*Note: This article was published as a blog post in April 2019 and deals with Sex & Porn addiction, however, Authentic Tantra has proven helpful in overcoming many forms of addictions.
My first experience of pornography was finding a stash of Penthouse and Playboy magazines that belonged to an uncle who lived next door to us. I was probably around age 13 or so and very intrigued and curious about how sexuality was depicted in these magazines. I was being raised in a very repressive religion and sex was rarely discussed and if it was, it was usually to incite fear and shame. And so I would sneak a peek at this hidden stash whenever possible, and always wondered why something so beautiful was considered so evil. Now, at this stage of my life, I realize these magazines actually helped me to understand quite a bit about sexuality that I never would have learned otherwise. The articles, the “confessions” by readers, and even the photographs provided insight into how different people viewed their own sexuality.
Fast forward to today’s porn - there is very little intimacy and it is usually focused on ejaculation, (both female and male) or the “cum shot.” Obviously there is some “consciously” produced porn out there, usually from female producers, however, even this can contribute to porn addiction if used without the proper intent.
The internet has made porn accessible to anyone and everyone. Young men and women are becoming exposed to porn at an early age, reportedly as early as age 8 or even younger. There are many various forms of video porn available that range from “vanilla” porn to darker, more extreme, and sometimes more violent forms. It is all out there and easily accessible. This has created suffering at an almost epidemic stage. Suffering? How so, you may ask?
Those addicted to sex and porn initially become addicted to the release of endorphins (produced by the central nervous system primarily to relieve pain), dopamine (mainly responsible for movement and feelings of pleasure or pleasurable rewarding) and other hormones or chemicals (serotonin, oxytocin) that come with and at the moment of orgasm.
With addiction, the nervous system becomes re-wired to associate porn and sex with the pleasure (both physical and emotional) that has been experienced through orgasm, even when orgasm does not happen. Even watching porn or fantasizing about sex can then trigger the release of endorphins and other pleasure hormones.
As with other addictions, when the body has reached a “tolerance” level, it seeks higher doses of the pleasure hormones. This can result in the person seeking out the “next level” which can often mean darker and more violent forms of porn and/or sex in order to satisfy the addiction.
Authentic Tantra literally re-wires the nervous system by giving it a “natural” way to release these hormones. The pathways of these hormones are re-wired to a point that the addiction is overcome. How is this?
Authentic Tantra teaches that “pleasure is medicine” and includes all the pleasures and joys of life. By using the 5 Elements that are the composition of everything, including human beings, along with the 5 Senses and the 4 Pillars of Authentic Tantra - * Meditation, *Movement, *Connection, and *Pleasure - the body and mind are rewired or re-trained in a “natural” and sustainable way to maintain healthy levels of “pleasure hormones.” In this way, the pleasure hormones override the stressor chemicals, the “fight or “flight” hormones (cortisol, norepinephrine) that we are inundated with, in this day and age, almost every moment of every day of our human lives. Multi-tasking has become a habitual pattern that we have adopted in this society as “normal” and even something to aspire to. The result is that we are rarely “present” with where we are and what we are doing. Think about it: Worry/anxiety of future events; painful or traumatic memories, shame or guilt of the past; association of past “woundings” with possible future events. Our nervous system responds by releasing these “fight or flight” hormones. The result is oxidative stress to the body and other dis-ease in the body, mind and emotional state. Basically, we can often link illness, dis-ease and conditions of the mind to stress and this stress includes how traumatic events affect our feelings of self-worth and therefore our interactions in society and our intimate relationships.
And so people often turn to outside sources and substances to relieve physical and mental pain or bring about feelings of pleasure. This often results in an addiction to these substances or outside stimuli.
In the Authentic Tantra® modality, the Tibetan Five Element Teachings have been woven with contemporary cutting-edge knowledge about sexuality, trauma, and holistic healing in order to create effective methods for addressing the root causes of illness and suffering in our modern world.
Authentic Tantra teaches the difference between self-love and sexual –love. It teaches both men and women how to overcome the effects of emotional, physical and sexual trauma. It can teach men and women how to cultivate a “sacred Sexual practice.” For men, more advanced Authentic Tantra teachings can also include how to become multi-orgasmic through semen retention. For women, it can include how to achieve orgasm, the up to 11 different kinds of orgasm and how to heal the Yoni (Vagina) physically through ancient Taoist practices of Yoni breathing and stimulation of acupressure points through the proper use of Yoni balls.
All of my students begin their education and training by practicing Tantra non-sexually with the 5 Elements teachings.