Abraham Maslow, the founder of humanistic psychology, was the first psychologist to examine well people, rather than sick people.
By studying the best examples that the human species had produced to date, he created his theory of self-actualisation: an individual’s potential to achieve the highest state of being. One of the interesting by-products of this research was the discovery that the more self-actualised a person became, the better orgasms they had.
In his ground-breaking book, The Function of the Orgasm, published in the 1940’s, Wilhelm Reich espoused the view that a person’s emotional health was related to his or her capacity to experience complete, whole-body orgasmic release in the sexual act.
Orgasm as healing
He felt that a full-on orgasm was one of the most healing experiences, both physically and emotionally, that a person could have. The healthy person, according to Reich, is one who regularly engages in lovingly uninhibited sexual exchange leading to a thoroughly satisfying orgasm.
He was also the first Western sexologist to consider that healthy sexual functioning is connected with an ability to experience higher states of consciousness.
Freud, Jung and Reich have prepared the background in the Western world for the popularity of Tantra. They may not have known anything about Tantra, but they created the context for Tantra to evolve in the West.