Aphra Dis was inspired by her lover to undertake a tantric education. She travelled to Slovenia on a quest to master her sexual energy
I am lying on a cool white sheet, on a firm bed of blankets on the floor. My body is oiled, warmed; prepared by strong, competent massage. I feel open, excited, hopeful. My mind is still, and my skin, sensitive to the latent heat of the Ljubljana afternoon beyond the open window, is blissfully aware of a secret breeze that licks around my face and throat.
There is music. There is also faint, pervading, perfume.
A small bead of sweat runs down the side of my breast. I nudge off the last vestige of sarong draped upon my leg.
Here I am; naked – and not a little thrilled to be so. Thrilled to be so present, in my own body. Expectant. On the cusp.
And now I feel two fingers slide up from my pubis to a point just below my navel. Here they press and stay. Deep and attentive. I breathe. Breathe and feel. And wait. And something stirs, rising with the breath. It is coming.
My eyes are closed but I can feel the heat and intention of my partner’s hands, rising above me.
It is here.
I am engulfed. Pinned down. A sense of white and gold light passes up through me, minutely, extensively, crackling and fizzing with energy. It rises from the depths of my sex and my sensual core.
Slow wave after slow wave of powerful sensation racks up through me. It is shockingly sensual. The storm passes into my chest, into my throat. My arms are thrown wide, weighted down. I panic, fleetingly, that I may never be able to move them again, that I may never be able to lift myself from the floor… and then I become aware of someone breathing with deep urgent abandon, almost animal in its strength… it is contagious, liberating. Viscerally and emotionally exciting. I focus to bring my breathing into the same rhythm. Then I realise that that someone is me…
Three months earlier, one dull winter’s afternoon in London, I had opened my laptop to reveal to my lover a rousing new discovery. A video promising – and most compellingly providing – the spectacle of a ‘Full body energy orgasm with tantric massage’. The effect on the viewer is electric. It is incredible to witness. A young woman, her modesty wrapped in spa-white cloth, lies on a massage table before the camera. A male therapist, dressed in smart white t-shirt and cotton long pants stands authoritatively behind her. The space seems part light-filled modern yoga studio, part clinic. It looks for all the world as if he is about to explain the benefits of deep muscle exercise. And then he starts to work.
Simply by moving his hands above her with an intense concentration she starts to tremble and buck, filled with a force both overwhelmingly powerful and invisible. We watched together, spellbound. My lover, a classical musician and spiritual adventurer, is sometimes difficult to impress, so high is the bar of his cultural and spiritual expectation. Yet he was mesmerised. I was delighted: in my quest for new massage techniques I had discovered something capable of captivating the Musician. I felt sure of heavenly reward.
Rewards were manifold.
The Musician and I were generous but irregular lovers. Each encounter, though wonderful, seemed as if it could be the last. We always held something back. Sometimes weeks could pass between sensual incident. We circled each other unwilling, or unable, to fully engage. So it wasn’t until some while later that I learned that, prompted by this stimulating little taster, the Musician’s interest in Tantra had moved beyond the video. He had booked two months’ travel to discover more about the science of sexual energy – and how to perform Tantra massage.
When he came back in the spring, the Musician was profoundly changed. His body was softer but stronger. The depths of his eyes as he held me were astonishing. He seemed somehow calmer, more secure in his soul. His lovemaking was breathtaking.
I felt blessed to be the recipient of his new-found expertise but also frustrated at not being able to return his attentions with equal skill and intensity. So, in trepidation, I booked onto The Tantra massage: the Art of Spiritual Touch course in Slovenia.
Three months later I walked through the centre of Ljubljana carrying my yoga mat and massage oil, secretly revelling in the knowledge that my body was carefully prepared for the scrutiny of safely vetted, but comparatively unknown, practice partners. (Exfoliated, bathed, smoothed, cleansed and perfumed.) Cheery passing cyclists were innocent of what I was about to experience. If they were to be told, surely they might wobble off into the hedge. Was I mad? Probably. Was I excited? More than a little. Was I nervous? Of course. Would I ever admit this affair to my mother? Perhaps not.
And so it began.
In a large, modern yoga studio we are taught by Liisa. She is a natural. Her passion is infectious, her wisdom reassuring and inspiring. Our first evening introduction is heavy with new information. I make pages of notes. I underline, ‘The average person does not normally get to know the transcendent aspect of orgasm, as it is too short. But if we learn to extend it, as the Tantrics do, it is possible to experience, in that potentially infinite space, a glimpse of the Divine’ .
The aim of our workshops is to begin to learn how to use sexual energy; how to recognize it, improve its flow and, most importantly, how to move it. We will become the ‘masters of our own sexual energy, not its slaves’. More underlining.
