Byron Bay is a coastal town in the southeastern Australian state of New South Wales. It is home to beautiful beaches, surf, scuba diving—and, each year, Australia's biggest coming together of tantric sex devotees. The Taste of Love Festival runs for three days in the sunny haven, offering such workshops as Sacred Squirting, Conscious Hugging, and The Innocent Phallus. We went along to meet the couples in attendance.
Luana and Robert, married for three years
Luana: It brings a new purpose and consciousness to our relationship and helps to build closeness, connection and our sexuality. It can expand the heart space.
Robert: Tantra exposes a lot of lies and misconceptions that are keeping us trapped, and holding us back from enjoying a real relationship.
Matt and Natalie, together four years
Matt: We fell in love at first sight about four years ago. It happened at the right time—I was ready to evolve daily in love. I asked her if we could go to Planet Tantra and she said, 'Yes, yes please.' We're in an open, long-distance relationship. We try and let go of anger and jealousy.
Pierre and Unmani, married for 25 years:
Unmani: All wounds, collective and personal, can be held in the yoni and healed with the phallus. We definitely wouldn't be still together without tantra.
Pierre: Tantric practice is about a lot more than sexuality, but we still do sacred sensual rituals with our friends. It is goal orientated, not orgasm orientated. It's about sharing energy.
David and Beck, together 24 years:
Beck has been a tantric practitioner for two years, but David has only just hopped on board.
David: I'm loving it, even though it can be confronting. It gives you the freedom to connect with people, something I have avoided in the past. It can be easy to hide away.
Robyn and Felix, friends and fellow tantra practitioners
Robyn: We often just need permission, an invitation, to experience—and a safe place to explore. It is surprising how quickly people can liberate themselves, it is easy to breath the sacred.
Felix: Despite years of indoctrination, you can change in one afternoon.
Aurora (left) and Arryn, engaged
Aurora: We want to have a monogamous relationship, which is not how a lot of people do it. Doing everything together will keep us together.
Arryn: I don't need to step outside the relationship for what I need. In partnerships, it's not about what it gives you, but how you treat it.
Clare and Peter, former lovers—now friends
Clare: Peter was ahead on the journey when we met. He helped me on my journey with shamanic sacred sexuality.
Peter: Tantra wasn't just a part of our relationship, it was part of everything we did all the time. It's about a lot more than sexuality. It offers 110 pathways to enlightenment.
Jaz (left) and Kiko, friends
Jaz: Tantra means weaving. It's about expansion and liberation. It can help us to block out the distractions of life, and allow us to merge together. You don't have to work so hard to make a relationship work, if you can see what is already there.