The word alone carries so much weight, perhaps due to the primal, serpentine desire it stirs in our souls... Not to mention the subsequent guilt many of us are saddled with from an early age. As a notoriously taboo subject—which, at this point, is the case pretty much the world over—we’re often left in the dark when it comes to furthering our erotic education and enhancing our sex lives.
For example, as a pre-teen my friends and I learned about sex while watching cable TV “after hours”—thanks, Mom and Dad!—and how to slip condoms onto bananas via thoroughly awkward sex education classes. In high school, having finally mastered the banana technique, we were subjected to horrifying slideshows of STDs, which were promptly repeated upon arrival in college. Needless to say, we weren’t exactly given a good primer on how sex actually works and, more importantly, how it may better serve us.
During the great experiment that was university life I began to explore meditation, first as an athlete and ecstatic dancer and shortly thereafter as a yogi, tantrika, and lucid dreamer. Having pieced together enough of the puzzle—namely, learning to be myself—to ultimately have sex with a real person, my interest in tantric sexuality initially arose in response to the desire to avoid exhaustion after orgasm. It seemed completely unfair that I was down for the count after sex while my partner was bouncing around like the Energizer bunny. I was fortunate enough to recognize that there was a critical exchange of energy taking place at the moment of climax, but what to do about it?
In a world where sex is secretive or, when publicized, often perverse, most of us are left to learn about authentic sexuality from our various partners. While we may pick up a move here or there, we’re typically drawing from an impoverished knowledge pool—our lovers usually don’t know any more than we do! Fortunately, once upon a time (c. 3500 BCE – 700 CE) in a land far, far away (East Asia), some dedicated yogis managed to crack the code and, while many of their carnal technologies remain as elusive now as they were then, the art of lovemaking is no longer a complete mystery in the Western world. Enter tantra.
Tantra literally means “to untie” or “liberate” and the discipline extends far beyond sexual practice, though tantra is commonly understood as synonymous with sex... It’s a hard label to shake. Still, the principles of tantra apply to all aspects of life. In a word, tantra is about freedom—genuine freedom (from suffering, cultural oppression and self-limitation, for example). But tantra is also about conservation, as it takes incredible energy and effort to break the invisible chains that bind us to the sense of individuality at the root of our suffering.
Through the years, as my yoga practice and love life has developed, sex has become a dedicated practice in the pursuit of genuine freedom or samadhi—complete interconnectedness with one’s lover and the universe, which is an experience that transcends language and from which we return renewed and transformed. In recent years, however, I've suffered several debilitating injuries, particularly to my knees—thank you, lotus pose!—which have altered my approach to yoga, meditation, and everyday life. As my partner also has trouble with her knees, we began looking into special furniture for lovemaking which, when practiced in the pursuit of freedom, can extend for several hours at a stretch and often takes many forms.
We found The Tantra Chair. In addition to its elegant, eco-conscious design—it is, dare I say, downright sexy—The Tantra Chair is an ergonomic marvel as it displaces your bodyweight, allowing for greater mobility and support during intercourse. Far more than a kinky sex toy, here is a piece of furniture that is inviting you to prolong and deepen your intimate encounters for the purpose of liberating your being. There are a ton of helpful tools to begin a tantra practice... You just need to do some digging around to find what works for you.
If I’ve learned one thing about meditation—and this applies to all forms of meditation, from sitting to walking to dreaming to lovemaking—it’s this: comfort is king (or queen, if you prefer). A purest and minimalist for longer than I can remember, I’ve come to appreciate the inestimable value of instruments that promote optimum health, from blenders to bicycles to tongue-scrapers to Tantra Chairs. At the end of the day, the embodied pursuit of freedom must be sustainable, and while the tantric (R)evolution may not be televised, it will surely be empathized with your significant other, preferably with your eyes locked and bodies pressed together, passionately supporting each other’s practice of eternity.