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Sexual and Relationship Therapy

ISSN: 1468-1994 (Print) 1468-1749 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/csmt20

Tantric orgasm: beyond Masters and Johnson


Mike Lousada & Elena Angel
To cite this article: Mike Lousada & Elena Angel (2011) Tantric orgasm: beyond Masters and
Johnson, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26:4, 389-402, DOI: 10.1080/14681994.2011.647903
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2011.647903

Published online: 16 Jan 2012.

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Date: 16 August 2016, At: 11:57

Sexual and Relationship Therapy


Vol. 26, No. 4, November 2011, 389402

Tantric orgasm: beyond Masters and Johnson


Mike Lousada* and Elena Angel
Independent Tantric Practitioners, Heart Daka, Angel Shakti, London
(Received 2 December 2011; nal version received 5 December 2011)
This article is concerned with expansive models of orgasm, mainly associated with
Tantric understanding and teachings. The authors compare clinical and Tantric
models, drawing from classical Tantric, traditional Taoist, shamanic and other
congruent contemporary sources. The article proposes a new understanding of
Tantric orgasm. Initially an analytical model is suggested, which includes
intra-, inter- and transpersonal aspects, and then a descriptive model of orgasm,
which emphasises the energetic component but includes physiological, cognitive,
aective and transpersonal qualities. The nal section identies potential
therapeutic applications and research applications and the authors propose that
associated techniques may help resolve psychosexual issues, including erectile
dysfunction, premature ejaculation and anorgasmia.
Keywords: Tantra,
psychosexual

anorgasmia,

erectile

dysfunction,

non-ejaculation,

The orgasm is no longer a mere biological function used in procreation, nor the side
eect of casual pleasure . . . it is the very centre of human experience and ultimately
determines the happiness of the human race. (Wilhelm Reich, 1983)

Introduction
The term orgasm might seem specic enough initially, in relation to the broader
context of human sexuality, yet orgasm has inspired a vast number of diering
perspectives: dierent descriptions, denitions, typologies, general understanding
and contextualization. The present study is primarily concerned with expansive
models of orgasm, mainly associated with Tantric understanding and teachings. It
briey lays out medical and other widely accepted models around the subject of
orgasm and goes on to introduce Tantra and related traditions and to examine what
might be termed Tantric orgasm (TO), surveying relevant literature and the work
of some well-respected practitioners in the eld.
Signicant dierences appear between the conventional understanding of orgasm
and TO: the authors own model emerges through this comparative survey. The new
understanding opens up new possibilities for practitioners and for patients seeking to
overcome psychosexual dysfunctions, as well as a range of other challenges, not

*Corresponding author. Email: mike@mikelousada.com


ISSN 1468-1994 print/ISSN 1468-1749 online
2012 College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2011.647903
http://www.tandfonline.com

390

M. Lousada and E. Angel

specically sexual, such as depression. Whilst there have been comparable initial
studies demonstrating the health benets of yoga, for example, the use of yoga to
resolve premature ejaculation (Dhikav, Karmarkar, Gupta, & Anand, 2007), there
are as yet few empirical studies supporting the benets of TO. The authors consider
it important to propose practical, therapeutic applications, as well as to address
important concerns and to suggest ways in which this work may be furthered. The
authors hope is that this paper will elicit interest in further scientic study in this
eld, especially regarding the potential benets of using TO therapeutically.
Orgasm: clinical denitions
Early attempts by psychologists have led, in our opinion, to a reductive approach to
the orgasmic experience. Kinsey (1953) wrote: This explosive discharge of
neuromuscular tensions at the peak of sexual response is what we identify as
orgasm (p. 627). Masters and Johnson (1966) dened the human sexual response
cycle as a four-stage model of physiological responses during sexual stimulation:
excitement phase, plateau phase, orgasmic phase and resolution phase. Of orgasm
itself, Masters and Johnson wrote: a brief episode of physical release from the
vasocongestion and myotonic increment developed in response to sexual stimuli.
With the advent of technological advances that enable us to study the brains
behaviour during orgasm, there is a danger that greater knowledge limits our
understanding further. Komisaruk and Whipple (1991) oer the following denition:
Orgasm is a peak intensity of excitation generated by: (a) aerent and re-aerent
stimulation from visceral and/or somatic sensory receptors activated exogenously
and/or endogenously, and/or (b) higher-order cognitive processes, followed by a
release and resolution (decrease) of excitation (pp. 6973). Whilst such increasingly
technical descriptions serve to help us understand the biological and neurological
function of orgasm, they also reduce it to a physiological function.
We propose that such denitions of orgasm are reductive. Even despite more
modern advancements in scientic methodology and technological means, researchers focus on neurological and physiological phenomena, genital response and the
brains reaction to this and the resultant denition of orgasm is generally reduced to
a response to sexual stimuli. This focus limits our understanding of what the
orgasmic experience entails.
Reichian perspective of orgasm
Wilhelm Reich bridges the divide between conventional psychotherapeutic and
medical understanding of orgasm and that of the Tantric view. Reich saw orgasm as
a full expression of healthy sexuality. He spoke about orgastic potency, which he
described as the capacity to surrender to the ow of biological energy, free of any
inhibition; the capacity to discharge completely dammed up sexual excitation
through involuntary, pleasurable contractions of the body (Reich, 1983, p. 102).
For Reich, orgasm was more about full-body energetic potential than a reductive
genital experience.
Here, we see a more expansive approach and an interest in aective and energetic
dimensions of orgasm. The orgastic experience is shown to relate to the overall
health of the individual, the free and natural function and expression of the human
being (Reich, 1983). Boadella (1974) arms that Whereas Kinsey and Masters and

