Originally from North Carolina, Brad Amberheart is a guitarist, a singer, a creative artist, an outdoorsman, and an ordained minister. He is also a practitioner of Tantra — a system of mantras, meditation, yoga, and ritual that trace their heritage to ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts.
Amberheart specialises in taking the principles of Tantra and applying them to our sexual lives — working with men as individuals, couples, or groups to help them find ways to open and wake-up the body, using breath, movement, sound, and erotic pleasure.
I spoke with Amberheart and asked for a few tips on how to unleash my sexual spirit animal.
When did you first discover the concept of Tantra?
My Southern Baptist grandmother was my first Tantra teacher. She taught me that the world is a better place when I follow the Golden Rule, which is: Do unto others as I would have them do unto me. She taught me to sing and laugh.
Simultaneously, my exploration of sexuality was completely solo until age 22, when I had my first sexual encounter — with a man. So my first teachings in Tantric sexuality seem to have come from my ‘invisible guides’ or — in a more believable sense — from the deep guidance within my own body.
What were some of the key steps that led you from being a go-go dancer in Key West to establishing a tantric temple in North Carolina?
I quickly discovered that the only way that I could survive as a go-go dancer in a bar full of drugs, alcohol abuse, smoke, and loud noise was to sing. Fortunately, the bar was so loud that I could sing as loud as I liked and no one could hear me.
People who were at least half-awake saw something different in me and approached me. I offered them all hugs in the middle of the bar, in my g-string. A lot of them would reach right for my cock and balls, and I would say: ‘Thank you! I like being touched. But please, touch me all over!’ Then I would say: ‘Do you want a hug?’ Most said yes, but I think they thought the hug would just last a second. So, if they seemed to be enjoying the hug, I would say: ‘If you want to, we can just stand here for a minute and hold each other. It’s OK. I can just hold you. There’s nothing to do. I’m not in a hurry.’
After a minute or two of just stopping and hugging a bar customer, with no agenda, there would often be something magical that would happen. It was like the whole bar disappeared, and we were alone, in a forest so quiet and so still we couldn’t even hear Beyonce pounding in our ears anymore. ‘What’s happening to me?’ they would say. And I would say: ‘This is what home feels like. We can just enjoy it.’
When I realised what profound experiences could happen in the middle of a bar, I started offering for guys to come and see me the next day for full sessions of ecstatic healing and transformation in my little Key West shack, under a mango tree, two blocks away. That was my first temple. Soon, I learned to take my temple everywhere, and when I decided I wanted a temple big enough to host groups devoted to ecstatic sexual expression and healing, I gravitated to a place which was ready for that — Asheville, North Carolina. Two hours from where I was born and raised.
In some of your writing you talk about how you’re working at consummating the inner marriage of the Slut and the Priest within yourself. What does that mean to you?
Tantra is about finding space inside of me for all that I am — not just the parts that society as a whole finds favourable. Many gay men are deeply soulful, spiritual people who have no church. Many have actually been alienated, disowned, and ousted from their religious organisations, and this is very painful and wounding. It’s easy for those of us who’ve been alienated to say: ‘Well, if they don’t want us, fine! We don’t need them anymore!’ But unfortunately, this stance leaves an empty void — a space in our heart which was once filled by community and a sense of connection to God, or to something greater than ourselves.
To top it all off, we ingest unnecessary words into our vocabulary from our society, such as ‘promiscuity,’ because no one ever told us: ‘Johnny, the next time you have sex, remember that your hot sex is the most powerful healing experience you can have.’
When I discovered the Body Electric School at age 27, I found myself surrounded by ex-clergy, ex-ministers, and ex-altar boys. Why? We were men who were searching for a spirituality that had room for all that we are, and we were starting to recognise that our sex is a pathway to health, healing, and heaven. Finally, we had found a congregation of men who were destined to find out why porn — not our church — had taught us to scream out the name of God when we cum.
Eighteen years later, I meet men every day who still feel ashamed of having too much sex, thinking about sex too much, wanting to have sex with too many people, feeling really horny, then getting off and feeling guilty. Considering how much time we spend thinking about sex, looking for sex, and — hopefully — having sex, wouldn’t it make sense to fully re-claim our pleasure as a source of healing and connection?
Here are five sex magic tips that might help you navigate your inner marriage of the Slut and the Priest:
Sex Magic Tip #1: Positive Affirmations
The concept is actually quite simple. When you’re ready to ‘get it on’ with a fun lover or fuck-buddy, decide before you start that you want to go at it for at least one full hour.
When we are highly aroused, every cell in our body is activated and vibrating at a high frequency. This higher vibration relaxes us, fills us with endorphins, and makes us highly suggestible. The longer you go without ejaculating, the more time you have to play with this energy of high arousal and high suggestibility, and you’re exceptionally highly suggestible right after you cum.
Being highly suggestible means that your brain — which is usually way to busy and dominant — is taking a break, so information and wisdom can by-pass your brain and take a short-cut right into every cell of your body. I call this body-wisdom and cellular memory. So, get aroused and stay that way for a while. Make some noise! Have fun!
Then, when you and your buddy are both moaning, groaning, and laughing all over, body-to-body, or slinging cum everywhere, tell each other something kind, nourishing, and life-giving.
For instance, a lot of men are unnecessarily body-conscious and don’t like the way their bodies look for feel. So, in a highly-suggestible state — like when you’ve both been sexually aroused for a nice long time, or even right after your buddy just came — it would be helpful to whisper into his ear and say: ‘I fucking love you, man! Your body is so fun! You’re a wonderful lover! I’m glad you enjoy yourself so much in bed.’
