Jana believes that the spice of life can be found in the exploration of other cultures, good food, and wine.
Make Sure it's Selfless
Asking somebody to do something in a sexual sense should always be approached with the utmost respect. The moment a request is selfish, things sour. You'll know it's a bit selfish when your partner isn't sure or refuses and you get angry. Disappointment is fine, anger is not. If you do experience anger, then treat it as your issue to understand and grow from, not something to guilt your partner into submitting. There's no such thing as coercion between true tantric partners. The difficult part of being human is that most of us (alright, everyone except the Dalai Lama), often feel a near-automatic tiny spark of anger when we really want something and it's denied. Before approaching a partner, the best thing you can do is to first understand your motives. Do you truly want the incredible emotional bond that tantra can bring or just the sex promised in some crystals-and-tarot magazine article? Ask yourself if you are willing to commit to the lifestyle — one demanding much more than just lovemaking. Ask yourself if it's fair to expect this change from your partner.
Which One Are You?
When tantra enters the picture, couples can be on different pages in different ways. For more clarity, identify below that which describes your situation the best.
- You read a few articles, books or had your interest piqued in some other way. Your partner has no idea you want him or her to join you on this journey
- Both of you are interested but don't know how the other really feels about tantra or whether it's suitable for the relationship
- You raised the subject but your partner cannot decide
- You raised the subject and your partner refused
1. Suggesting Tantra for the First Time
When making the big move on your partner, make sure to arrive with answers. Verse yourself well in the ways, benefits and especially the misconceptions that surround tantra. You need to be ready to respond in an enthusiastic and informed manner should your beloved want to know more. It won't hurt to bring along some kind of material, like a good book or DVD. However, only hand it over should they be interested. Then, suggest that they peruse and digest the information in their own time. This removes pressure for a quick answer. When somebody is allowed to step back, book or DVD in hand, and they get the chance to explore the art alone and then answer, chances are that they will respond a lot more positively. Also, your partner might be more receptive if the question, “What do you think about this?” or something similarly non-demanding is used. As opposed to sitting them down with a face serious enough to activate their emotional fences.
Something to do Together
2. Exploring Together
Alright, your significant other agreed to your new interest or perhaps, the two of you were triggered at the same time. Maybe a friend mentioned it, you watched a documentary together or the thought of starting a tantric relationship has always been bounced around. This is the easiest kind of situation you can hope to find yourself in, despite that it has its own challenges. Your partner is already interested! The best way to deal with this kind of situation is to make it a fun thing to explore as a couple. Start on safe grounds; read, watch or attend classes aimed at the novice. Discuss and apply the small things. The secret to success is being chatty. Both must agree beforehand that tantric study is your safe space to voice likes and dislikes about the art. Eventually, this brings about the balance that initiates the beginning of a happy couple.
3. When Your Paramour isn't Sure
It is important to look behind the uncertainty. Factors that drive it can include feelings of vulnerability, fearing expensive training or negative associations with sex in general. When you are faced with lingering indecisiveness, little dragons might rear their heads (anger, disappointment, frustration), but always lead with respect. When listening to a partner's reservations with compassion, a discussion can last to the point of a reaching a decision and not a fight or uncomfortable silence. Make sure they understand there's enough space and time to decide.
Also, explain the benefits of tantra. Besides amazing lovemaking, it has additional health and mental perks. Explain, with patience, why you feel it might better them, yourself and the relationship. Just don't make it something that “corrects” your partner in some way. This will not score points. For example, don't say, “I think you can do with a tantric lifestyle because your temper is short.” Fine, you have a stressed out, moody significant other. Rather, highlight the free stress-buster that is tantra. Explain that tantric stress relief doesn't always have to do with sex-induced feel-good hormones. Tantra can help practitioners cope with life's harsh realities. Whatever you do, don't keep nagging for a decision.
4. When it's Time to Back Off
Dealing with refusal has its benefits. Yes, you read that right. Benefits. But let's run through the inevitable sentence first — you explained tactfully, provided the most informative material you could and frankly, couldn't have done a better job. Then, your partner says, “Nope.” As in, that negative is so iron-clad, if it dropped into a river, it would crack the bottom. First and foremost, don't let it become an issue. Make sure your partner understands that you accept the refusal without strings and without a guilt trip. Every person has his or her own path. Tantra might be yours and not your lover's. That's fine. Believe it or not, but many couples flourish despite that only one of them is a practicing tantric. Therein lies the benefits. Committing to solitary tantra provides equal perks. It will improve health, make you a more patient parent, more creative in your life, persistent with your dreams and a fantastic partner.
What if a Partner Condemns the Practice?
Sometimes, the suggestion of tantra might cause somebody to react as if you asked to barbecue the family dog. Or baby. They refuse to talk about it or when you follow your own tantric path, they demand that you stop this nonsense. Many tantric teachers suggest you take this conflict in your stride, that the topic merely provoked pre-existing repressed relationship problems. Great, they say, here's your chance to resolve them. It's fine to tell a student that, but they don't have to deal with the domestic situation that follows. You need clarity, not conflict. What's more important to you, the relationship or tantra? What does this tell you about your partner's character, or your own? Should you feel convinced that tantra is your path, one arrives at a pivotal moment hinged on tough decisions. As blunt as it sounds, all the advice in the world doesn't matter — you must decide what happens next. Think hard. Choose. Then take responsibility for it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit