Sexuality in Tantra

How Erotic Continence spiritualizes lovemaking

Author: Stefanie Aue
Under the term Brahmacharya, “Erotic Continence,” Tantra teaches the control of sexual energy and the experience of spiritual highs during lovemaking. Those who embark on this tantric path can not only improve their love life and experience previously unknown states of ecstasy. They can also come closer to God.

Sex lasts six and a half minutes on average internationally. This is the conclusion of a study the University of Queensland conducted. And that in the sexually tending rather active age of 18 to 30 years. For the over-50s, the duration of an average lovemaking session is just over four minutes. The sexual act is over when the man ejaculates. Considering that conflict and frustration are inevitable. Especially when many women need at least 20 minutes to reach orgasm.

But why does this “short” experience occur, when we as humans are also capable of consciously enjoying “the most beautiful secondary matter in the world” for longer? Do we orient ourselves to the wrong role models today? Do the Internet and the film industry show us unrealistic scenes? Scenes that we sadly try to emulate? This is exactly what the authors of the book “The multi-orgasmic man,” Mantak Chia and Douglas Abrams, say about the current situation.

“Hollywood sex is not good sex; it’s just fast sex.

The passionate, hurried embrace portrayed in most movies, in which the woman is instantly wet and instantly satisfied by a few minutes of coital quivering, would be hilarious if it didn’t leave so many viewers trying to emulate this unrealistic model of lovemaking.”

Sexualität im TantraSexuality in Tantra© Ines Honfi

However, more and more people are looking for a happy love relationship and a fulfilling sexuality. Quite a few of them end up in questionable extremes. Ones that neither do them any good nor give them deeper fulfillment. On the contrary, they create suffering and dependencies through something that should bring happiness and joy. The Tantra Yoga system, on the other hand, offers a solution. Thousands of years ago, Tantrics already engaged in practices of fulfilling sexuality. “Good sex” and increased pleasure, however, were not the main intention of the Tantrics of that time.

As in all styles of yoga, the primary intention of Tantra Yoga is spiritual evolutio. That is, the personal advancement of the individual. The ultimate goal of Tantra Yoga is enlightenment. Thus the merging with the very highest Absolute, with God.


In the classic guide to yoga, the Yoga Sutra, the eight-step path to spiritual enlightenment, the sage and scholar Patanjali describes Erotic Continence (Sanskrit: Brahmacharya) as one of the first rules of conduct (Yamas). Brahmacharya means continence, control or restraint. It can refer – but does not have to refer – to a life of abstinence. At the same time, the word brahmacharya refers on the one hand to an orientation towards Brahman, the highest divine in the Hindu tradition. And on the other hand to Brahma, the creator god from the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This clarifies the spiritual orientation of this practice, which mainly realizes itself through transmutation (energetic transformation) and sublimation (energetic elevation). Brahmacharya consequently aims at perfect control of sexual energy. To achieve this the yogi can choose from two possibilities:

Either he renounces all sexual activity or he maintains his sexual activity.

If he chooses the path of renunciation, he refrains from all erotic and sexual activity. Nevertheless he strives to transform his sexual potential into higher forms of energy through the application of appropriate yoga exercises and techniques. This they call active abstinence, since they nevertheless actively work with sexual energy. Whereas the mere refraining from sexual acts (passive abstinence) is not brahmacharya. Swami Sivananda, for example, assumed that the lack of spiritual sadhana (spiritual yoga practice) is the main cause of all sexual attractions.


An extremely important prerequisite for the spiritualization of lovemaking is to learn to distinguish between the instinctual energies driven by the ego (Sanskrit: ahamkara). They are primarily sexual and serve reproduction, and the more sublime energies of pure eros, and to continually align ourselves with the latter.

In the case of pure Eros, the boundaries of the ego which trap us on the sexual plane can be transcended for a period of time. Then we can fully express love and altruism, for example.

While sexual excitement generates desires, restlessness, and specific emotions in the being that lead to contraction of consciousness, erotic excitement generates more vivacity and joy, and thus a great expansion of consciousness. Erotic energy helps to raise one’s vibrational frequency, to promote idealistic thoughts and ideas, and to nourish aspiration to something higher. In general, so-called “raw sexuality” leads to a narrowing of the field of consciousness.

Whereas pure eroticism contributes to the expansion of consciousness. Erotic arousal arouses much more slowly and also rises more slowly than sexual arousal. In return, however, love games with pure eros can last much longer than ordinary sex. Erotic arousal is much more affective and sensual than sexual arousal. In this state, the urge to ejaculate fades and no specific goal, such as orgasm, is pursued. Rather, the lovers direct toward a euphoric merging with each other and toward comprehensive affective fulfillment.

Many of us have a typical image in mind: the woman does not come to orgasm and the man comes too soon. Erotic continence can bring the whole thing back into balance.

Sexualität im TantraSexuality in Tantra© Ines Honfi

In both Taoism and the Tantric Kaula tradition, the biological transmutation of sexual creative potential and its sublimation into higher forms of vital, emotional, mental and spiritual energy is considered the key element of Erotic Continence. Transmutation describes a process in which an initial substance is transformed. I.e. transmuted, into another, more subtle (finer) substance. What is special about this process is that it releases energy. It can be harnessed in this way. Tantric masters described the process of biological transmutation thousands of years ago. In the second half of the 20th century, modern science partially proved this process. The Frenchman Louis Kervran was the first to prove the process of biological transmutation with his research. By taking advantage of the process of transmutation, the practitioner can transcend the limitations of the physical body and spiritualize his life.

Applied to Erotic Continence, this means that during biological transmutation, sexual material, i.e. semen and other sexual fluids, transform into other forms of matter. The organism then absorbs and utilizes those. This transformation of matter is accompanied by the release of a large amount of energy. Itexpresses itself as physical, psychological, emotional, mental or spiritual energy.

Unser Autorin Stefanie AueAbout the author

Stefanie Aue is editor of the Tattva Viveka editorial team and a freelance journalist. As a social and media scientist as well as a yoga teacher, she takes interest in social and individual transformation processes. She is currently training to be a teacher for “Tantra for Women” groups.

Contact: Stefanie@tattva.de

Picture credits: © The pictures were kindly provided by Ines Honfi. ineshonfi.com

This article was originally published on the German Homepage of Tattva Viveka: Sexualität im Tantra

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