How do I recognize a sexual partner compatible to the Tantric path?
Anyone with the discipline to routinely modify their habitual behaviors will be a suitable Tantric partner.
The essence of Tantra is to maintain contact with the Self. This produces bliss/enlightenment/self realization. “Tantric sex” is, quite simply, “mindful sex” without attachment to pleasure, which derives from the senses and is, thus, maya/”illusionary” in nature. “Tantric sex” is the left hand path of Tantra, which is known as Vama marga. The right hand path, Daksina marga, is without sexual enactment.
Two people stood in line at a coffee shop. Their conversation turned towards a sports injury one had recently had, the nature of which, had to do with contracting muscles in their legs.
“It would probably not happen again if I stopped drinking this stuff.”
“Ironic,” responded the other, “that you say this as you refill your coffee.”
This abruptly brought their conversation to an end.
The Upanishads consistently make reference to the benefit of experiential knowledge beyond theoretical. If you meet someone who is aware of an issue in their life and how they could solve it but they are not willing to, they are not a suitable candidate for the Tantric path. Regardless of theoretical knowledge, they are unwilling to elevate Self above sensory desire. Transcending sensory desire/pleasure and merging individual Self with another individual Self is what Tantric sex is all about. This is an extension of the personal Tantric path, of which sex is an incidental element. Sex is no more or less a defining aspect of Tantra as sex is with any other spiritual path. The only distinction is that Tantra provides a system to utilize sex as a tool for Self awareness, whereas many other spiritual paths relegate sex to a primal or procreative function.
Sex for “fun” or for the satisfaction of sensory desire (primal/lust) are the lowest forms of sexual expression because they reduce the transcendent to symbols. “Lust” is a sense related (physical) craving or aversion towards Self realization: unity with non-duality. It is also not possible to achieve the higher forms of tantric sexual experience if both partners do not share the same goal. This can only happen if both partners have developed their own commitment to Self realization, as reflected in their willingness to exercise discipline/control over their sensory experience.
Taking incentive to endure is at the heart of every Sandhana which is, essentially, a willpower challenge. Willpower challenges cultivate mindfulness because they provide a consistent anchor to the present moment. The greater the willpower challenge, the greater one will be provoked/shaken from their sleep of material/sensory existence and the more opportunity to redirect attention toward Self/Universal/Divine.
This same criteria may be applied to distinguish toxic influences from healthy ones. Healthy influences, friends and associates are those with the discipline to routinely modify their habitual behaviors. Discipline is the quality of behavior we must seek out if we want to secure productive relationships, sexual or otherwise.