Tim Ferriss

Which Donkey Should I Take?

                                                        The Donkeys of Petra, Jordan

Originally posted May 9, 2011

Stroking for 15 minutes vs. tantric sex for hours? Which is “better?”

In a recent FB post, Laurie Handlers, respected teacher and Butterfly Workshop leader, wrote “OneTaste is not really the forefront of the slow sex movement. It's nice to say that and position themselves as that, but really, come on now....stroking for 15 minutes is not the same as Tantric sex for hours and hours now is it?”

First, I absolutely adore Laurie, have taken her workshops (which have done a lot for me) and will continue to recommend them to people for whom they are a good fit. And I love that she tells it like she sees it. I admire someone who is not afraid to speak her mind.

So here I am, a OneTaste-certified coach going “Hmmm…?” I mean, I can see her point: tantra has been around for millennia and yes, feeling good for hours does sound like a better offer than for just 15 minutes. But when I looked closer I could see something deeper within her words. She presents two arguments—One: OneTaste is not really the forefront of the Slow Sex movement and Two: stroking for 15 minutes is not the same as tantric sex for hours.

I want to look at part two first. She’s right: stroking for 15 minutes is NOT the same as tantric sex for hours. Both are two completely different kinds of experiences. But to imply that one is “better” than the other seems limiting. It’s like asking, “Which is better: a breathing meditation or a hatha yoga class?” They both serve a purpose, get you in touch with your body and help to root you in the present moment. What’s so lovely about the 15-minute stroking practice (OM) is that it is a manageable, bite-sized chunk of time for most of us to build up, stroke by stroke, to the place where we can experience the kind of sex we want. Most of us in this culture push for some outrageous goal, i.e. sex for hours, get frustrated when our expectations are not met, cast blame and walk away. OR, we have a mind-blowing experience, freak out about how much we’ve opened and then run away in embarrassment. OM is a simple, sustainable practice that will translate to a deeper, richer sexual experience. So rather than pitting the two experiences against each other, why not expand and include? Do we not do a breathing meditation within the experience of a hatha yoga class? Why not have OM AND tantric sex (or whatever kind of sex you want)?

Which brings me to the first point she makes: OneTaste is not really the forefront of the Slow Sex movement. Yes, OM (and all its incarnations) have been practiced long before OneTaste and tantra has certainly been around to teach us about mindful sexuality for some time. What makes OneTaste unique for me is that it is consciously reaching out to people who have never even considered that an orgasm could last for more than a few seconds as well as puts the idea of female pleasure front and center of sexual/spiritual awakening. For those in the sacred sexual community, this may seem like old news, but to most people living in non-urban locales, this idea is rather revolutionary and can be very confronting. To introduce a practice in a safe, clean, well-lit environment that you can do in your own home with your own partner is a new approach expanding sexuality. The fact that OM and OneTaste were featured in a NY Times bestseller (Tim Ferriss' "The 4-Hour Body") is extraordinary. To return to my yoga analogy: yes, yoga existed for many years, but it wasn’t until Krishnamacharya (and his students, Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and Desikachar, to name a few) brought the practice outside of its birthplace did we see a world-wide explosion of yoga. A small change within the DNA of one individual is mutation. A small change within the DNA of many is evolution.

True, OneTaste may not be the path for some. Then again, tantra may not be the path for some. My advice: Research. Experiment. Play. Test it out. Draw a hypothesis and then scrap it and try it out again. Remember: there are many donkeys that will take you to the top of the mountain, but the view looks exactly the same no matter how you got there.