Version: July, 2019.
What is Tantra and Neo-Tantra?
In the East, Tantra is the name for a broad range of esoteric practices that appeared around the middle of the 1st millennium AD. Core aspects of traditional tantra include the ritualistic use of the contrast between the masculine and the feminine, celebrating the body and sexuality, anti-puritanism, self-experimentation, a playful non-conformism and an enthusiastic engagement with all aspects of life.
In the West, Neo-Tantra is often associated with New Age culture, including supernatural beliefs, pseudoscience, exotic clothes, astrology, diet fads, “healing” and “therapy”, crystals and amulets, escapism, “enlightened gurus” with Eastern-sounding names, cuddly “love and light” workshops and so on.
TNT offers neither traditional nor New Age tantra.
What is “New” about The New Tantra?
TNT is an attempt to formulate a modern Tantra for the 21st century West, that is free of New Age beliefs. TNT uses old and new elements from Eastern and Western traditions. Depending on the workshop, these elements may include sexuality, meditation, body work, BDSM, rituals, music and DJs, philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis and even a bit of science. The TNT workshop facilitators regularly connect and discuss with contemporary thinkers, artists, facilitators and philosophers from many walks of life and traditions, both East and West.
Why does Tantra often make use of sexuality?
Sexuality offers a powerful doorway into embodied meditation and personal transformation. One of the core tenets of TNT is “get your sex life in order”. Mastering your sexuality implies having a greater capacity for human connection and facing the unpredictability of life.
Why is Tantra often controversial?
Because it touches upon that most controversial and powerful of all subjects and practices – human sexuality.
What is Crazy Wisdom?
Crazy Wisdom refers to practices that are purposefully unconventional, surprising or outrageous. Think of it as a transformative carnival. You will definitely be confronted with the unconventional, the surprising and the outrageous in a TNT workshop.
What is radical self-reliance?
Exploring and developing sexuality requires setting boundaries when needed. Radical self-reliance means that each person is ultimately responsible for taking care of themselves in a workshop and other events organised by TNT.
Can I join a TNT workshop as agnostic / skeptic / atheist?
Yes. TNT workshops focus on developing practices and skills rather than acquiring a specific belief system.
What is the 21 day challenge?
One of the core TNT practices is staying sexually active and functional without having peak orgasms (that is, conventional ejaculatory or clitoral orgasms). This reminds of the celibacy and abstinence practices that are central to many religious and spiritual paths, but without the guilt, obsession and shame that always come with sexual repression. You can try this at home by staying sexually active without having a peak orgasm for 21 days and noticing the effects.
Is TNT solely focused on sexuality?
No. TNT workshops also put emphasis on meditation, “cleaning your room” / ”getting your life in order” and non-religious devotion practices. You will have the opportunity to explore these practices to some extent in every TNT workshop.
Do I “join” TNT by attending a TNT workshop?
TNT is not a members’ club and there is no need to remain in contact with a workshop’s participants or its facilitators.
Is there a single TNT path or TNT community?
No. TNT workshops aim to provide you with tools and skills that you can use to develop your own individual path and your own individual network.
I am gay / transsexual. Can I join a TNT course ?
Yes, and many have done so. If this FAQ appeals to you, you are most welcome.
Can I refuse to do an exercise in a TNT workshop?
Yes. You will not be pressured into doing an exercise you do not want to do. You can also always stop an exercise. Also, the universal stopword “appletree” will stop all physical interaction at once.
What are some of the standard TNT safety rules?
TNT workshops feature STD safety procedures, a stop-word that halts all physical interaction immediately (“appletree”), rules of consent, exercises on setting boundaries, the presence of supervising assistants and more. See the TNT website under TNT’s Code of Conduct.
What to be careful about during a TNT workshop?
What sounds fun, interesting and exciting during a TNT workshop might look very differently a few days later in the sobering light of daily life. Therefore, always consider your boundaries and limits. TNT workshops include exercises to help you with this.
What are the rules of conduct for workshop facilitators?
TNT workshop facilitators cannot have sex with anyone for 18 months after their first TNT workshop, with some rare and specific exceptions. See the TNT website under TNT’s Code of Conduct.
I am strictly monogamous. Can I attend the TNT workshops?
Yes. You can attend any TNT workshop and do the exercises with your partner, when needed.
Do I need to bring a partner to the TNT workshops?
No. You are welcome to sign up as single.
Are TNT workshops a replacement for therapy or “healing”?
No. TNT workshops are not intended as therapy or “healing”. In case of trauma, psychological or medical issues, please seek help from a doctor or licensed therapist instead.
I have post-traumatic stress disorder or other issues that make me especially sensitive and vulnerable. Can I still do a TNT workshop?
No. TNT workshops are challenging and require a minimum of mental resilience and robustness. Please only join a workshop when those requirements are in place for you.
Is the aim of tantra “better sex” or “better relationships”?
No. That might well (and often does) happen, but this is not the intrinsic goal. Rather, Tantra aims at adultification – that is, developing an enthusiastic, skillful and open engagement with all aspects of life, positive and negative.
What are the origins of TNT?
Alex Vartman founded TNT in 2010. Combining ancient and modern practices with a distinct no-nonsense rock’n roll approach and attitude, he created and facilitated a range of workshops that went beyond both rigid tradition and New Age fluff. The current TNT workshops have evolved from these workshops.
What is TNT’s current structure?
Currently, TNT is the umbrella label under which a team of loosely collaborating facilitators provide workshops. The founder Alex Vartman provides the workshop facilitators with advice. As the creative innovator of the TNT workshops, he gets a percentage of the TNT workshop earnings.
How is TNT evolving?
TNT is dynamic and co-created: workshop procedures, expertise and rules are continuously updated, modified and extended. The facilitators learn from workshop experiences and feedback.
Are Alex Vartman’s YouTube videos still representative of TNT?
Like all things in TNT, everything is reviewed and keeps on changing. Check the description of each video for the date it was filmed.
How should I plan my time after a TNT workshop?
A TNT workshop can be intense, confronting and transforming. Therefore, arranging time to relax, contemplate and connect with friends or family after a workshop is a good idea.
Is TNT for me?
TNT is not for everybody. Consider this FAQ, the website and TNT’s Code of conduct carefully. If it all sounds fairly reasonable, talk to some people (online or in person) that have attended TNT workshops. You can get in touch with them online on TNT’s public Facebook forum. If it still makes sense after that, adopt a critical but open attitude and try a workshop.
What about enlightenment?
For enlightenment, seek elsewhere.
Please note that the external links below are in no way associated with TNT.
- David Chapman’s blog on modernising Buddhist tantra.
- A Big Think article on the “Dionysian”, Nietzsche’s Western take on “Crazy Wisdom”.
- “Cutting through spiritual materialism” by Chögyam Trungpa, on New Age materialism.
- “Transcendent sex” by Jenny Wade, on how extraordinary sexual experiences can change lives.
- “Waking up” by neuroscientist Sam Harris, on meditation and the “nature of mind”.
- “Stealing fire” by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, on how unconventional mind states can boost inspiration and performance.
- Dr. David Schnarch on how developing a thriving sexuality drives differentiation, adultification and developing a sense of the transcendent.