This year I've partied like a rock star — boozing with metal bands, engaging in four-ways and eating giant cheese balls. Although it's been fun, it's been spiritually empty. Clearly it's time for a little stroll down the path to enlightenment. But the thought of giving up sex and alcohol does not appeal to me. Luckily, there is tantra — the self-improvement rite one can engage in while naked and boning. The timing for my nirvana quest couldn't be better: I have a new lover so hot he makes my yoni flow like the Ganges River. Using ancient tantric sex techniques, will he and I connect with the divine and reach ecstasy? Or will we end up feeling disillusioned and conned?
Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).
– Tantric Sex: Learn the Ancient Art of Eastern Lovemaking by Suzie Hayman
– The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tantric Sex by Dr. Judy Kuriansky
– Hearts Cracked Open (DVD)
– Tantric Guide to Sexual Potency (DVD)
– New Age music
– Ayurvedic body oil
– Tantric workshop (one)
– Divine being (one)
In this portion of your report, you must describe, step-by-step, what you did in your lab. It should be specific enough that someone who has not seen the lab can follow the directions and recreate the same lab.
"Alex," my new love interest, is eight years my junior and the lead singer for one of my favorite bands. He could have been the perfect lab partner for my groupie experiment or cougar hunt. Instead, he arrived just in time for this foray into mysticism. Because he is shyer than the extroverts I normally bed for science, I felt a bit exploitative when asking him to be my guinea pig. I breathed a sigh of relief when he agreed to participate on two conditions: anonymity and the freedom to forego workshops.
"Tantra actually sounds kind of hot," he said. "But what exactly is it?"
At one point, one of the actors pulled his "wand of light" out of an actress's vag and spooged on her ass.
"I have no idea," I said. "When I find out, we'll try out everything I've learned."
Though Alex refused to take part in embarrassing classes, I was still free to humiliate myself. Online I found a class called "Cultivating Self-Love through Tantra" and signed up.
Because class wasn't for a few days, I embarked on some research. At sex superstore Babeland, I rented two instructional DVDs and bought a book called Tantric Sex: Learn the Ancient Art of Eastern Lovemaking.
At home, I popped in the first DVD, Tantric Guide to Sexual Potency. It cut between a redheaded hippie woman talking and shots of various couples banging away. At one point, one of the actors pulled his "wand of light" out of an actress's vag and spooged on her ass. The difference between this and regular porn eluded me. My friend Tom stopped by and also was baffled.
"It's like a regular porno with a voiceover," he noted.
"I think it's supposed to be tantric because they're making 'deep' faces instead of regular porn faces," I said.
Perturbed, I turned off the TV just as my friend Bruce dropped by.
"How bad could it be?" he asked. "As bad as the female-ejaculation video we watched?"
"It made the female-ejaculation video look like Citizen Kane," I said. "And I still have no idea what tantra is."
"I think its like fucking for hours without thrusting," Bruce suggested.
"Hours of fucking without thrusting, and you're dating a twenty-six-year-old dude?" Tom asked. "Good luck, Rev."
Undeterred, I put on Hearts Cracked Open, a DVD about lesbian tantra. The women describe tantra in a variety of ways — a tool for making relationships better, a way of cultivating your spirit and a method for achieving altered states of consciousness. Since I am about one acid tab away from a Syd Barrett-style freakout, the idea of achieving altered states sans chemicals appeals to me.
Next, I studied the book Tantric Sex by Suzie Hayman, which includes wacky photos of couples cavorting. The text briefly summarizes tantra's 5,000-year history, teaches vocab terms like "kundalini" (life force energy), "soul gazing" (staring into each other's eyes) and "lingam" (penis) while offering suggestions on tantric room décor (candles, colorful fabric and pillows.) Ms. Hayman outlines steps for the tantric lovemaking ritual — bathe each other, dance for each other, massage each other and feed each other fruit. Basically, be really nice to whoever you're about to fuck.
Still, when she covers fucking, she just lists all of the positions people use anyway, but refers to them by fancy names. For instance, oral sex is referred to as "mouth congress." One novel suggestion the author makes is "pair of tongs," where the female gets on top and grips her partner's lingam with her yoni muscles.
A few days later, I attended the workshop.
It was held at a midtown rehearsal space crawling with theater majors. Kundalini burst forth from jazz hands; a cacophony of Broadway show tunes assaulted me from every angle. I felt like bashful Doris Finsecker awaiting her audition in Fame.
Eventually, my sole classmate, a normal-looking woman named Janelle, arrived. We were escorted to a studio where our instructor, Shakti Cheryll, greeted us. Wasting no time, she popped a CD into her boom box and began doing interpretive dance.
"This is kind of primal," she said, turning up the New Age music to drown out the students singing the body electric next door.
"Plant your feet firmly on the ground. Imagine you have roots like a tree," she instructed. "And just feel the music. Let your body move to it."
Though I felt like a moron, I visualized roots growing into my tired feet and imagined being a warrior tree in Lord of the Rings.
After dancing and doing guttural breathing exercises, we sat cross-legged on the floor as our teacher gave us an overview of the philosophies of tantra. Realizing very little of it was about sex, and feeling tired from the previous night of debauchery, I began to zone out.
