The world of Sacred Sexuality and neo-Tantra. It can be wonderful and exciting….but also a minefield.
Learning about our bodies, becoming empowered, discovering the amazing potential of energy and intimacy is beautiful and potentially very healing.
But how can we make sure we stay safe and avoid the predators?
I’ve taught this stuff internationally for years but I’ve also been right in the thick of it. I’ve seen many women have their confidence and boundaries destroyed in the name of sexual healing and spiritual practice. It’s got to the point that I don’t actually like using the word Tantra at all, because it has such a bad rep.
The Tantra scene is full of stories of abuse in bodywork sessions. It normally goes like this – a woman goes for a yoni massage, lots of energy gets unlocked, the male practitioner engages in oral sex or penetration. The woman is frozen/confused and unable to say no.
This is NEVER ok.
So here’s the advice I wish I’d had way back in the day. I don’t regret any of the experiences that I’ve been through- I’ve learned so much about myself, my shadows and my weak spots.
As women it’s essential that we have ways to discover and unlock our power and pleasure – safely.
- Work on yourself first. Discover your body and your sovereignty so you feel empowered and confident in making good choices. And by “work” I don’t just mean self-pleasure (although this is absolutely crucial!). But also do your inner work. If you’ve got “daddy issues”, if you have a tendency to pedestal men in power, if you have patterns of choosing abusive partners- dig deep here otherwise you’ll project this onto authority figures and get stuck in playing out old wounds and patterns.
- Do your research. Ask around. Go by word of mouth recommendations (this is not foolproof by any means but it can be a big help). Use your intuition. If you look at an advert or website and something feels “not quite right”- absolutely trust that instinct. It might save your sanity (and thousands of dollars).
- Ask questions before booking in. If it’s a workshop- do they have assistants supporting? Who’s the facilitator trained with and how much experience do they have? What’s the format of the day? Do you have the option to step out of exercises if you feel unsafe? What are the workshop boundaries/rules (ie no nudity, no genital touch etc)? Is there opportunity for individual sharing/group feedback/questions etc? Is there a cap on numbers? Is there follow up support/after care?
- How does your body feel when you get the answers– do you feel relaxed, excited or contracted? It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous when stepping into a new space, and it can be really helpful to discover your “edges”- there’s a lot of growth potential there. But been pushed over your edges can be incredibly damaging.
- If you’re booking a bodywork session ask: do you stay clothed during the session? What’s your code of ethics? What’s the structure of the session? How do you establish consent and boundaries? What are the boundaries? How do I say stop/no/slow down? I can’t emphasise this enough- the container can never be too strong.
- If you’re booking a yoni massage– please- work with a trusted female practitioner first. Have several sessions with a woman before working with a male practitioner. Even so- ask plenty of questions so you know exactly how the session will run.
- You don’t need to get naked and be fucked by the teacher to be initiated into Tantra. You can unlock a shitload of stuff yourself. Work at a pace that suits your nervous system (and past traumas).
- You don’t need to be polyamorous to practice Tantra. Being poly doesn’t make you enlightened. If a teacher advises you to open your relationship I’d see this as a massive red flag.
- Always use protection. Some Tantric communities are crawling with Chlamydia. Anyone who tells you that condoms block the energy flow has seriously questionable motives.
- In some schools the teachers have sex with their students. Personally I think that’s an abuse of power. Be really clear how you feel about this before signing up.
There are so many amazing sacred sexuality teachers and bodyworkers out there, who have a wealth of integrity and depth of knowledge. The Tantric path can be incredibly healing and empowering. Take the time to choose your practitioner wisely and listen to your intuition. Practicing discernment is an essential component on this path and you can save yourself a lot of time, energy and money by listening to your inner wisdom.