Guest post by Goddess Violetta
Tantra and BDSM may seem like they have little in common on the surface, but a deeper exploration reveals many common threads between these practices. Historically, Tantra has been a spiritual path that embraced darkness, sexuality and taboo. The perspective of Tantra is that all life is an expression of the divine, therefore nothing is to be shunned as “unholy”. By brining consciousness to even the most seemingly profane activities, we are able to access expanded awareness and enlightenment.
The Tantric path is most commonly known in the West for its practices that utilize sexual energy to open the body to higher states of consciousness. For those who practice BDSM, we already know that this too is a powerful vehicle for opening us up to altered states of mind. As Barbara Carrellas writes in the chapter Kinky Twisted Tantra, from The Ultimate Guide to Kink:
“Both are erotic arts of consciousness. Both arts add intensity to life and sex. Both embrace a wide variety of powerful consensual practices. Both Tantric and BDSM rituals are about raising erotic energy. Both practices involve conscious giving and receiving. Both encourage risks – either physical or emotional. Both erotic arts encourage personal freedom, individuality, and imagination. And both produce trance states, and transcendental, transformational experiences.”
I’m excited to be weaving together these threads in My upcoming workshop Tantra and BDSM: Pathways to Embodiment and Ecstasy. With these principles in mind, we’ll be exploring techniques for expanding our embodied awareness in scene, and developing better intuition to connect with our partner(s).
But before we dive into techniques, it’s important that we understand some of the factors that can limit our pleasure capacity. First and foremost, we live in a culture that primarily values left-brained rational thinking, and gives us little opportunity to be in tune with our bodies (which primarily takes place in the right brain, and throughout other neural plexuses in the soma). In basic terms, we are stuck in our heads and dissociated from the body. Another factor is stress, which causes our nervous systems to be in a chronically activated fight or flight state, and therefore limits our ability to be in touch with pleasure and sensation. Tantra’s emphasis on breath and body awareness helps us undo this negative programming and relax into a more embodied and intuitive state.
For those looking to begin exploring this during play, what follows are some basic techniques to help you get started.
Connect with your own body
Our bodies are the vehicle through which we experience life. When we are distracted, caught up in thoughts, and ruminating over the daily drama of life, we are unable to experience the kaleidoscope of sensory input that is occurring at all times. This headiness creates a numbing effect throughout the body. And when we are numb to our own sensations, we become numb to others, and our capacity for pleasure is greatly diminished.
Before beginning any scene or sexual encounter, it’s a useful practice to simply place your hands on your lower belly and take a few deep breaths. Allow your lower belly to expand as you inhale. Gradually try to slow down your breath and let go of your thoughts. Focus on the sensations of your breath.
Breathing into your lower belly has two beneficial effects. First, it helps activate the parasympathetic (aka rest and relax) nervous system, which physiologically broadens our capacity for sensory awareness. Second, it activates the pelvic diaphragm and massages all the nerves that terminate there, effectively waking up your pelvic region. That’s right, foreplay begins with your breath.
Connect with your partner’s body
According to the esoteric teachings of Tantra we are all fundamentally made of energy. As such, we are all vibrating at a certain frequency and are constantly in flux depending on our thoughts, emotions and physical state.
What makes for great chemistry between two people is when they effectively calibrate to each other; that is, they are tuned into each other on a physical and energetic level and can flow together effortlessly. Of course, in order to tune into another being, we must first be tuned into ourselves. Once we have cleared our own mind, we can begin attuning to our play partner.
One of the most effective ways for two people to connect is to place one hand on each other’s body and synchronize your breath. In a Tantric setting this is usually done in an egalitarian style, however in a kink scene a dominant may demand that a submissive calibrate to them. And rather than standing face to face for example, the dominant may firmly hold the submissive from behind, already embodying their respective roles through body language. The possibilities and variations are endless, but the main goal is to physically connect and drop into a felt sense of the other person.
Taking a moment to truly relax into this state without any need to rush ahead into the scene can be profoundly grounding and create a powerful container of trust. It also allows us to drop into an intuitive state of feeling the other person with our whole body, and moving from a primal place of knowing, rather than thinking our way through the scene.
Practicing just these two foundational techniques can have a phenomenal impact on the quality of your scene. We’ll be covering this and going much deeper in My upcoming workshop, Feb 3rd, 2018. If you’re curious to learn more, reserve your spot early as space is limited.
One of My greatest joys in life is guiding people on ecstatic, embodied journeys of surrender. If you’re ready to dive in to a one-on-one private session, you can get in touch with Me through the Studio Ludus’ BOOKING PAGE.