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Johnson split o the orgasmic response from the totality of the relationship and tried
to observe it as an objective measurable and quantiable process, Reich saw the
orgastic experience as inseparable from the total response system and contact-ability
of a person (p. 30).
These kinds of expansive descriptions, with particular emphasis on energy, nd a
correlate in what may be termed Tantric orgasm.
Initial analytical model
In the comparative source survey that follows, Tantric orgasm is shown to be an
experience that encompasses several dimensions, all of which have an underlying
energetic component. The subjective and relational aspects are also addressed.
Tantric orgasm is thought to enhance physical, cognitive, aective and psychic
experiences, including inter-subjective states and transpersonal union with that
which is beyond self:
Tantra has always known that the acme of sexual experience brings about a state of bliss
that is a far cry from simply climaxing and produces a split from ordinary, waking
consciousness associated with the ego. (Van Lysebeth, 2002, p. 141)

(Note the authors intentional use of the term acme, rather than the more
conventional orgasm, to describe TO, since it is a less limiting term of reference.)
From a psychotherapeutic perspective, our correlative study of Tantric and
related sources initially shows a three-dimensional model, the TO experience as a
whole enabling access to all or some of the three levels at any one time. The model
includes the:
(1) Intrapersonal: components of the persons individual experience. These
include physiological phenomena, such as genitally-focused or more generalised sensation. They may also refer to specic practices, such as techniques
that enable ejaculatory choice for men (Bodansky & Bodansky, 2000) and
female ejaculation, described as amrita, the nectar of the gods in Tantra
(Sundahl, 2003). Other components of the intrapersonal experience include
aective, cognitive and energetic elements.
(2) Interpersonal: components of a shared, partner experience. This concerns the
energetic and cognitive inter-subjective orgasmic experience that occurs when
two or more persons are present. In relation to psychoanalysis, Atwood and
Stolorow (1984) describe inter-subjectivity as the interplay between the
dierently organised subjective worlds of observer and observed. The
observational stance is always one within, rather than outside . . . the observer
is also the observed (pp. 4142). In TO, participants may enter an intersubjective state and have the experience that they are not separate (Wade,
2004). Such experiences may also have physiological, cognitive and aective
qualities.
(3) Transpersonal: components of the experience that transcend the personal or
egoic level of awareness. The Transpersonal has been dened in a
psychological context as humanitys highest potential, and with the
recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and
transcendent states of consciousness (Lajoie & Shapiro, 1992, p. 91).

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M. Lousada and E. Angel


Tantric orgasm may induce out-of-body and other types of transcendent or
peak experiences (Wade, 2004).

