WHY IS GAY TANTRA SO TABOO?

Why is gay tantra so taboo? It’s time to call an end to the dogma of patriarchy and traditional gender roles, says Lisa Luxx

Credit: Concha on Behance

Here we are at a mountain top tantric yoga retreat on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. The love of all my lives is trembling in zen beside me. Class is about to adjourn after our first day and it’s been enlightening; a breath of fresh mountain air into the depth of my ‘yoni’ after a year of undiagnosed vulva pain and gender delusions.

Then the goddess leading the workshop goes and says something that brings the screeching banshee of psychosexual trauma right back. “Your homework is to think about having sex with the opposite sex.” A fellow dyke raises her hand and asks, “Why has it got to be the opposite sex?” The goddess, unmoving, diverts her eye line from the gays and announces stoically, “Because tantra is for man and woman.”

Oh. I wonder why no one ever told me that before. I’d e-mailed the school ahead to tell them, “My girlfriend and I would like to do the practical tantra retreat,” and they opened their pockets wide for us to dispense our money. But they never said, “Tantra is for man and woman.”

On our walk home my girlfriend expresses how uncomfortable she is to have been given these instructions, I argue that it’s probably okay, trying to diffuse the upset. And start to think about having sex with men. It plays out like a Kung Fu fight in my head until some element gets thrown through the stain glass windows of my eyes and I see in front of me that it’s way too 2016 for this kind of disheartening heteronormativity.

It seems, this super straight approach to tantra comes from the misled belief that Shiva and Shakti literally represent man and woman. However, I got mulling this over with my friend Stephanie (who’s written a book called Sex Drive on liberating her orgasm) and she introduced me to the cult icon Barbara Carrellas who wrote the first ever book on queer tantra: Urban Tantra.

“Shiva and Shakti, in Hindu tantric philosophy, are actually huge entities representing consciousness (Shiva) and energy (Shakti). When Shakti and Shiva had sexual intercourse it gave birth to the world. How this got confused with vagina and penis, I do not know,” Barbara explains on the phone to me, after I’ve returned to England.

Back at Hridaya in Mexico, Antoaneta’s teaching became more cracked and twisted as we went on. By the second day she had termed, and continued to refer to, the clit as the “little penis.” An offensive that landed like the shells of warfare in the trenches of my creed.

I’ve toured spoken word performances that educate women on the facts that may empower their clit and one facet of this is that the clit is not small; it can extend up to 9 inches within us. The clits of many straight women will be bigger than their partner’s dick.

The course leader – who began the retreat glowing in light and by now had morphed into this disheveled, haggered devil of a being – proceeded to laugh off lesbian sex as something that only happens in yoni therapy, not a real manifestation of love on this earth. We walked out. My girlfriend cried all the way back to our cabana.

The next day we bumped into another lady from the course who was quite distressed. She told us she too was gay and what we’d missed in the final day was a ceremony whereby many unknown men had entered the space. Men who had not been on the course but who were marched in to save any woman having to pair up with another woman during the sensual massage.

This lady we spoke to, who we’ll call Kirsty, had left in floods of tears, “I feel stupid because I don’t know why I came back to tantra. I thought it was worth giving another chance but discrimination is all I’ve ever experienced at tantra schools.”

When I spoke to my queer friends about my experiences in Mexico, they had all nodded solemnly and said, “Yeah, homophobia is a real problem in mainstream tantra.” And, that was the key lesson for me to learn; there is a mainstream tantra, which doesn’t have the social awareness that some of us expect.

For anyone who has ever experienced ‘energy genitals’ they’ll know that the line between owning a dick and a pussy can be smudged. I’ve had a dick before. Insomuch as I’ve felt the erection rise from my pelvis and enter my girlfriend, and she’s felt it inside her. I wouldn’t have had the linguistics to explain this before speaking to Barbara, who coined the term ‘energy genitals’.

“There is a position called Yab Yum where the person on the bottom could have a physical possession of a vagina and the person on top could have a physical penis. But the person with the vagina experiences a penis. Once they start rocking and holding eye contact the man feels he’s being penetrated by the woman.”

