Sexual Healing may mean different things to different people. But, it’s original and intended meaning is the act or process of performing treatments for physical and emotional issues affecting and impacting one’s ability to invite, accept, pursue, enjoy and/or perform sex. This article (click here) by Dr. Deborah Taj Anapol, Ph.D. is one of the best papers I’ve read describing the role tantra has in sexual healing. It is so complete, it’s best for me just to provide the link for you to understand what the term means and what has to happen for sexual healing to occur.
Dr. Anapol starts out by identifying genital armoring as the physical manifestation of the life long exposure to mental, emotional and physical traumas and insults. She correctly identifies shame of our bodies and masturbation from an early age, aggressive and painful medical procedures such as cancer treatments or hysterectomy, unskilled or sexually dysfunctional partners, rough handling (such as overuse of vibrators or regular lovemaking without orgasm) and more severe sexual abuse such as verbal or physical abuse and rape as but a partial list of traumas and insults that can cause varying degrees of genital armoring.
Both men and women can become genitally armored. How that armor manifests itself in sexual performance and enjoyment tends to vary. Typically, genital armoring leads to either a difficulty or inability to get aroused, sometimes resulting in erectile dysfunction in men; and often a lack arousal or desire, reduced lubrication and/or muscular inflexibility in women, resulting in pain and discomfort during penetration. Male genital armoring perhaps more often presents itself in the form of premature ejaculation and a long refractory period (time it takes to gain an erection after ejaculation). Less often but still common for women, though lubrication and muscle flexibility may be normal, genital armoring will present itself in a lack of sensation in the vaginal ‘g-spot’ area or clitoris, creating a complete inability to orgasm during intercourse and causing moderate to extreme difficulty attaining orgasm with masturbation.
What is interesting and more the point of this writing is exposing the sociological reason these traumas and insults continue, why they generally impact women more severely, and to examine the societal influences preventing women from seeking and attaining effective, common sense, drug free, sexual healing treatments. As alluded, it is identifiable and fully controllable societal moors and assumptions that trap women into perpetual genital armoring and a life of sexual dysfunction. Even among the most healthy women in great relationships who orgasm during intercourse (yes, there are few), their lack of ejaculation and lack of multiple and prolonged forceful orgasms call into question the extent she imagines herself as not in need of sexual healing; whether her sexual function is, biologically speaking, all it could be.
At the root of the societal causes is a pervasive inequality between masculine and feminine gender roles as it pertains to sex. This inequality is a significant source of conflict between the two genders. Certainly, there is inequality far beyond sex. There is inequality in wages, inequality in child rearing and home chore responsibilities, inequality in the costs of services and items such as salon visits or clothing, and other gender based inequality not related to engaging in sex. And, this inequality can only lead to a whole host of negative feelings and emotions, including resentment, bitterness, physical exhaustion, lack of respect, confusion and envy.
Not to say that men don’t have their resentments and envy too. Resentment or envy for the perceived ‘ease’ by which women can get, control, or withhold sex from men. Resentment that women are not expected to do the same difficulty of physically demanding labor. Resentment that only women can give birth and have babies. Or, resentment that women often enjoy so-called ‘minority’ status and get preferential treatment in many hiring scenarios. Or, it’s always a man’s job to be chivalrous, but not necessarily a job for women.
We can see that men have their reasons too, for harboring envy and resentment towards women. Though men are more often the physical aggressor, they are not the sole ’cause’ for the conflict between genders. Thus, explaining the reason why these insults and traumas continue, we conclude there needs to be far more compromise and mutual understanding. People need to grow up, men and women both. In most cases, as nurturer and the more ‘mature’ gender, it will take women to lead this reconciliation through educating men and compromise. And, women will need to be taught a real sexual education. It will be up to men to accept those lessons women learn and teach, and likewise make the necessary compromises to actually reduce conflict between genders.
Looking at this inequality, and then compounding that with physical and emotional traumas and insults, where women are more often the victim and men are the perpetrators, we have the makings for some very serious genital armoring and need for sexual healing in both men and women. We also see that the tensions between men and women do involve control of sex, as well as control over the body and general non-sexual inequality.
In examining only the inequality in ‘engaging’ in sex, the act of sex, having sex, however you want to phrase it, we can address another point of this paper, which is to understand better the nature of the sexual inequality – which is not the same as gender inequality. Much as women can more often and more easily control who, when, where and why she has sex than men can, men tend to be able to control who benefits and enjoys the sexual act far more often than women can. This is a fundamental sexual inequality even in so-called healthy relationships.
