Submitted by UM Rev on
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Could someone enlighten me on the difference between tantric sex and karezza? It seems that neither is goal driven.

The differences are subtle

The three main schools of non-conventional sex seem to be Tantra, Taoist sexual practices and Karezza. In my experience, the practionners of all three tend to misunderstand the other ones. They are far more similar than most people realize. However, there are some important differences in attitude.

All three promote the idea that sexual energy flows between two people when they make love. Karezza does not talk about it as energy flow. They talk about it as bonding, But underneath the hood, energy flow is the machanism that is allowing the bonding to happen.

All three recognize that the energy flows between two opposite poles (masculine and feminine). The greater the sexual polarity the greater the flow of energy.

All three promote the idea of making love often, for long periods of time in order to maintain ballace between the two poles (more eneregy exchanged).

Beyond that, depending on which school you follow, you may get divergent advice on how best to practice.

Karezza promotes a relaxed and easy going approach. They encourage you to not orgasm if possible but other than that, it is mostly about following the flow.

Taoism and Tantra both have a much stronger emphasis on cultivating and conserving sexual energy. Some schools promote the idea of semen retention (avoiding ejaculation) as a path to enlightenment for men. The idea here is that sexual energy is potent fuel and the more you have, the better able you are to grow spiritually. Taken to an extreme, some people in both the Tantric and Taoist traditions swear off sex (become celibate) and focus all of their sexual energy on their own spiritual growth. This is a small minority of people.

In Taoism it is believed that a woman takes a big hit in yin energy when she births a child. This is part of why men in oriental cultures are obsessed with young women. They are believed to have a stronger yin field, and therefore a man can create greater sexual polarity with her and create more sexual flow. Virgins are considered to be the best of all in that respect.

I studied both Tantra and Taoist sexual practices in depth, and I decided that in both there was a danger of becoming too obsessed with sexual energy. Some of the practionners treat sexual energy the way a rich man treats money. They want more and more. It stops being about balance and starts being about hoarding sexual energy in order to get ahead. Way too much empahsis on the energy itself and how to gain it and store it in the body. It feels unballanced to me.

I like Karezza because it takes the focus off of sexual energy and puts it where it should be, on loving actions and sharing. It may be sexual energy that is flowing and making all of the wonderful sensations happen, but you don't need to understand all of that. In fact, the less you try to consciously control it, the better. You just relax and let it flow how it needs to flow while you focus on being open and loving.

I am not writing this to criticize Taoists or Yogis. I do yoga and I love reading books in both traditions. Sexual practices are only one part of yoga or Taoism, and they are not the main part of either tradition.

I just think Karezza is better because it focuses on love and bonding instead of estoteric ways to manage energy.

That is my two cents

Diana Richardson and Barry Long

These are the two places where I've gotten most of my information on Tantra. In the way it is talked about by these two authors/practitioners seems very much about love and bonding. There is talk of energy exchange but the reason to exchange or retain energy is to remain cool (as in Karezza) and not get wrapped up in excitement that prevents real loving energy from flowing between two people during love making. This, they say, is the real ecstasy in making love not the chasing of hot and horny experiences.

Barry Long specifically (who along with Osho inspired Diana Richardson's work) talks about man and woman making God on earth when they come together in the true act of making love. From his perspective, the point is to BE love - or in the state of love - and to make love without expectations or seeking gratification from the other person. He says if orgasm happens, it will happen naturally and because it was supposed to if both people are "straight" - meaning not lost in excitement, fantasy, etc. He also emphasizes clearing out emotion (or being lost in past pain) and being completely honest in love.

For me, it's important to realize that a lot of making love and the reasons it seems so challenging to get right, has a lot to do with the emotional pain of the past and preconceived notions about gender. And honesty is integral to being in love and knowing you can trust your partner, let go of insecurities, and truly be vulnerable in surrender to love. Touching on those emotional, psychological, and cultural issues is important in my opinion.

Diana Richardson elaborated on Long and other Tantric works which helped me visualize the flow of energy between man and woman by better understanding the energy poles present in our bodies and how male and female complete a circuit. She also introduced me to soft penetration. I didn't think it would really work, but I've seen it first hand. It's rather miraculous and proves that a man doesn't need to be stimulated to erection prior to making love. Put the two bits together and they know what to do. Wink

With most things, Tantra has been distorted for monetary gain in our society. I don't think it's so much about all the crazy positions or semen retention as it is about finding a loving, selfless balance between man and woman where the two dissolve into each other and they can truly become one thing.