Synopsis: Experience the never before seen world of lesbian Tantra in this groundbreaking, award-winning documentary. Go behind the doors of women-only workshops with the most renowned Tantra teachers in the field as they reveal the secret of how to live in a daily orgasmic state of being. Included are ancient Tantric techniques for increasing intimacy in relationships, solo practice, extended orgasms, sexual healing and personal transformation.
eyelights: Pamela Madison. its testimonies of healing.
eyesores: its esoteric, new agey overview of tantra.
“Spirit and sex should coexist together.”
I’ve long been interested in Tantric sex. Ever since I discovered Jolan Chang’s life-changing ‘The Tao of Love and Sex’, I’ve been curious about non-traditional approaches to sexuality. So when I heard about the benefits of Tantric sex, I naturally wanted to know more.
The problem is that, whenever I would pick up a book, it was so incredibly esoteric that I couldn’t get into it; these books seemed geared towards more new agey and/or spiritual individuals – which I’m not. It’s sad to say, but I needed a “Tantric Sex for Dummies” primer.
Still, I kept an eye open and, when I stumbled upon ‘Heart Cracked Open’ at a local video store, it immediately intrigued me: it professed to be a Tantric Sex primer specifically geared towards lesbians. I don’t think I’m a lesbian, but another perspective couldn’t hurt.
So I picked it up.
The documentary, which was originally released on home video in 2004, explores Tantric sex through the testimonials of various practitioners and the teachings of Pamela Madison, Evalena Rose and Marcia Singer, three California Tantra experts, as well as Annie Sprinkle.
It provides a very brief history of the practice, explaining that it’s from India, but that it has moved around Asia in various forms. We’re told that, in Tantra, yin and yang are inside everyone – it’s not about genetics, which is why it can be applied to same-sex coupling.
The participants say that Tantra goes beyond sex, which is just one application; it’s really about interconnection. For a lot of lesbians, there’s a component of healing from homophobia, trauma, sexual abuse, …etc. Many talk about the healing it brought to their relationships.
Madison, Rose and Singer also teach us some of the basics of Tantric sex, like the terminology (ex: yoni, pujim kundalini, chakra) and the techniques, which include eye contact, breathing, “soul gazing” and Ya Yum, a classic Tantra pose which allows the chakra to connect.
Unfortunately, many of the testimonials make it seem corny, kooky – something that Annie Sprinkle agrees it can be. And watching the groups doing their ceremonies had a cultish vibe. But Pamela Madison got right in there and spoke in a language that was a bit more concrete.
I very much like and share her perspective on sex: She recommends 20 minutes of solo sex daily, as well as 20 minutes with a partner (adding that there should be oral-genital contact every day), at least one 3-hour lovemaking session per week, and one 5-hour “date” per month.
I’m all for it.
I’ve long felt that mindful sexual contact is a great way to stay connected with a partner (as opposed to, say, getting each other off quickly), and it makes sense for it to be somewhat ritualistic – not be confused with routine. It ensures that time is made for loving touch.
One of the participants said that, now that she practices Tantric sex she’s far less goal-oriented now, so there’s less anxiety. That would certainly be one of its key benefits: if your sexual contact isn’t orgasm-focused, then you’ll tend to savour many other pleasures as well.
I’m of the mind that many (most?) people could benefit from a more Asian perspective on sex. The Taoist techniques I’ve learned mercifully released me from traditional Western attitudes, and I see that Tantra would do that as well. I believe that it would be a welcome societal change.
The DVD also has a few special features of note:
1. Pamela Madison’s 20-minute exercise with her partner (Yaba Yum/Heart salutation and soul gazing, Breathing w. sound, Basic sexual breath and harmonizing breath, The Tantric Kiss, The Changing Breath, Vibrate chakras with sound, Shakti exchange, Chakra chant, The nurturing meditation, The G spot and Closing the dark devotional exercise)
2. Pam’s unedited fire breath orgasm (6 mins): It was a little odd being privy to that private, intimate moment, watching her shaking, laughing, crying, like a madperson. But it’s interesting.
3. Annie Sprinkle’s unedited fire breath orgasm (7 mins): Sprinkle admits that she adapts the practices to suit her own needs, so this was completely different: she was lying on a bed, waving her arms, then sat up to do more of that. It looked like what would pass as witchcraft or possession in a movie.
4. Annie Sprinkle outtakes (5 mins): Sprinkle says that San Francisco has an abundance of Tantra Workshops and she talks about why she likes Tantra as well as other sex.
Though ‘Hearts Cracked Open’ is very brief and is geared towards lesbian partnerships, it’s the most accessible primer on Tantric Sex that I’ve found so far. I have no doubt that, if I dig deeper, I’ll find that it’s quite a different beast, but it’s a very good way to get started.
Despite its oft-flowery testimonials, I highly recommend it.
Date of viewing: May 23, 2017