What Is Neo-Tantra? | Interpretation of Tantra in the West

Published: Dec 23, 2022
Written by: Marce Ferreira

What Is Neo-Tantra? | Interpretation of Tantra in the West

The term Neo-Tantra, also written Neotantra or called Navatantra, is typically a reference to the Western interpretation of traditional Indian Hindu and Tibetan Tantra philosophy and practices. It’s often synonymized with Sacred Sexuality, Spiritual Sex, or Tantric Sex, which are common and popular catch-all labels for Neo-Tantra.

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As from the 1960s, Neotantra started to emerge more explicitly in the West, strongly focusing on sex and sexuality, eroticism, sexual aspects of relationships, sexual pleasure, liberation of sexual inhibitions and sexual taboos, sexual trauma release, cultivating love, personal growth, and transforming sexual energy for spiritual attainment, while increasingly becoming a kind of spiritual type of sexual education.

Yet, although many Neo-Tantra practitioners refer to traditional Tantra texts, concepts, and/or Tantra Yoga practices, the majority of tools and techniques used today are rather new, or at least “upgraded” compared to the ancient Tantric practices. Another difference with traditional Tantra is that Neo-Tantra is usually practiced without a spiritual Guru, that is, alone, with a partner, or with a Tantra trainer or teacher.

Moreover, Neo-Tantra practices have become increasingly eclectic and idiosyncratic, blending and incorporating an almost arbitrary array of Tantric, Yogic, and Taoist sexual practices, Bioenergetics, New Age concepts, Non-duality, Meditation, Energy Healing, Breathwork, Sensual Erotic Massage, bodywork, psychoanalysis, somatic and sexual therapies, among other methods, tools, and techniques.

In any case, to equate Tantra with Neo-Tantra would be erroneous, because traditional Tantra includes a very vast realm — being a manifold worldview, religion, philosophy, and lifestyle — which goes way beyond only sex and sexuality. In fact, Neo-Tantra is the Western appropriation of Tantra concepts and practices, which are subsequently adapted to modern Western needs, notably as a reaction on the West’s conservative establishment and mainstream suppressive (sexual) ethics and morality.

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