Through the erotic, we gain access to the direct experience of energy, a higher power that motivates and inspires. Erotic energy empowers us to integrate spirit at a cellular level. Coming home to our bodies, experiencing waves of arousal, we enter the sacred mystery of a living world that lives in us. Giving and receiving loving attention to this aspect of our being – one that is so often deeply wounded and shrouded with shame – we mend the shredded fabric of our selves, becoming more and more whole. With time and healing, we learn to expand our capacity for joy, experiencing more and more deeply what it is to be fully alive. Interacting with love and mindfulness while making deep connection from this most secret, withheld part of the self, we become numinous. We experience sacred presence in others and in ourselves.
Tantra is a complex practice that invites us to become more present with all that is, and to learn to dance with the energy outside and inside us. The Tantric traditions of ancient India and other cultures viewed sexual energy as the source of life itself and as one of the most powerful forces available to us as human beings. Sexual ecstasy was seen as a taste of the divine.
In the West, the word “tantra” is increasingly used as shorthand for the diverse panoply of practices that integrate sex with spirit.
From Margo Annand:
“Sex is first of all a matter of energy. The more energy you have, the more blissful you can be, and the better sex becomes…. You can learn to contain the energy, relax into it, and expand it. Ecstasy happens when you stay relaxed and aware in high states of sexual or nonsexual arousal. You can experience this state with or without a partner, for long periods of time. This is not….an alternation between arousal and relaxation, but a simultaneous resonance between them. You allow the energy to rise to higher and higher levels, while at the same time relaxing into the excitement, letting it spread throughout the body, and containing it for longer and longer periods.” (from The Erotic Impulse)
Sacred sexual traditions teach both women and men to become readily, multiply orgasmic. To cultivate this capacity it is useful to distinguish between peak and valley orgasms. Peak orgasms depend on a active build-up of excitement. And it feels wonderful! But pursuing a peak orgasm can make sex into a goal-oriented activity, with lots of action and tension – during which we might miss subtler joys. A valley orgasm is different. It arises in a relaxed body. Rather than a destination we can pursue, it is an ecstatic unfolding – an orgasmic state we enter. Bring awareness and sensitivity to internal movements of energy, and fully appreciate the small thrilling sensations that course through us. Relaxation (even if briefly) invites the expansion of energy. It leads to more inner awareness, increased bodily sensitivity, and more psychological openness. When we are in this state of relaxation, heart wide open and fully aware of all the joys we are feeling, we may not exactly “have an orgasm” but rather, we become orgasmic.
Diana Richardson writes, “Orgasm is not necessarily a huge explosion, a volcanic eruption. It can also be a cool, peaceful, calm, relaxing valley where the body floats as light as a feather, dissolving into love-drenched nothingness. It can be the experience of eternity, beyond time, suspended in space by breath, one with the pulsation of life. It also happens as if by miracle, that from this depth of relaxation a peak of energy arises, but without any effort at all. A subtle force rises slowly and steadily from the depths moving into a sexual dance, as if choreographed by a divine energy passing through the bodies.” (from Tantric Orgasm for Women)
Taoist Erotic Massage
Taoist Erotic Massage is full-body massage that can include prolonged and creative genital stimulation. Recipients are encouraged to breathe deeply, relaxing into the sensation. The massage is typically climaxed with a staccato breathing pattern, a full-body clench and release, and a period of meditation.
Taoist Erotic Massage strokes explore the range of sensation that is possible, waking the neural network. Such touch can assist us in bringing aliveness to this core part of our selves, expanding the capacity for feeling, and giving erotic energy an honoured role in our bodies and our lives.
Experiencing full-body touch without having to be concerned about a partner’s pleasure, the person receiving reaches a deep state of internal awareness. Practitioners of this art can access an inner certainty, along with profound pleasure and ecstatic states. For partners, sharing this practice can be deeply bonding, allowing those with divergent desires to meet in a place of bliss.
For survivors of sexual abuse and others who feel cut off from erotic empowerment, navigating desire and communicating choice in highly charged sexual exchanges can feel impossible. Taoist Erotic Massage provides an arena in which the person receiving can stay safe and focused. All touch is directed by the receiver, who is encouraged to breathe into body sensation and decide, moment to moment, what their body wants.
Pleasure itself is healing. Learning to choose pleasure instead of suffering is the first key to erotic empowerment. Pleasure is also a pathway to spirit. As the body relaxes in a full-body massage it releases hormones that facilitate feelings of love, bonding and trust. With sexual stimulation we produce a cascade of powerful endorphins that build a feeling of bliss. This is the biochemistry of ecstasy. With prana pumps engaged by prolonged deep breathing, the heart opens, energy spirals through the chakras, and we can experience ecstatic unity with the divine in ourselves and others. “This is about integrating spirit at the cellular level,” one of my teachers says.
Taoist Erotic Massage was first developed in the1980’s by Dr. Joseph Kramer of the Body Electric School. Combining the ancient wisdom of Tantra and Taoist sexual cultivation with the insights of western sexology, psychology and neurobiology, this is a powerful practice that can evolve and integrate body, mind, spirit and emotions. No matter where you are on your personal journey of erotic empowerment, Taoist Erotic Massage is a technology that can assist you in knowing and experiencing your capacity for joy.
For additional video and text resources on Taoist Erotic Massage, see the New School of Erotic Touch.
What is orgasm? Is it possible to have an orgasm without being touched? See Caffyn’s Guided Meditation on Breath and Energy Orgasm