The authors expect that this analytical model will be readily accessible to readers,
as it utilises familiar psychoanalytic concepts. The three-tier model will be shown to
operate across the range of TO descriptions and the aim of highlighting this in
advance is to reinforce a broadened perspective including a number of components
beyond physiological responses and the relational perspective. Such an approach is
essential in this discourse. Later on, a second model will be proposed, which
represents the TO process from an energetic perspective. The latter will be more
easily comprehended after the sources have been examined. In accordance with the
Tantric understanding, the present study supports the view that expansive, multidimensional orgasmic states are natural and accessible to all, so that a wide
population may experience and benet from TO (Wade, 2004).
Tantra, Taoism, Shamanism and modern practices
In this study we use the term Tantra to describe a broad body of knowledge
drawn from several dierent traditions. Tantra itself is a spiritual tradition growing
out of India in the second and third centuries CE (Stubbs, 2000), though arguably
with much older roots, dating back into a pre-Aryan, Dravidian culture (Odier,
1997). Tantra is a belief system that incorporates sexuality and spirituality, out of
which all yogic practices originate (Saraswati & Avinasha, 2002). Tantric teachings
were disseminated throughout parts of Asia and became adapted and modied by
many cultures, most notably in Tibet, where Tantric teachings inuenced local
traditions and evolved into Vajrayana Buddhism or Tibetan Tantra (SimmerBrown, 2001).
In discussing TO here, we consider a variety of sources that are Tantric in
essence, whether or not the description Tantric is maintained by the authors or
practitioners themselves. In line with current understanding, this study includes
analogous and complementary schools of spiritual and shamanic approaches to
sexuality, particularly Chinese Taoist and Native American Quodoushka
teachings, in order to illustrate the full spectrum of the subject matter. The
authors also review congruent modern approaches and applications and draw
parallels between and conclusions from the literature from which emerges their
own denition of TO.
Traditional Shamanism: Quodoushka
The Native American tradition of Quodoushka relate types of orgasmic experience
to physiognomic, elemental and spiritual analysis, besides describing the dierent
physical sensations, emotions and psychological content of the experience.
Examining male and female genitalia, the Quodoushka recognize discrete
anatomical types for men and women and go on to describe sexual physiological
responses specic to each type, including consistency, avour and volume of semen
and vaginal secretions and types of orgasms experienced. We note the use of
typlogising genitals, which nds a correlate in Reichian character-types (Reich,
1983) the idea that the physical form of the individual is inuenced by its energetic
nature.

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Quodoushka identify nine types of orgasmic expression, extending the meaning of


orgasm to include the entire spectrum of physical and emotional expressions within
any sexual experience (Charles, 2011, p. 183). The Quodoushkas Wheel of Orgasmic
Expression teaches about the potential power of orgasms to restore balance in the
physical body (p. 183). According to these teachings, Orgasms allow the mind to
stretch beyond usual consciousness, nourish our bodies, and ll the spirit with truth and
beauty (p. 183). Orgasmic sensations are described in terms of energetic sensations or
experiences and are consistently linked with nature and spirituality, moving beyond
ordinary awareness and entering cosmic union (the transpersonal component). The
healing power of our full orgasmic expression is emphasized (Charles, 2011, p. 183
185). Here we note two characteristics typical of TO the inclusion of the energetic
nature of orgasm and the healing qualities associated with orgasm.
Male orgasms are categorised in relation to full/partial/no erection, ejaculation/
no ejaculation, other physiological responses and sensations (e.g. chills and
shudders, heat waves), emotional or physical foci (e.g. genital focus, whole-body
awareness, heart and emotion focus), energetic direction (e.g. explosive/implosive)
and shamanically directions (e.g. North, South etc.) and archetypes (e.g. Hawk,
Owl, Phoenix), all of which have special psychic and spiritual signicance. Female
orgasms are described in an analogous fashion (Charles, 2011).
The concept of energy is highlighted and it is suggested that if we focus only on
the physical aspects of sex, we will continue having lower-level orgasms (Charles,
2011, p. 215). Particularly in addressing sexual healing practices, the Quodoushka
teachings address how we can utilize the intricate network of energy that comprises
and surrounds us to enhance the quality of our lovemaking (Charles, 2011, p. 215).
There is an eort to explain invisible elds of energy and subtle energetic
frequencies and reinforce the view that sex is a means to generate a substantial
healing force, based on ancient shamanic understanding that energy produced
through sexual union could restore harmony in the body and heal the wounds
of . . . spirit (Charles, 2011, p. 216).
In common with other Tantric systems, the Quodoushka set out a complete
and complex energetic system, with details of energy centres, pathways and
interactions, and explain correlations with individual and relational growth on
physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual levels.
The concept of using sexual energy to move between gross and subtle energies (a
distinction which we will re-encounter in Taoist teachings) personal development,
spiritual transcendence, as well as the signicance of conscious intention and
direction of energy are all important components. Here, again, we nd the intra-,
inter- and transpersonal elements.
Traditional Taoist perspective
Similarly to the Quodoushka, Taoist teachings around sexuality begin with
physiognomic and physiological analyses as a way of facilitating understanding of
sexual temperament and expression, specic predispositions and needs, relational
compatibility, as well as creating harmony between masculine/feminine or active/
receptive energies, expressed as Yin and Yang (analogous to the Tantric Shiva/
Shakti concept of masculine and feminine divine energies). In the present discourse,
we draw from the work of Grand Master Mantak Chia, recognized as a leading
authority on Taoism in the West (Chia & Wei, 2003).

