What are the similarities of Tantra and Neo-Tantra and how are Tantra and Neo-Tantra different?

Annika Tara

3/21/20243 min read

Often the terms Tantra and Neo-Tantra are used interchangeable in everyday conversation. Well, in what context are sexuality and sensuality talked about on a daily basis is determined by who you surround yourself with ;)? that’s another topic for another time…

As I was saying the terms Tantra and Neo-Tantra are used interchangeable. I do it too, I often refer to things that are Tantric in their quality, using it as a adjective to describe, often referring to how I want a certain sexual encounter to be… more energetically connected, with slowness, and attention paid to breathing together, without the need, trajectory or emphasis on orgasm, and with dedicated aftercare integration. These concepts are probably originating from my education with Urban Tantra, where the originator of Urban Tantra sought to join modern practices such as kink with the ancient traditions of tantra. This understanding of tantra is more of what we refer to as Neo-Tantra. (* create a link on the underlined text to Urban Tantra website)

Neo-Tantra is modern interpretations and practices inspired by traditional Tantric teachings but adapted to contemporary contexts and cultural sensibilities. Unlike classical Tantra, which often involves complex rituals, meditations, and spiritual practices, Neo-Tantra places greater emphasis on personal growth, intimacy, and sexual exploration.

In Neo-Tantra, practices such as meditation, breath work, and yoga are often employed to cultivate awareness, presence, and connection with oneself and others. While traditional Tantra may include rituals involving specific deities and esoteric symbolism, Neo-Tantra tends to focus more on harnessing sexual energy for healing, self-discovery, and enhanced intimacy.

Neo-Tantra gained popularity in Western countries during the latter half of the 20th century, particularly in the context of workshops, retreats, and seminars aimed at promoting personal development, relationship enhancement, and sexual fulfillment. Our workshops and retreats are built on the Neo-Tantric foundations of consent, communication, and mutual respect in sexual encounters, viewing sexuality as a sacred and transformative force.

Overall, Neo-Tantra represents a contemporary approach to Tantra that seeks to integrate ancient wisdom with modern lifestyles, offering individuals tools and practices for personal growth, connection, and spiritual exploration in today's world.

What you might see advertised as Tantric retreats in Europe are actually Neo-Tantric retreats in Europe. And sometimes you might assume that it’s a Neo-Tantric retreat when it’s advertised as a Tantric retreat, and when you arrive, come to find out it’s more of a traditional Tantric retreat, which might be too highly structured and authoritative for your particular flavor preference at the moment.

As we navigate the realms of Tantra and Neo-Tantra, we find ourselves embracing a modern interpretation of ancient wisdom. Our understanding of Tantra influences the approach we take in our intimacy retreats, where we aim to create spaces for personal growth, intimacy, and sexual exploration. Drawing from the foundations of Neo-Tantra, our intimacy retreats emphasize consent, communication, and mutual respect, viewing sexuality as a sacred and transformative force.

Through practices of mindfulness and meditation, breath work and somatic experiencing, co-regulation and inclusion we guide participants in cultivating awareness, presence, and connection with themselves and others. Ultimately, our retreats serve as opportunities for individuals to integrate ancient practices of connection within a contemporary context, fostering personal evolution, deeper connections, and spiritual exploration in today's world.