Lying on the floor with my palms turned toward the ceiling, I focused on Shakti Cheryll's soft voice.
When she announced it was time to meditate and that we could do so while lying down, I thought finally I would get some rest.
Lying on the floor with my palms turned toward the ceiling, I focused on Shakti Cheryll's soft voice. As she told me I was walking through a field of flowers, I pictured marigolds and imagined their scent. She instructed us to leave the field of flowers and walk through a wooded area before coming to a pond.
"I want you to think of a time when you felt love," she murmured, "and immerse yourself in the pond."
As I sat in the pond, a barrage of images assailed me, but one memory continually emerged: my Chihuahua, J.J., deathly ill as a puppy. Remembering the day she got out of the animal hospital, I recalled how happy our reunion had been. It was embarrassing — all the lovers I've had and people I've cared about, and I couldn't help thinking about my dog. Silly as it felt, I didn't fight it. I imagined holding her tiny body and crying tears of relief into her fur. Soon real tears were flowing down my cheeks making me feel even more foolish, until I heard Janelle crying too.
After we emerged from our meditation, we analyzed what we'd seen and felt. I told my teacher that J.J. has given me what no human has — the ability to love unconditionally without fear of being hurt. My love for her is maternal and uncomplicated.
Before we left, Shakti Cheryll told us that the love we'd felt while chilling in our imaginary ponds was real.
She put her hand over her heart chakra. "It's right here," she said, "and you can go to it whenever you need to."
Thanking her, I bolted from the studio. One of the reasons I've avoided self-improvement is that self-improvement is for people with time on their hands and I have no time on my hands.
I still had no idea what tantric sex was, and I needed to find out fast. Alex was coming over the following night. I traipsed up to a midtown Barnes and Noble, where I found just what I'd been looking for — The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tantric Sex by Dr. Judy Kuriansky.
Purchasing anything with the words "idiot" and "sex" in the title is mortifying. Feeling slightly less cool than the time I purchased an English-to-Elvish glossary, I placed the book face down on the counter at checkout. The salesperson flipped it over, and I was certain every customer in the store was pointing and laughing at me.
But it was I who got the last laugh, because the Complete Idiot's Guide to Tantric Sex is a tome bursting with insight.
Tantra, Dr. Kuriansky explains, is a Sanskrit word meaning "the teachings and practices that use energy to lead to a high state of bliss and enlightenment." Tantric sex is when you apply these teachings to boning. The guide then goes on to explain how to do this using bulleted lists, outlines, writing exercises and quizzes.
Chapter 5, Honoring the God and Goddess in You, explains that in tantric sex, partners honor each other the way they would revered beings. It then lists well-known gods and goddesses and asks readers to list their own along with the admirable qualities they embody. Among my goddesses were Pippi Longstocking (strength) and Cher (power). My gods were Keith Richards (immortality) and SpongeBob (fun).
Once I'd finished listing deities and doing a series of pelvic thrusts, I focused on Chapter 12, which had detailed illustrations and advice on massage and "lingam pleasuring." If tantric sex meant honoring my partner as I would a god, I would do just that.
Quantify the effects of the experiment.
At eight o'clock the next night, Alex arrived. Because we were too nervous to immediately strip naked and make like Shiva and Shakti, we took a bottle of wine up to my roof, where I gave him a rundown on what I'd learned.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I know it's cheesy."
"Jen, you know that no matter how goofy it is, I'll go at with total sincerity," he said. "Just one thing: when you say the word 'yoni,' it make me think of Yanni, and it makes me go soft."
"We won't mention Yanni or anything that connotes Yanni," I promised.
Determined not to half-ass it, we practiced soul gazing, breathing techniques and touching each other's chakra zones. Chakra touching led to kissing, which led to Alex's lingam throbbing against his trousers.
It was time to go downstairs to the tantric temple and get busy. Candles were lit, a "Reiki Forest" CD cranked and, just in time for our first tantric encounter, a wild thunderstorm began. Fully clothed, we parked ourselves in yab yum — Alex cross-legged with me straddling his lap. We synchronized our breathing and soul-gazed before moving on to the next step. Though both books recommended bathing each other as part of the ritual, we skipped this step since my shower is in a closet in my kitchen and my roommate could walk in at any second. Instead I offered him a massage.
We stripped, and he lay on his stomach. After warming oil between my hands, I ran my fingers up and down his body, from his muscular calves to his back.
Turning over, he lay on his back, propping up pillows so he could watch, as Dr. Kuriansky suggested. The Idiot's Guide also cautioned that as a man lies on his back, a traditionally "female" passive position, he might feel vulnerable. As if on cue, Alex announced, "I have never felt more vulnerable in my life."
I assured him that all he had to do was relax. He didn't have to worry about staying hard or accidentally jizzing on his masseuse's hands. Like me, tantra is not goal-oriented.
"Just enjoy yourself," I said, lubing him up and taking him between my palms.
The act of stroking a penis with no intent of getting its owner off was unfamiliar, but liberating. I had to remind myself that I wasn't giving a hand job, but a lingam massage. The goal was not to choke the chicken, but to pet the chicken and basically give the chicken the best night of its life.
