Ethical Sexual Behavior in Tantra

The Responsibility of Teaching Tantra and the Question of “Open Relationships”

Teaching tantra is no simple job. Contributing to spread this ancient knowledge that has led to the liberation of so many human beings over the centuries must be considered a real mission. This requires exemplary preparation, both theoretical and in the direct experience of what is taught, with a complete integration of this knowledge into one’s life.

It is necessary to specify that it is not possible to separate tantra from yoga, as the first is considered a branch of the second. In the last decade, with the boom of yoga in the West, the oriental holistic disciplines have become very fashionable but, often, they have lost the depth of the teachings. Instead, for the most part they have become yet another entertainment for the Western mind always in search of new stimuli. Yoga has become a gymnastics and tantra is a very fashionable thing to improve intimacy, exchange massages or indulge in the pleasures of the body and sex. Ethical sexual behavior in tantra becomes more and more important.

Tantra is a spiritual path that aims at the recognition of the Supreme Self in each of us.
Tantra is the search for God in the most intimate part of ourselves.
Nothing less than that!

Only by maintaining this approach it will be possible to avoid losing the depth of this ancient spiritual path. On the other hand, it is true that, by taking the path of Red Tantra, which includes the practical use of sexual energy to access the Divinity that is in each of us, sexuality becomes something never experienced before, opening up to unimaginable levels of pleasure.

It is also true that, in this journey, partners can find an intimacy so profound and sincere as it is unlikely between two people in bed. But until the two lovers drop the illusion of their identity to become One with the everything, merging into the Supreme Source from which everything derives, it cannot be called tantra.

Sexuality in Tantric Path

Along the tantric path, due to the integration of sexuality as an important human aspect, strong morality and correct behavior are absolutely essential. Sexuality is one of the most integral aspects of the human being but, for this reason, it is also the most sensitive. It can be the source of the most powerful energy, recharging and regenerating all aspects of our being and our life, or a huge obstacle that blocks the free flow of energy and stifles our human potential.

Sexuality can create the strongest attachments and cloud the lucid vision of the mind and discernment, leading to conduct that does not respect oneself and others. A tantra teacher must constantly check the purity of the intent and make sure that he/she does not use tantra and the role of the teacher for personal purposes and sexual gain. Creating a safe energy space is a primary responsibility of the tantra teacher.

Due to millennia of repressive culture, many women still have difficulties in navigating in the sphere of their own sexuality. A high number of women who was abused, often very early in life, approach tantra in search of healing. This sacred approach can really be a great resource in this case. Experiencing that there are many men willing to honor the body of a woman like a Goddess is already a great healing in itself. Despite this, these students may feel very vulnerable in the circumstance of a tantra workshop. The teacher has the responsibility to create a safe space where they feel protected and supported.

Many girls idealize the teacher and hope to receive help in the process of freeing their sexual energy. This could actually happen, as the tantra teacher is an expert, but it is necessary to take very good care to the circumstance.

A girl who is approaching sexually her tantra teacher out of idealization or projection, most probably can end in some unclear situation which will bring a lot of frustration, jealousy, attachment and pain. It is the responsibility of the teacher to pay attention to this and avoid any unhealthy situation, sometime evaluating that is better to avoid sexual intercourse with students, for the benefit of the teaching and of the student. Recently, in different spiritual environments around the world, we have been witness to so many scandals exactly for this reason.

Ethical Sexual Behavior in Modern Tantra

Let’s clarify this: despite what many people think in the modern tantra world, this path does not have to pass necessarily through “open relationships” or promiscuous sexuality. People often use tantra as an excuse to justify frivolous and shallow behaviors. You can practice tantra in your long-term relationship as well and this sometimes is even better. By knowing each other so well, the level of intimacy can be really amazing.

Open relationships can be a possibility only if both partners are deeply willing to explore it and no one is suffering. Otherwise this can bring about a lot of difficult emotions to deal with and waste a lot of energy. This is absolutely counterproductive. Big suffering due to disharmonious relationships can leave traumatic memories in the psychic apparatus that can take years to heal.

Every time, in name of sexual freedom or the erroneous use of the concept of tantra, suffering is created and also negative karma is created. We do not consider this beneficial for spiritual accomplishment. Whatever you choose to do in your relationship and in your sexual life, this is an invitation to be aware not to use the name of tantra as an excuse for dwelling in superficiality and to escape depth and commitment, as well as to contemplate ethical sexual behavior in tantra.


Buddha Samantabhadra thangka

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