One of the worst people I have met was my first Tantra teacher. She used ghost writers to write her books, her background was largely made-up, she was barely literate, she had no education or training outside of men telling her she was a dantrika. Her selling mantra is Sex is Medicine. She has gone on to be very successful, a coveted speaker, and publishes in MBG . This is the holy grail of the new-age, yoga self-help thing. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/ . However, their last Tantra writer committed suicide so there is that issue that no one in the Tantra community addresses. Here is an article that addresses some of her death. http://www.christinamariewhinnery.com/me-just-being-me/psalm-isadora-a-very-powerful-woman
Upon reading, it is apparent this was a deeply troubled woman who used Tantra as a means to escape and to benefit from her natural beauty and skills, but to also express her inherent caring and love. It is also apparent that she hadn’t healed her own wounds and that left her open to despair and suffering. I feel very upset by this death as I do with all suicides. I have also been rather shocked at the Tantra communities lack of concern or even acknowledgment of her death. Tantra is a hot topic currently and selling well and no one wants to look at the dark side. There is a dark side. That dark side is that many people go into Tantra deeply wounded, and suffering from untreated mental health issues. They are looking for relief and a way to heal. If you are dedicated to your path it can work.
However, many teachers get caught up in selling themselves, establishing themselves as experts, acting in nonauthentic ways to promote themselves as filled with love. Some of us that are filled with love don’t act like you expect. Some of the kindest most healthy people I have ever known have had some rough edges. Also, honesty is the highest virtue and if you don’t speak from a place of honesty no matter how kind it is, the sentiment is false. Also, many Tantra teachers have left sex jobs as strippers aka dancers, escorts seeking acceptance in a community that values their talents. I personally have no issue with sex jobs. I know my teacher tried to hide her past, going as far to change her name, and that she experienced significant damage as a sex worker. She was also a sexually abused child, which was a wound that was still raw when I met her. In our certification retreat, I was the only none sex worker and the only one who had not experienced childhood abuse. Abuse, past trauma, substance abuse are all aspects of the human condition and many Tantra teachers have experienced them and have healed stronger from the experience. However, many are the walking wounded and their position places them in contact with people looking for healing, which also places the teacher in a position to do harm.
I felt such a deep betrayal of trust from my teacher I left the retreat. I still feel betrayed and discussed the matter with a totally disinterested party made my peace and certified with another teacher. I value many of the things I learned and I have continued my learning in Buddhism and Tibetan Tantra. Over six months of teaching I confided my deepest feelings and hopes and felt I was truly understood to be faced with judgment and criticism at the retreat. It was also apparent she knew very little about Tantra and her curiosity focused exclusively on sex and orgasms. No one is more pro sex and orgasm than me. However, learning how to orgasm, use jade balls, is not Tantra that is just sex education.
Since I began my Tantra practice 4 years ago, I have seen a continued debasement of Tantra and troubling abuses. This done in many ways, but I am going to address 2 of the most dangerous ideas that are circulating.
1-Sex can heal you:
There is this totally false idea going around that a session with a popular Tantra practitioner can transform you, in short hero worship. I think having sex with Tom Jones would heal me, but I understand that is a fantasy. The idea that sex will heal you is also a fantasy unless the sex is taking place in a loving intimate relationship.
My favorite quote is you are your own best guru. No one can heal you. That is your task in the world to heal your original wound of being separated from the divine when you were born. It is the same for everyone. Someone can give you tools, support you by listening and giving you information. However, that sad truth is orgasms won’t enlighten you or heal you. Healing is hard soul work and if you have been wounded, Tantra can help you heal if you practice the meditations, the movements, the breath and act consciously. Just having orgasms isn’t going to cure you, although it will feel good and it is a nice fantasy and a pretty good marketing tool.
Along with this same line, is that everyone is harmed sexually by our culture. No, that is not true. I have met too many healthy happy people to believe that. It is just not true. Not everyone needs sexual healing. It still feels good, though.
2-Tantra is doing sex techniques:
No. Just no. I have seen about everything marketed under Tantra, yoni yoga, learning to be a multi orgasmic woman or man, finding your inner goddess, jade egg, non-ejaculatory sex
Tantra uses techniques of massage, breath, special meditations, touch, and movement to align the body to feel the greatest amount of pleasure. This moves the person from friction sex to Tantra sex. These are techniques that when learned can produce great transformation. This also takes practice and a deeper understanding of Tantra than a massage or any one technique can give.
Tantra is non-religious yet spiritual. It is sacred intimacy. It is touching ourselves and our lover with the intention to give pleasure. Tantra is sexual energy moving inwards to the heart for the purpose of enlightenment. Our hankering or obsession for sex and the control we feel it has over our lives is actually an indication of our body being out of balance. Sex is natural and good. This can not be taught by learning one or several tantra sex techniques.
Our Western Society is still a sex-negative culture. We see sex everywhere, we sell everything by using sex, and now I see people using sex to sell Tantra, but we still feel it is basically wrong and dirty. As a society, we struggle with shame and fear when it comes to our bodies and sex. We fear that we will experience too much desire or too much pleasure. We judge. We rush through sex with the idea of let’s just get it done. We fail to honor the sacred nature of our bodies and our sex organs. There is a fear that we will lose ourselves in too much pleasure or desire. We are often taught, we need to control the amount of sex we have, the type of sex, and how much pleasure we feel. That is silly and limiting. Even saying that not everyone believes this there are people that embrace sex, and love and intimacy naturally and completely. Those people are blessed.