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Secret Garden Publishing - Kenneth Ray Stubbs
The Essential Tantra
A Modern Guide to Sacred Sexuality

by Kenneth Ray Stubbs, Ph.D.
illustrated by
Kyle Spencer
Richard Stodart

essential tantra  essential tantra

essential tantra  essential tantra

essential tantra   essential tantra

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Secret Garden Publishing - Kenneth Ray Stubbs

INVITATION (from Sensual Ceremony)

A candle flame radiating
A finger resting
A peacock feather caressing
A mango melting
A stream of warm water searching
Arms embracing
Becoming One


This book began twenty years ago as a manuscript that attracted no publishers. So I decided to modify the text into several smaller books and publish them myself.

After seeing that the books had been well received, the editors at Tarcher/Putnam agreed with my proposal to bring three of the books out as a single volume. Presented together in one source, the writings and illustrations support a much deeper understanding of the essential role our sexuality can serve on a spiritual path.

Tantric Massage, along with its earlier edition, Erotic Massage, was the first book to illustrate genital massage. (There is far more censorship and de facto censorship than most realize.) Intended for present and potential sexual partners, this book focuses on long, flowing strokes to nurture the whole being. The thorough step-by-step massage is gentle rather than athletic and does not require the giver to be particularly muscular.

Sensual Ceremony, exactly as the name describes, brings a meditative, ceremonial context to the sensual and sexual, without requiring a meditation background. Bathing, feeding, massaging, guided inner journeys for modern Western lovers—these are all to deepen intimacy and a sense of communion.

An art section on sexual positions follows, teaching about the heart as much as about sex.

Sacred Orgasms is a paradigm with orgasm at the center of the sacred circle. This greatly revised second edition presents teachings and a specific set of meditations that a group of five masterful beings communicated to me with the intent that the knowledge be included in this book.

In these quite diverse yet very connected writings, I have shared my realization that the sensual and the sexual, rather than being obstacles on the spiritual path, are actually one with the sacred. I encourage you to explore the many practical techniques and meditations within to discover for yourself this ancient understanding.


Generally there are two orientations toward the body and the senses: the ascetic and the hedonistic. The ascetic philosophy views anything that is pleasing to the senses as obstructive/destructive to human development either in material or spiritual attainment. There can be abstention, denial, sometimes self-inflicted discomfort. The accompanying attitude may be one of condescension or disgust toward the body. The implication, pleasures of the flesh lack meaningfulness, they are addictive, there is no real contribution to the individual and society. The assumption, there is something inherently negative/evil about the body. After yielding to temptation one must seek atonement

At the opposite end, the hedonistic philosophy. Here one intensely pursues gratification of desires. There is a grasping attempt to hoard/consume. There is a story about how a monkey can be captured. The end of a coconut is cut off and a handful of rice placed inside. Finding the prize, the monkey reaches inside to grasp the rice. However, to get the fist back through the narrow opening, the hand must first relax and let go of the rice. Unwilling to cease its grasping, the monkey becomes burdened and is easily captured.

It is as if there are strings of attachment binding a hedonist to a desired object. Without continued titillation, life becomes boring.

Pointing a finger at such behavior, an ascetic would label a hedonist indulgent/decadent/narcissistic.

There is another path, tantra. This philosophy neither damns nor craves the body and the sense experiences. Rather than being obstacles, the sensations/feelings become the vehicles of self-realization and well-being.

Tantra, a Sanskrit word, comes to us from some schools of Buddhism and Hinduism. Translated sometimes from a derivation of to weave, sometimes a combination of to expand and to liberate. Acceptance is a central teaching. Embracing the sensory experiences, surrendering consciously to the moment, we transcend the world of attachment. Allowing the flow of feelings we develop empathy deepen intimacy. Our mindfulness, our meditations transform the energies of each experience, liberating us from the limitations of grasping and avoiding.

Here we open ourselves to a reverence for beauty. An aesthetic appreciation enriches the meaning of life. In tantra we celebrate the heart and the senses. In tantra we are at-one-ment.


Ceremony is being rather than doing or having. It is attentive awareness. Ceremony is purposeful spontaneity. It is flowing pattern. It is simple elegance. A ceremony is not a mindless routine, though many ceremonial structures have become this. A ceremony can be in solitude with another or with many others. There is a conscious beginning and ending. In ceremony, there is a sense of wholeness, of connection, of comm-union. In sensual ceremony we embrace the senses through presence, through ambiance, through touch, taste, fragrance, tone and timbre, color, and form. A sensual ceremony is a special gift. It is a physical sharing of warmth and caring. It is an expression of tenderness. Giving this gift of pleasure, we invite another to be guided into the inner garden. Here, in the quiet of sanctuary, we nourish each sense. Here, the inner flower awakens and blooms. Our softly spoken words weave a meadow. In herbal waters we bathe. Our fingers squeeze drops of sweetness from fresh fruit. Lullabying, we embrace. Like island breezes, we caress with feathers. Glistening with oil, our hands dance. When each sense is nurtured in gentleness, the heart is touched and we experience joy. This is the underlying philosophy.

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