My first conscious personal experience with Tantra began when I was in my twenties and attended my first workshop.
I was originally planning to take it with my boyfriend at the time, but we broke up. This had to do with his fear of what he perceived as some “weird public sexual, so-called spiritual” workshop. Even after he refused to be a part of it, and broke up with me, he felt I should not even consider still participating.
I had barely been exposed to Tantra in any capacity at that point. I was just very open to new experiences and trusted my intuition. The flyer for this class had stoked my attention as it blatantly mentioned “Sexual Healing.” Having been exposed repeatedly to sexual trauma, especially in my adolescence, I knew I had a lot of healing to do in this area. My sexual life, and sexuality in general, had been seriously and purposefully extricated from my so-called “spiritual” life that I was ensconced in at that time. This workshop flyer mentioned “Sacred Sexuality.” I was beyond intrigued.
I went alone to the introductory evening that was a ritual called a “puja.” I had been told I could choose a male partner at the puja to do the workshop with if I wanted. I actually experienced such beauty, and deep sacred space being held during the lovely puja ritual, that I felt comfortable and safe enough to choose a man for my partner for the weekend. He was much older, but I liked his gentle and fatherly essence and I found him to be attractive and very focused spiritually.
This experience would repeat itself again when I later travelled to Colorado for an intensive ten day sexual healing Tantric workshop taught by the same teacher. Again I was single and chose a man in his fifties with similar qualities to partner with. I became jaded in my experience of men closer to my age (at that time) having little, if any interest, in Spirituality, which was the most important aspect of my life. Even if they pretended to have interest in Tantra, when I tried to discuss and explain it to them, these young men generally could not grasp what it was truly about and seemed to be completely intimidated by its concepts. This had been an ongoing issue for me.
In what soon developed into a passionate quest to find a partner who wanted to explore and practice Tantra with me, I found myself repeatedly disappointed. While at Lesley University I wrote my first academic paper on “A Personal Exploration of the Modern Tantric Spiritual Path.” I discussed my attempts at attracting or creating a Tantric partner, and my frustration with the limitations I experienced practicing alone. I even gave up on my dream for a Tantric lover to practice with, and my dream of becoming a Tantric practitioner, after experiencing boundary issues and inappropriate behavior within the intensive in Colorado.
I eventually settled into a relationship with a man who pretended to be interested, but truly was not. I dragged him to a weekend workshop, and he gave me the consideration of practicing what we were taught that weekend, for just that weekend, then our sexual and intimate relationship resumed to what he was traditionally comfortable with. I was unsatisfied.
This dynamic continued until I realized how much I was disrespecting and hurting myself by not really going after what I desired sexually and intimately. I was in a loving relationship, but the sex was the same old male dominated pleasure and quick release model that had no relevance to me anymore. I wanted and needed to be worshipped as a Goddess. I desired a Tantric lover who would engage in conscious sexual healing practices, deep levels of intimacy, Tantric yoga, ritual, and meditations. I wanted a man who would love and appreciates my multi-orgasmic ejaculatory experiences and who would recognize and learn to experience ecstatic states of consciousness with me. This was what I perceived to be the new role or model of the Western Tantric Man, in accordance with how Tantra has been translated into “Sacred Sexuality” for modern lovers in Western cultures.
Having revived my dream of manifesting a Tantric lover and partner, I again became interested in also eventually teaching Tantra as a Healing Art. In coming into acceptance of the fact I was again then single, I decided to pursue my Tantric teaching vision again as a single woman. According to author and Tantric teacher Margo Anand (1989), the widespread belief that one must be dependent on a partner who is responsible for their sexual fulfillment is based upon the assumption that the source of pleasure is not within, but is a result of what is accomplished by another. In Tantra, each individual is responsible for his or her own sexual pleasure. This is the first (and I think the most important) step in learning the “Art of Ecstasy”, that Anand teaches, and the first step I decided to embark on.
In Margo Anand’s book, The Art of Sexual Ecstasy (1989), she discusses the issues of practicing alone. As an international Tantric teacher, she claims that women especially believe it is of the utmost importance to have a partner. For this reason, they often feel discouraged initially, as I did, when they can’t find one. In Anand’s training, it is possible to complete almost all of the steps alone. She encourages her students who are looking for a partner to remain practical and even suggests finding a supportive and trusting friend to practice with. Anand (1989) advises that “If you are looking for a partner, please do not adopt the attitude that you need to find Mr. Right or Ms. Wonderful in order to achieve the cosmic orgasm. These ideal partners tend to be a figment of the imagination” (p. 17). I took this advice and looked for male friends in the Tantra community to practice with. There were only a handful that felt right to further my education with.
Most importantly, focusing upon my own healing and empowerment through a deeper exploration of Tantra, its ancient roots, evolving philosophy, popularity, and practices, I discovered and developed an entirely new perspective of Tantra. This perspective was much wider and deeper in my understanding and defining Tantra. It was truly about my own inner union, of divine feminine and masculine energy, than it was about having a Tantric sexual partner.
And this was only the very beginning of my Tantra journey…so much more to come when I am ready to share!
P.S.This Blog was going to be about having a safe and conscious three-some, as mentioned in the prior blog, but instead I decided to write a bit today on my beginning’s with Tantra…my Blog on three-somes is also yet to come!
 A puja is an ancient Eastern Tantric ritual of worship that has been re-interpreted in modern Western Tantric schools and trainings. The pujas I have attended generally include warm, beautiful, sensual surroundings with flowers, candles, and an altar. The attire is loose fitting, comfortable and flowing. The male to female ratio of participants is perfectly balanced. The atmosphere is one of devotional worship. The men form one circle and the women another. The men’s circle surrounds the women’s. Each individual faces someone of the opposite sex and connects with a loving gaze recognizing the God/Goddess within that individual. Instructions for some type of bonding, connecting, healing, or psychologically transformative exercise is given by the leaders of the group. Each exercise lasts only a few minutes and then the participants move to a new partner to engage with until everyone has experienced each opposite sex partner. Explaining the essence and nature of a puja is challenging, and each one is very unique. I have experienced great healing and profound heart opening and expanding moments during the pujas.
 My father died suddenly shortly after I turned twenty. I missed him terribly and very much wanted a fatherly presence in my life. It was confusing to engage in Tantra with such older men whom I wanted to respect and know on a different level, too. As I choose them to work with in a sexual manner for many of the more advanced Tantric practices I was learning, I had to explore and work on my “daddy issues” along the way.