One of the Primary principles taught in Tantra is "All things are the Absolute and only the Absolute exists." (For those unfamiliar, the term "Absolute" is a term used to describe "God" which implies that which is "Pure and Real.") This is of critical importance as it helps to develop an attitude of acceptance and fuels the release of judgments.
Within Tantric teachings the above principle "All things are the Absolute and only the Absolute exists" is taken to be very literal. All things are God. Everything arises out of the Absolute, therefore to judge anything is literally a judgment placed upon the Absolute.
Within the context of Western Tantra, this principle is applied by helping us to fully accept our desires. To give ourselves permission to accept that how we have been "programmed", what we are attracted to, what we derive pleasure from, what sexual acts we long for, are ALL manifestations of the Absolute, and are therefore not to be questioned or judged. There is nothing "wrong" with the way we have been created. Gay, straight or bisexual, top or bottom, oral or anal, skinny or overweight, hairy or smooth, etc, no matter what we want, how we look or who or what we are attracted to, it is a creation of the Absolute and should be accepted as "Divine."
Many people have trouble getting over the "hurdle" of this basic principle, simply because we have been taught to judge so many things, but contained within this Principle is the freedom to accept your life as it is, and to accept yourself as you are. To deepen the love and acceptance that you have for yourself.
Taken into the bedroom, this principle allows us to begin shedding the judgments and fears we have of our own nature. It gives us permission to just say "I love what I love." It allows us to reeducate our minds around receiving and giving pleasure. It allows us to more deeply enjoy the moment, to breathe in the pleasure and savor the experience. To explore and play and accept sensual pleasure as a divine gift and experience.
This first principle is an extremely important first step to begin expanding our self love and acceptance. The second principle is a familiar one to most and states basically the Golden Rule:"Treat others the way you yourself would want to be treated." This rule adds a little guideline to the first one, which says accept who you are and your desires, and act upon them as a responsible caring being. In other words, accept your desires as created by the Absolute, but only act on them if they do not harm anyone. Treat people with respect and do not act out of hate or selfishness. Acknowledge the desire, do not judge it, and only act upon it if it will not cause harm to another living being (or your Self).
This principle covers basic acts that would physically or emotionally harm someone and anything that would not be consensual. But the flip side is that it encourages us to honor and love those around us as the Absolute. At the very extreme Truth, each person, including the Self, is the Absolute, and should be treated with the respect you would give to The Absolute. Most people, even if they want to, are not mentally prepared to make that leap, so at the very least, we should simply treat others (and ourselves) with respect, kindness and gentleness.
Taken into the bedroom, this means we are honoring our sexual partner as a Divine Being. When we touch, kiss, and caress, our intention is to convey that reverence and tenderness and to honor the whole person and the whole body of that individual.
Next we add a third principle, "Let go of expectations and goals and surrender to the moment." This principle teaches us to enjoy the moment even more fully. In the bedroom, it is not uncommon for people's past experiences to see the goal of sexual pleasure as revolving entirely around genital stimulation and orgasm alone.
Taking this third principle into the bedroom, we are freeing ourselves to let go of these old ideas, and to experience sexual pleasure with our whole bodies and being. The experience is no longer about getting off, but instead is about living fully in the present moment, experiencing pleasure, desire and longing fully and completely.
Taking all three principles together, we are now selflessly engaged in giving and receiving pleasure in a nurturing, tender way which is about exploring and experiencing pleasure within the full body and Being while surrendering to the divine nature of the experience. It contains no shame, or judgment. It contains no final goal and is experienced for its own sake. It is celebrated as a direct experience of the Divine and can have a consciousness altering effect.
Sexual experience created in this way can take on a meditative like quality. It can prolong lovemaking, deepen intimacy, heighten sensual pleasure and awaken experiences you never thought possible at many levels of being. It re-educates the mind to experience deeper pleasure, deeper self love, and deeper appreciation for others and for life. It helps create direct experience of sexual pleasure which is free from shame and judgment. It begins to awaken you to a new world of experience, both in and out of the bedroom.
Because our self image is often so closely tied to our sexual experience and expression, using these Tantric principles within the context of erotic pleasure can be life changing. At the very basic level, it can make you a better lover, a more compassionate and tender person, and can open you to deeper pleasure and intimacy. Many will also find that other aspects of their life begin to change, including self esteem and overall happiness.
While the benefits will often begin to creep into other aspects of our life experience, there may also be a conscious call to explore Tantra Yoga more deeply in other levels of life. At the vary least Western Tantra Sacred Sexuality may make you a better lover. It could also be the first step in genuine Spiritual exploration through Traditional Tantra Yoga practices.