I Went To A Tantric Orgasmic Workshop – Here's What I Learned

Photographed by Meg O'Donnell
It was a regular Friday night and while my friends descended to our favourite grotty local for a pint or their living room sofas to binge Dirty John, I found myself poised in lotus position, about to embark on a tantric orgasmic workshop.
When my mate invited me to Tara yoga centre’s orgasmic journey workshop, curiosity got the better of me. What was tantra? Would the workshop be like a Wild Wild Country group orgy? Would I be sat beside the woman who can orgasm for 18 hours just by hugging her partner? Would it be as intense as watching ADAM trying to hit E flat before they hit the big O? So many questions, so much intrigue – there was only one way to find out.
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Tara's three-part orgasmic journey workshop series focuses on taking participants on "a journey towards more pleasure, fulfilment, self-awareness and happiness". Their three-hour "Heaven in the Bedroom" session, held in separate classes for women and men, specialised in giving participants a better understanding of their anatomy and awakening their full orgasmic power. As a sexual person who loves mixing things up in the bedroom, while I can’t say I’d ever adopted a spiritual approach like tantra before, I’m always up for trying something new.
Our workshop started with our mellifluous teachers, Marilena and Kate guiding us through a meditation before getting down to more tantralising things. Marilena and Kate began debunking the myth that tantra is just about sex; tantra is a spiritual practice which aims to provide us with a network of tools which, once put into practice, can lead to liberation (bear with me here). Each set of tools harnesses different energies to access higher consciousnesses. Tantra’s about being more present in our mind, soul and body – finding empowerment in vulnerability, silencing our inner critic and embracing all the different elements which make us whole.
Tantra breaks down the barriers between sex and the beautiful and sublime – often perceived as mutually exclusive in Western thought. Marilena acknowledged how our society annexes eroticism as "a kinky thing done behind closed doors, that everyone’s interested in but no one really wants to talk about openly" – which makes the hypocrisy of an estimated $97 billion dollar porn industry even more obscene.
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Our teachers touched on the difference between having sex and making love. We’ve all been there – having soulless sex, eyes boring into the cracks in the wall as you wonder if your room would look better with a cheese plant. At the other end of the spectrum, 'making love' has become synonymous with James Blunt crooning "You’re Beautiful" or Eyal Booker having a DMC with just about anyone. Tantra aims to bridge that gap, creating more meaningful sex while keeping the passion alive.

One concept I struggled with was how the yoni (female genitalia) is sacred and worshipped in tantra. We were told we could make ours a shrine if we liked – personally, I couldn’t see this happening.

One concept I struggled with was how the yoni (female genitalia) is sacred and worshipped in tantra. We were told we could make ours a shrine if we liked – personally, I couldn’t see this happening. Asked when was the last time we admired ours in the mirror, the ensuing silence spoke volumes. So what better way to reconnect with our yonis than being shown artistic representations of them on a massive screen?
We were shown successive watercolour paintings of promiscuously plump tulips and suggestively sumptuous fruits, and I could appreciate these were beautiful. Then suddenly – bam! – there’s a giant image of a wet yoni on the screen, accompanied by two juicy pomegranates. We were asked how this made us feel; answers ranged from uncomfortable and awkward to empowered, feminine and beautiful. Me? Conflicted (it ain’t no tulip). Marilena summed it up perfectly: "It’s daunting for the lights to be switched on in an area of our lives they’re normally switched off."
Our teachers recognised this awkwardness stems back to sex education – so are you ready to go back to school? We all know about the G-spot and clitoral orgasm, but did you know we have an A, P and U-spot, each producing a different sensation when stimulated? Asking friends if they’d be able to tell the difference, they answered with a resounding "no", which came as no surprise. My sex education was pretty much: If you have sex, you will get pregnant and die. The pleasurable element was completely ignored. When our teachers spoke about being penetrated by the cervix, my eyes bulged in alarm. To clear up any confusion, the cervix can’t be penetrated by a penis, but can be stimulated by touch or a well-endowed partner tapping it – although this is usually painful at first.
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After spotlighting the (many) gaps in our knowledge, we ended the first half of the workshop with an exercise, lying down and contracting our pelvic floor muscles for approximately 7 minutes. Once this was over, we were asked how we felt. One woman spoke breathily, as if her every syllable was drifting away on clouds; she said if the meditation had gone on any longer, she would have reached climax.
Now seemed like a good time for a break.
In the second half, things got even more experimental. Our teachers addressed how central transfiguration is to tantra, reiterating the importance of regarding ourselves and our partners as gods and goddesses in the bedroom; harnessing our sexual energy to embody higher states of being. After walking around the room, grounding our feet to the earth, we had to stop and face the woman closest to us, maintaining her gaze for five minutes as we regarded her as a goddess, appreciating her beauty and generating thoughts of loving kindness. We repeated this extremely awks situation not once, but four times. Initially the intimacy was too much to bear; afterwards, as we broke eye contact and embraced each other, relief washed over me. As women we have a tendency to criticise and compare ourselves with other women, which creates separation; once we suspend judgement, we begin feeling more connected to one another. The more we practised this, the easier it became.
Next, we lay down on a mat, placing one hand on our heart and one hand above our yoni to feel the connection between the two. We were then instructed to slowly and tenderly caress our bodies with our fingertips. The class ended with us forming a large circle on the floor and embracing one another. Having been pushed completely out of my comfort zone, into unavoidably awkward scenarios where I couldn't be sure how I felt, afterwards I felt reenergised and calm, as if my defences had been dropped.
While I struggled with tantra’s elevated terminology of gods, goddesses and sacred yonis, many other elements resonated. Tantra encourages women to embrace and feel fully empowered in our bodies; considering we’re accustomed to policing them on a daily basis, this is no easy feat. By breaking down these barriers, I began feeling compassion for the other women in the workshop, which manifested in a greater acceptance of myself. I loved the idea of becoming more engaged with my body and receptive to all the different nuances of sensations, without getting swept away in the moment. Most importantly, I now know I have an A, P and U-spot.
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