At a tantric workshop she held in her home, Cheryll asked a group of couples to straddle each other, synchronize their breathing, and stare into each other’s eyes. Pelvic thrusting and chakra- talk ensued. But first, each person was instructed to place a hand on his partner's heart and complete the sentence: "I feel most loved and cherished by you when..." If that sounds like couples therapy—well, that's because it could be. A growing number of Western sexologists are starting to employ methods that echo tantric principles. (While your shrink might ask you to "respect each other," your tantric guru would ask you to "acknowledge the divine in each other.")
"When things go south for a couple, one of the first problems is often sexual," says Richard Jordan, a clinical psychologist based in San Diego, California. "I find that a body-centered approach is much more effective than talk therapy in yielding change." Jordan, who says his study of tantra has improved his therapy practice, often incorporates its techniques into his clients’ treatments—be it G-spot ("sacred spot") massage or breath work. Tantra, he explains, can help men overcome erectile dysfunction, which boosts their self-esteem and benefits their relationships."We have a lot of mental and sexual energy, but the two don't always connect," he says. "When they do, sex has the potential to be the most intimate experience a couple shares."
Ready for some hands-on learning? Enlighten yourself at these workshops:
Arizona: Miraval's four-night retreat, "Partners, Pleasure, and Passion," includes workshop events, luxury accommodations, and gourmet meals. The price also includes spa services, a couples activity, and airport transportation.
$665/ person per night; www.miravalresort.com.
Hawaii: Learn tantra and bask on Maui's gorgeous beaches during the "Sacred Loving Retreat Weekend." Tuition for the three-night retreat includes program activities, meals, and guided excursions. $345/person (10% couples discount); www.sacredloving.net.
Arizona: Not ready for group sharing? Canyon Ranch is a first-class getaway that offers a private Sexual Health consultation (also offered at their Tucson, Ariz. location). Room price includes services, meals, and transportation, as well as access to fitness activities, spas, and excursions. $2880/person per night (double occupancy); www.canyonranch.com
New York: Money is no object a tManhattan’s 90-minute Couple’s Tantra Workshop. $70/couple; www.metroplanners.com.
Check out www.tantra.com for more listings.