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The Ancient Chinese meridian system, as distinct from other energetic systems
discussed here, is generally familiar in the West, thanks to the spread of Traditional
Chinese Medicine. Concerning orgasm, it recognises the importance of orbital
circuits of energy, which direct sexual energy around the body (Chia, 1983).
The Taoists are concerned with the cultivation of sexual energy. Mens and
womens practices are quite dierent and men learn to control ejaculation and
achieve a full-body orgasm rather than merely a genital orgasm (Chia & Wei, 2003,
p. 9). It is believed that gross energy (form, material) can literally be transformed into
subtle energy (formless, immaterial) and vice versa, so that men learn to transform
sperm into Chi (broadly meaning energy, alternatively termed Warm Current,
Kundalini Power or electro-magnetic life force (Chia, 1983, p. 83) and, in so doing,
they can become better lovers, more vibrant and youthful, and are able to activate
the compassionate energy in the heart. For women, on the other hand, cultivating
sexual energy is a way to transform blood into Chi. Transforming sexual energy is
directly related to the menstrual cycle . . . this transformation leads to an abundance of
energy, balanced emotions, and internal power (Chia & Wei, 2003, p. 9).
The Taoists teach specic sexual exercises (these might also be termed practices
or meditations), which can include breath, movement, self-massage, visualisation
and conscious mental direction and intention. For men, for example, there is
Testicle Breathing and for women there is Ovarian Breathing. Both sexes can
apply the Orgasmic Upward Draw (described in Chia, Chia, Abrams, & Abrams,
2000, pp. 77 .), which enables the drawing up of orgasmic energy, so that one
may experience a brain orgasm and, by extension, a total body orgasm (Chia &
Wei, 2003, p. 9). Sexual practices specic to men and women may be found in Chia
(2005; Chia & Abrams 2005; Chia & Abrams Arava, 2002; Chia et al., 2000).
In examining Womans Sexual Response Cycle, Chia explicitly contrasts his
model of orgasm with that of Masters and Johnson and produces a very dierent
graphic representation (see Figure 1), with emphasis on extensive valley orgasms
(Chia, 2005, pp. 3033). Chia contrasts the traditional, genitally focussed model of
orgasm, which is temporary, short and not continuous, an outward orgasm
with energy pouring outward, with the Taoist, inward orgasm or organs
orgasm, during which the orgasm actually travels through all the organs, glands
and nervous systems, thrilling them and revitalizing them with the life force of
sexual, creative and generative energy . . . the kind of orgasm that the Taoists call
valley orgasm . . . extended for the woman (Chia, 2005, pp. 3233) This is a view
of orgasm as an extended, whole-body experience.
According to the Taoists, Orgasm is not simply a momentary release (Chia
et al., 2000, p. 128). The Taoists arm the capacity of both men and women to be
multi-orgasmic, experiencing extensive, full-body orgasms, circulating this energy
within the body and channelling it to each other in lovemaking, through specic
positions and conscious intention (see Chia & Wei, 2003, p. 34 .). The practice of
multiplying orgasms is not just about multiplying pleasure, but also about
multiplying healing energy (Chia et al., 2000, pp. 129130) we note that the ability to
cultivate and circulate energy is crucial in TO, as is intention, both in raising and
directing the energy and in applying the orgasmic energy for the purpose of healing.
Once again, it is emphasized that sexuality and spirituality are inextricably
linked for the Taoists and sexual energy is seen as a vital source of energy and
vitality for peoples spiritual growth (Chia et al., 2000, p. 166). Soul-Mating is a
Taoist practice involving the exchange of sexual energy between partners in

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Figure 1. Taoist multi-orgasmic phases.


