Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Sorry if I've been a little quite recently, but I've been rather busy learning to become a tantric masseur.
So what is tantra and why was I drawn to it? To quote from the tantra4gaymen website
Tantra is the ultimate fusion of your sexual energy and your spirituality. These create states of bliss and ecstasy and in Buddhist and Hindu traditions are a path to your enlightenment. Tantra delinates a multitude of esoteric beliefs and practices within hinduism and buddhism which have a long standing tradition reaching back to at least the 8th century. In its original meaning, Tantra is a mystical pathway, an accumulation of practices that have in common extensive use of ritual and of psycho-experiential techniques such as yoga, visualisation, and meditation.
In its modern form, Tantra has a slightly different meaning, referring to both new age and modern western interpretations of traditional Tantra, brought forward by pioneers of the so-called Neo-tantra since the 1970s. These teachings consider sex as a sacred act which is capable of elevating its participants to a higher spiritual plane. They all show how sexual energy can be transformed into ecstatic experiences. To reach this aim, they offer a wide range of techniques, containing elements originating from fields such as bodywork, breath work, yoga, and meditation.
For years religions have taught us that sex is shameful, that we should be ashamed of our naked bodies, and, even for those of us who no longer practice any religion, these feelings of shame can be deep seated and so entrenched that we find it hard to simply relax and enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures. This is harder still for gay men, who have probably had ingrained in them from an early age the fact that sex between two men is wrong and sinful. We often react by indulging in a series of casual encounters, hurried and furtive, and ultimately unsatisfactory. Indeed, in my work as an escort, I have come across any number of men who, once they have ejaculated, can’t get away quick enough, their shame suddenly taking over from their transient pleasure. They leave vowing that they will never have sex with a man again, but they are back a week or so later and the pattern is repeated.
Jason, the lead tantra teacher of tantra4gaymen is passionate in his quest to help men understand that they are ok as they are, that they deserve love, deserve to be sexual and spiritual beings without repression. I too would like to carry on this work. Even in my escort work, I have always tried to provide a space where my clients can relax and enjoy the sexual experience or play out some of their fantasies without judgement or recrimination.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a couple of days filming some instructional clips for Jason’s website, which will be live on the site some time at the beginning of December. These are not cold “how to” clips, but sensual and sensuous in their own right. We hope that you will be turned on as well as informed, and that you will be inspired to try out some of these techniques yourself. I hope it doesn’t sound too new age when I say it was two days spent in a warm and loving environment, models and crew feeling entirely comfortable with one another, and I think that we may have created something rather special.
I have also been working with Seb Cox, a big loveable bear of a man, who has a slightly different approach (tantra is not an exact science after all), but he too seeks to give men the opportunity to reclaim and reawaken the spiritual dimension of their sexuality. In all his workshops, what Seb reinforces continually is that we have magic in our fingertips, how touch can transform us. He has a wonderful ability to create a safe space where men can just relax, where judgement is set aside, where one can be at peace with one’s fellow men, a space where nothing is expected of you other than to enjoy the experience. I have experienced firsthand the joy of seeing a group of rather timid and tensely nervous men transformed into a group that is open, relaxed and loving.
In a world where everything has become rushed, including sex (such iPhone apps as Grindr surely emphasise the need for the quick fix), don’t we owe it to ourselves to take a little time out of our week to allow ourselves to feel really good?
Here are some useful links