This is a genderless phenomenon. And for someone who exists in the grey area between genders and doesn’t always feel wholly assigned to the physical sexual design given unto me, tantra appealed because it focuses on energy rather than physicality. And tantra does exist as beautifully open as that. Barbara Carrellas runs her own courses which allows for magic to happen off-script.

For example, “One guy came to a women’s class because he couldn’t make it to another. So he was doing the breathing technique for women and he was flying just as far and as fast as any women in the room. To which I realised, there’s a lot to this I don’t understand and I think I’m being fed a lot of myths and lies.”

The Radical Faeries, once a gay male counter-culture network in the US is now opening up to all gender and sexual identities. Within their discourse is tantric teachings. The network has now spread globally too.

When one embarks upon a tantra course they lay themselves open and become ultra vulnerable, any teacher who is insensitive or who makes you feel invisible can emboss serious damage within you.

It’s important to find a workshop leader that is emotionally equipped to the complexities of sexual identity. When humans come together and open themselves up in a small space it’s bound to get messy and as my friend Jessie says “you just have to hope for a great facilitator”.

Jessie is part of women’s only tantric program called Shakti Tantra which she tells me is a great place to heal. But the divide should not be a must for us to feel safe. For any tantric workshop to serve its purpose it needs to be free of patriarchal dogmas. That doesn’t mean being free of men.

Ask lots of questions before you book your space on a course: will I get split up from my partner, will I have to be paired up with anyone I don’t want to, will I have to reveal details about my sexual past, and so on. If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for then keep searching for the right tantra course. There are retreats friendly to all persuasions, genders and sexualities (including polyamorous types).

Tantra began as a deliberately transgressive art form. It was the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll of its day. It was a political movement. So take these homogenous tantra fundamentalists with a pinch of salt and reclaim the art form. As Barbara says: If you want to practise the semen retention that’s fine but, don’t tell the rest of us that’s the only way to do it!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION, AND MORPHING INTO TRUDIE

I finally tried transcendental meditation, hit up a NYFW zen-den, and decided we must be morphing into Sting & Trudie Styler…Main photo: Ruvan Wijesooriya

:: MONDAY ::
This week has been A LOT about meditation, beginning with a visit to Numinous writer Ellie Burrows’s MNDFL meditation studio in downtown NYC. Ellie and her business partner Lodro Rinzler opened up shop in November, offering New Yorkers in need a space to come breathe – that also looks and smells divine, and has Rishi tea on tap. “But when are you coming to Brooklyn?” I whined, since as beautiful as the MNDFL experience is I can’t see myself getting on a subway to go meditate. Or maybe I should take a leaf out of one member’s book, who travels in from Willamsburg to attend two classes per day – now that’s what you call a dedicated practice.

Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler of MNDFL

:: TUESDAY ::
Speaking of which, having dabbled with various meditation techniques over the past five years, I have yet to find one that’s stuck. Mindfulness, zen Buddhist meditation, the Headspace app…I’ve lasted a few months with each at best. And then there was transcendental meditation (TM), which I always figured had to be the real deal since it demands two 20-minute sessions per day, but was always totally intimidated by for the same reason. Until I met Bob Roth from the David Lynch Foundation, who tried to convince me that actually TM was an effortless technique. Well this was the week I took him up on his offer to teach me and…WOW. Effortless IS the word (who knew?), and even a few days in I’m like: why would I not maintain this practice in my life? It’s like I can literally feel my body being de-programed of stress at a cellular level while I sit.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
The limited edition astrology collection by Christian Louboutin for Moda Operandi. That is all.

:: THURSDAY ::
A blissful start to New York Fashion Week at the Serene x Bandier pop-up SereneHouse – a totally high-vibe zen den at fitness fashion store Bandier’s new Fifth Avenue space, Studio B. Oh who am I kidding, I don’t do NYFW (TF), and basically swung by to say hi to beautiful Serene Social founder Millana Snow, who curated the space, get me some reiki and grab a juice from The Butcher’s Daughter on the way to my next TM session. And if you’re in NYC this weekend, I suggest you do the same. The full event line-up is at the bottom of the post and you can RSVP here to reserve a spot.

