What is Tantric Sex?
When you hear the words "Tantric Sex," what comes to mind? Mystic rituals, advanced positions which feel like sexy yoga, or marathon sex sessions lasting hours at a time? Well, prepare to be enlightened, as we delve deep into the ancient art of Tantric Sex — a practice that promotes deep connection, mind-blowing pleasure and even, if you’re into that sort of thing, Spiritual Growth.
Introduction: What Exactly is Tantric Sex?
Tantric Sex came from ancient Hinduism and involves sexual practices that aim to reach a higher plane of spirituality. But it's not just about that. This form of intimate connection focuses on mindfulness, mutual respect, and the cultivation of a deep, emotional bond between you and your partner(s). So it’s not just about physical satisfaction, Tantric Sex is about enriching your entire sexual experience.
There are actually two types of Tantra. Classical Tantra is effectively a branch of a religious practice. Neotantra is a practice which became popular in the sixties and is what we’re talking about today. Neotantra is all the sexy parts of Classical Tantra bundled into one practice then mostly lifted away from the religious dimension focusing more on the meditative and emotional aspects.
The Philosophy Behind Tantric Sex
The word Tantra comes from a Sanskrit root meaning "woven together," and that’s what we’re talking about here: a union not just of bodies, but of mind, spirit, and cosmic energy. Now if the phrase “cosmic energy” causes you to roll your eyes and call bull$h*t, then fair enough. Tantra isn’t for everyone, but do take a pause for a second. Whatever your beliefs, or non-beliefs, around spiritual practice, there is a reason why people have been incorporating this stuff into sex for millenia. Tantra is worth exploring. Even if you eventually decide it’s not for you, you could just as easily discover a whole new world out there. So, let’s get into what Tantric Sex is all about.
Tantric sex is a challenge to move beyond rushed foreplay and quick climax, encouraging us to explore new forms of intimacy. (It’s worth saying that Tantra can be practised by couples and individuals too. Some of my most mind-blowing orgasms have been in solo-play.) Here, pleasure is not the only goal. Instead, we’re also aiming for experiences which are transcendent, i.e. experiences which move beyond the physical into places which might be called meditative, mentally soothing, personally enriching, and yes, even spiritual.
1. Awareness and Presence
One of the fundamental principles of Tantric Sex is to be fully present during sex. That’s easier than it sounds. How many times have you been having sex with a partner and your mind wanders off to thinking about other things? A video you recently watched online, that fantasy which has been playing on loop in your mental cinema for the past couple of weeks, or even mundane things like whether you replied to an e-mail from a client. Whether we’re doing Tantra or not, we could all benefit from being more present during sex.
Tantric Sex puts an emphasis on shutting out all external mental distractions and focusing solely on your partner and the sensations you're experiencing. If you notice your mind wandering off, don’t beat yourself up. Instead just notice and be aware. “How interesting, I’m thinking about hanging the laundry up. That’s ok. Now maybe I’ll focus on how great my partner’s breasts look right now. How about I give those the attention they deserve.”
Awareness and Presence often starts with something unphysical, like gazing deeply into your partner's eyes. Yes, you will likely laugh the first time you attempt this; that’s totally fine. Again, notice it, don’t criticise it and keep on going. If you keep working on this practice, it’ll help you feel better connected. Another similar exercise is syncing up your breath together, both trying to slow down and breathe slowly in unison. Both of these exercises can create a surprisingly open and emotional connection, which is a great place to be in before you begin sex.
2. Breath Control
Learning to control your breath is crucial in Tantric practices. Why? Deep, rhythmic breathing can increase your awareness, control arousal, and enhance the overall sexual experience. Focus on breathing into your belly (a diaphragmatic breath, if you want to get technical) rather than breathing into the upper part of your chest (which is much shallower and less controlled.)
3. Slow Down
In Tantric Sex, slow and steady wins the race. The slower pace allows for greater emotional and spiritual connection, and can often lead to more intense orgasms for both men and women. So, similar to many areas of the sexual universe, it’s not advisable to emulate what you might have seen in p*rn, going harder and faster as you approach orgasm. While “hard and fast” certainly can be a lot of fun and very satisfying in the right context, Tantra is a totally different beast (with two backs.)
As you and your partner approach orgasm, try breathing more and more deeply and finding a deep connection through eye contact (positions like Missionary and Lotus are useful here. Lotus, or Yab Yum as it’s known in Tantra, is especially good, as it’s harder to pound away at your partner.) An ordinary orgasm might be imagined as shaking up a bottle of champagne and letting the cork explode; in other words, powerful but brief. A tantric orgasm is more like slowly pouring that champagne into a glass and savouring the experience. In other words, it's lengthier and more fulfilling.
