Tantra: Pleasure & Feeling…Let’s Talk About Self-Gratification.

As modern as our society thinks it is, it still promotes dissonance by not addressing sexuality from a place of balance between pleasure and spirituality…. body and psyche. Instead, sexuality is either criticized or abused. On the one hand there are those who criticize sexuality and blame it for everything bad. On the other hand, there are those who think rebelling against an oppressive system means to turn into narcissistic beings who seek completeness in external factors and shallow relationships, without realizing that with each experience, with each cycle, their wounds are only compounding. Until we learn to know ourselves and stop to analyze our taboos, our prejudices and our inner monsters, we will not break this chain of dissociative identity.

Despite living within a society that bombard us with animalistic images which are being passed on as if they accurately represented sensuality, most in our society know very little of how their body actually works and how to use it to further enjoy their sexuality while moving the Kundalini energy; an energy that can help us with the healing of our psychological wounds and the expansion of our level of consciousness. Without further ado, let’s talk about self-gratification and how to use it, coming from a coherent deeply enjoyable yet healing place…

There are records of the act of self-gratification since the beginning of our species; evidence of this can be found within prehistoric cave paintings. Until the rise of Christianity, self-gratification was considered a natural practice used even in rituals by great civilizations as Ancient Egypt, the Mayans, Celts, Greeks, Romans, Sumerians and more.

With the arrival of Judeo-Christian culture, history changed and the repression of healthy sexual manifestations began. Out of a desire to suppress the use of the Kundalini energy, sexuality became demonized by a system determined to take the power from people and set it on their altars…the “waste” of physical fluids; specially sperm; became labeled a grave sin, worse even than incest.

Such manipulation was deliberate; however, their people were told it was based on the story of Onan. Even if it was, it would have been based on a misinterpretation of the story of Onan; in the Bible he committed a sin by “pouring his semen on the earth”, infuriating God who punished him. But even if we look at the story from a theological or philosophical perspective, what infuriated God was not the coitus interrupted by Onan but that he did not fertilize the wife of his dead brother so that his offspring would be guaranteed — which was what their God commanded.

When medicine discovered the existence of sperm, the Judeo-Christians were quick to say that to use self- gratification was no different than to undergo an abortion. This condemnation continued into the nineteenth century where they defined self-gratification as a compulsion that could cause diarrhea, vomiting, weaknesses and impotence. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries anti-scientific myths were also disseminated in order to discourage young people in the psychic sphere, leading to extreme cases of guilt, fears and repressions that accompany us to this day — although there is some truth to some of the things they were saying, they did not explain the circumstances under which these could take place, instead they generalized and invented. In the East however, self-gratification is a natural behavior but ejaculation must be controlled so that the man does not waste his Chi, and the mind has to be trained as not to bring illness to the psyche and soul.

The West only began to see the act of touching oneself differently in the twentieth century with the advent of the theories of psychology by Freud and his contemporaries. Despite this, to this day self-gratification is considered immoral for Christian churches; with the vast majority of their people suppressing guilt, shame and developing psychic blocks about giving themselves pleasure and discovering themselves.

Self-gratification still carries so much guilt and shame that for many couples it is hard to talk about it openly and maturely. All this miscommunication, repression, guilt, shame… whatever feelings accompany us the most, only force people to use moments of self-gratification for empty masturbation; no different than when coitus becomes simply mutual genital masturbation — the beautiful action becomes a short, empty and goal-oriented practice…tensing of the muscles and a few minutes later…boom! — a basic genital orgasm to bring forth a discharge of hormones and hopefully relax.

For those who understand and practice pure Tantra and Taoism, self-gratification has always been seen as something natural when the motivation is pure, and as a healthy practice of sexual energy stimulation and self-knowledge. However, both Tantra and Taoism condemn excessive ejaculation because of the ramifications…everything should be done with balance. For these philosophies, until the age of 20 a man can ejaculate as many times as he wants. After that, he must learn to exert dominance over his sexual energy by properly using and channeling it without suppressing nor living in dissociation or denial. For these philosophies semen “is man’s most valuable possession.” It is the physical manifestation of vital energy. A man loses energy through ejaculation while a woman loses her Chi through menstruation and pregnancy. Therefore, a man must learn to give himself pleasure without ejaculating, that is to have dry orgasms and thus learn to control his body and know himself better.

