Gee, thanks mom!

Do you ever get the feeling that your mother sometimes does things that are either pricelessly clueless, or not-so-subtle hints about things she'd never encourage directly?

I am faced with such a dilemma. My mother either. . .

A) has never heard the phrase Tantric Sex
B) doesn't know that Tantra is the root word for the phrase "Tantric Sex"
C) really thinks it must be time for me to get working on losing my virginity.

Now, I cannot help but eliminate C, because I really, really think that she does want me to stay celibate until I find the perfect girl for me (defined by how well this hypothetical girl and my mother get along) and then immediately set to work on raising her grand children. As there are no such girls on any horizons I'm aware of, I can rule that one out.

In any case, there was a booksale at my local library and my mother came home with two large boxes of books. When I greeted her she grabbed a stack and pressed them into my hands.

"Look! I got books for you!"

My mother, I should note, knows of my fascination with eastern culture, philosophy and art, much of which flowered out of my study of the martial arts during college.

One of the books in the stack she handed me was "The Art of the Tantra", the cover of which you can see above.

I attempted to mask my surprise and faked an enthusiastic "oh, cool! Thanks!" as I stared in unsettled surprise at the book cover I held. As she moved the other boxes to the next room I quickly flipped the book open to see if I could confirm my suspicions about the word Tantra and its portent.

Sure enough, I immediately discovered a few plates of artwork (sculpture and paintings) that confirmed my suspicion. I can't actually post the images I first ran across because they are graphic enough that I might get flagged as objectionable. But they were pieces like this one, but with less subtlety.

So there I was, standing in the hallway, holding a book about Indian sexual methods that are upwards of 1400 years old, and nursing one serious case of confusion, courtesy of my mother.

I put the book away to the side and just this weekend began reading it. It is fascinating.

Now, the artwork is of course beautiful. Much of it is geometric patterns and traditional artwork that is not directly or obviously erotic to the unfamiliar eye. Still, many of the sexual pieces are also quite lovely, like this golden statue of one of the more traditional poses [click for full size].

For those of you that aren't familiar with the term, let me explain a little bit about Tantra. Tantra is an Indian art/philosophy/religion. It has both Hindu and Buddhist adherents/aspects and even spread from central India into what were Bengal and Tibet. It's really only become known to the western world only in the last 100 years, though it has records dating back to 600 AD.

Imagine that while he was still going through puberty, Buddha had read the Kama Sutra. The result might sound like most of the Tantric philosophy I've read so far.

I'm still somewhat fuzzy on all the details since I've only read about 15% of it thus far. but it seems the basic premise is this: A unified philosophy of the universe can be created and clarified through a deep fundamental caring for all things, and that the ultimate expression of this care is found in sexual intercourse. From what I've read, sexual intercourse is the analog for the joining of the male deity representing matter and energy with the female goddess representing the creative force. Thus at the higher levels of the study of Tantra much of the 'practice' (meditation, etc) involves sex. And sex is viewed through a completely different lens by the Indian mindset. The 'tension and relief' model that westerners tend to use when thinking of sex is completely ignored by the Indian methodologies alluded to in the book.

There are rumours that the result of this difference in mindset and focus means that intercourse during Tantric sex can last for hours.

Yes. Hours.

Intrigued yet?

I am. But I'm more worried. My assumption is that my mother simply picked the book up without even flipping through it (the second image I found when I opened the book depicted sex, so it isn't like she could have missed it). But if she did flip through it, and did know the books contents. . . ?

Either way, it has me kinda freaked out.

Friday, September 02, 2005