Diana Richardson's Tantra

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Cover of 'The Heart of Tantric Sex'For years people have been recommending the work of Diana Richardson, author of The Heart of Tantric Sex. Finally, a kindly forum member posted an excerpt from her book:

Tantra is interested in non-ejaculation which is not to be confused with ejaculation control. Non-ejaculation means that the question of ejaculation never enters the picture. It is not even an issue because you are relaxing into it. This enables lovemaking to be a prolonged and satisfying exchange. On the other hand to control your ejaculation means that a strong urge to ejaculate is present and needs repressing. It then becomes an act of sheer will where the sex energy is first built up to a peak and then mental control is exerted to retract from ejaculation.

I soon visited Diana's website and discovered many other gems. Here are some of my favorites: [From interviews with Diana and her partner, Raja]

Q: What is the difference to ‘normal sex’?

Raja: It is a slow approach, about relaxation and sensitivity rather than sensation and stimulation. In general, sex is about building up the energy and intensity, going for an orgasm or a peak experience. But in reality the mind and body are getting very tense and this causes problems like premature ejaculation and frustration. The truth is that if we deeply relax during the sex act we naturally become ecstatic. So the big difference is that we encourage relaxation in every way. This brings us to ‘here’ - the secret of Tantra. When we are here we become conscious and aware. And this special quality transforms sex into love. It is remarkable! Usually after only 2-3 days of making love in a new style we are see couples shining, radiant with love. Everyone looks so much happier! It is wonderful.

Q: What is it all about? What are you aiming at?

Diana: Well, that is the incredible thing – when we understand more about the genitals, how nature designed them, we come into contact with the deepest part of ourselves. This gives us confidence and trust; we are more loving, less fearful. In love and sex most of us have experienced tremendous pain, disappointment, insecurities and confusion. We have argued about sex and we have separated from someone we love because of sex, and so it goes on. However, with fresh input and information, we can turn the whole picture around and transform our lives. Create love, joy, fulfillment, and togetherness – through sex! It is a powerful healing force. So we want to share this knowledge with other couples – the fact that it is possible to create a loving relationship where sexual interest and attraction increases.

Q: Increases? That is not usually the case.

Diana: No, so often after time couples become insensitive to each other, the bodies close down, habits form. In our approach the genitals get more and more sensitive to each other, like musical instruments. It is a fine attunement, and sex improves.

Q: What exactly are these "keys" in lovemaking? Earlier you spoke about different places in the body where we can relax. Can you say a bit more about this?

Diana: There are a great many keys to help a person to be more relaxed during sex. The basics are of Diana and Raja'course your awareness and presence. The breath can help in the same way as do certain body positions. I will give an example: in general woman hold the vagina tight during lovemaking, and this constricts the penis. Therefore women must learn to be as wide and open as possible in the vagina. This contradicts many common beliefs. Many woman have real phobias that their vagina is too wide and relaxed, and that the man will not be able to feel anything. She thinks that she must "entertain" the penis. The basic idea with us is: when the woman is not open, then also the man is not able to flow with his energy. As soon as the feminine canal is open, then the male energy begins to flow. For men this means to relax the pelvic floor and buttocks. As soon as the buttocks get tense the genitals automatically become tense. Another important aspect is the polarity which exists within our bodies. Osho spoke about this a great deal (see discourse) The first chakra in man is positive and in woman it is negative. in the heart chakra it is exactly the opposite. through this a circle of energy can be created between man and woman. the breasts of a woman are the doorway to her sexuality. The vagina does not open itself until the energy in the breasts is flowing. Raja: Men often have a strange idea of how to excite a woman, for example by rubbing the clitoris. But if they knew that they simply have to place attention on the breasts, and women becomes automatically open. We must love her through the breasts. Men always think that women function in exactly the same way as we do, and even the woman begin to think this, they must also function like men. But when we are able to value our opposite polarities, then a circle of energy is created. Diana: The breasts of women are often blocked because they have many complexes regarding their breasts, they are too big, too loose, too small....these blocks must be released so that the female pole of the woman can become clear and energy can flow. Basically we have to unlearn everything what we have learnt in sexuality until now.

Q: Do women find it easier to have an access to this way of tantra than men?

With this new approach of awareness and not doing in sex finally the man can also relax and does not need to keep things together anymore. Already after a week men can feel the difference of sensitivity in their penis. So therefore there is no truth in the prejudice that tantra is good for women and men do not have fun. Only if the women are able to open sexually men can experience the flow of his energy. In the sexual area women play a key role, she creates the climate and she has much more power in sex than she might realise. Excerpts from the first five chapters of "The Heart of Tantric Sex"

Perhaps the biggest distraction in sex today is the incredible ability of the mind to fantasize. Indeed, sexual fantasy has become the powerhouse, the driving force of many people's sex lives. Often in lovemaking we get involved in sexual fantasy, not conscious of what is happening, specifically and moment by moment “in the present”. Our attention is not on this partner here and now, but creating an imagined one or an imaginary situation. ... Mostly we use sexual fantasy to urge us along toward orgasm, because the imagination helps us to reach the peak. And it works incredibly well too! The mind must be proclaimed as a powerful tool to produce such effective, even immediate, results. But sexual fantasy is, nonetheless, a great diversion in sex "as it pulls us away from reality" the person we are making love with here now. Fantasy makes us absolutely absent to our present.