:: FRIDAY ::
So when the Pisces (husband) and I first got it together BACK IN 1999 (see main pic), we were basically Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue in this music video. Then we got married and went through a kinda David and Victoria Beckham phase (mainly me helping him work on his look). As for our latest incarnation? Well we’ve given up booze and eat mainly plant-based, and we meditate together when we wake up. Our plans for V-day: “fancy trying tantric sex?” he asked last night. Which can only mean our metamorphosis into the next Sting ‘n’ Trudie must almost be complete 🙂

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: SHIVA ROSE

Meet Shiva Rose, Earth mother and holistic creatrix, and discover the fashion and beauty finds that rock her Mystical world…

“We escaped Iran when I was ten years old, one cold winter night as the country was in the throes of a bloody revolution. We traveled to Germany, then London and finally to California, where my mother and her family is from. We settled in LA.”

So speaks actress, activist and curator Shiva Rose, whose lifestyle blog and online store The Local Rose celebrates her local community of artisan makers and mystics. And it was going from “a childhood nurtured on imagination and nature to life as a refugee,” that in fact fueled her passion for fashion and paved the way for her current incarnation as a woman dedicated to promoting a holistic, healthy and authentic lifestyle.

“I was a bit shy and awkward, and the trauma of escaping a revolution didn’t help. My refuge and escape from this reality was immersing myself in what I loved best, which was old European/Hollywood films and great books. I fell in love with story telling and being told stories,” she says. “I feel today I do this with each product I create and curate. The story behind the power of the ingredients rules me.”

Shiva Rose currently lives with her two daughters, Colette Blu, 19 and Charlotte Rumi, 10, in the Santa Monica Mountains, where the family is virtually self-sufficient. In itself an important part of her evolution as a woman.

“I feel like I have only become an adult in the last five years. There have been immense challenges and yet I have so much strength now that things that I couldn’t even dream of doing a few years ago are a welcome treat now. Things like fighting off a pack of coyotes that are trying to get my chickens by the light of the moon in my garden!”

The most vital lesson of all on her life path, however; “is that i have finally realized no one is going to make me happy unless I am happy, content and fulfilled on my own.”

Here’s a peek into the Mystical World of Shiva Rose, Earth Mama and Material Girl.

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
“Clothes designed and made by my community like Awave/Awake and Rachel Craven.”

Awave Awake Fall 2015 collection

My shoes
“Celine on a fancy day. Hand made moccasins most days.”

Manitobah handmade moccasins, $149

My scent
“Faith Essential Oil (on my site shop) or Rose oil from Amma.”

Essential Faith Oil, $65

My jewels
“Tantric pearls worn through meditation to soak up the high vibrations.”

Tantric Meditation Pearls, $595, Nine Treasures

My pampering
“Daily evening goddess baths with my handmade Moon Rose Salts and then my Nectar Body Oil.”

Rose Moon Sea Salts, $50, The Local Rose

My home
“Minimal astral treehouse!”

My food
“Organic and hand picked from my garden ~ fresh salads and fruit crumble with raw cream.”

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My Awakening
“I awake before my children and creatures so I can have a few cups of Living Tea in meditative silence. If I am bending time that day, I will do a few Kundalini sets.”

My sign
“Aquarius with a Scorpio Moon, thus the dance between light and dark.”

My mantra
“Wahe Guru” and “I am Love.”

My guru
“Mama Earth and Father Sky.”

My reading
“So much to devour and learn. At the moment Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams; books on bee keeping, and The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy.”

My transformation
“So many, I’m always evolving and transforming ~ but the most recent when I got divorced 7 years ago, and my life broke apart and then open.”

My mission
“To raise compassionate daughters, to walk in beauty every day, to be a custodian of Mama Earth.”

