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Your Guide to Gender Energies in Tantra

Jana believes that the spice of life can be found in the exploration of other cultures, good food, and wine.


The God and Goddess

In Tantra, male and female energies are represented by a god and goddess. This pair, Lord Shiva and his consort, the goddess Shakti, often appear in oriental art where they show unbridled affection for each other. They are wrapped around each other while standing, sitting or even dancing. Together, this Hindu couple stands for perfection, but on their own, Shiva and Shakti are also symbols that reflect traits of masculine and feminine energies.

Shiva Is Strength

The god also represents the following:

  • A powerful creator.
  • Bliss and ecstasy.

Shakti Is Smart

The supple Shakti is not only beautiful and a good dancer, but she also harbours the following qualities:

  • The essence of energy.
  • Wisdom.
The tantra way asks that a couple respect each other as deeply as they would their favourite sacred deity.

The tantra way asks that a couple respect each other as deeply as they would their favourite sacred deity.

The Divine in Your Partnership

A pair of happy gods is dandy and all. But what do they have to do with us mere mortals? By now, you must have realized that tantra loves symbols. Not only does Shiva stand for men and Shakti for women (an obvious one there), but it goes deeper. Their union represents a couple's worship of each other. In other words, Tantra practitioners must treat their partner with the same respect shown to a god or goddess—no pedestal required.

Pedestals have no place in an equal, respectful bond. However, there is an element of surrender involved; to the god or goddess in your loved one and also yourself. This “surrender” is more of an opening of the chest and expelling suspicion. Many of us, especially when it comes to relationships and sex, suspect ulterior motives in our partners or behave in a certain way that is not our authentic selves. Opening yourself to your sacredness, and your mate's, brings a wonderful instinctive spontaneity that leads to fun and wisdom.

A Closer Look at Yang and Yin

Also known as the male energy force in Eastern traditions, Yang stands for several manly bullet points. Here they are:

  • Father.
  • Heaven and sky.
  • Force.
  • Penetration.
  • Logic.
  • Light and heat.

Yin, the female force, is always the opposite and can range from the less desirable to the more respectable elements:

  • Weakness.
  • Darkness.
  • Nurture.
  • Mother.
  • Earth.
  • Receptive.
  • Cold.

Unfortunately, it has become all too common to see Yin and Yang as opposing forces in a dual world. It is definitely not that one-dimensional. Yin and Yang are two equal energies within the same space, be it a body, a relationship, society or the world.

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When one is off-keel, the symptoms are very clear – illness, war, people suffering because of another's beliefs or actions. For example, in a house or society where there's too much Yang, women are often suppressed or abused. Too much Yin can lead to indecisive or stagnant situations. Both masculine and feminine energies are needed for balance and not just in the Tantric bedroom. Yang brings action and Yin yields it with wisdom.

Tantra Fights Gender Stereotypes

Traditionally, men and women have always been pigeon-holed according to their gender. Even in modern life, stereotypes persist. Whether you are a man or a woman, you've probably encountered times when it felt good to be your gender. Perhaps you were complimented on your strength or beauty.

But more often than not, gender was used against you. That uncle who told you not to cry because you're a boy, but you just fell off 12 steps and broke 17 bones. You know, don't cry. Or that well-despised phrase, “You're not allowed because you're a girl/woman.” Both genders take swats at each other but once again, whenever that happens, the swatter's energies are unbalanced, and he or she religiously pushes that imbalance down on those who don't fit their fractured views.

Sometimes, the uninitiated view Yin as too girly and not as the powerful energy it truly is. Practitioners understand that when a man needs to increase his Yin, it doesn't mean he must now wear a dress. Yin is a hesitation before anger, consideration before impulse and refusal in the face of a harmful vice.

Instead of taking the male/female polarity in a literal sense and creating stereotypes that limit and even destroy lives, Tantra balances the energies as a powerful unit. It does not turn girls into boys or men into women. Tantra vanquishes fears, problems and unhappiness born from the overload of one energy. In the end, Tantric practitioners celebrate their physical gender but not at the cost of the other. Women are given the respect they deserve and men receive the acknowledgement that too many people search for in the wrong places, behaviours, and friends.

Why Opposites Attract

Each of us has admired somebody who is completely different. A girl raised in a home where her confidence wasn't a priority might be dazzled by the first daring and carefree teenager who comes along. Her Yang is lacking (no confidence) and he radiates Yang like a sun. Since she seeks this missing energy in him, the girl fails to notice his lack of Yin; he's selfish, makes sexist jokes with his friends and makes all the decisions. Only when her energies equalize is she able to step back and realize the situation is unhealthy.

Apart from this example, opposites can and do make fantastic partners. One can be very “Yang” without being abusive or selfish, or very “Yin” without being weak or submissive. But both cases, whether it is falling in love with the right or wrong opposite, come down to the same thing—you are drawn to that individual's abundant Yin or Yang because it happens to be stronger in them.

Tantra and Desire

Desire is to want something (or someone) because you believe that possession equals good feelings. That hot babe will boost your self-esteem. That dashing guy is perfect to be your knight in shining armour. Both are knee-jerk reactions to society's grooming of boys and girls. Get the girl. Wait for your knight.

This mindset is exciting but has no depth. Partners expect the other to play the role of babe or knight in order to fulfil a fantasy - which is not fair. Nobody can rescue you or boost your self-esteem forever. Superficial attractions are weak energies that cannot last. Sooner or later, the realization dawns that babes and knights are people and not the fix-it-all props that society had promised. Usually, the partner is then blamed, dumped and the search begins all over again. The truth is that neediness and the possession of another never satisfies. It's tail-chasing at its best.

In Tantra, energies are never mined from a lover to satisfy one's own lack or hunger. The Tantric novice is taught to first balance his or her own energies until they abandon the desperation that haunts so many singles and couples. Once this is achieved, these well-balanced energies are shared with another Tantric partner instead of demanding or clinging, which leads to healthier relationships.

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.

Questions & Answers

Question: I’m a submissive male leaning towards a feminine energy. I’m not a cross dresser or trans. I look masculine and love being a man, but have deep desires to surrender to female energy and power. I want to know if there is some sort of class or coach that can teach a man to surrender his masculine identity and embrace a softer more feminine energy with my female partner who accepts and loves my submissive female side?

Answer: The best way to embrace your own powerful female energy is to explore tantra. This ancient art is very flexible. Some people use it to balance their male and female energies, but others (like you) become tantrics to develop the energy opposite their physical gender. This is very healthy, since the suppression of one energy — especially the female — leads to a host of problems such as aggression, violence and the suppression of others. However, nourish your male side as well. A balanced masculinity is invaluable and can be gained by men and women.

Start by reading more about tantra. There are some great free books available online for you to explore. Tantra is honestly the best, safest arena for anyone to unfold their gender energies. In addition, this is also a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your partner. If you decide to take a tantra class, please do your research to find one you are comfortable with. They need to be open to your desire of wanting to embrace feminine energy specifically. Good luck and once again thank you for a very interesting question.

© 2018 Jana Louise Smit

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