Tantric sex or sacred sex, as some call it, has been made famous by new-age classes and practitioners who promise you orgasms like you’ve never experienced before. But contrary to popular belief, it isn’t about exotic sex rituals or earth-shattering orgasms. Diehard fans of the approach say the experience has been transformative, bringing them closer to their partners and making sex more fulfilling and sensual. Here’s what you need to know about this ancient philosophy.
Tantra Is More Than Just A Sexual Practice
The concept of tantric sex or a mystical sexual experience has its origins in the philosophy of tantra or tantric living. This taps into your body’s natural desires and focuses on nurturing the spirit, living holistically and expressively. Contrary to popular notion, the term “tantra” does not on its own connote a guide to sexual practice. It is a set of teachings and approach linked to Hindu and Buddhist writing that govern life in general. What you can do, however, is apply the learning and principles of tantra to various aspects of your life, including intimacy and sexuality.12
Harness Kundalini Or Primal Energy To Build Intimacy
The goal of modern tantric sexual philosophy is to help you maximize your own energy and to channelize and exchange this with your partner. This is done by first, unblocking your seven energy centers, known as chakras, located along your body from the head chakra to the root chakra at the base of your spine. The movement of energy into and out of your body happens via your crown chakra on the top of your head. Sex is seen as one of the many ways to open up chakras. Other ways to open them up include meditation or yoga, and even dance and music.
Tantric sex is believed to help release powerful primal energy known as kundalini while also cleansing the mind and body.3 This ancient practice teaches you to leverage and control your energy using your breath, a slower touch, and delayed orgasms to achieve a deeper level of intimacy with your sexual partner. The onus is not just on the physical aspects of your sexuality but also the energy and emotional connections between sexual partners.
Before You Begin: 3 Things That Are Different About Tantric Sex
Tantric sexuality can be quite different to what you’ve been doing so far. Be mentally prepared for a few things that will lay the foundation for your experience.
1. You Need To Surrender Your Ego And Focus On Both Spiritual And Physical Intimacy
When you get intimate with your partner guided by tantric principles, you learn to focus on the person and their energies – it isn’t just about the physical aspects of your partner. The sexual pleasure you experience together is not the purpose of the act, but the means to a deeper spiritual and emotional connection. This should help you experience greater joy and gain a better understanding of your partner as well. To do this, you will need to be prepared to surrender your ego and give in to the natural rhythms of the sexual act.4
2. You Slow Down With Tantric Sex, But Your Senses Experience Much More
Foreplay is one of the most central aspects of the experience of tantric sex. The orgasm is not the end goal here. So, prepare to spend much longer than you normally do in the “build-up.” This is considered a vital part of the whole act of intimacy and is to be prolonged. As one author on tantric practice advises, aim at just three deliberate strokes where you would normally have rushed through around 30. You might think this will kill the passion, but each sensation becomes heightened when you slow everything down.5
You might end up being intimate for hours on end, pausing only to meditate together. When you finally climax, it will usually be a more intense experience because you are so tuned into all your senses. You should feel peaceful and energized. Some people describe this experience as being enlightening.6
3. You Get To Explore Both Your Masculine And Feminine Side
Unlike the traditional norms of sexual acts where the male is the initiator and the female expresses tenderness, tantra encourages women to be the initiators of the sexual act and gives men the opportunity to tap into their tender side. The idea is to allow for a unified expression that is woven from the feminine yin and the masculine yang, two opposing energies that we all possess. In other words, don’t be afraid to express yourself in whatever way feels natural – it doesn’t have to be bound or defined by social codes.7
5 Phases Of Tantric Sex To Get You Started
What follows is an introduction to this approach and how it could help improve your own sex life. It can be viewed as a modern adaptation and interpretation of this ancient wisdom. It comprises these 5 phases or steps8:
1. Shared Rituals
A joint ritual has the ability to help you celebrate your partnership and sanctify the sexual act to follow. Create private and unique experiences you share with just your partner, whether it is soaking in a tub, cooking together, or just sitting and being in each other’s presence at night. This will cascade into your life in general, filling your relationship and life with love.9
You can also work at building love and deepening your bond through these tantra techniques:
Hand on Heart: Sit cross-legged facing your partner and place your right hand on each other’s heart chakra and the left on your partner’s right hand. Focus on your heart and then on the intangible emotion and energy emanating from it. Notice your heartbeat and your partner’s hand connecting to your own heart. You could close your eyes or choose to look into each other’s eyes and breathe in harmony.10
Nurturing Meditation: You must lie down in a spooning position with the “giver” at the back and the one who needs nurturing cradled on the inside. The partner behind must use their right arm to cradle the partner and place the hand on their partner’s heart chakra. The receiver must place their hand over their partner’s. The left arm of the giver should come out from under their partner’s neck, allowing their hand to touch the crown chakra or the forehead “third eye” of the partner who needs nurturing.
