My husband Phil and I are only recently married, so we’re still in the intense stage of our relationship. But when I heard about Diamond Light tantric sex workshop, which claims to transform intimacy, I admit I was intrigued.
Apparently, tantra brings couples extremely close emotionally, with not-to-be-sniffed-at results: full-body orgasms, climax during intercourse for women and men not needing to nod off afterwards.
Originating at some time in the 4th century, Tantra is a spiritual practice with roots in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Jainism. Despite being reductively understood in the West as a method of delaying and intensifying orgasm, it’s actually a many-branched mystical tradition concerned with having greater cosmic awareness. Today, it is famously enjoyed by celebrities such as Sting and P Diddy, but has otherwise been relegated to the New Age self-help and candles market.
Arriving for the three-hour session in smart Maida Vale, I felt my heart start to pound. Through the door, I saw 30 people sitting in a circle. “What if I have to hug total strangers?” I thought or, worse still, “Will I get jealous if Phil does? And there’s no way I’m taking off my clothes.” To my surprise, there weren’t any ageing, bearded hippies or women in flowing robes. In fact, everyone was fully-clothed, and there were normal-looking people aged from 20 to 60. We strangers sat in awkward silence as Leora Lightwoman, our elfin-faced tantra teacher and an Oxford Psychology graduate, explained that tantra is about becoming sensitive to feelings, to femininity and masculinity, and communicating desires honestly.
We were asked to introduce ourselves. It emerged that some were here with partners, others not. One fifty-something woman was looking for meaning in life after the death of her husband; there were several single men in their early thirties who said they were “just curious”. In the middle of the circle, incense wafted around a statue of a goddess, and a box of tissues had been prominently placed. “Is that for bodily fluids or tears?” I wondered. “And which would be worse?”
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