I won't be nearly as ruggedly handsome as you are when I reach your age. I don't have a seemingly endless supply of crisp white linen shirts to wear. And my entire apartment is smaller than your guest bathroom. I can live with all of that.
Most days I'm fine with it, but then you went too far. You had to go on a radio talk show and spill the beans about Tantric sex and how you can make love to your wife for hours at a time. That, sir, is where I draw the line! I always thought I was a pretty good lover, I never received any complaints (not in writing at least), but you had to go and raise the bar by about a thousand feet so that suddenly every girl I meet expects me to last longer than a Godfather movie, if not the whole trilogy.
Alright people, so this is a little bit of hyperbole, but let's figure out what the fuss about this Sting-endorsed Tantric sex is all about. What is it? And most importantly: How the heck do you do it?
What Is It?
It's easy to be glib about the Tantric (sometimes spelled Tantrik) tradition. While it is currently something of a fad, it stems from centuries-old tradition. The word 'Tantric' is rooted in a Sanskrit word meaning to weave or extend. Hmm... Sounds intriguing.
Shambhavi Sarasvati, an initiate in the Tantric tradition and keeper of the Web site, www.livingtantra.net, tells us that it is impossible to define Tantra, but that there are "values" tied to it that can help to explain it. She says that "most Tantras (the written texts) consist of instructions for meditation and bodily practices aimed at sensitizing and opening the practitioner to a fuller relationship with the world."
Tantric practices are all about using ritual to help you synch up with the natural world. Shambhavi Sarasvati goes on to say that, "Tantra is a spiritual technology for completing the human relationship to the cosmos... You may practice sexual ritual. You may not ... Authentic Tantra is certainly not about having better orgasms."
While that's not the western 'quick-fix' answer I was really looking for, I do have to say that there's definitely something about the idea of sensitizing yourself to the universe that I find really sexy.
Sex & Energy
Well, I'm a complete idiot, so I feel that Dr. Judy Kuriansky's book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tantric Sex, was basically written for me. Kuriansky explains that Tantric sex is about the ebb and flow of energy. "What Westerners think of as getting turned on or horny, Tantrics and Taoists think of as generating sexual energy... Tantra teaches you how to have access to this energy and how to store it in your body."
'Energy' is a word that gets bandied around an awful lot and I'm not entirely sure I get it or even know what I should be feeling. Kuriansky suggests figuring it out with a little experiment. "Vigorously shake your right hand for a minute or so. When you stop and hold it in front of you, bring your left hand, palms facing, gently towards it, and you should feel a vibrating sensation around the hand that has been shaken. It may feel pleasantly buzzy and warm, or it may even feel larger than the unshaken hand."
OK... I felt that! But what does it prove? Kuriansky tells us that "by shaking your hand you have charged it with energy and if you place your attention there you will feel it. One of the things that Tantra does is to teach you how to generate and move this warm, tingly energy throughout your body."
Eureka! I get it!
So, How Do You Do It?
Very slowly... Oh, sorry -- am I being a tease? Here's the deal: I'm not going to distill centuries of learning into a quick paragraph. If you want to learn about Tantric sex you need to start at the beginning. I've learned that this is not a grab-bag of sexual tricks or 'moves' and to describe it as such would be demeaning to followers of what is, in fact, a spiritual life-path.
Start with a book or two on the subject and you'll see that immediate gratification is definitely not the name of the game, but to those who take the time to do their breathing exercises and learn what "aligning your chakras" means, pleasure awaits you... just ask Sting.