We are taught that there are not one but seven different types of orgasms a woman can reach. ‘The clitoral orgasm is actually the first and weakest of them all….’ Underlining. Exclamation marks.
There is no traditional Tantra massage – this school uses the techniques and teachings of North Indian Ayurvedic massage. Their classes provide solid practice with clear fundamentals and are based on true Tantric teachings of energy.
Now that I’m here, I’m a little nervous about the ‘practical’ nature of the course. I have come for personal transformation and spiritual growth – is this going to be an orgy of genital massage? No, as it happens. But if I’m going to ‘unlock my orgasmic potential’, I am going to have to change my attitude to nudity and drop any barriers to open, intimate exchange with my student companions. My first night is sleepless. I worry if my pubic hair has been trimmed well enough to fit the course guidelines.
It’s a great relief to discover that each member of this very international cohort is reassuringly committed and sincere in their enthusiasm for what we’re about to experience together. But the presence in the group of two protective and strong Viking men, and the irreverent, infectious humour of a cool snowboarding instructor, help calm my nerves. Plus the essential presence of a great, like-minded girlfriend whom I’ve persuaded to come along for the adventure and the moral support.
Over the long, intense days that follow, we learn to appreciate the body at a deep sacred level. We put ourselves in resonance with each other. We learn to control our energies with our hands, while understanding that to be truly tantric would be to control energy with our minds alone. But not yet, obviously.
What happens next is difficult to describe not least because it is a mesmeric odyssey into the idiosyncrasies of the bodies of the amazing partners with whom we share and learn deeply sensual and energetically moving techniques.
I sink deeper and deeper in to the experience: learning intention, concentration, and confidence as the giving partner; letting go in trust and surrender as the receiver. (Receiving a yoni massage, I soon discover, is an art in itself where I have to open myself up completely, with a quiet mind and receptive, perceptive body.)
We alternately lie to receive or sit to give, always in our own power. Meeting our partners as male or female archetype, transcending the individual. In both roles our bodies begin to speak their own language. We harmonize our breathing, consciously drawing up energy through our bodies. The voice of our teacher leads us through the rituals until the repeating words themselves take on a sensuousness which seems to fuse with the flesh and the oil and the movement:
Slowly, in the hands and guidance of three diverse and trusted partners, I learn to harness my sexual energies and arouse my own pleasures. To my joy, in a quiet but tantalizing way, the universe starts to open.
Then, during the last full day of workshop something extraordinary happens.
I am working with a new partner. He reminds me of a former Syrian lover – whose kindness and patience with my younger self had generated extremely moving results. Perhaps for this reason I am particularly relaxed as receiver. I ask if we can concentrate on energy massage, using his hands to guide along the surface, and just above the flesh, of my stomach, chest and throat.
Very quickly the music and perfume of the room fade from me as I fall into myself, breathing with anticipation and control.
I am waiting for the rising tide.
His fingers hover and stroke above me and suddenly I experience a deep welling sensation, deeper than anything I have yet felt here. It flows up through me, wide and steady, like honey. Moving in to me from somewhere very far away, entering me deep within my sex, travelling up through my abdomen and into my heart where it stays and grows and swells until I feel I might erupt in rapture. It is now, from some profound level, that I hear an internal voice, calling out. It is urgent, extreme in its passion… I am calling across the universe. I am calling the name of the Musician.
Slow, exultant tears fall from my eyes. It is a sublime, concentrated and sensual catharsis. Of what I am not sure. But no less liberating for that.
We were encouraged to believe that our work with Tantric touch could transform our sex lives and our relationships for the better. That through ecstasy we can also reach a state of divine self-realization, and spiritual transcendence.
They had me at the first sensation of those waves of magic light and energy….
On the way to the airport I find a text from the Musician. He wonders if I would like to be picked up at the airport. (It will be after midnight and, he warns, during a terrific thunder storm.) I am moved by his care – and slightly excited.When my plane touches down there’s a text to say a car has been sent to collect me. My bags are taken from me and I am whisked into London through rain and lightning and deposited at the front door of the flat in the early hours. I let myself in and feel my way silently along the dark corridor. I slip in to his bedroom, where a single candle burns, then under his sheets. And I bring my newfound, soul-opening world of bliss into union with his.
In the pale light of dawn, we lie together in embrace, holding still in the eye of the ecstatic storm. Something has changed.
This article first appeared in the November 2017 issue of The Amorist. For more information on the Somananda Tantra School’s spiritual teachings on Tantra (massage and/or yoga and/or meditation) go to somananda.org
If ever they invent a vibrator that can open pickle jars, we've had it