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Q: I’m a 25-year-old woman who is very interested in personal growth. I have had a number of boyfriends, and enjoy sex, but I am keen to explore and develop my full, sexual potential. Although I am a sceptic, and am suspicious of gurus, and New Age extremism, I am interested in understanding the concept that sex can have a spiritual dimension. Many people talk about chakras. What are they? Do they exist, and if so, how do they function, and what do they have to do with sex?

A: I too approach new concepts with my intellect and critical faculties engaged. I have never been attracted to over-the-top spiritual fads, and whacky, fish-slapping practices. However, I also try to keep an open mind. Even when I cannot fully embrace a belief system, I can often learn something of value. Quantum physics tells us that there is so much that we still do not know, and it is important to acknowledge mystery. You might be 99.9 per cent sure of something, but you must keep some room for new evidence, and stay mentally flexible enough to able to change your mind.

Chakras are a concept found in Indian Hindu philosophy. They are said to be seven centres in the body through which energy flows. If any of them are blocked you will feel bad.

Each chakra is associated with a part of the body, a characteristic, and a colour of the rainbow. The seven chakras are the root (perineum), the sacral (genitals), the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the third eye (pineal gland) and the crown. For a quick, basic summary, Google the YouTube clip “How to Open Your 7 Chakras as Explained in a Children’s Show”.

The Chinese have their own, ancient belief system about energy (Chi), and how it flows in the body, and they work with acupuncture sites. Science does not fully understand if, or how, this might work, but increasing numbers of medical practitioners acknowledge the efficacy of acupuncture in treating a range of illnesses.

I am not sure if chakras or acupuncture sites are empirically provable, a metaphor, or a placebo, but, in non-life-threatening situations, such as in the bedroom, if something works for you, go for it.

When it comes to sexuality, the healthy flow of sexual energy through the chakras is something that is explored in Tantra. As with most things, you can choose to pursue this thinking to the point where it becomes your religion, eschewing physical orgasm and ejaculation in the pursuit of a higher state of consciousness. Alternatively, you can incorporate some of these ideas into your sexual practice as a way to expand and enrich your sexual experience, and to reach your full potential as a sexually authentic individual.

In the West, we tend to associate sex with “down there” (the root and sacral chakras), and with physical orgasm. We focus on, and concentrate sexual energy in, this area, and the sounds we make are deep, and guttural.

If you are able to visualise that energy flowing up through your belly (accessing your power), and into your heart, you may engage the heart, bringing a rich, empowering, loving connection to life. This can be especially wonderful for men, who are often stuck in their genitals.

As the energy shifts, you will notice the sounds you make going up in pitch. When the energy moves through your throat, you can speak your truth, and when the energy passes through your head, all sorts of spiritual insights and experiences can occur, allegedly.

You can use this process in a beautiful, solo meditation which will enhance your sexual experience, with, and without, a partner.

When you have time and privacy, get comfortable. Imagine your root chakra being connected to the earth. Now, combine deep breathing with squeezes of the pelvic floor muscles, which act like a pump. Begin to stimulate yourself, perhaps with a vibrator, as you visualise the sexual energy moving up through the chakras. For the ideal soundtrack to accompany this meditation, listen to the YouTube video “All 7 Chakras Healing Chants”.

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