There are two main focuses in tantra at a foundational level. First, the integration of divinity into our physical life and second, the merging of the masculine and feminine to bring us back to unity and bliss. Everything that we experience in the tantra realm comes from these two goals.
The merging of the masculine and feminine is very new in our world. We have interacted with each other (and within) in a totally separated way. When two energies interact in the physical world, they will still take on masculine or feminine roles (Masculine/feminine does not imply gender. You can substitute yang/yin, positive/negative, whatever works for you).
This polarity is simply part of truly interacting. If there is no polarity we are simply co-existing but not interacting.
The problem is that for centuries, we have acted “in separation” from each other.
When we interact, but are separate, the masculine energy oppresses, controls, and forces the feminine to do as it wishes. This could look like a controlling parent, our logical/left brain mercilessly beating down our right/artistic brain. It could be yelling at someone, abusing them, or simply convincing them to do something they don’t want.
Our history shows this happening often in many cultures in heterosexual relationships where the masculine/feminine dynamics actually do line up with gender. I am currently writing this in Greece where I have had conversations with people in my generation and older who will openly argue that men are simply above women and that’s that. And you can see it playing out in the family dynamics. You can see it playing out in much more extreme ways in other countries in the world, and in other countries it is much more subtle.
And so what has the “feminine” partner done to survive? Sometimes she has become the masculine energy herself. She has become controlling, aggressive, and abusive. This is where it is confusing to speak about genders… because now, after so many years of interacting in separation, anyone can be the aggressive/abusive masculine energy. Everyone is just trying to survive and have a voice.