Diana Richardson is coming out with a new book: Tantric Love Letters: On Sex & Affairs of the Heart. I have just read a preview copy. The letters are from readers and workshop participants about the practice of "cool sex." Some letters recount its remarkable benefits, yet some of the most enlightening are about its challenges.
Richardson's thoughtful, thorough answers are also included where appropriate, and she doesn't shrink from addressing difficult issues.
Here's a sampling of letter titles:
- Combining tantric sex with conventional sex
- No feeling and a loss of energy
- A lot of anger and disgust comes up
- Pain in the testicles after not ejaculating
- G-spot and female ejaculation
- I have never had an orgasm
- I am missing my ecstasy
Here are some of my favorite excerpts, which offer a taste of the book:
There are two responses in particular that I have heard from people countless times over the years, words that touch me each and every time. Many say that they already ‘intuitively knew’ the information, but they did not trust themselves sufficiently to honor it.
When we understand our sexual selves, we feel more in charge of our lives, more relaxed, more grounded, more centered, more confident.
You start to observe yourself not what is done, but how it is done. And gradually the sex energy is transformed into a meditative energy through this enquiry. It is impossible to drop the conditioning overnight because the patterns are deeply lodged in our psyche and cells....The endeavor and the adventure should be to enter into sex with as much awareness as you can, every time you make love! Not only sometimes. Conventional sex is based more on sensation, and tantric sex more on sensitivity. ...Sensation kills sensitivity, so you will go around in circles.... We are conditioned to be hot and excitement based, so the journey is to transform this pattern slowly, to become cooler and more sensitive. It is only in a cool relaxed environment that the deeper potential of sex can manifest itself in the timeless experiences of bliss and ecstasy.
Tantra is not a set of rules setting out what you can do and can't do, but it's an invitation to do whatever you enjoy, but to do so with heightened awareness. ...My personal journey has been to shift away from goals and expectations, a journey from doing to being. Uncovering the intelligence of the body in the here and now. ...The inner polarity design is...always there, but inaccessible when we are busy doing.
The superficiality in our society around the body and appearance is very sad for humanity. External transient aspects are given emphasis, while the inner eternal qualities are ignored and undervalued....In this sense tantra offers a radical departure point, where one discovers and lives according to inner qualities and values, and especially around body/sex/attraction etc.
Often people get the idea that tantra is a kind of technique that means only stillness and non-movement, but this is incorrect. Tantra is alive and juicy and you will find that movements with awareness are qualitatively different to mechanical ones. Tantra is more interested in awareness and creating love; it is not a special technique.
Each individual who moves into sex in a more conscious way is doing great healing for our beloved Earth.
The book is both frank and rich with practical advice:
[After conventional sex] Women often feel feelings of abandonment, loneliness, or sadness. Men tend to lose interest, disconnect and turn away once they have spent their energy.
Excitement/orgasm in conventional sex usually happens through a build-up of tension, so ultimately it is a type of contraction, and not an expansion. ... If you decide to have an orgasm, see how relaxed you can be in it, how easy, connected and present.
The kind of energy cultivation that I would recommend beforehand would be for you, as man, to begin to root your awareness in your perineum, the male positive pole, something quite simple.
Stay in a cooler zone where ejaculation is not an issue, and if it becomes urgent at any point then you do [ejaculate].
With stimulation of the clitoris you end up going along the excitement track of sex and building up to a climax, and not along the sensitivity track and being more relaxed in the here and now. On the surface it looks like the approach is just a denial of pleasure and orgasm and so on, but it's not. It is more about honoring the intelligence of our bodies and that will involve changing our minds about sex and rearranging how we go about it.
Great if he (and you) can get a massage every week, and both do some exercise immediately before entering bed, or have a shower to freshen up. Energizing yourself before making love is a great support.
Readers will get more out of Tantric Love Letters if they start with the basics in one of Richardson's other books. My personal favorite is Tantric Sex for Men, for its brevity and clarity. However, if you are a woman and are dealing with issues related to shame, abuse or lack of libido, start with Tantric Orgasm for Women.
Tantric Love Letters is Richardson at her finest and most concise. It's a compendium of advice about one of humanity's greatest challenges: uncovering the mystery inherent in human sexuality.