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Tantric Sex: Barbara Carrellas on Shedding Shame and Gender Roles

Tantric Sex: Barbara Carrellas on Shedding Shame and Gender Roles

Barbara Carrellas tells Advocate Now about her practice known as Urban Tantra, and how it can be beneficial inside and outside the bedroom.

For centuries, too many women have experienced the suppression of their sexual pleasure. Barbara Carrellas aims to change that through the practice of Urban Tantra.

Tantra is an ancient Hindu practice that promotes a deeper sense of intimacy. Carrellas describes it as "a spiritually focused practice that is sex positive."

Barbara Carrellas on Tantric Sex

"Instead of saying that I have to wait to the afterlife ... in order to get some sort of spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment, Tantra says we can get that just by walking through the bits and pieces of being in a body every day in the world," she tells Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now. "Every opportunity is a moment for a little bit of enlightenment, and one of those opportunities is sex."

Tantric sex "isn't focused on any particular goal," such as achieving an orgasm, but instead focuses on setting intentions and emphasizing connections. Carrellas' framework, which she calls Urban Tantra, can be a great way to set the "intention of releasing shame," and can even benefit behavior outside of the bedroom.

"It's more of an energy you allow rather than an action you perform," she says. "And that really, really helps to reduce this kind of societally grown performance that women sometimes feel they have to do."

While Urban Tantra can particularly benefit women — who often face performance and beauty expectations that can lead to shame, as well as the disregard of their own sexual desires and needs — Carrellas' practice also breaks away from the gender binary, which "was never there in original tantra, where tantric gods and goddesses were actually really gender fluid."

"I specifically founded Urban Tantra as a concrete path to wealth for me and everybody who felt excluded from heteronormative tantric practices," she explains. "It's especially there to welcome people of all genders and all sexual preferences."

For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.

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