Allow your other chakras to line up heart to heart, belly to belly. Harmonize breathing and visualize and feel the energy flowing from the giver’s chakra with each exhalation into the receiving partner. Focus awareness on one set of chakras at a time until the entire body feels revived. Start with the heart, then the third eye, followed by the root chakra (base of spine), second chakra (genital), navel chakra, throat chakra, and finally the crown chakra.11
2. Synchronized or Harmonizing Breathing
Unlike the rhythmic, systemized breathing of yoga, tantric breathing is a vehicle for inward reflection. Don’t try and alter how you breathe. Simply become aware of it. Focus on how your partner breathes and be conscious of your own breath. Now try and synchronize your breathing so you inhale and exhale together.12 Next, shift to breath exchange where you inhale as your partner exhales, then exhale as your partner inhales as if you are breathing the other person in. Do this for about 10 minutes or so. This synchronized breathing can even put you in a trance-like state.13
3. Unwavering Eye Contact
Too often you close your eyes during sex. With the tantric approach to sex, you need to engage all your senses, including sight. Look deep into your partner’s eyes, take in every aspect of them, almost as if you are gazing into their soul. Don’t shift your gaze. It may be hard at first and might make you feel exposed – more than you ever felt while being intimate before. But this is being truly intimate.14
4. Motionless Intercourse
Unlike the constant motion associated with conventional intercourse, tantric sex will come to a still point as you sexually connect.15 The absence of ego in the equation also means that intercourse is not interrupted by talking or words that are only for the benefit of the ego. Natural sounds that emerge as an organic result of the sexual act will continue.
The Yab Yum Pose is a classic tantric sex pose where a woman sits straddling a man, with both partners looking into each other’s eyes and breathing together. This is almost a precursor to the more sexual form of this pose. With Yab Yum, while you can touch your partner with feather-like caresses, there’s no sexual touching. You move from simply sitting on the partner’s lap to wrapping your legs around so you are seated chest to chest, heart to heart, and genitals to genitals. Move on to sitting on your partner’s lap undressed, facing him/her, legs wrapped around their waist. Begin breathing in sync. Transition to caressing and kissing and then intercourse. Just remember to go slow. The Yab Yum pose aligns both partners chakras and improves alertness. It is also ideal for shared breathing and looking at each other’s eyes.16
5. Sexual Exchange That Prolongs Orgasm
Possibly one of the most famous aspects of this form of sexual experience is that you don’t focus on one moment or a few where you are overwhelmed by an orgasm. Instead, you prolong the thrill and pleasure and tap into the power of being on the edge of the orgasm.17 The goal is to intensify the sexual spiritual energy so that you have a much longer sustained period of heightened energy as opposed to the brief pleasure of a short-lived orgasm as is this case with regular intercourse.
Tantric Sex Benefits: Feel Energized And Overcome Sexual Anxiety And Erectile Issues
Unlike the exhaustion you may feel in the aftermath of a more frenetic sexual experience, tantric sex is slow and languorous and deeply rejuvenating. And as a sexuality counselor and clinical sexologist explains, tantric sex takes the pressure and focus off orgasms as the ultimate goal of the sexual act. As a result, if an anxiety issue is holding you back from enjoying sex, tantric sexuality could help. 18 Due to this effect, researchers are also exploring the application of tantric sexual practices to treating psychosexual issues. These issues may be responsible for problems like premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, or even the inability to attain an orgasm in spite of stimulation (anorgasmia).19
|↑1, ↑18||Your 7-Step Guide to Nailing Tantric Sex on the First Try. Women’s Health.|
|↑2||Letters. Yoga Journal Sep 1983.|
|↑3, ↑7||Turner, Tommy E., Nancy J. Fox, Hayden Center, and Jerry D. Kiser. “Uniting spirituality and sexual counseling: Eastern influences.” The Family Journal 14, no. 1 (2006): 81-84.|
|↑4, ↑6||Tantric Yoga. Yoga Journal Jan-Feb 1980.|
|↑5||9 Surprisingly Practical Lessons From Tantric Sex. Prevention.|
|↑8, ↑9, ↑12, ↑15||Voigt, Harrison. “Enriching the sexual experience of couples: The Asian traditions and sexual counseling.” Journal of sex & marital therapy 17, no. 3 (1991): 214-219.|
|↑10, ↑11||Tantra Techniques.Yoga Journal Jan-Feb 2000.|
|↑13||The Secret To Mind-Blowing Orgasms. Best Health magazine.|
|↑14||The Secret To Mind-Blowing Orgasms. Best Health Magazine.|
|↑16||Tantra Techniques. Yoga Journal Jan-Feb 2000.|
|↑17||Tantric Yoga.Yoga Journal Jan-Feb 1980.|
|↑19||Lousada, Mike, and Elena Angel. “Tantric orgasm: beyond Masters and Johnson.” Sexual and Relationship Therapy 26, no. 4 (2011): 389-402.|