Another example might be that your lover has been wanting to be more creative and find a more fulfilling livelihood, so while his cock’s throbbing and he’s excited head-to-toe, tell him: ‘Congratulations on really following your heart and living your life to the fullest. I’m really happy for you and I feel like an amazing opportunity is coming to you.’
Then, keep enjoying yourselves. Let your sex be a celebration. Make love like you already know that everything you ever needed is already here, and that the purpose of your love-making is to celebrate.
Sex Magic Tip #2: Observation and Discovery
We tend to have a lot of hard-wired sexual habits that have been embedded in us through years and years of watching porn. It’s like we’re following some kind of a script that we had no part in writing, and that we never even consciously agreed to follow.
Observation and discovery means learning how to be the observer of your own habits, and replacing old habits with new, fun sexual discoveries.
The best way to practice this is to decide before you have sex that you have no agenda, other than to have fun and learn something new. Learning something new is actually right at the core of any truly Tantric experience because Tantra is about raising our level of consciousness.
This means putting aside many of the assumptions that we might have been accepting all of our lives, unconsciously and without question. It means, just this once, it doesn’t matter who fucks who, whether anyone fucks or gets fucked, whether anyone gets off, or whether anyone even gets hard.
We get to observe and discover sex without agendas. Kiss. Rub cocks. Make sounds you haven’t made before. Or, if you’re usually a screamer, maybe see what happens when you stay silent for even a minute or two. Play. Observe. Play more. Try new things. Discover. Wrestle-play. Does he like his ass slapped? Do you? Ask! Try it! See what happens. Didn’t work for you? Try something else. Follow your bliss.
Be sure to give yourself lots of time to experiment. Decide how much time you’re going to give yourself to experiment, and stick to it. You can always go back to your old habits when you’re done, but you just might discover something far more fun during this time that you’ve devoted to trying new things, observing, and discovering what happens.
Sex Magic Tip #3: Breathing together
A lot of words in the English language refer to breath. The word ‘inspire’ literally means ‘to breathe in.’ In many languages — especially the languages of indigenous, Earth-based cultures — the word for ‘breath’ is the same as the word for ‘spirit.’ Basically, what it comes down to is that breath is our connection to all of life.
I never cease to be amazed by how sex with a lover or fuck-buddy takes on an amazing new quality and depth the minute I stop to ask: ‘Would you like to breathe together for a while?’ This means that whatever position you’re in, you time your breath to match that of your lover. This is a vital form of communication, without words, which puts you and your lover on the same wavelength.
Best of all, it’s simple — listen to each other, match your breaths, lie still, and breathe together. Do this for three, five, ten or more minutes, and be sure to observe what feels different. It will help, after doing this for a span of time, to check in with each other and ask each other what — if anything — feels different, now that you’ve breathed together.
This might seem like a highly unusual way to communicate with an online hook-up, but let’s face it — most of us by now are feeling really bored with ‘the usual.’
Sex Magic Tip #4: Sex Standing Up
Fuck standing up and see how you like it. Not feeling like fucking? You can also stroke each other’s shaft while you kiss standing up, or have some good hot frot-fun while leaning against a tree, rock, or wall. It’s like dancing with a hard-on.
I re-discovered the value of sex standing up when I was trying to have sex with a guy in a tent on a sunny spring day and it got too hot inside. It was a low-lying tent, so I unzipped the flap and stood up while he proceeded to suck me off from inside the tent. I enjoyed seeing the forest, the sky, and I could move my pelvis and ‘dance’ while I enjoyed the pleasure he was giving me. Anything that breaks the ‘same-old’ routine and gives you a sense of freedom in a place where you’re safe to express yourself is good.
Sex Magic Tip #5: The Ball-Butt-Belly Breath
This is a technique you can use while masturbating, or while playing with a lover. The idea is to become more conscious how to distribute energy from your gonads to other parts of your body.
Your asshole — usually associated with tightness, fear, and anxiety — can connect you with the excitement of life’s existence when you find a safe time and place to consciously give it some love. Your cock and balls literally represent a connection to the source of life-energy — chi.
An important part of Tantra is learning how to use our sexual energy to empower our life’s purpose, expression, and higher visions, and on a purely physical level, the sexual excitement or energy we generate in our asshole, cock and balls can be distributed to support us in our personal empowerment, our heart’s desire, our soul’s expression, and our ability to see the next steps we want to take in life.
Our body has energy centres — chakras — for each of these various aspects of our existence. Our belly represents our self-empowerment and the way we relate to the world. Our heart relates to our openness to giving and receiving love. Our throat represents our creative expression. The space just above our eyes, between them, represents our higher-vision centre — the third eye.
When we’re sexually aroused, rather than quickly releasing our pent-up arousal — by cumming — we can draw our attention to our breath, and consciously observe the breath moving back and forth from our cock and balls to our belly, the power centre, our heart, the love centre, our throat, the expression centre, and our third eye, the higher vision centre.
This becomes more than your imagination, as you actively observe your own breath moving through your torso, up and down your spine. Notice what happens when you focus the energy movement from your cock and balls to each specific energy centre, then back down again.
It’s important to notice also that just as your lower chakra centre — asshole, cock, balls — send energy up to activate your higher energy centres, those higher energy centres also send energy back down to re-activate your tingling energy centres in your cock, balls, and ass.
All parts of your body work in collaboration with the other parts. In a similar way, all parts of our life’s existence — from our sex to our career to our spiritual path — are integrally linked and inseparable.