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  • Writer's pictureDiana Pompilii-Rosi

Exploring Tantra and Sexual Dysfunction

Updated: Jun 5

When most people think of sexual dysfunction, the things that come to mind are symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or low libido. And yes, these are all symptoms of sexual dysfunction. But what if I told you that losing interest mid-activity is another common symptom? Or that something as simple as a change in diet might affect your sexual ability or desire. Sexual dysfunction is far more common than we may think, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.

A made up sign in nature including three wooden labels "Heart", "Mind" and "Spirit" from top to bottom, depicting the relationship between sexual dysfunction to other things.

Hi, my name is Diana Rosi. I am a sex educator, certified sexologist and certified practitioner of Authentic Tantra®. In today’s article we are going to talk about the ins and outs of sexual dysfunction, debunk some myths, and give you some tips to start implementing as you begin your healing journey.

 

Before we continue, I would like to say that all healing is a journey that is best taken with a guide, so I encourage you to reach out to myself or another professional for help and guidance. This is not something you need to, or should do, alone.


What is Sexual Dysfunction?

Stages of Sexual Activity


So, let's dive right in by setting the scene. Sexual activity has stages, just like many other activities. There’s the initial desire and arousal, the initiation of physical action, connection and response and, of course, a final resolution. In each of these stages a wide variety of physical and psychological changes are occurring in our bodies. Everything from brainwave activity, hormonal shifts, physical responses from ourselves and our partner, to our mental state, our levels of comfort, even our moods, interest levels and environment all play a part in creating the experience. 


Even the transitional period between stages plays a role, and if there is something that doesn’t fit, it can have a marked effect on our experience. That effect may not be physical, it could be something psychological that we don’t even notice. It also may not be limited to only that encounter. 


Effects and Causes of Sexual Dysfunction


A transgender woman feeling sad about having sexual dysfunction, sitting by her bed and sobbing.

Sexual dysfunction is experienced by men, women, nonbinary, intersex and transgender people. It can occur in all bodies. The effects can be physical, psychological or a mixture of both. Likewise, the cause may be physical, psychological or a mixture of both.


Broadly defined, sexual dysfunction is difficulty such as low libido, premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction that occurs at any stage of normal sexual activities. But this definition does need to be expanded as it portrays sexual dysfunction only as physical effects that can occur. In reality, while there are physical causes that cause physical issues such as those mentioned above, the causes of sexual dysfunction can also be psychological, with effects that are far more wide-ranging than just physical manifestations.


Physically, sexual dysfunction can stem from medical issues, such as heart disease, cancer treatments, hormonal imbalances, nutrition, even something as simple as cigarette smoking can influence our ability to engage sexually. Psychologically, things such as concern about performance, stress levels, self-esteem, depression, and many other factors can play a role. To be honest, it isn’t possible to run down all the different causes of sexual dysfunction in one article or even an entire series, because the causes are unique to each person and can change. 


So how then do we begin to ferret out the root causes we are experiencing and begin to address them? 


Understanding Tantra

Tantra - More Than Just Sex Yoga


When I say the word “Tantra” many people make comments about it being “sex yoga.” In reality, Tantra is an ancient healing modality that dates back thousands of years and incorporates much more than sex and yoga. The Shangpa Kagyu lineage in which I am trained, is over 3000 years old and is as much about healing the mind and finding peace, as it is healing the physical body. 


If you have read much about Tantra in mainstream media, you may think that it’s all about sensational sexual rituals or sexual practices that enhance intimacy and lead to 14-hour orgasms.  While Tantra does recognize our sexuality as a sacred aspect of who we are, of our human experience, it’s not all about sex.  And while many tantric practices can bring about pleasurable experiences, Tantra is ultimately about self-discovery, spiritual growth, and the pursuit of higher levels of consciousness.  


Core Tenets of Tantra


In fact, many tantric practices focus on mindfulness, self awareness, breathwork, energy awareness, connection and compassion (to name just a few) and help provide us with a framework for expanding our horizons, increasing our knowledge of ourselves and others, and healing ourselves in mental, emotional and physical ways. 