Because I'm a perfectionist, I'd studied the section on lingam massage the way a Harvard law student might study for the bar exam. Still, I worried it might seem too clinical, like playing doctor, so I made a point of looking into Alex's eyes as I "palmed his crown" and "polished his helmet." When I placed one hand around the base and used the other to work the tip like an orange juicer it appeared he was ready to explode. I languished over his lingam until he was so turned on he suggested I hop on board.
Straddling him, I slipped my dripping yoni onto his wand. Rain blew through the window onto our skin. He used his free hands to caress my skin and polish my pearl until I nearly blacked out from pleasure. Opening my eyes, we kissed and soul-gazed. Leaning back, I used the "pair of tongs" to squeeze his lingam like a hot piece of pound cake. Rocking back and forth, I put my hand over his heart chakra.
We continued in a dizzying display of positions, mindfully soul-gazing and breathing together.
"Put your hand on my heart," I said. He stretched his hand out and placed it on my chest. His energy raced through me like electricity. It was similar to the scene in The Dark Crystal where the gelflings share all of their memories and experiences, just by touching hands.
Up to this point, I'd doubted the veracity of tantric sex. I'd thought maybe it was a 5,000-year-old hoax perpetuated by hippies out to make a buck off of premature ejaculators. But when Alex touched my heart, I felt the love he had for me as a human being, and I understood why tantric sex will be here long after bukkake and rainbow parties have gone. It's not about clits, titties, ass, boners or even sucking your jizz back up your spine and into the coiled serpent lying dormant within you. It's about consciously feeling your own energy and giving it to your lover while you also give them your body.
Alex must have felt this too, because we gave ourselves over to the apparent cheesiness with abandon.
"You look so beautiful right now. It's like I'm fucking nature," he said.
"You look so beautiful," I said. "I feel like I'm fucking Hercules. But not the Kevin Sorbo Hercules, more like the one I imagined."
He looked at me with so much reverence I felt like Cher, Aphrodite, Galadriel and Demeter rolled into one. It was hard to believe we were still in a tenement on the Lower East Side. I half-expected Pegasus to circle above my bed.
Blissed out, we continued slowly flopping around on my bed in a dizzying display of positions, mindfully soul-gazing and breathing together. When we did pick up the pace Alex had to pull out a few times so as not to blow his load. At one point we took a break, drank Budweiser and ate chocolate. (My research uncovered several methods for delaying orgasm, and though none of them mentioned Budweiser, "taking a break" was suggested.)
I replaced the Reiki CD with a homemade playlist, full of music infused with mystical imagery — T.Rex, the Beatles and the Zombies.
After going to "mouth congress" on his penis, we were ready for another ecstatic union. His love arrow vibrated inside of me, and I knew it was only a matter of time until he reached the point of no return.
"What do you want, Jen?" he asked.
"I think it's probably time you fucked me as hard and fast as you want," I answered, pulling my knees to my chest.
As the late George Harrison's melodious voice echoed forth from my laptop, I completely understood, singing my own inspired chant. "My, my, my Lord . . . oh my God . . . don't stop," I moaned, pulling Alex closer.
"Are you sure?"
"Somewhere in the middle of the lingam massage, I think you touched my very soul."
Moments later he came, filling a condom with enough seminal fluid to irrigate a small village.
"Wow. Crown condoms are durable," I noted as he slid the sheath from his lingam. "That was incredible."
"You know what's weird," I noted, "I have no idea how long we were at it."
Because clocks are not part of tantric home décor, I'd turned mine toward the wall. Flipping it back toward me, I was startled.
"It's two a.m.!" I exclaimed. "I thought it was, like, eleven or something."
It was as if we'd been in a time warp — we were far from tired. If anything, we had more energy. We dressed and headed out to a bar to celebrate our accomplished boning. This was probably a mistake, because the next day we had about as much vitality as the English Patient.
Summarize your findings. Don't forget to attempt to identify possible variables that could result in different findings for others trying to recreate your test results.
While I'll always enjoy the occasional bar-bathroom quickie, it can't beat whatever it is Alex and I engaged in. I say "whatever it is" because I'm still not sure it was actually tantric sex. If tantric sex means languorously fucking in order to create a psychic bond through touch you thought only gelflings were capable of, then we had tantric sex. And it rocked.
As Alex later said, "I don't know what it was. Maybe it was somewhere in the middle of the lingam massage, but I think you touched my very soul."
Similarly, I felt the core of my being had been touched and cherished. And amazingly, this hadn't interfered with the jackability of the experience. It only made it hotter.
If you ever left the womb, you've probably had your heart broken. And sex after you've had your heart broken is often a lot like riding the subway — you try not to make eye contact. But tantra gives you the freedom to behave as if you've never been hurt before. There was innocence to the tantric ritual that I hadn't experienced since my first love. Tantric sex challenged me to be totally open, and to let my partner inside my head and heart. While few things are more terrifying, the reward — discovering a little magic still exists — was worth it.
©2006 Rev. Jen Miller and Nerve.com