Source: Chia, 2005, with permission from Mantak Chia.

lovemaking and the experience of soul orgasms (Chia et al., 2000, p. 167). The
Taoists recognize a process of growth, personal development through the sexual
practices, and translate progression along the perceived continuum of energy from
gross to subtle into a progression from our sexual and emotional to our spiritual life
experience: When we orgasm, we harmonize not only with our partner but also with
the world and its pulsations (Chia et al., 2000, p. 175). Again we note the inter- and
transpersonal elements in this statement.
Classical Tantric perspective
One of the best accounts of the Classical Tantric approach to sex and orgasm may
be found in Jewel in the lotus, by Sunyata Saraswati and Bodhi Avinasha (2002).
Normal sex and orgasm, charted according to the rising and falling of intensity
in the familiar, four stages, as dened by Masters and Johnson, is contrasted to
tantric sex and orgasm: the chart oered includes points of transmutation,
meditation, re-stimulation and higher pleasure (Saraswati and Avinasha, 2002,
pp. 188189) and is similar to that reproduced above from Chia. There is emphasis
on using Tantric techniques to develop a tremendous amount of energy, but that
energy is controlled and moved through the body in a way that will expand your
consciousness. This is not normal sex. This is transcendental sex on a higher level. It
is a dynamic form of meditation, rotating consciousness through the body in a
systematic manner (Saraswati & Avinasha, 2002, p. 190).
The Excitement stage is prolonged and when the orgasm is approaching, there
are techniques to delay release or ejaculation and to transmute the energy, pulling

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it into higher energy centres or chakras (Saraswati & Avinasha, 2002, pp. 191192).
Re-stimulation results in new orgasmic peaks and plateaus, higher each time, the
instruction being to meditate at each plateau, in a tantric wave that can extend for
hours. The man can have several internal orgasms, i.e., non-ejaculatory orgasms,
and the woman may ejaculate (Saraswati & Avinasha, 2002, p. 192). According to
this school, the un-trained womans climax lasts about six seconds. But using the
transmutation processes, she can keep that explosion going as long as she
wishes . . . . Through mastery of Tantra both man and woman can have many
climaxes much more intense than they ever dreamed possible, charging the whole
nervous system, thrilling their entire body. For that moment their ego will be
dissolved and they will feel at one with the Ultimate Universal Unity (Saraswati &
Avinasha, 2002, p. 193):
In Tantra you can extend the climax to many minutes. Tantra provides a system of
techniques for prolonging orgasm in order to experience Unity Consciousness. The state
of enlightenment has been described as perpetual orgasm . . . . In orgasm you are at one
with yourself, with your lover, with all creation, with God. There is no time, no past or
future, only total presence in the eternal now. The breath stops and the mind is empty.
And from this void comes profound love, divine joy and illuminating bliss. (Saraswati &
Avinasha, 2002, p. 27)

In addition, it is stressed that the use of Sexual Energy is creative; similar to the
Taoist approach, there is an inner alchemy and healing intent: Tantric masters
knew that . . . the life force in the sperm and vaginal secretions could be extracted,
retained in the body to vitalize and rejuvenate the system, and projected to the brain
to awaken its sleeping potential (Saraswati & Avinasha, 2002, p. 26). Finally, the
orgasmic experience is viewed as the ultimate meditation: in the ecstasy of sexual
orgasm . . . one experiences union with the beloved. There is no separation, no I as
apart from you . . . we transcend into the state of Samadhi, blissful union between
the individual consciousness and the Cosmic (Saraswati & Avinasha, 2002, p. 26).
Other practitioners and prevalent themes
Amongst the wealth of contemporaneous practitioners, one encounters many
categorizations; a number of common elements occur throughout the literature,
however. Key amongst these is the importance of using breath to cultivate and direct
sexual energy (Carrellas, 2007; Clarkson, 2003; Deida, 1997; Mirdad, 2007) Carrellas
dedicates an entire chapter to Breath and Energy Orgasms, explaining techniques
for attaining TO in great detail (Carrellas, 2007, p. 95). Instructing on how to attain
a Total Being Orgasm, Mirdad recommends: Combine breath-work, visualization, touch, and soul-to-soul connection, to evoke a sensual, energetic response.
Then, spread the energy throughout the body as if it were fuel awaiting the proper
moment to be ignited. Once ignited (through proper stimulation), the orgasm, which
usually originates in the genitals, will spread like a wildre throughout the body and
build into a full-body, total-being orgasm (Mirdad, 2007, p. 143).
The conventional understanding that orgasm involves the discharge of energy is
replaced by the notion of energy moving through the body (Clarkson, 2003; Mirdad,
2007). One point agreed upon by all practitioners is the importance for men of
splitting orgasm and ejaculation, enabling non-ejaculation (Deida, 1997) or
injaculation (Mirdad, 2007). Deida (1997) refers to male ejaculation as a