A woman can use self-gratification as much as she wants. According to Taoism, female self-gratification releases her erotic energy through the body and helps her gain more control over her sexual reflexes. When done with the right motivation and mind set, it is a way of feeding self-eroticism in addition to opening the channels by which the Kundalini will rise.

Self-gratification is perhaps the main tool for building our self-perception. Our body seeks pleasure and it is through pleasure that it will recognize itself. If we limit the exploration of our body to a specific point or only to one type of pleasure, or if we abuse our bodies like animals, serious self-confidence problems do arise: engaging in empty sex, difficulty saying “no”, passive aggressiveness, hypocrisy and more, are all symptoms of someone who does not have a complete picture of his or herself — someone who does not listen to his or her own spirit likes to judge in others what he or she is suppressing or abusing. Our image (psyche) is deeply connected to our sense of pleasure, but such pleasure has to be of clean motivation in order to leave us feeling fulfilled.

So how should we use self-gratification?…

Self-gratification should be a ritual; in other words, it should be coming from the heart. It should be like making love to the person you love the most….which should be you.

Treat yourself… a song, candles, incense, flowers, etc. Soft and slow touches to the body as you explore it. Enjoy the new sensations, new feelings… head focused on what you’re feeling. If you have a hard time focusing on just yourself, to start…you can picture someone. DO NOT focus on anything pornography, cheap or vulgar in nature. Try to bring to mind the person (s) you love, or if single, someone you may find desirable but who you also admire as a person. This practice help us connect with the heart…channeling our desires — instead of engaging from our genitals, we are engaging from a pure yet deeply sensual and loving place. When you have the image of that special someone, take it very slow. If you were with them, you would want your time with them to be deeply satisfying, no? You would want to make time last and create the ideal “sexual date” — when we are really into someone, we don’t want time to go fast…. use that feeling and succumb to each sensation.

Make love to yourself…. There is a practice that I pass on to almost all my Tantric patients to practice at home and thus re-signify self-gratification and the relationship to their bodies. It can be called “Mindful Self-Gratification” or “Erotic Self-touch” — the results are fast and incredible.

Erotic self-touch aims to reframe how we deal with our body and how we relate to our pleasure. It allows us to know ourselves more and better and thus accept and love ourselves more. In the early days it can be frustrating or agonizing to test other pathways to other types of pleasure, as our brain is accustomed to the same pattern of touch and the same pattern of orgasm we have repeated since adolescence. But over time the connection with the body becomes stronger, the skin more sensitive and the ability to focus on the senses more intense. Your self-esteem will increase and sex will improve significantly…. you will start to wonder how come nobody told you that pleasure when coming from the heart could actually feel that great.

– Set an amount of time. Set the alarm clock so as not to get lost in the caresses. The ideal is to have 20 to 45 minutes for practice. You can also start with 5 minutes and gradually increase. It is normal not to be able to maintain attention for a long time at first; think of it as a gym, the more you train the better you’ll get.

– Find a place that feels safe and comfortable in which you feel good to relax and enjoy the moment. It could be your bed, the couch or even the floor, or any place that is safe and which turns you on.

– LEAVE OUT toys that you are already accustomed to using. Also DO NOT use pornography or erotic fantasies that take you away from the heart. Focus on your feelings, emotions and sensations. Focus on your pleasure and your body. Admire it, its curves and imperfections. Admire your hands roaming through it, and at the same time the sensations that each type of touch brings you.

– Start by caressing your body — avoid the genitals at first because this path you already know very well. Start by caressing your face; imagine the person you love or desire from the heart being the one lovingly touching your face. Massage your chest, squeeze your arms, play with your hair… explore the whole body, not only in sexual ways, but the different sensations of each part.

– Allow yourself to test new positions and new touches. Move, change position, stand if you want to. Tap subtly, pinch, gently scratch. Growl, sigh, pant… merge short panting breaths with deep slow ones. Anyway, find out what works best for your body. If you have never penetrated yourself, you are welcome to do it. If you have never used oil or cream on the body, use it. Allow yourself in your orality trying all kinds of sounds, movements and fluids.

– If you are a man do not worry about erection. Over time you will realize that pleasure, including orgasms, do not need an erect penis nor an ejaculation.

Create an intention each time you practice. It can be “I want to be fully present with the sensations of my body” or “I have no goals with this self-touch, only to feel and enjoy”.

