Trapped by Tantra

Friday, February 12, 2010

Question

My hippie dippie girlfriend says she is a Tantrika. Before we can have sex, she wants to synchronize our breathing, do a guided meditation, clear our chakras, run energy, etc. I do not understand all of the things that she says but I pretend to go along with it because it is the only way to get her into bed. I do care about her but this is embarrassing, time-consuming, and in my opinion a lot of bull. Is there any way to get her to cut this out so we can be more spontaneous? Why does sex have to have a higher purpose anyway? All this spiritual mumbo-jumbo is taking all the dirty fun out of things. With other women I felt more mutual lust. We laughed together and got really animalistic. I miss that freedom.

Answer

Telling me this isn't going to do much to change your girlfriend's habits. You need to come clean with her about your need for a change. If you can avoid criticizing her spiritual beliefs, the conversation will probably go more smoothly. Ask her what her sex life was like before she started practicing tantra. There might be some useful clues there that could help you to negotiate with her. Maybe she had inconsiderate lovers who rushed things before she took charge and established her own routine. Maybe she needs the synchronized breathing and meditation to feel calm about sex.

All couples should have conversations about how they learned about sex, what their early experiences were like, what they wish they could do or experience, and what has really upset or hurt them in the past. If you know about her history, you might be able to feel more patience with the things she's doing now to try to make sex better for herself—and for you. I doubt her devotion to tantra is intended to be one-sided. She probably believes she is also enhancing your pleasure.

It might be good to say (in your own words), "Sometimes I want you so much that I just want to grab you and do you. I want to drive you crazy and get you off really good. But I want to be spontaneous. Would that upset you?" It may be that she is open to having sex in a variety of modes.

Explaining that you miss what you did with previous lovers might make her feel jealous, criticized, or insecure. Just say, "One of the things I like about sex is getting in touch with my animal nature. I like to feel free and get dirty. I think there's something valuable about that experience, and I'd like to share it with you. But I don't know how to access that part of myself when we do tantra. Can we try doing it my way sometime?"

If this problem is due to a lack of communication, there's a good chance you can fix it just by diplomatically asking for more of what you need. But if she feels a need to sanitize sex and reject "lower" forms of pleasure-seeking, you may not be able to budge her. The idea of having sex without a script, without dedication to a higher spiritual purpose, might be contrary to her values. If so, she's being a lot more rigid and selective than most devotees of tantra. This practice teaches people how to use erotic energy to achieve bliss and spiritual insight, but very few teachers demand that their students give up all other forms of eroticism.

A final note to my readers who love tantra: I look forward to your letters.

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