Importance of Connection in Tantra


I mention connection specifically. because this is a very important part of tantric practices when we are focusing on Tantra as a method of healing sexual dysfunction. And when I say connection, I don’t just mean the connection of two people in a sexual aspect, but the connection between us and our body. Building connection with ourselves allows us to build connection and intimacy with others. This is the true root of lasting healing and the start of a beautiful journey. 


Can Tantra Help with Sexual Dysfunction?



A man and a woman looking intimate to one another after having discovered how tantra can help with their sexual dysfunction.

Yes, absolutely! Tantra is, first and foremost, a modality that promotes greater understanding. In developing this understanding, one begins to develop practices that promote greater awareness and connection with one’s body. Through this new lens of understanding, Tantra can help you to discover more about the underlying causes of sexual dysfunctions.

 

Tantric Practices for Healing


As you move forward in your journey this understanding can help you find methods to address the blockages you are experiencing. Common Tantric practices such as mindfulness and breathing exercises can help clear your mind, increase your focus, promote relaxation, remove your blockages, and dispel anxiety. Learning to focus your energy and intentions can lead to learning how to increase sexual sensation and give you greater awareness about what works for your body in that moment. 


Communication and Deeper Intimacy with Tantra


Tantra also helps you develop communication and a greater ability to connect, both with yourself and with your partner or partners. This communication and the awareness that goes with it can lead to deeper and more honest intimacy, whether you are engaged in solo pleasure or having a shared experience.


Universality of Tantric Practices


One of the greatest strengths of Tantra is that it is not just a formula limited to specific situations, activities or presentations. The Tantric practices I speak of can be applied to everybody and to every body. It takes time to learn these practices and to learn how you work with them, but in the end, you are left with something indescribably beautiful; awareness, understanding, and compassion.


Getting Started with Tantric Practices

Mindfulness Exercise for Self-Awareness


I want you to try an exercise with me. As you read these words, allow your mind to settle. I want you to begin to take notice of your body. Is it tense? Are you seated in a position you find comfortable? What do you feel on your skin, is there a breeze moving through the room? How are you feeling in this moment? Are you hungry, tired, sore? What things are on your mind currently?


Be gentle with yourself as you do this exercise. There are no right or wrong answers, there is no desired outcome other than to allow yourself to be in your body and in the moment. If things come up that you are unable to change in this moment, that’s ok. The important part is that you take the time to listen to yourself and the sensations in your body, you can use the knowledge you gain in these moments of mindfulness to understand more of what is going on for you and make changes to promote greater ease and comfort in your daily life.


Benefits of Continued Mindfulness Practice


I encourage you to continue this practice in the coming days and weeks, and each time you do so, look to see what changes are occurring within you. As you progress with these moments of mindfulness, you can begin to explore more of what feels pleasurable to you, both mentally and physically. Don’t be afraid to explore and to try new things. These moments are about getting to know yourself, learning what feels pleasing to you and creating a space that is safe and built specifically for the development of greater understanding. 


You can engage in these types of moments with a partner as well. If you do so, I encourage you to be very open with your communication and in the setting of intentions. In all shared experiences, communication and intention are the foundation of intimacy. Taking time to create this intentional space together also helps establish a rhythm from which truly magical experiences are born.


A Journey of Healing


There is no fast method to navigate through the complexities of sexual dysfunction. It is a journey as unique and precious as you are, and it is absolutely not a hopeless one. The practices and exercises I have talked about in this article are just one small part of the many methods of Tantra that can help you find your way through that journey.


Throughout our lives, we often come to these places where our intentions are pulled in a multitude of directions. At times like these it can be impossible to know which way to go, or what item to tackle first. By learning to stop and focus our attention inward, we can eliminate much of the noise and learn what our needs are in that moment. 


From this place comes the beginning of understanding, and from understanding comes joy in many forms.


Safe Journeys

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