Sex in the City…and this Country
With Guests Diana Daffner and Dr. Deborah Taj Anapol
If the HBO hit show Sex and the City made talking about sex less taboo over the last decade, Dr. Veronica puts what she calls her favorite subject and activity (maybe it’s yours too but you’re afraid to admit it) even more in the open in this week’s Wellness for the Real World.She interviews certified sexologist Diana Daffner, author of Tantric Sex for Busy Couples, and Dr. Deborah Anapol, a clinical psychologist and expert on polyamory, the practice of having more than one loving and open relationship.
When it comes to sex, we Americans are often criticized for our puritanical ways, often times brought on by our sexually repressed childhoods. Many of us were taught sex should only be used for procreation and only a wanton woman would enjoy, or at least admit to, finding pleasure in the act. But thanks to a certain fashionable quartet of New Yorkers named Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, sex became water cooler talk and no longer did we have to turn to magazines likeCosmopolitan and Maxim for information. SATC even focused on tantric sex in one early episode.
Tantra, by dictionary definition, is any of a comparatively recent class of Hindu or Buddhist religious literature written in Sanskrit and concerned with powerful ritual acts of body, speech, and mind. Or as Daffner says, “Tantra is an ancient teaching of spiritual value… It’s a teaching and training that was designed to help people become enlightened. It had nothing to do with how we see it today as a benefit for relationships.” (She also points out that it pre-dates yoga.) Yet Westerners were introduced to it as more traveled to India and brought it back. Along the way it evolved into tantric sex, which Daffner describes as “gourmet, wonderful, great lovemaking,” where two people merge into a sense of bliss.
“Sex is vital in a relationship,” says Daffner, who along with her husband of nearly 25 years, Richard, leads intimacy retreats in Mexico. “If it dies out, the relationship is drying up and it needs that vitality. Now some relationships dissolve even when there is a lot of sexual activity because they haven’t stepped into that level where the sexual activity is nourishing their hearts and that’s this level of tantric sex.
“The tantric sex level is really about making love because we choose to nourish the relationship; because we choose to enter into a place of feeling intimate with each other. It’s a different kind of attitude and it doesn’t require great hormonal, being in the mood strengths. It requires a choice. It’s almost like choosing to meditate.”
If you’re unable to experience Daffner’s retreats, don’t fret. You can apply principles at home. To get started on the path to improved sex, she suggests taking a few minutes to slow down the lovemaking process and look into each other’s eyes. Place your hands on each other’s hearts and get ready to be amazed at what happens. Also, women should be given time to allow sexuality to blossom and bloom; therefore, learning how to please one another is important.
Sex can has other benefits too. “People live longer when they have better sex lives, especially men,” Dr. Veronica points out.
Unfortunately, often times men more so than women make it a habit of enjoying sex outside of the marriage without telling their spouses. (Think Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock’s husband Jesse James.) This is cheating, which vastly differs from polyamory, which means “many love,” not many sex partners or many genitals, Dr. Anapol explains, adding that just because polyamory is an alternative to a monogamous relationship, it is not a free-for-all. And she admits that people are using it alleviate boredom.
“Most people are unable and unwilling to stick with one partner for an entire lifetime, especially now that we’re living longer,” she says, adding that polyamory is “a way to be honest and in integrity about what you’re doing and with whom and with the consent and full knowledge of all partners. It’s not a secret affair. It’s not a sexual adventure. It’s a way to create ongoing connection with more than one person.”