do not stay on the surface, but rather delve into tantric atmospheres, exercises, and worlds of experience that are shaped by female perception, feeling, and thinking, I can, as a woman, experience a strengthening, a connection with other women, an integration with little-lived parts of myself, and a transformation of material energy into spiritual. This works to strengthen women, to connect women, and to interweave women, and it promotes the anarchic strength of our sexual energy. Of course, embracing these notions requires accepting only that which promotes our own growth and the growth of female strength and freedom-a conscious tightrope walk between accepting and distancing, between context-bound enjoyment and recognizing premature definitions about "feminine nature" (making gender assumptions), etc. Still, even an initially very cautious tightrope walk can turn into a satisfying walk in the clouds or a wonderful journey of discovery to a distant land that doesn't correspond to the classic measurements of normative sexuality.
What Possibilities for Growth Can Today 's Tantra Offer Us Women?
Tantra can offer women a way to energize themselves and to take on a self-aware vitality-not just out of aggression and to overcome fear, but from mutually experienced desire and sensuality. This way of being together has, in my mind, fallen too much into the background amidst the necessities of battle in the newer women's movements.
It's high time we showed solidarity, not just in the fight against something or in suffering from something, but in the creation of maximal pleasure and in the expansion of this pleasure in all directions! It goes without saying that our efforts along these lines will not proceed without fear, mistrust, the working through of violent experiences, and the devaluation of desire and sensuality.
Tantra offers a way out of this. All the hurts, all the suffering, all the feelings of powerlessness and guilt can be experienced and expressed. The goal of tantric energy processes is not, however, to indulge in these feelings, but instead to dedicate ourselves consciously to the other side: that of desire, sensuality, and spiritual growth. The point is to restore a sacred space and healing power to our sexuality-capacities it has, in fact, always had. The fact that this path sometimes contains stumbling blocks should not prevent us from setting out on it.
Whenever I look at old tantric writings from India or Tibet, they make the feminine central to the culture-giving the woman an important position, even elevating her to a cosmic force, a personal embodiment of extrapersonal divinity. There are various goddesses (such as Tara, Kali, and Baubo) who embody different aspects of femininity; calling on them can activate these aspects or energy forms within women.
The basic idea passed on to us by these traditions is that divinity is not outside of us but is within each person, within each woman. It can be experienced in our moments of greatest ecstasy, which are reached especially through sexual unity with others in a circle of simultaneous desire. This lets us experience the source of our own pleasure as coming from within us rather than from a partner. So sexuality becomes the sanctified earthly path to our own divine nature, since it can bind together the planes of physicality, emotionality, communication, intellectuality, and spirituality as an all-encompassing and foundational life force.
Finding the courage to form our own lives according to our knowledge and nature is a life's work for each of us, since psychic growth comes much more slowly than our intellectual insights into women's power and women's autonomy. So let's take our time and use it well! Use in this context means that I will see this time as a time for living, a space that I will fill with encounters, feelings, and my vitality, until finally I spend my living time in a way that is my own, thus finding meaning in my life. On this point tantra differs from psychotherapy. Tantric fantasy-"work" or other self-discovery "work" does allow old problems, hurts, disturbances, and conflicts to be "felt out" and partially even expressed, but the focus is on the search for an individual desire for life and its foundations. Resistance-for example, in the form of drifting off into old reactions of pain and sorrow-is reduced by either a playful approach or creating structural boundaries. Desire is emphasized mainly by supporting the energy level of the individual, but also by creating a sensual-aesthetic ambiance and introducing tempting experiments, and through bodily interventions such as stretching, relaxation, and letting oneself be more permeable. What is important is to allow all the feelings that are tangible at that moment but not to get caught up in specific feelings. Instead, observe them and let go of them again, and transform individual feelings into the next highest plane through chaneling your energies higher. On the social level, this means neither running around autonomously without connections to other people nor projecting your own interests onto others (e.g., men). Instead, it means simply being able to exist in the knowledge of the power of your own female eroticism, being self-sufficient, self-contained, and open to encounters that serve your own growth.
Tara: A Sexual Role Model for Women
Women need sexual role models because sexual energy can be so strong that it is frightening. Role models help change this combination of fear and desire into curiosity and play. For many of us, images of sexual women as we know them-that is, from childhood-are ambivalent or negative, since sex was coupled with devaluation, disrespect, possession, or violence. We may also have had role models-whether older sisters, the Virgin Mary, or movie stars-who were so desexualized that the desire to emulate them ("good") and the wish to experiment with sexual feelings ("bad") were fundamentally opposed.
I am familiar with this stubborn resistance to everyone and everything presented as a sexual role model; I wasn't able to see myself in them, and I found the subtle or even obvious pressure to conform despicable. But it's not easy to create a solid female sexual identity solely out of one's own current relationships, a few honest responses, and one's own games of trial and error. It seems more useful to look for images and role models who are more than personal, who embody neither the cultural pressure to conform nor are as distant as today's beauty icons, who are general enough to be a good projection surface for our own wishes and longings, and who can embody a woman in all her dimensions (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual). For example, goddess figures. But be careful: Many goddesses are bound up with patriarchal contexts and, accordingly, have limited female-sexual identities or are dependent on male gods. Still, I believe in the saying by the philosopher Erich Neumann, adapted for us women: "If you take away the women's goddess, you take away their identity!"
Excerpted from Tantric Sex for Women by Christa Schulte Copyright © 2005 by Krug & Schadenberg. Excerpted by permission.
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A Must Read for ANY Women Interested in Reviving The Energy & Passion in their Sexual Being regardless of their sexual predilection or proclivity It is equally for those who also want to experience & embody the true love that is in their hearts. Should be required reading prior to or during Tantra Classes for either Single Women or for Lovers! Submitted by #CrAzYAmErIcAn in Sweden - Tantra Master since 1980 (San Francisco)
Newly single, I purchased the book to help me with my own sexuality. It's been very helpful and informative. I've referenced back to it multiple times - for myself and friends.