– At various times when you are using self-gratification, vary the practices …. do not create another shortcut to your pleasure; our mind tends to do this. Do one day lying down, the next standing, the next dancing. Touch some parts of your body one day, the next day other parts… one day you can breathe more breathlessly and the next more deeply…. the point is to break outside the box…be creative.

– When you find a pleasure point stay in it, explore it in different ways, feel that pleasure to the fullest. Empty your mind and stick to the sensations. And if something doesn’t feel good just change places or vary movement or pressure.

You can focus on just one point on your body throughout the session or go through it all, until EVENTUALLY it reaches the genitals. There is no right order, just be with yourself and explore yourself.

There may be parts of your body that you have never touched and that can give you sensations that you have never felt. Or a specific type of sound, specific pressure or specific breath that can give you that kind of feeling — orgasm is not the goal; it may or may not happen. The goal here is to feel your body and all the pleasurable sensations it can offer you, as well as learning about what you like or don’t like. That way, when you’re with someone, you can safely share what excites you, what makes you feel good or what’s really intoxicating to you, as well as avoiding situations that do not give you pleasure, make you uncomfortable or may trigger you to stop. As you can see, through conscious self-gratification, we can achieve another level of interaction, openness and consent.

When the time is up, take a few more minutes to relax and feel your body and the sensations awakened in it. I recommend that you replay what just happened or write down what you felt — what were the worst and best sensations and what kind of emotions the experience triggered (horniness, pleasure, empowerment, self-love… or even guilt, anxiety, frustration or sadness). Don’t judge yourself by what you felt, simply accept what came as your own and allow yourself to feel the differences as you progress through practices.

– You may find some positions or touches odd and/or embarrassing… that’s okay. The goal here is to bring awareness to your body, to what you are feeling, to the present and to the moment. Feel the waves of pleasure, the heat, the pulse, the tickling, the numbness, the contractions and the relaxation — all these beautiful sensations. We tend to be physically present in our relationship (s) but the mind is elsewhere or even fantasizing about unhealthy things or people — because whether out of fear or simply not knowing, we do not usually talk or guide our partners to what leads us to ecstasy; worst yet we may accept behaviors that harm us in some way. One of the basic principles of pleasure and connection is to relax, succumb to the moment, get to know yourself and be yourself.

If the mind starts focusing on other things, try to slow down your movements and bring attention back to your body. The slower the stimuli, the more easily the brain can focus and feel each of them.

– Over time you will focus on your pleasure and thus relax, love yourself, empower yourself and allow yourself to feel new levels of pleasure, intimacy and connection with others. 

We need to love ourselves, in order to let others love us….

Self-gratification is one of the most important experiences we can have to get to know ourselves. It can influence how we perceive our body, which parts we treat as sexual or pleasurable, which are exciting and safe and which we ignore.

Because of our culture that promotes pornography while demonizing pure sensuality and sexuality by blaming everything that represents pure yet deep pleasure with guilt and fear, we tend to boil down our touch to the genitals, and the act of self-gratification to a means of simply relieving the tension of everyday life. This neurologically reduces arousal and pleasure in the rest of our body.

Touching and stimulating ourselves is like eating and drinking, we are doing it all the time, in public or not. Exploring our temple is essential to defining how we see ourselves, love ourselves and consequently how we relate to the world. As such we should self-love without shame but in safety and with the right motivation, that way we will replicate this behavior within our relationship (s). A mechanical and unconnected action where the goal is not to relax, enjoy or to receive and give pleasure, will lead to empty sex, or for sexuality to lose its virility; becoming something we dread, or simply an act in which we just go through the motions while being mentally, physically and spiritually disconnected. We start to lose interest in exchanging caresses, glances and energy with our partners… everything becomes either mechanical or relies on external damaging material.

When relationships get to that point, they can result in an internal emptiness and a feeling of failure. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love anyone else or how could we let someone else love us in fullness? If we don’t give ourselves away, how can we give ourselves to someone external and thus reach new levels of pleasure? If we don’t know ourselves in our entirety how can anyone know us in this way? Someone can even make us feel something we’ve never felt, but if we don’t know how it happened, it’s hardly going to happen again.

Fall in love with your body…fall in love with your own pleasure…fall in love with yourself.

By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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