Read more about Shiva Rose and shop her collections at Thelocalrose.com

SEXUAL HEALING: FINDING F***ING ENLIGHTENMENT

Bad sex is no joke. It’s time for a little in the way of sexual healing, says Hanna BierImages: From Sexual Orgasms 1-10 by Romain Gorisse via Behance.net

A large proportion of the people I know are willing to settle for “blah” when it comes to sex. My spirit sister once told me about her first time having sex in a bunk bed of an Australian hostel. She basically said: “Well, I knew I had to get it over with sooner or later anyways. I was young, so I thought, what the heck.”

I’m sorry, but to me this sounds a lot like self-rape, the social acceptance of which is alarmingly high. Because to me, saying “yes” to any kind of sex that isn’t rooted in complete transcendence and sexual rapture is an act of self-violence. Sex is a sacred act! Why would we want to settle for anything less than mind-blowing, life-altering boner sessions?

But as the saying goes; “Sex is like pizza, even if it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” And so no wonder there’s an epidemic of 15-minute fucks, with only the privileged / lucky few having been awakened to the power of a three-hour sexual prayer.

Before I broke up with my first boyfriend, I was clueless about sexual misery. He happily took care of me for four to five hours, not stopping until my body gave up and my mind, body and flesh had been thoroughly penetrated.

And it wasn’t because he was overly experienced or had taken a gazillion tantric seminars before we had sex. It was actually quite the opposite, and simply that he was totally in tune with his cock. He was the kind of skilful that can only come from total sexual innocence. He fucked with his heart, his mind unpolluted from pop culture’s pornographic mentality. He was fully present, just doing his thing. Over, and over, and over again.

How could I have known that such wholehearted banging was actually a rarity? But since him, I have yet to find a lover who’s given me even a fraction of what he was capable of.

This discovery truly shattered me. I began to see the feminine energy around me shrinking and turning pale. I noticed the male getting limp and giving up way too soon. This sexual inadequacy manifested as stilted creativity. A loss of perseverance. Power mistaken for bitchiness. Attention mistaken for weakness.

And it’s infuriating just how ingrained the idea is that the female has to orgasm within 30 minutes, and keep quiet while doing so.

Because the biggest healing potential for the feminine archetype lies in deep and thorough fucking, and there’s no way a lady can find enlightenment in a half-hour lunch break fling. No wonder she backs out and would rather settle for no sex than intercourse that feels more like being poked or stabbed.

Every time we have bad sex, our consciousness is injured in some way, and if we don’t make efforts to heal ourselves from that, our capacity for enlightenment is severely constricted. Which basically means, bad sex = longer soul journey. And we don’t really want that, do we?

So when considering your next sexual encounter, here’s how to not rape yourself…

As a woman:
– Spend time smelling and tasting the person you are sleeping with. Ideally, you’d want to chug your lovers cum and sweat. Our body liquids are nature’s love potions. They contain all information we need in order to workout if the person we’re about to merge with is sexually compatible with us. And if they are, just a drop of their elixir will send us off into the void.
– Notice your vagina giving you signals that she’s truly ready. She needs to be fully lubricated, aching to be penetrated, and energetically sucking in the finger/penis/tongue.
– Now your only task is to open. If you can’t, something’s off. Your vagina is like a compass, pointing you away from spiritually violent sex by not wetting and not opening up. This is alarmingly obvious, yet so often ignored advice. I wouldn’t have to give sixth grade sex-ed pointers if it weren’t necessary. So trust her when she says no. Get ready to break when she says yes.
– In short, if it’s not a “fuck yes”, is a “fuck no.”