If you’re a man with a female partner, you’ve probably tried to slow things down before. Women, as a general rule, usually require longer before they orgasm (although that’s not always true.) Consequently you stand a better chance of both achieving orgasm if sex takes longer. Tantra is one of the many ways to slow things down but it’s not the only way. Take a look at our article on lasting longer in sex if you want to explore some other options.
In Tantra, here’s how we delay orgasm. When you’re close, pause and begin breathing deeply. There are a variety of different mental visualisations for what you're doing, but this is the simplest. Imagine your sexual energy is like electricity. You’re going to route that charge through your body by breathing. As you breathe deeply, that energy will be drawn up and away from your penis, up your tummy, chest and neck and into your head. Allow that electricity to swirl around your head for a moment giving you a buzzing, warm sensation inside your brain. As you exhale, that energy then pushes down your spine, down your back and towards your prostate. (Want to know more about the prostate including about how to orgasm from there? Check our deep dive on the subject here).
You’ll need to repeat this process of circulating sexual energy around your body a number of times before you can continue having sex. However, as you get used to how it works, you’ll find that you can do this breath work as you continue to move with your partner. This will create both stimulation and control. It’ll allow the sensation to grow ever more and more powerful for both you and your partner. This can lead to what is described as a full-body orgasm where it feels like the pleasure is a total experience from head to toe, not just centred around your erogenous zones. It’s also, objectively, awesome.
Tantra and Sexual Issues
Many men and women find that the Tantric approach helps with problems like premature ejaculation or difficulty in achieving orgasm. By focusing on the journey rather than the destination, Tantric Sex helps you understand your body better, controls the urge to climax early or helps create the relaxation and lengthier sex sessions required to help those who find orgasming a challenge.
The Steps to a Tantric Experience
Begin with Conversation
Open communication is essential in Tantra. Discuss your desires and boundaries with your partner to make sure you are on the same page. If you and your partner haven’t discussed Tantra before, a good first step might be to share this article with them.
Set the Scene
Prepare the room with care. Use soft, comfortable bedding, light some candles, and put on some relaxing music. It might sound obvious, or even a bit of cliché, but honestly it makes a big difference, especially when trying these techniques for the first time.
Engage in pre-Foreplay
Start with non-sexual touching to connect with each other. This could be a massage or simply holding hands and talking.
Introduce Sexual Touch
Once you’re both ready and relaxed, begin touching each other more sexually. However, remember to keep things slow and intimate. It’s easy to lean into what feels exciting and stimulating, but with Tantra you’re trying to find a balance between what feels great and what will rev your engine too quickly that everything ends.
Reach Climax Mindfully
Remember, Tantric Sex is not about never reaching an orgasm, it’s about making it more fulfilling. The key is to build up slowly to a more intense and satisfying climax.
Tantric Tools and Techniques
Yab Yum Position
This is a classic Tantric position, known in the Western world as the Lotus position, where one partner sits cross-legged while the other sits on their lap, which allows for deep eye contact and a whole lot of intimacy.
Lingam and Yoni Massage
If you’ve ever had a Swedish or Thai massage then you’ll be familiar with their deep pressure and intense, relaxing sensation. It’s also a sensual experience (and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t occasionally gotten an awkward erection whilst receiving a professional massage which really wasn’t supposed to be a sexual experience.) In Tantra, there’s no awkward arousal, the arousal is the point. There are types of massage which are explicitly designed to be explicit: Lingam massage for him and Yoni massage for her. These massages can create deep connections and turn arousal into a lengthier, more relaxing and sensual experience.
Tantric Sex may seem involved, even daunting at first, but it's worth the effort. As you deepen your emotional and spiritual bonds, the physical aspect of your relationship will naturally become more satisfying. So, the next time you're looking to spark up your sex life, don't just think about new positions or toys; consider diving into the enriching, soulful experience that is Tantric Sex.
By practising Tantric Sex, you're not just investing in better orgasms; you're investing in a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with your partner, and ultimately, in your overall Sexual Wellbeing. If you want more Sexual Wellbeing tips then take a look here.
Have you tried any of the techniques above? Do you have questions about more advanced areas of Tantric Practice? Let us know in the comments below.
What is Tantric Sex? A sexual practice originating in ancient Hinduism, which combines physical, emotional and spiritual elements for a deeper, stronger connection.
How do I do Tantric Sex? Start by creating an intimate atmosphere free from distractions, where you and your partner can focus solely on each other and the present moment. Practise deep, synchronised breathing, maintain eye contact, and move through sexual interactions slowly, emphasising emotional and spiritual connection as much as physical pleasure.