Tantra, in its wisdom, embraces this imaginative power of the mind. It encourages it to be re-directed into the body. ... .Sooner or later the energy will follow the imagination. ... Imagination can thus be used as a positive tool in sex, rather than a distraction. If for example: we begin to imagine light and see circles of energy within the body; or energetic connections between the positive and negative poles (inside and outside yourself) [NOTE: The positive pole in man is in his genitals, the negative pole in his heart. This is reversed in women.]; or energy streaming from man into woman; or woman absorbing this golden light; or energy radiating from the heart and breasts or leaping from the penis, sooner or later we will begin to have this experience, the feeling of this actually happening. The energy can be imagined as a streaming golden flow or even a jumping, leaping of light, even lightning. ... It might be indistinct at first, the delicate tendrils of awakening life within you, but your awareness will help to fan it, and this makes energy grow, expand, configure.

In my early sexual life, when the moments of lovemaking that I had been so longing for were actually happening, I noticed with horror that I would find myself drifting off and thinking about something else. Anything. I was astounded that it could be something as banal as where to go for dinner! I found it difficult to be utterly involved in sex. ... The significant thing is to “notice” that you are thinking, caught up in a stream of thoughts, and in that very noticing you are thrown back into the present, you sever the thread to the thoughts. By simply acknowledging that you were thinking, you disassociate or “cut with the mind”. This is enough, and through this you return to the present.

As couples embark on the Tantric journey, it is really important to bear in mind that this is a gradual process. It is a shift in consciousness, not a sudden change, and neither is it a technique. You can't do it, you have to be it. It is an ongoing refining process of creating stillness which requires time. It is helpful if you do not seek big changes or immediate results. It does not happen like that every time! Sometimes yes, but real change is made up of numerous, sometimes invisible, small changes which take root in the body. Notice the smaller, less obvious things that happen to you, what you feel and where you feel it. And the joy of it. This consciousness brought to the body and the sexual act begins to transform it, becoming a fountainhead of love, enriching to body, mind and spirit.

Until this point we have always depended upon alot of friction-like movement for our sexual experience, but now we are searching for a sensitivity that lies beneath this superficial sensation. You are getting in touch with a finer layer, vibrant and glowing, more satisfying. And although you never lose your capacity to become excited, you are moving beyond the initial intensity and overwhelmingness of this excitement. It is almost like stepping underneath it. You must slow down in both body and mind, creating enough stillness to feel something so subtle it has previously been barely discernible. Developing this degree of sensitivity takes time and commitment, but it is well worth it.

Often there is a gap between the letting go and the gaining, so we need the patience and willingness to abandon the old ways, and a playful, honest approach with a preparedness for the new. With this commitment to exploration, and the unexpected, it is most helpful when both partners embrace similar attitudes, making ultimate cooperation and discovery possible. For instance, in the throes of sexual heat and excitement, it may be a challenge to stay open to experimentation. You might suddenly experience the overwhelming urge to go for orgasm. And in these moments, believe me, nothing seems more important! However, if your partner can help you in bringing yourself back to “now”, suddenly the possibility for you to relax arises and in taking the enormous step of dropping beneath this compulsive urge, the mystery of sex will begin to unfold before you. In this way the support and awareness of your partner is essential in order to grow in love, to bring clarity to the sexual experience. When couples make love in the spirit of co-operation, you are helping each other, teaching and learning from each other, and through each other, together you uncover the path of relaxation in sex. It is not possible alone. When one partner again and again undermines the efforts of the other, stepping away from our unconscious sexual aspects becomes a near impossibility. Without mutual willingness it will be very difficult to explore new terrain.

[There are] three directions that we can pursue whilst exploring our sexuality: The first is to challenge the habit of “going for” orgasms. Also noticing that we are basically “absent” and ahead, and therefore relatively unconscious, when we do go for it. The second is to make a shift from “doing” to “being” in sex. Notice too, that even if we are not interested in orgasm per se, we feel nonetheless driven to “do” something in order to have a sexual experience. The third is to restore our original genital sensitivity (magnetic intelligence) through relaxation and consciousness of the present moment. These pursuits do not happen separately from each other, it is an interdependent process. The more you challenge your patterns, the more easily the genital sensitivity is re-established. The more awareness you place on your intrinsic genital intelligence, the easier it is to change your patterns.

The essential step for me was one of acknowledging my [female] polarity and falling increasingly into it. I focused on how to become more “negative” and passive as it were, more allowing, more receptive, more conscious, and when I did, it surprised me to find my man becoming more “positive”, more dynamic, more vital, more “here”. This was not the same kind of “positive” I had known formerly, where lovemaking could be described as a pushing hard linear event, creating a peak of energy. It was almost the opposite, like the inverting of a peak, a bottoming out. It was something new and different, deeply touching, circular, ecstatic. Unimaginably joyful. Whenever I fell back into my peak and release pattern, I would feel frustrated, irritable, incomplete and no longer closer to my lover. I slowly learned that this new “style” of lovemaking gave my life meaning, a spiritual quality that I had been searching for in other ways.

Through being able to truly love and satisfy a woman in sex, which represents man's deepest longing, he begins to feel himself more grounded, mature, responsible, loving, energetic. A genuine male authority and clarity arises. Woman, in receiving and returning this love, begins to experience herself as innocent and sweet, the source of love and creation, and a delicate perfumed femininity arises. Falling into balance through this intrinsic polarity creates harmony, understanding, respect and mutual appreciation. And the amazing result is that we require less and less effort to make love, the body does it by itself. Indeed, the less we “do” and the more we “be”, the greater the experience.

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