As a man:
– Wait to be invited. You can only safely enter a person to the extent that your counterpart sucks you in. Every time you push to open a gate, you violate yourself and your partner. By feeling for the opening and waiting for the call, you give permission for complete surrender by your partner.
– Be aware that the more she gets to open, the more deeply you get to penetrate. So play with it, advance a little and then wait to see if there’s a pull. If there is, go further.
– Practice stamina. Bend life over and fuck it senseless. Over and over and over again. Every time you finish early or give up before you’ve truly penetrated what asked to be penetrated, you are selling yourself sexually short.
– The male archetype enters a higher sexual order when he has perfected the skills of easing the female open. Think of it as opening her legs open, her heart, and her brain. And then keeping her there, until she surrenders just a little more to spill all of herself, losing herself completely in the torment of her sexual awakening.

Do you agree? Or is there something to be said for sex that’s short and sweet? Connect with us and share if you dare on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Find out more about Hanna Bier and her work at FreeSpirited.co

THE NUMI YEAR IN REVIEW: BEST OF 2014

2014 has been a year of SELF-EXAMINATION, TRANSFORMATION and ADVENTURE! Here are 11 posts that made us laugh, gasp, cry…and take a good long look at our lives from the inside (listed in no particular order of awesomeness).

1. YOGI VEGAN LEZ: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

The yoga was the fun part…

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

2. TURNED ON: THE TANTRA OF ONLINE DATING

Dancing between masculine and feminine…

Ellie Burrows is pretty sure she’s discovered the secret to online dating. And it’s Tantra. Not super-connected, total body orgasm, tantric sex – rather the energetic concept that makes that kind of sex possible: a balance of the masculine and feminine energies.

3. NEED-TO-KNOW: YOUR SPIRIT POWER ANIMAL

Feel so much more powerful knowing he’s on my side…

Dealing with a situation that had left her feeling vulnerable and alone, when Ruby Warrington met her spirit power animal last year…it got emotional. Here’s how to connect with your own beast of the wild unknown.

4. TO SKINNY DIP OR NOT TO SKINNY DIP: KNOW YOUR YOGA RTREAT ETIQUETTE

No hiding behind your hair all week…

Yay, you’re going on a yoga retreat! You want to get the most out of your experience, right? Who better than Heather Lilleston and Kumi Sawyers fromYoga For Bad People to lay down some summer retreat etiquette. We’re talking less freaking out, more more F.U.N.

5. KUNDALINI CALLING: HEAVEN ON EARTH WITH GURU JAGAT

Guru Jagat shot in Venice Beach by Lisandra Valazquez

Guru Jagat is the outspoken face behind the Ra Ma Institute, the only all kundalini yoga studio in California’s Venice Beach. She talks to Madeline Giles about her vision for the Age of Aquarius, life on the 33rd parallel and outsmarting the Global Elite. Conspiracy theories or conscious debate?

6. DARK FAIRY DELIRIUM: WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A GEMINI

Image by Bela Borsodi for Document Journal

Right after a powerful New Moon in multi-faceted Gemini, gifting us an opportunity to embrace the quicksilver side of ourselves, Nadia Noir gives an insight into a life spent searching for “the other me.”

7. THE NU RULES: ATTRACT THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP FOR YOU

See yourself through your lover’s eyes…

Can’t seem to attract the right relationship? It’s not him, honey, it’s you. Jennifer Kass re-writes The Rules, beginning with a lesson in self-love…

8. 26 LIFE LESSONS MY BURNING MAN EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME

Ruby and her husband Simon on the Playa…

Connfession: My Burning Man Experience was too full-on to be called fun, says Ruby Warrington. But when it comes to life lessons, a week on the Playa delivered pure gold.

9. SPIRITUAL AWAKENING: THE REBIRTHING OF BROOKE CANDY

Image: Brooke Candy’s Instagram account

Lessons in Kabbalah with Madonna and a “little spiritual trip to Hawaii.” Brooke Candy tells Ruby Warrington how following a more “soulful” path has been a lesson in self-love…

10. BEYOND BFFS: HOW TO CREATE A COVEN

Cara and her coven, photographed by Richard Bush for i-D magazine

Something very special happens when women come together in ceremony. Erin Telford explains how to create a Coven – and bonds that run deep as blood.

