The Great Misunderstanding of Modern Tantric Environments
My natural tendency has always drawn me into spiritual currents related to tantra, which is why I have been navigating among tantric communities for almost 30 years. I started with the Osho centers in Italy and India when I was not yet of age. Now that I am close to fifty, I feel called to share my experience and reflections, especially on the subject of polyamory and monogamy and the relationship between this choice and the path of tantra.
Tantra and Polyamory: Is It the Same?
Tantra is a path that embraces life in all its forms. Even couple relationships become a practice of growth and evolution. When using sexual energy intensely, primarily if you practice red tantra, it is not difficult to understand why the topic of polyamory (intimate relationship with several people simultaneously) comes up so often. Now, let’s dive into monogamy and polygamy in tantra.
In my long experience, I’ve observed that monogamy is often branded as obsolete and limited in tantric communities. Those who choose to be monogamous do so only because they have attachments that are considered an obstacle on the spiritual path. Others argue that monogamy is out of step with the times. That old relational model no longer works; it is time for something different.
I have read blogs of tantra schools that claim a person who is not polyamorous cannot define themselves as a tantra teacher. Extreme!
My understanding is very different, and what I’ve seen around tantric communities has certainly not made me change my mind.
Growth through Intimacy
I have often encountered many situations where it was evident that the choice of polyamory was not taken to grow and evolve. Dissolving all attachment and jealousy, but an excuse to justify a frivolous sex life. Under the flag of non-attachment, people wander from flower to flower without stopping. Missing the moment to deepen and truly connect.
Going deep into emotional intimacy with a person can bring up many shadows. This connection stirs the pot and forces you to face the projections and subconscious tendencies we carry with us from our family of origin. Any psychologist would agree with this.
Being open to a person makes you vulnerable. The deeper you go, the more there is the risk of suffering. And yes, in relationships, you usually suffer at some point, at least in the truly evolutionary ones. Our human tendency is to recreate the painful situations of childhood to overcome them internally; this also is recognized by modern psychology.
So we meet, we feel attracted to each other, and enter the honeymoon phase. Here only the beauty comes out, but the mask falls sooner or later, and the shadows come out. Believe me. Every time. (Unless you’re already a little enlightened!) But that is precisely the beauty of the relationship! This part is the one that’s important to the process! An opportunity to become aware of your unconscious tendencies, look inside, dissolve, and let go.
Seeing the Infinite in the Same Partner
But why should I go to all this trouble if I can escape to another partner?
Much easier, right? I avoid suffering—but I also avoid growing.
An obvious question arises: “Is it not possible to go into this emotional depth with several people simultaneously?”
I don’t have a simple answer here. Human beings and relationships are highly complex, and I don’t feel like taking rigid positions.
I have seen, however, that all too often, tantric environments are populated by people (especially men, I must admit) who use the name of tantra to justify a life of frivolous and shallow relationships.
Tantra, including red tantra, can be practiced in a monogamous couple and a polyamorous arrangement. This choice is very personal and has nothing to do with the spiritual path.
One can practice tantra with the same partner for life.
In tantric sexual practice, you cultivate an attitude of transfiguration. The person you face is transfigured into the universal masculine principle (Shiva) and universal feminine principle (Shakti). So it is impossible to get bored of the same person because you have the incarnation of divinity in front of your eyes.
Without transfiguration, it is not Tantra!
Monogamy or Polyamory: a Comparison
Both options can bring something positive to your personal and spiritual growth. If you are reflecting on these two choices, here is some food for thought to help you choose in a way aligned with your inner integrity, free from socio-cultural conditioning but without trying to escape from something profound that could make you grow.
- Monogamy can be a very safe container. However, it can often become a comfort zone for shelter and protection. The positive aspect of this relational model is that it brings a lot of depth, as mentioned above, and often brings to light all our projections. A conscious monogamous couple is an excellent opportunity to work together on these patterns and let them go. This journey made together as a couple can open up to incredible levels of emotional intimacy and union.
The downside of monogamy is that it’s easy to develop a strong (and spiritually unhealthy) attachment to your partner. Remember that nothing is forever. Sooner or later, you will have to let go. Even in the lucky case that you will be together all your life, sooner or later, death comes for everyone.
- Polyamory opens up to an idea of genuinely expanded and universal love. Though often, the emotional connection within any relationship is less, and having another person can also be an escape. Although the idea is there, the action might only come from greed dictated by the ego. Here we also face the case where there is not so much attachment for a partner, but there is attachment to the fun of going from bed to bed. Or an extension to feel “cool” for men or like a “sex bomb” for women.
- A polyamorous relationship makes sense if everyone involved is comfortable and happy, and this usually only happens if true and sincere love flows among the participants. Love is the essential element for it to flow harmoniously.
- Monogamy, especially for couples who have been together for a long time, can lead to somewhat stagnant energy, even on a sexual level. It may be challenging to keep the fire of passion alive. It is easy to end up taking yourself and your partner for granted. When you are too used to your partner’s presence, it might no longer have the same effect on you. Then boredom sets in. The remedy is to renew yourselves as individuals outside the couple: grow, learn new things, and take on new projects. After all, we are different people every day. Can you see this constant transformation in the person in front of you?
- Having several partners keeps sexual energy vital and renewed, but it is not for everyone and can trigger terrible suffering from jealousy. My best advice is to listen to yourself and understand your needs, not just those of your partner. Do not accept, for any reason, situations that do not make you feel good to please your partner or for the fear that they will leave you. Prolonged suffering makes the body sick and leaves deep wounds in the heart. This makes it difficult to open up again and trust. If you propose this choice to your significant other, ensure you are not hurting them and creating bad karma. This, too, is a substantial obstacle on a spiritual level.
As we have seen, there are advantages and disadvantages to both choices. Millions of facets can exist between these two different options.
So what’s the vital thing about monogamy and polygamy in Tantra? Monogamy and polyamory are to check your inner truth constantly. To truly act from the heart, from pure unconditional love. Only in this way can the relationship be a proper way with and spiritual evolution in whatever form it manifests itself for personal gr.