Hearts Cracked Open: Tantra for Women Who
Itchy Bee Productions, 2006.
$29.95 for home use;
available at www.heartscrackedopen.com.
This is, unquestionably, one of the most beautiful, sensitive
and inspiring of the recent spate of videos on tantric sexual practices
that should be required viewing for anyone who aspires to love a woman. This
movie delicately invites us toward the heights and depths
of experiences that are available to all of us through tantric lovemaking.
The film is superbly produced, featuring a
large number of diverse women whose testimonies about how tantra has deepened
their intimacies; expanded their relational horizons, healed the wounds of sexual
abuse and emotional trauma, or simply opened their capacity for orgasmic pleasures
all resonate with a sincerity that is both poignant and compelling. Their comments
invite us toward an understanding of the spiritual energies that are our ecstatic
path to enlightenment and offer us a glimpse of everyday tantra as a range of
individualized exercises that can simply be pleasurable and emancipatory. The
strength of the film is that, while it manages to emphasize tantra as a revitalizing
journey of sexual healing and female empowerment, it also shows the integrity
of tantric practice as an adventure in bliss.
Many of the basic methods of tantric
sexuality are discussed and demonstrated in this movie,
including heart-sharing, truth-telling, soul-gazing,
and — perhaps most of all —using breath
to transform the energies of our spiritual embodiment.
Much of the teaching is led by four talented women.
Evalena Rose, founder of LoveJourney;
and Marcia Singer, director of the Foundation for Intimacy,
contribute their perspectives on many of the relational
aspects of tantra. Sexologist Annie Sprinkle not only
offers her own brand of demystifying and irreverent
humor, but provides an invaluable lesson in urging
women to "do it your own way," rather than
conform to any prescriptive regimen.
Tantra, is, after all, the practice
of living one's life as an erotic-spiritual experiment.
However, the heroine of this movie is undoubtedly Pamela
Madison, founder of the Women's Sexuality Center in
Santa Barbara, Calif., and who is an extraordinary
example of those courageous sexual healers working
outside the "system" in order to bring hope
to those who have been raped, abused, mutilated, psychologically
oppressed or otherwise erotically and spiritually disempowered.
Here, Ms. Madison, teaching both
clothed and naked, tactfully, yet openly, discusses
and demonstrates important matters such as fire breath,
harmonized breathing, "charging breath," chakra
alignment, female ejaculation and the intricacies of
G spot massage. Throughout the video, she is a model
of what Buddhists would call "right attitude." The
bonus material she provides is probably some of the
best media instruction available today.
Although directed at a lesbian audience,
this movie carefully stresses that the fe/male split
is within us all and that we all need to be liberated
from our imprisonment within patriarchal values. If
there are any reservations to be stated, perhaps it
might be said that the film has a tad too many "talking
heads" and is slightly propagandistic. But this
is a pioneering effort after all, and it brings tantra
to an audience that has often been suspicious of the
phallic values within which "tantra" has
sometimes — so regrettably — been misrepresented.
At first, we quibbled with the film's
title, given the use of "crack" as slang
for the vulva. But this is,explained by Marcia Singer,
the "sexual shaman" who tells us — in
phrasing that is both earthy and insightful — "you
can't get off any bigger than you're ready to have
your heart cracked open."
Reviewed by Barnaby B. Barratt,
PhD, DHS and Marsha A. Rand, MS. The couple
are AASECT-certified sex therapists. Barratt and
Rand work with the Center for Tantric Spirituality,
and can be contacted via www. CenterForTantricSpirituality.
Reprinted with permission from
Barnaby B. Barratt, Phd, DHS.