11. ORGASMIC MEDITATION: INSIDE THE CULT OF CLIT

Orgasm as spiritual exchange…

Empowering women’s movement, or de facto sex cult? Dani Katz gets intimate with the practise known as Orgasmic Meditation…

TURNED ON: THE TANTRA OF ONLINE DATING

In the second instalment of her brilliant column on sex and spirituality, Ellie Burrows takes a Tantric approach to online dating…

I’m pretty sure I discovered the secret to online dating.

And it’s Tantra.

I’m not talking about super-connected, total body orgasm, tantric sex. I’m talking about the energetic concept that makes that kind of sex possible: balance of the masculine and feminine energies. Let me explain.

After getting out of a very intense five-year relationship, I actually took a year off from dating altogether. At the end of the year, I met a lovely lawyer in LA who subsequently flew to New York City to woo me. The weekend was wonderful. He really had his shit together, but one night lying naked in bed he called me a “stallion” – and I knew as soon as he uttered that word that we weren’t a match.

The part of me that was also a mare shuddered. But to his credit, the dating experience was so positive it got me back in the saddle and over my fear of opening up my sacred sexual energy to a new partner. I wanted to repeat it many times over with all different kinds of men. And that the fastest way for me to accomplish this was to bite the bullet and get online.

Almost immediately my inbox was flooded with hundreds of messages from dudes who:

1. Hadn’t actually read my profile: “hey sexy ;-)”

2. Were clever but weren’t particularly attractive: “Multiple photos of you in leggings before 11am. Thank you.”

3. Were so totally wrong for me (and also crazy, with really poor grammar): “So I was reading your profile and then I was like goddammit…this always happens every time, I’m reading some nice girl like your selfs profile and then I remember I didn’t check your diet…Bam! I know I’m fucked before I even look, she’s going to be a god damned vegan, CRAP! Then by some magical stroke of luck or maybe the stars have aligned in my favor I see, I see: “Strictly Anything”…fucking finally a girl who isn’t a new age picky bitch, thank god! Hi I’m Johnny, its nice to meet you.”

Where was the quality? Where were the guys that I would actually want to meet and touch in person? The discerning, thoughtful men weren’t sending messages to every chick on the site. Then I remembered three very important things.

1. I’m a class act. And if I’m online, then my equal is probably online, too.

2. Insecurity is not gender specific, and rejection is scary.

3. We all have egos that need to be stroked once in a while.

As I browsed through the online shopping mall of men, I realized my approach needed to evolve. Big time. What if the right men weren’t reaching out to me because they thought they might get rejected? What if they needed me to reach out to them? After all, my profile status was set to “Replies Very Selectively”. This was going to require a serious shift in consciousness. So like everywhere else in my life, I decided to approach it from a spiritual perspective.

When it comes to love and sex, Tantra is my subtext. And Tantra embraces opposites, playing with concepts of light and dark, attraction and repulsion, hot and cold, and obviously, male and female.

As Osho writes in The Book of Secrets; “Tantra says that when the ultimate bliss and ecstasy comes inside you, it means your own positive and negative pole have come to a meeting – because every man is both man and woman, and every woman is both is both man and woman. You are born not only from woman or from man, you are born out of a meeting of the opposites.”

Now do me a favor and look between your legs. Seriously, look. Imagine what’s underneath those jeans…Now, completely forget what you just imagined. We’re all over the spectrum, people. There are masculine and feminine energies in all of us despite what our genitals tell us. Male energy is about focus, purpose, and drive. Female energy is about creativity, nurture, and radiance. ALL of those qualities are in EVERYONE. However, sometimes we get our energetic wires crossed when it comes to the dating dance and we can short circuit.

In 1995 the authors of The Rules, claimed that the male must be the sole initiator when it comes to dating. Yet according to ancient tantric rituals, the female is deeply revered and considered an initiator of sorts. She’s the creator. So you see, either the male or female energy can initiate. The feminine is always on the receiving side of the masculine penetration, but in Tantra “penetration” and “initiation” are two different things, and that’s where we get confused.

Having wrapped my head around this, I was now ready to send out some serious digital fuck me eyes.