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mechanical habit (p. 199). Clarkson comments: Most men remember orgasming
well before they discovered ejaculation when they were boys. That natural orgasmic
reex is still there. The body remembers (Clarkson, 2003, p. 58).
Following from this is the prevalent idea that both men and women may
experience multiple and extended orgasm, which involves enhanced and varied
physical sensations (Carrellas, 2007; Clarkson, 2003; Deida, 1997; Mirdad, 2007).
Clarkson (2003) describes lengthy and attentive love-practices in which both men
and women can enjoy multiple orgasms . . . which can go on for hours and hours
(p. 35).
Many modern practitioners expand their denition of TO to include diverse
aective states (Carrellas, 2007; Clarkson, 2003; Deida, 1997; Mirdad, 2007;
Sundahl, 2003), which Carrellas (2007), for example, labels emotiongasms. . . . The
physiological ingredients of an emotiongasm are the same as genital orgasm. A
buildup of life force or sexual energy is brought about by a combination of breath,
movement, sound, and muscular contractions and is followed by a release. This
buildup and subsequent orgasmic release of life/sex energy doesnt necessarily
depend on genital stimulation. Emotiongasms dont even depend on any particular
emotion (p. 83).
It is commonly accepted by TO practitioners that TO may occur independently
of genital stimulation, erotic context or the presence of an erotic partner (Carrellas,
2007; Mirdad, 2007; Stubbs, 2000). In Carrellas (2007) words, The orgasmic energy
starts in the very centre of your being, then ows out to the limits of your body and
beyond. You may feel boundaryless . . . as if you are in a sort of alternate
universe. . . . Your orgasm is happening everywhere and nowhere, and it may go
on and on. Afterward you may feel energized, or you may feel peaceful and blessedout. . . . This kind of orgasm is not limited to sex, and its certainly not limited to the
genitals (p. 82).
Modern practitioners emphasise the practical methods of attaining such
heightened states, as well as the capacity to heal, particularly sexual trauma, in
oneself and the potential to use this energy to transform ones broader life experience
(Anand, 1995; Carrellas, 2007; Clarkson, 2003; Deida, 1997; Mirdad, 2007; Sundahl,
2003). Mirdad (2007) explains that As we heal from sexual traumas and inhibitions,
our bodies and souls begin to feel liberated and therefore exhibit signs of letting go.
This releasing can manifest in various types of orgasm including emotional
orgasms (p. 129) Wade (2004) recognises sacred sex as healing trauma, where
engaging in sex changed from an ordeal to a source of joy (p. 92). In the nal
chapter of Urban Tantra, Carrellas (2007) addresses the conscious direction of sexual
energy and orgasm with specic intent, primarily healing, also personal development
and other desired changes in our environment and life experience (p. 242 ).
Clarkson (2003) and Wade (2004) highlight the accessibility of TO and note that
an expanded experience of orgasm is natural and may occur without specic
Tantric training or use of special practices. Wade retells tales of expansive or
transcendent sex and has collected a large number of testimonials that describe
extraordinary experiences had by ordinary people in ordinary circumstances.
Inter-subjective and transpersonal experiences are also frequently mentioned,
including likening TO to peak experiences (Clarkson, 2003; Wade, 2004). Sources
also highlight, however, that the experiences of TO may be subtle and quiet rather
than explosive (Carrellas, 2007; Clarkson, 2003; Stubbs, 2000). Wade (2004)
recounts one interviewees experience of TO: Any sense of separateness between us

