Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with an individual I would deem a practitioner of tantric sex. Over the course of a four-hour conversation, however, I only came to one conclusion about anything (subject to change because that’s how brains do stuff), and that was that conditioning is a silly, silly concept to throw around when speaking about one’s personal life. While I agreed with a great many concepts this engaging human had to say to me, the one thing that stuck out was the assertion that I was not living to my full potential based on conditioning I had received during my apparently sexually stunted life.
It is very true that the vast majority of humanity is most likely not practicing sex the bestest way possible. Tantric sex is certainly an improvement over most recognized conventional models of sex; Alex Vartman, the mastermind behind the New Tantra and this beginner tantra challenge has set the groundwork for high proliferation of sexual education. There’s no question that many hours of advanced sex is fun times, indeed. But I was immediately turned off the topic as soon as I was accused of not living, or hiding behind conditioning, as that, really, makes no sense.
There is only one person that can decide if you are not living, and that is you, the consciousness you share your skin and limbs with. Deciding to do things or not is not a responsibility any other human should feel they must have for any other human; once our creaturely interests are inspired and alight, we feel we need to spread this grounding set of ideas, almost like peeing everywhere to stake your territory. Proving another human is not living effectively scaffolds your own existence, or at least that seems to be the case in countercultures versus more established cultures. It’s a strangely aggressive phenomenon.
Conditioning has become for many alternative movements a buzzword that is used to supposedly snap folks out of their everyday existence. A self-proclaimed adventurous individual, or a person who has experienced what they believe to be eye-opening things, differentiates that experience from their previous reality, or what they demonize as conditioning. Society this, big business that. Government this, capitalism that. The bottom line may be that some elements of mass culture do push us in negative directions, but any outside stimulus, whether it be an ad for white picket fences that smell like money, or a month-long sex tour of six or seven different countries, conditions one way or another.
Any narrative received by the brain is conditioning, making the possibility of truly knowing oneself a nervous fantasy in some senses. Tantric sex, as I’ve observed from the chat, allows the mind and body to open up and experience things on a deeper level, but any part of life can be subject to the same broadening of consciousness. Which actually means no experience is free of the universal fear and conditioning that make up all of behavior (it’s ok, we’re all gonna die!). And apparently, once you begin the tantric path, you cannot cum, and that itself is a parameter, making it just as incomplete as what spiritual folks would call regular existence.
This is not to say that tantric is not worth a go. If it interests you, go for it. But if it does not inspire you, don’t allow practitioners to tell you that you are not living, or are some kind conditioned ape-like servant of mass society. Their copious, spiritual sex-having is no more an affirmation of existence than whatever it is you find totally awesome. And knowing yourself on a deeper level (careful, you guys!) should never come at the cost of delegating your decisions and ideas to other parties who only know what you don’t do, not what you assert yourself as. I mean, if you put kittens in microwaves, then maybe you need a different outlet, but it should be you who has the final say (don’t put kittens in microwaves).