Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century (Anglais) Broché – 1 avril 2007
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When I ordered this book, I had a mixed reaction to the reviews and I was honestly expecting not to like it. However, I found it to be quite refreshing, fun, extremely witty and also informative. It talks about real sex between real people and how sex can be used as a spiritual practice and tool for transformation.
Strickly speaking, tantra is path to spiritual transformation that uses the stuff of everyday life as a gateway to something more transcendant. There are many tantric practices and the sexual practices are only a small and rather minor subset of this overall topic. If you are looking for an a good introduction on this deeper tantra or for more context, see Introduction to Tantra : The Transformation of Desire. This is an excellent, concise and accessible introduction to traditonal tantra before it was imported to the West. Although it is written from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, the concepts apply well to any type of traditional tantra.
Back to this book.... once I got beyond my resistance to it given my knowledge and biases toward traditional tantra, I found it to be a practical tool for people looking to find deeper meaning in sex. Tantra is sort of a buzz word in the West and has a technical definition in the East. However, the authors define Tantra as... "living, authentically, consciously and sensuously. And that can be done in an infinite variety of styles and practices, all of which can bring about prolonged states of love, connection and bliss." If I accept this definition and judge the merit of the book by their own definition, then it succeeds in describing a path for busy Westerner's who wish to find more meaning in relationship and/or sexuality in general.
This book also focuses on Tantra as "primarily concerned with inner mystical experiences, not relationships." As such, it does not have a gender bias or even a heterosexual bias. In the author's words, "Gender is not two bins into one of which everyone must be dumped. It is more like a rainbow spectrum along which everyone can find the particular shade of color that looks best on them." This quote crystallizes the openness, curiosity and acceptance that characterizes the overall tone of the writing.
If I had to summarize the content, I would say it's a collection of psychological, spiritual and practical insights. It challenges basic assumptions most of us have about sex and suggests alternatives, exercises and challenges to the cultural paradigm. Often times the language is edgy, explicit and politically incorrect. However, this doesn't detract from the content, my sense is that is an attempt to reach beyond the ignorance, shame and guilt that so often plagues people in this area of their lives.
While there is some information on the chakra system (subtle energy system), Eastern practices, etc., this is not another New Age book on this topic. In addition, this book contains very concrete tips, techniques, exercises and inquiries that most Western people could connect to.
In short, this is a very fun book. It is fun to read and you will learn a lot from it. Even if the language or suggestions at time seem too far out or don't fit for you, you will still find a lot of value. You may also be surprised that as you delve deeper into exploring this territory there are new vistas waiting for you. This is a nice blend of ancient wisdom, modern insight and down-to-earth sensuality. In my opinion, it is a successful fusion of wisdom old and new applied in a way that the average person can relate to.
If after you get done reading this you want to delve deeper into Kundalini yoga or approach the chakra system gently from a credible and understandable place, then you might enjoy Kundalini Awakening: A Gentle Guide to Chakra Activation and Spiritual Growth. This book is geared toward Westerner's who have difficulty relating to esoteric teachings. It provides an experiental guide to learning about chakras, kundalini, etc. It also explains some difficult concepts in easy to understand language and is written by an author with a gift for simplicity and practical application. You can also look at my listmania lists for other references, including in-depth scholarly ones.
If you are gay, into BDSM, etc. and want to expand on those alternatives with Tantra this book is awesome.....If you want pure Tantra, you can take what you need and leave the rest, or look elsewhere.
It's an easy, entertaining, quick read...and I never thought of myself as a prude, I love the energy information--although it's nothing I haven't learned elsewhere, I just felt a little side tracked at times....
For me personally, and again this is me, but I felt like BDSM worked better when I still clung to many of the issues I've worked through, and I see Tantra as a step beyond, so some of this book seemed like a step backwards.? I also look to Tantra to intesify a long term monogamous relationship, and this book often speaks otherwise. No judgement, just not where I am at this point in my life.
I recommend this book highly and also doing the exercises for better sexual health, pleasure and empowerment. Like Annie and Nina Hartley, Barbara recommends affirmations and I agree and need to do so much more affirming work. I am carrying this book around with me everywhere and I recommend you do too!
This book is amazing. Carrellas conveys so much information; her words and exercises lead to the heart of the matter, revealing the connections between ecstasy and embodiment. Urban Tantra covers everything from breath and energy work to massage techniques, from Tantric approaches to SM to sexual magic, never forgetting that these practices ultimately lead to more holistic and holy ways of being in our bodies. Plus, it's accessible to people of all genders, sexualities, backgrounds, and physicalities-- this is not a book that assumes its audience is composed solely of white, middle-class, monogamous heterosexual couples.
This is one of my all-time favorite books, hands down.