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dissolved . . . like our bodies were part of the ow and ebb of all this energy and Spirit
body. We were all mixed together. . . . Body awareness merged with all the other
levels. It wasnt that we werent aware of the body at all, but it was like transcending
the gross level of the body in a way and feeling an enormous tactile delight. That
delight was clearly beyond the body as well . . . both very aware and totally
beyond. . . . We were one moving, touching mass of energy and awareness, not two
separate poles of consciousness (p. 84).
Although each practitioner holds their own model of TO, the authors survey of
the literature allows a synthesized model, drawn from multiple sources, to emerge.
An energetic model
Tantric orgasm includes and also transcends the plane of physical experience,
sensory focus on erogenous zones and genitals in a sexual/erotic context. This
experience focuses on varied types of energetic experiences, with generalised, wholebody sensations, distinct aective content, broader contexts that are not specically
(or at all) sexual or erotic and prolonged states of intensity (rather than the orgasmic
peaks of Masters and Johnsons understanding, though these also occur).
Intrapersonal, interpersonal and transpersonal experiences and various types of
altered consciousness states are also characteristic of orgasm in this expanded
model.
The way to eect such orgasms is also expanded: touch and specically sexual/
erotic stimulation is, again, included (though not necessary) and surpassed by the use
of breath, primarily, sound and movement, visualization, intention and, generally,
various techniques that assist energetic charge and direction.
Our survey arms that expanded or Tantric orgasm may be understood as an
energetic event primarily, experienced partly in the body. We, therefore, propose
three distinct stages for TO, namely:
(1) cultivation of energy, creating an energy charge at the sexual centre/organs
(with or without physical stimulation),
(2) movement of energy, mainly through conscious awareness and intention and
with the use of Tantric/Taoist/expanded sex techniques (this process can also
happen spontaneously, without specic intent),
(3) transmutation and projection of sexual energy, so that it is experienced as
orgasmic pleasure, healing, transcendence, manifestation (this process can
have specic intention or happen spontaneously).
This model is not necessarily linear. The phases of cultivation and movement of
energy can interchange indenitely, followed by one or more occurrences of the
transmutation/projection phase. Prolonged practice generally heightens the energetic
charge and overall experience. Conventional and also Reichian understanding
speaks of discharging energy whereas in Tantra, the objective is to charge the
energetic system rather than release the sexual energy.
Orgasm can occur in the rst phase (genitally-focussed), in the second phase
(emotional and energetic orgasmic events, which may be combined with rst-phase
orgasm) and in the third phase (more expansive and prolonged altered states,
which can include rst- and second-phase orgasms). Direct physical stimulation is
not necessary for any of these experiences. The specic sensations can vary and may

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be focussed in the sex centre (physical, energetic or both), dierent parts of the body
(for example, the head or the heart, in a physical, energetic or dual way) or be
generalized, whole-body sensations. There may be shorter peak- or valley-orgasms
or prolonged peak- or valley-orgasms with varying levels of intensity and various
emotional, transpersonal or spiritual qualities.
These types of experiences may be more easily accessible between loving partners
or those who are using tantric/Taoist/expanded sexual techniques, but can also occur
spontaneously on ones own or with a partner, irrespectively of the context, whether
or not this is erotic, but also irrespectively of specialist training and the presence or
absence of a romantic relationship.
Potential for research and therapeutic applications
In discussing the therapeutic eects of TO and possible targeted applications, the
authors would like to begin with the following real case-study.
Kenneth Ray Stubbs, a great pioneer in the area of sacred sexuality and Tantric
bodywork, suered a severe neck injury, which left him a quadriplegic with extensive
paralysis. Despite extreme physical handicap, Stubbs continued to develop his
energetic sensitivity and to expand his orgasmic response and now claims to be
orgasmic in many ways, experienced both physically and sexually, as well as
energetically or mystically. (Stubbs oers more details about his work and his
personal journey in his two documentary lms, Magdalene Unveiled and The
Path of the Sexual Shaman). Stubbs experience in Tantra prior to the accident
possibly makes his an atypical case, but it does seem that severe spinal injury, such as
he suered, did not impede his capacity for TO and is, therefore, a source of hope for
other incapacitated persons. Clarkson does assert that men can have multiple
orgasms even if they have suered spinal injuries. Even if they dont or cant have
erections (Clarkson, 2003, p. 35).
Based on the understanding that the sexual energy can be directed intentionally,
it may be possible for people with injuries or disabilities to experience pleasure and
orgasm in any part of the body that has sensation. The various techniques can be
taught to individuals so that they can induce such states in themselves. Additionally,
practitioners may help to induce these in patients receiving treatment. It is
conceivable that training in TO techniques could enable orgasmic experiences in
those with physical injury or impairment when ordinary sexual activity is not
possible.
Joseph Kramers development of Sexological Bodywork, which is a Californiastate approved training, as a healing modality is founded on the premise that
energetic techniques such as we have examined and the induction of heightened
states of arousal and TO eects physical, emotional, psychological healing and
personal and spiritual growth. Associated practitioners, such as Ben Haggard
(Taoist Erotic Massage, n.d.) emphasize the healing potency of working with sexual
energy within bodywork sessions particularly in relation to sexual trauma, the
immune system, low-energy states and depression.
Similarly, Martin Raael Siems, a psychotherapist who specializes in Reichian
body psychotherapies, found that erotic massage is a powerful method to heal
sexual problems, to increase erotic power and that it helps to overcome blocks
from the past and to speed up all self-development and growth processes addressed
in therapy; working with sexuality being the missing link (Siems, n.d.).

