by catherine yronwode

The illustration on this page is a modern American sex charm
from the pages of the Lucky W Amulet Archive.

In August of 1996, an anonymous person posting as wrote to the newsgroup alt.magick.tantra:

Tantra, [seems] to me ... more of a Hindu spiritual journey in which control brings pleasure and spiritual elevation, and Sex Magic ... seems to be more centered in sexual fulfillment as a goal in itself. The former appears to appeal to the need for spiritual nourishment and the latter to desire to have a more fulfilling sex life.
My response was that while i agreed with that definition of tantra yoga up to a point, i felt the poster had missed a vital factor i often read in posts from self-proclaimed practitioners of sex magic (also spelled sex magick, with the Crowleyan "k").

Sex magicians, such as Austin Osman Spare, openly advocate the use of the sex act -- or the passions or arousal states it evokes -- as a point upon which to focus their wills or magical desire for effects in the non-sexual world. This is fine and well, but for some reason, many of these same sex magick practitioners also seem to feel that those who practice tantra yoga, neo-tantra or karezza a similar interest in using the sex act as a focal point for will. For instance, in 1995 there was some discussion in usenet of whether tantra yoga is simply a "spiritual" path and thus not suitable to be listed among the "sex magick" and other magical disciplines archived by tyagi nagasiva (who maintains a valuable reference file on accessing information on the occult via the net).

As i see it, though, the split between "sacred sex" and "spiritual sex" on the one hand and "magical sex" or "sex magic" on the other hand does not lie on the line that divides tantra and karezza from sex magic -- it lies on the line that divides certain forms of tantra from other forms of tantra and all karezza.

For instance, in the 1870s Paschal Beverly Randolph, an American author whom many sex-magicians consider one of themselves, wrote (in his book "Eulis!") of using the "nuptive moment" (orgasm) as the time to make a "prayer" (and that is the word he used) for events to occur as well as for healthy offspring to follow. He advocated orgasm control and the accomplishment of simultaneous orgasms as a way to realize these goals.

Likewise, Alice Bunker Stockham, the proponent of karezza techniques (and not a sex-magician) wrote of using the act of coition as a time to pray for non-sexual goals in the outer world, such as "charity."

Similarly, in traditional Hindu tantra yoga, the yoni puja ceremony (performed either upon the vulva of a living woman or upon a stone statue of a woman's genitals) is often accompanied by prayers for effects in the real world -- magical (a-causal) effects such as a better job, restored health, and so forth.

In short, i have come to believe that many practitioners of sex magick are ignorant of the use of the will and the plrole played by sex magic in tantra yoga, neo-tantra, and karezza.

Which is not to say that ALL forms of tantra yoga are like that -- merely that the distinction some sex magicians see between sex magic and sex religion is based in ignorance on their part.


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