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It seems to be a common challenge in our busy, "civilized" world to have to educate ourselves about how to be and do what comes naturally. This is certainly the case with outcomes to our sensual and sexual natures. Whether you want to heal hurts that keep lingering or to learn skills in intimate relating or sexual functioning, whether you need to gain or regain access to full sense-abilities or "enhance" what is already working, a sensual or sexual guide may be required along the way.

Before proceeding, let's define our terms. Sensuality refers to our senses and their corresponding organs: physical touch/skihn; visual-sight/eyes; auditory-hearing/ears; olfactory-smell/nose; and gustatory-taste/taste buds; We might even include the mysterious intuitive and instinctual sixth sense. Often the developmental road from infancy to adulthood is rough and uneven, leaving us less than fully functional --even traumatized. Suffering the effects of neglect, abuse or attack may inhibit access to our ability to feel, see, hear, etc., tuning out stimuli as an unconscious attempt to feel safer, more in control of life's challenges. Sensate Focus Therapy and conscious breathwork may help, along with wise counsel.

Another kind of sensual imbalance caused by fearfulness or anxiety is to focus outwardly to the exclusion of the inner realms. Conversely, you might be so shy and introverted, inward sensing, that you become overly isolated and withdrawn, a loner, lacking intimacy skills. On the up side, you might be functioning well and desire to expand and deepen your sensitivities. You might choose a teacher or mentor to help you enhance your intuitive, imaginal faculties, and your body's natural "gut" knowing. You might seek to learn Tantra Yoga practices to develop all your sensing abilities for love-making with partners. For "making love" to the sentient world: the sky's the limit.

Sensual Wholeness is very necessary to sexual fulfillment, but not the same thing. While sexuality pertains to engagement in sex or physical love-making, the concept refers to much more. Sexuality refers to our male and female bodies, self esteem, our masculine and feminine gender identities, how we deeply feel about ourselves as men and women. Wholeness also includes how we communicate about all this. Qualified therapy, healing and enhancement training may include any or all of these aspects.

And there's more. Sexuality is also about our "fire," our creative life force energy. It all comes from the same wellspring or circuitry in our "energy body." A favorite world for this powerful energy is kundalini, the Sanscrit term referring to the sacred charge that is ignited in the root chakra ("wheel" of energy or light in the subtle body). Kundalini can be freed with training and practice to travel unimpeded through the other six major chakras, bringing healing, wisdom, often extra sensory perception and genius in its wake.

Which brings us to the matter of Tantra Yoga. Tantra is a Sancrit word for the "weaving together" of yin and yang elements of our being, as well as for "liberation" from the world of duality --called the Tree of Knowledge in varied religious traditions. Tantra is a spiritual path to enlightened living and loving that recognizes and uses the power and grace of our inherent sexual/kundalini natures for our growth and healing. Many cultural traditions have tantric-styled teaching, such as Indian, Tibetan Buddhist, Taoist and Native American. The "yoga of sex" is perhaps best known in the West in a secular fashion, at least in the beginning. Often men who inquire about "tantra" want to learn ejaculatory control, retrain timing issues or prolong plateaus of sexual pleasure and arousal, in part to please their partners. Women may also initially seek more pleasure, but often want to open more deeply to ecstatic orgastic states, heal ancient wounds, and communicate more wonderfully with partners. Couples add to these reasons a desire to unite their love-making with the deepest sense of who they are as spiritual beings, the true roots of these beautiful practices. Single tantrikas may also devote their awakening sexual explorations to divine purposes.

If you are a man or woman seeking help for any kind of sensual or sexual concern or interest, ask a lot of questions of your potential guide and tune in intuitively to make sure s/he is qualified and caring. Move past anuy shame if necessary to do so. Know that it is healthy and even courageous to seek this development. Last, while the focus of our exact needs may vary, fulfillment requires opening our hearts, as well as our body-instruemnts, so that the joys of intimate connection may be played.