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The elds of bodywork, sexual therapy and counselling and existing practices
that are based on Bioenergetic models clearly lend themselves to the application of
TO techniques, as the previous examples suggest. Perhaps the range of therapeutic
modalities that embrace TO practices could be broadened to include other types of
psychotherapy and counselling. Tantric orgasm techniques may often be taught
without any need for physical contact with the patient. Bodyworkers in elds such as
holistic massage, traditional types of healing massage (e.g. Shiatsu), osteopathy,
physiotherapy and other types of specialized bodywork could embrace energetic
techniques and genital massage for enhanced therapeutic eect, if this seems
appropriate for clients.
Based on sources and personal experience, the authors propose that Tantric
practices and similar expanded sexuality techniques represent a natural, holistic and
accessible way to resolve sexual dysfunction in men and women, including intimacy
issues, psychological blocks around sexuality, libidinal imbalances, premature
ejaculation, erectile dysfunctions and anorgasmia.
We recognize the lack of clinical research in this eld. For example, to the
authors knowledge, medical science has not even investigated the many accounts of
non-ejaculatory orgasm. However, anecdotally, the authors own practices see clients
presenting with a wide range of psychosexual dysfunctions and broader emotional
issues. Clients receiving training in TO and related practices report an increased
sense of self-worth, greater aliveness, creativity and greater satisfaction in sexual
experiences. Anorgasmic clients also report becoming orgasmic after experiencing
TO.
Male clients suering from ejaculatory dysfunctions report improvement through
use of Tantric techniques. Depressed clients report an improvement in the state of
their depression. We propose that clinical studies should be carried out to test the
validity of these statements. Tantric orgasm techniques are regularly used by
practitioners, including the authors, to support clients who have erectile dysfunction.
The authors suggest that further studies should be pursued to test the ecacy of this
method for such men, which method is cost eective, non-pharmacological and noninvasive.
As noted from the case study of Kenneth Ray Stubbs himself, TO has also been
used to re-connect with sexual response even after severe spinal injury and the
authors suggest that it could be used correspondingly in both men and women.
Furthermore, we propose that applying the principle of honouring, which is core
to the concept of sacred sexuality and which underpins Tantric practices, helps to
alleviate low self-image and low self-esteem in individuals. The authors anecdotal
experience leads us to believe that such honouring supports clients in overcoming
feelings or guilt, shame and otherwise irreconcilable sexual and spiritual quests,
generalized fears, anxiety and resultant psychological blocks and mental unease.
Self-loathing and self-harming could be addressed through Tantric healing, which
honours the body as a Divine vehicle.
For healthy individuals, TO techniques could help to maintain positive
psychological and emotional states and to enhance relationships and quality of life.
It is hoped that increased scientic interest will help to maximize the benets of
this work. As medical research scientists continue to develop their tools and
understanding, there may be more scientic data around sexual and energetic
phenomena and their therapeutic applications. A rst step might be to study the
phenomenon and benets of non-ejaculatory orgasms in men, for example in

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relation to patients suering from erectile dysfunction. Further to this, we suggest


comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analyses conducted by scientic
researchers in conjunction with practitioners using TO techniques to determine the
therapeutic benets to patients.
There are a considerable number of Tantric healers and other practitioners who
apply such techniques very successfully, but are not more widely known, hindered by
social and scientic marginalization. Historically Tantric healing has been an
esoteric tradition, available only to those interested in the spiritual aspect of
Tantra. A climate of greater practitioner transparency would facilitate more
extensive scientic tests and analyses, which could, in turn, enhance social and
medical acceptance and widen public accessibility of this type of therapy.
The authors suggest that a new type of practitioner is actually emerging, who
treats psychosexual and other dysfunctions without requiring clients to participate in
such esoteric practices. More structured frameworks for training and professional
accreditation are already being developed across the world. Understandably, this
type of work may encounter apprehension commensurate to other holistic therapies,
certainly until more scientic studies become available.
Notes on contributors
Mike Lousada is a psychosexual somatics practitioner and Tantra teacher. He supports clients
in resolving psychosexual issues, using an approach combining cognitive techniques with
bodywork. He incorporates psychosynthesis counselling, as well as inuences from many
disciplines, including body psychotherapy, bioenergetics, polyvagal theory, somatic experiencing and spiritual understanding from his Tantric teachers.
Elena Angel is a Tantric practitioner, teacher and healer, using mainly Tantric and Taoist
practices, psychotherapeutic, bioenergetic techniques and hypnosis and has developed her own
psychosomatic applications, Trance-Bodywork and Associative Bodily Re-patterning to treat
psychosexual, relationship and intimacy issues. Other inuences include NLP, Somatic
Experiencing, Shamanism and other forms of energetic healing.

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