Another important sexual inequality is in societies’ perception and roles as to who is ‘allowed’ to have sex and under what circumstances. It is well documented and proven that parents tend to be more permissive of their son’s sexual proclivities than their daughter’s. Depending on religion and which society we are talking about, concepts such as virginity, chastity and similar sexual restraint are highly regarded, whereas sex for an unmarried woman is an abomination. There is rarely a similar standard held for men. Men can be full-on unmarried ‘sluts’, and if not disparaged, it’s actually encouraged. Many of these same societies deem it ‘fair’ that men can have multiple concurrent lovers in the form of multiple wives, whereas it would be a death sentence for a woman to have more than one lover, let alone have multiple husbands. It’s not just illegal for women, it’s completely unmentionable.
Even in fairly advanced and modern civilizations such as that of the U.S, the men are generally ‘allowed’ to have a history of many sex partners. Men are encouraged from a young age to ‘sow his oats’, and he can even brag about it later. Women on the other hand, are not only discouraged from ‘sowing’ any oats, but should she have multiple lovers over time, she very often must deny or grossly understate the number of men she’s had sex with, otherwise be deemed a ‘slut’ and have men discount her as not being ‘serious’ relationship material. It is in identifying these additional layers of societal sexual ‘norms’ as the biased inequality they are, we can understand just why women are far more likely to be severely impacted than men, by genital armoring and it’s ravaging effects on sexual function. It also underscores why women are more often in need of quality sexual healing from a practitioner than men are.
As Dr. Anapol points out, there are legal constraints preventing state or federally licensed practitioners from engaging in sex with clients. Most states make exchanging sex for money illegal in almost all situations. In states that have allowed ‘legal prostitution’, the business is monitored, regulated and conducted exclusively as an entertainment service. Similar laws govern the porn industry in states that do not have legal prostitution. It would be a further infraction against commerce codes and health codes to advertise legal prostitution as any form of health remedy, medically approved or not.
Legal issues aside, the societal inequality of what men are ‘allowed’ to do sexually versus what women are ‘allowed’ to do is at it’s core a set of rules based on stereotype and misogynistic judgement that not only has no legal basis, but no factual or ethical basis, either. In this societal created sexual inequality we arrive at the last and most crucial point of this article, which is to expose that women are simply not allowed to find nor engage in healthful sexual healing. Curiously, they are not allowed via social norms, anecdotes, warnings and other societal pressures – but there are no legal reasons women shouldn’t seek free sexual healing from a trained practitioner!
The final thought and the most important conclusion is also the most important act of this Tantra For Women article. Dr. Anapol makes an interesting, albeit limited suggestion on how to address the legal and social blockers to sexual healing. Though she proposes a commune on which participants will live and give freely without legal or societal constraints, which would work in theory, we found a more attainable and simpler solution that works in practice. Tantra For Women is one of a handful of organizations founded on this planet that offers free sexual healing services using a combination of tantric practices and modern methods, and urges women, whether they have perfect sexual performance or in need of some sexual healing to come in for a session or two, or more, as able. Because it’s free and because the practitioners and organization do not rely on local, state or federal certification OR funding, there are absolutely no legal constraints to proper, holistic, common sense, drug free, natural, and extremeley satisfying sexual healing, nor any reasons for women not to participate.
Interestingly, participation rate, though better than ‘non-existent’, is extremely low considering the number of women that could benefit and given the extremely few requirements on women to be eligible for successful participation. In discussions in groups on LinkedIn and elsewhere, this author can absolutely confirm the negativity, hostility and blatant misinformation as told by ‘tantra educators’ and ‘sexual practitioners’ who do not, nor often cannot due to legal and/or sexual orientation constraints, engage in sex with their clients. Again, much misinformation coming from the so-called experts warning prospective Tantra For Women participants about being “used” or the service as somehow “unhealthy”, with no complaints from actual participants, evidence or proof: just tired sexist streotype, lies, and hyperbole. Tantra For Women ardently rejects the notion women are prey and victims waiting to happen, and suggesting so is incredibly sexist and derogatory to intelligent, consenting adult women. Just know that STD prevented, non-violent, fully consensual sex is how a tantric sexual and sacred sexual practice of sexual healing is supposed to work. There are no STDs, and there are no boogey-men that go ‘BOOO!’ in the night.
Also know that free, non-profit and volunteer services like Tantra For Women DEPEND ON FEMALE PARTICIPANTS for the service to continue. Volunteers are also needed to participate in practice and training with practitioners, as well as to market and advertise on social media and via word-of-mouth. So, you do not need to be broken and dysfunctional to participate – healthy volunteers and healthy students are needed too. But, if you are in need of sexual healing from breakup, abstinence or abuse, we are here for you!