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Things I Learned At The Copenhagen Tantra Festival

Massage, open relationships and a general lack of jizzing.

Despite being one of the oldest branches of Indian spirituality, the Western World has taken it upon itself to turn Tantra into a sort of shag novelty. I’d heard only of an over sexualized version of Tantra, but I was interested in learning more.  A quick internet search yielded the following; personal ad offerings for Tantra massage that looked suspicious at best, a couple from Berlin offering 1000 dkk per hour Tantra Skype sessions, and something called Copenhagen Tantra Festival. Of the three, I thought I’d get the most bang for my buck from the Tantra Festival workshops, so I grabbed my boyfriend’s credit card and booked two discount tickets for persons under 25. These are some of the things I learned.



Having missed the opening ceremony due to our mutual hangovers, my boyfriend and I had to start the day off boldly, parting ways and heading into our gender specific workshops. He embarked on an Energetic Power Circle for men while I headed into the Shakti Dance workshop for women. The room was packed wall to wall with women of all ages, ethnicities, and odors. Really gruesome, pungent stenches hung thick in the air like smog over Beijing and I tried to hide my distaste as I nestled between two women and joined breathing exercises, using my nose as little as possible.

Inhale, I leaned forward onto a girl with tie dye leggings and long curly brown leg hair. Exhale, I leaned backwards between the legs of an older woman who’s dress had lifted around her hips showcasing tufts of blonde pubic hair. When we had sufficiently taken in breath, the Shakti Dance began and I, well versed in Zumba, awaited the choreography. The music got louder, the instructor began yelling for everyone to be open and release their inhibitions, and the women around me utterly lost their shit. Embracing your feminine power is all well and good, but I couldn’t comprehend why we had to scream like banshees whilst swaying like pubes in the wind to get that point across. Are we any less powerful if we shave our armpits and keep the rain dancing to a minimal? I tried to join in the madness, but just as I was getting the hang of it a lamp fell from the ceiling and smacked the enlightenment right out of me. I left the room and stifled my tears of embarrassment.



Next on the agenda was an Open Relationship Forum, which we attended accidentally, thinking it was a relationship forum that was open. Three couples sat at the front of the room taking turns explaining why an open relationship is the only true relationship a couple can have, because alternatively the relationship – like your hearts – is closed.  If one is not free to love as much and as many as they possibly can, the relationship is doomed to a bitter end as a result of jealousy. Simply put, they said, if you can’t love everyone, you can’t love anyone. Any questions of how the logistics of an open relationship actually work were immediately deflected, “We told you, that’s not the point! You can’t have any rules.” It became glaringly obvious, who in the room was in an open relationship and who was not, when some couples began hungrily scanning the room and some pretended to fall asleep. There was a lot of awkward eye contact being made to be sure, but we unfortunately left without any propositions.

Embracing a Goddess


Sexual continence is the essence of what we know to be Tantric sex. In short, it means that the man does not ejaculate and the woman does not reach a physical orgasm (although apparently you will reach a euphoric state similar to an orgasm that lasts for hours.) After listening to the benefits of sexual continence for 90 minutes, you’ll be furious that you ever let one off in an old gym sock. According to the crudely fashioned Power Point we were forced to endure, not coming will make a man manlier, a woman more feminine, your skin look healthier, your digestion more smooth, your period shorter, your breasts larger, your relationship better, and best of all, they exclaimed, you can have sex for hours on end! Am I the only one who’s got shit to do? I don’t have time to stay in a perpetual state of penetration when there’s laundry, work, dinner, shopping, and various other unchecked boxes on my to do list. That was another thing that amazed me about the yogis and open couples that we met at Tantra Festival – they all seemed to have so much time on their hands. If you’re having sex for hours on end with multiple partners, when do you have time to buy toilet paper?



On our way out of the sexual continence lecture we passed a doorway covered in sheer blue curtains with an A3 sheet posted on it that read “Goddess Temple – Sign up below to be tended to by the Goddess”. Without hesitation, we both scribbled our names down. A beautiful Indian looking girl with hair down to her waist and a bindi on her forehead took me by the hand and led me inside. In one corner, a woman was swaying idly and to my left on a podium sat The Goddess, with legs crossed and breasts bare to wind. The two non-Goddesses encircled me and began sprinkling me with what I can only guess was holy water, caressing me from head to toe, starting from my eyebrows and moving down to my feet. When they finished, I was told to sit down in front of the Goddess, give her a wish and then meditate on that wish until my time was up. I hastily wrote something down that seemed altruistic enough and handed it to the Goddess. Like a twelve-year-old boy, all I could think about were boobies, so I closed my eyes and attempted to look spiritual. When meditation time was up, the Goddess handed me an “answer” to my wish on a slip of paper. I mouthed thank you and turned to leave, but she reached for me to come closer. We embraced for a long time; my face buried in her incense infused hair, her bare breasts touching my sports bra clad ones and the sound of meditation music going by slowly in the background. Something about a woman’s touch is so relaxing; I was reluctant to let go.


The last workshop of the day was the Tantra Massage workshop held by Tantra Templet. In the beginning, before they explained anything about what tantra massage entails, they asked for volunteers to demonstrate on in the front of the class of about 100 people. My hand immediately shot up along with only two others. They proceeded to give the following explanation of “Yoni Massage”: a genital massage that is only given to women at Tantra Templet because, they explained, men can’t relax if they know there is an imminent handy in their future. I started to panic a bit, unsure of what I had just gotten myself into.

The time came for us models to change, and we were all shuffled into a small room. I expected the masseurs to turn around or exit, but they began to strip, saying that they would keep their underpants on, but we should get completely nude. Robed in silk, we were led back into the room and onto our respective beds. Both my masseur and I slipped our robes off, my breasts bare to the crowd momentarily before I laid face down. Oil was poured all over my backside, spread with long gentle strokes. She massaged my arms, my back, my feet, my scalp, and I reveled in her touch. I was completely relaxed, oblivious to the audience. Then she began to reach underneath my waist and massage my hips. She spread my legs and massaged my inner thighs; she laid her naked body on my back and massaged my shoulders. While it did cross my mind that about 30% of the room could definitely see my vagina, it didn’t feel dirty at all.

When I was clothed again, people kept coming up to me, patting me on the back and telling me how brave I was, which felt pretty damn good. As for Tantra in general, I’m not quite convinced, but I’ll definitely be investing in some coconut oil and an Essence of India CD.