My first online date was EPIC. A dreamy Vintner from Northern California (match 97%) was visiting the city and geo-locating attractive ladies using a feature called Quickmatch. Basically, the equivalent of telling me I was hot but not being bold enough to send a message.

I showed his photo to my friend Sarah who was staying with me for the week. Call it kismet, fate, even divine intervention, she responded; “Oh my God, I know him. That dude is amazing. I did some day-drinking with him a couple months ago in L.A. You need to message him.”

I dreaded sending my first message, but I knew it was all in the name of Tantra: “Small world moment of my day. Sarah was overlooking my shoulder when your face popped up on my quickmatch. She says you’re good stock.”

I gave no name. No mention of his profile. Didn’t ask him out. I wanted to rouse him out of his man cave, give him a little confidence, and let him know I was willing to play. Now it was up to him to show me his peacock feathers.

And boy, did he show me. He was only in town for two more days so he asked me out immediately. I was supposed to leave town but it was a blizzard outside and when I got snowed in, I agreed to meet him that night – which turned into a 36-hour first date. It included closing down two bars (Smith and Mills and a deserted Greenwich Hotel), dim sum (with his friend), sushi (just the two of us), two sleepovers (one at his, one at mine), and one flight change (his).

I can’t believe a computer told me I would like this person so much. So okay, online dating is kind of awesome.

Next, I tried my newfound strategy on a very handsome Corporate Lawyer with perfect abs and a brilliant mind whose profile I had been circling for a couple weeks (match 89%). We had also matched on Tinder, very equal opportunity in the cave-door knocking department. On OkCupid, we both had the same answer to the question “The most private thing you’re willing to admit?” which was that we both loved reading Missed Connections. I sent him the following:

“High percentages.

Tinder Match.

Missed Connections.

Nice Abs.

Your move.”

Again, no name. No overly thorough message. Just a little Tantric taunt.

Well, Corporate Lawyer asked me out immediately and told me that was the most effective message he had received to date. We went on a date and shared some steamy make outs and engaged in a pretty intense cerebral texting relationship. He also serenaded me with The Magnetic Fields’ “Come Back From San Francisco” begging me to return from visiting the aforementioned vintner. Timing wasn’t on our side; he got a new job, moved to Colorado, and although my body was back in New York the truth was that I had left my heart in San Francisco.

A key part of online dating is discernment. Over the course of four months I went on six dates, with five truly viable options. Only one was terrible. It was my first Tinder date and I didn’t vet him enough over text. Amateur hour.

But my point is, I didn’t go on hundreds of dates. I didn’t shoot twenty arrows and hope one hit a bull’s eye. I shot six and missed once. The men I met were of the highest quality and I had played my part in the courtship. It’s too bad I can’t have five boyfriends at once.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that in preparation for the this article I picked up The New Rules: The Dating Dos and Don’t for the Digital Generation to see how the game had changed with the advent of social media.Inside, I came across lines like “Don’t talk too much in the first weeks” and “Don’t write to guys first,” and “ignore winks.”

Yikes. I had to throw it across the room. It was entirely missing the opportunity for an open dialogue about the nature of our hearts and gave total disregard to spontaneity, two pretty important tenants of love.  More importantly, it diminished the equal power of the male and the female to ignite something.

At its core Tantra is about expressing everything that “comes up,” including all that you feel. It’s about allowing ourselves to feel and express everything between two polarities. It would never have you suppress anything for the sake of strategy or gain. It wants you to dance openly with everything and everyone you encounter. It’s all checks and balances, and I am glad I went with the ancient wisdom on this one.

Which makes me a rule-breaker I guess. But I expressed myself fully and created something magical.

NB: I had roughly 1000 words to make my case for Tantra as an online dating strategy, so I’ve seriously cherry picked my way through the infinite Tantric garden here. For a more in depth lesson, see the following reading list:

Ellie Burrows is a storyteller, seeker, mystic and guide living in New York City. Discover more at Ellieburrows.com
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