Such commercialization may have put a thick layer of mockery and ridicule over Tantra, but none can deny that its philosophy is serious business.
Tantrism is considered to be a reaction to Brahminism, the religion of the privileged. “Many Tantrik practices were aimed at breaking the class/caste system, while others flouted convention in lesser ways by using drugs, magic, and sexual intercourse as part of religious ritual,” writes Tannahill. Tantrism is also a backlash to asceticism. Rather man pursuing asceticism, which was seen as a denial of the tangible, Tantriks believed that a higher spiritual awareness can be achieved through indulgent (but controlled) sensory experience. “The argument is that, if the world is an expression of divinity, what is in it must be divine, worthy to be worshipped rather than renounced," writes Tannahill.
Tantrism believes that if the world is a reflection of the cosmic order, people should seek enlightenment through experiencing it.
For a Tantrik, the hill to salvation is lonely, steep and deep. Self-control is the key word. He is advised to use meditative powers, self-discipline and manual intervention.
For a dedicated practitioner wishing to attain salvation in a single lifetime, the rituals border on the impossible and become increasingly solitary. For days, under the guidance of a guru, he has to cultivate control. For this, the first couple of days he is made to “drink” one litre of water with his organ. Once this is achieved, then comes his initiation into salvation through sex. The idea is to have sex with a willing virgin, not ejaculate even once and, at the same time, bring the woman to multiple orgasm. By bringing a woman to multiple orgasm, the practitioner usurps the female energy. He then conserves his own energy (semen) till it starts flowing upwards into his body and reaches the brain to take him to ultimate bliss, control and, thereby, salvation.
To avoid “premature ejaculation” Master Tung-hsuan, a Chinese physician in the seventh century, advised that at the last moment, “the man closes his eyes and concentrates his thoughts: He presses his tongue against the roof of his mouth, bends his back, and stretches his neck. He opens his nostril wide and squares his shoulders, closes his mouth, and sucks in his breath. Then he will not ejaculate and the semen will ascend inward on its own account.”
From the Important Matters of the Jade Chamber, one can get an account of the technique or coitus obstructus. "When, luring the sexual act, the man feels he is about to ejaculate, he should quickly, using the fore and middle fingers of the left hand, put pressure on the spot between scrotum and anus simultaneously inhaling deeply and gnashing his teeth scores of times, without holding his breath. Then the semen will be activated but not yet emitted, it returns from the Jade Stalk and enters the brain”.