What is tantric sex? Once a mysterious ‘other-culture’ practice, tantric sex has all but gone mainstream. Steve Jobs, Sting, Rita Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Heather Graham are (or were) among admitted devotees to the practice. P. Diddy tweets about his tantric exploits! Discussions about tantric are everywhere, making the quest for the G-spot seem so last millennium.
With all the whispers about more than 24-hour sex sessions and ‘higher plane orgasms,’ many people conjure exotic images of tantric sex. But what is tantric in reality?
Tantra is an ancient practice originating in India about 6,000 years ago. Its existence was in direct opposition and rebellion of the religious mores of the day, which held that sexual expression was taboo and interfered with spiritual enlightenment.
Tantra as a whole is a collection of practices and ways of thinking. Tantric sex is a form of tantra practice.
It’s a sex centred approach to being ‘present.’ Much like the yoga idea of being ‘present,’ this idea refers to mindfulness with which you approach a task.
So, tantric sex is a different kind of sex where you emphasize being fully present and engaged. You attempt to empty your thoughts and avoid even contemplating whether your partner is being satisfied.
The idea is to have an empty mind during sex so you can be fully ‘there’ with your partner. This can be a challenge in a culture where our thoughts during sex can vary from ‘did I take the laundry out of the washer?’ to ‘do I look fat from this angle?’
All of those competing thoughts become noise or static in your head. They are distracting and ultimately self-defeating. They pull us out of the connection with your partner and certainly pull us further from the pleasure sensations of sexual expression.
Part of the goal is to extend and prolong the time spent in intercourse. Contrast that to the urgent thrusting most couples use in an effort to provoke orgasm: tantric is about building sexual energy. The result is often a more intense orgasm.
The big question becomes: what can tantric sex do for you? And the answer is: a whole hell of a lot.
But how do you get started with a tantric sexual practice?
The biggest step toward tantric sex is the first step, which is to let go of our standard genital-centred view of sex and embrace a ‘heart-centred’ view of sex. One of the biggest misconceptions about tantric sex is that is must include intercourse and it requires superhuman erections.
Tantric sex can occur without actual sexual intercourse. Many couples spend much of their tantric sessions with contact between their bodies that does not include intercourse. Yet the contact brings excitement and builds intimacy.
Tantric also teaches both partners to be responsible for their own orgasms rather than depend upon their partner to provide one. Ultimately, a tantric approach to sex alters your relationship with the act as a whole.
Want to try tantric sex for yourself?
Intimacy is a key piece of tantric sex.
Lots of people new to tantric sex spend weeks engaged in intimacy exercises where they speak loving words and touch one another gently without having intercourse.
They focus on their breathing in the same way you would in meditation. The idea is that this permits the transmission of energy throughout your own body into that of your partner.
Try “soul gazing.” Look into your partner’s eyes and breathe rhythmically while you full-body hug.
Alternately, you can massage parts of your partner’s body which may be ‘blocked’ by psychological pain. The act of making purposeful sustained eye contact alone will increase intimacy. It is a bold act.
Focus on the taste, sound, look and feel of your partner.
Without judgment, take in the senses as you experience your partner’s smell, feel, and taste.
Concentrate on how you feel and what you feel at that moment.
Do not rush through to anticipate what the orgasm will feel like, or what you will do once you are finished making love.
Mindful touch is an important piece of tantric sex.
You are mindful of where you are touching and your intent while doing so. This helps you remain present, stay focused, and be receptive of all of the pleasure of the experience.
Tantric sex is an extension of tantric practice. Ritual is a key ingredient. Your rituals can be highly individualized. Maybe your ritual is to feed one another sensual foods, or take a bath where you wash one another. Maybe you dance together to sultry music.
Whatever ritual makes both partners feel centered and present is a good one.
These rituals become part of the process of lovemaking.
They signal one another to begin tuning in, to be mindful and present, and to fully immerse yourselves in the pleasures of the experience.
Tantric sex devotees often swear by the practice of separating the process of giving from the process of receiving pleasure during sex.
Doing so allows you to focus on that being ‘present’ aspect that is so central to tantric.
Begin with kisses.
Rather than kissing one another, allow your partner to kiss you.
Allow your mouth to be explored rather than trying to simultaneously reciprocate.
Then switch roles.
The practice of being explored rather than trying to explore concurrently will increase mindfulness.
Tantric is about sustaining the energy between partners, and this is accomplished through building energy.
Bring your partner to the brink of orgasm without release.
Doing so repeatedly will create a heightened state of awareness of the sensations of being touched. When orgasm is achieved, it will be more intense and spread throughout the body.
The important thing to remember when trying your hand at tantric lovemaking is that the point isn’t to engage in marathon sessions of lovemaking (it can be but it doesn’t have to be).
And the point is not orgasm.
The point is to connect and be present.
By focusing your energy on those goals, you will achieve tremendous orgasm. In order to do so, however, that cannot be the goal.