Tantric Sex: What it is and how to have it
on Jun 30, 2020
Tantra or tantric sex is a concept that most people have heard of these days, but what exactly is it? Does it involve crazy, weird sex positions and never-ending orgasms?
Last week on the season finale of this year’s The Bachelorette, we watched Brooke Blurton and Darvid Garayeli take part in a tantric sex workshop with tantra yogini, Helena as part of their final date.
Once Brooke got over the fact her family would be watching them talk about ejaculation and simulate sex positions and Darvid expressed his concern about “keeping his excitement levels down”, we were privy to what a tantra session is like. If it got you as curious about tantric sex as it did us, then you’ve come to right place.
Is it solely the domain of ancient spiritual gurus, reality TV dates and right-on celebrities (hello, Sting)? Or can us mere mortals give it a go and discover a way to redefine our sex lives and experience the benefits of a deeper, more intense pleasure, both individually and with a partner?
If you’re ready to open your mind (and your chakras), read on…
Or, listen to the Lovehoney Sexual Happiness Podcast where our resident sexologist, Cam Fraser gave us the ins and outs of tantric sex and how to get into it.
What is tantra?
Tantra - meaning 'to weave', is an ancient, life-embracing philosophy that originated in India thousands of years ago, and tantric sex is part of this pleasure-centric practice. And, although tantra is a spiritual path, you don't have to be spiritual to do it.
All sex is about pleasure, but tantric sex places an emphasis on slowing down the journey and focusing on pleasure while you're having sex, rather than simply galloping towards the end goal of orgasm as we all so often do.
At its core, tantra sexology is about awareness, mindfulness and connection, 'weaving' together the spiritual self with the physical self. You probably already know how beneficial mindfulness can be in your everyday life, but being mindful between the sheets can result in more intense 'tantric' orgasms, better understanding of your pleasure zones, deeper connection with a partner, and longer more pleasurable sex sessions.
How to have tantric sex
Preparing your space to create a relaxing sensual environment is an important part of the tantric tradition. Dim the lights and breakout the scented candles and aromatic oils.
Place fresh flowers and erotic art in the welcoming environment that you are creating. Play some tantric music that taps into the sexual vibrations of your body with its focused rhythm and harmony, to help you harness your tantric energy.
There is no right or wrong here, only pleasure. Experiment with clothing or accessories and toys that make you feel sexy and excite your partner; share delicious foods or wine, gaze into each other's eyes, kiss as if it's the first or last ever time, or take a bath and lovingly wash each other. Create intimacy with your partner by sharing what you adore about them.
Tantric sex is about stimulating emotions and strengthening spiritual bonds as well as slowing things down, being in the moment and combining this with pure physical pleasure, and what that means for you.
In this wonderfully relaxing, safe space you can awaken your senses and ignite passion with extended foreplay. Get to know your body with self-exploration if you are practising solo, or fully focus on your partner if you are pursuing tantric sex for couples.
Tantra is a spiritual sex that explores how deep, dynamic, healing, creative, and inspiring sex can be when you slow things down and focus more on the journey rather than the ultimate goal of intercourse and/or orgasm.
Tantra also teaches how to extend the peak of sexual ecstasy enabling the participants to experience several orgasms in a single sexual encounter. These days, tantric sex practices place a heavy emphasis on intentionality and self-exploration.
The emphasis on individual pleasure means that masturbation is a great way to try it out. You'll be able to explore what does and doesn't work for you first before trying something new with a partner.
Below are some techniques and exercises to help you practise tantric sex for couples and give an insight into achieving control over your orgasms and channelling your tantric energy.
The only time we ever really think about breathing is when we have trouble doing it, yet conscious or 'mindful' breathing can be a powerful aid in sexual growth. Breathing is extremely important when learning how to have tantric sex, as it allows your body and mind to fully connect.
If you are with a partner, first establish a real connection through looking each other in the eye and then start breathing together in sync. Very slowly, take a deep breath and inhale through your nose and hold for four counts.
Feel the sensation as you push your stomach out, then slowly exhale through your mouth, again for four counts. This is called diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing, and helps to bring you into a relaxed, calm state where a transcendental experience is possible.
Tantric massage can be done on yourself or on a partner and is similar to other therapeutic massages (like Swedish); the difference being it is very gentle and slow and can involve massaging every part of the body including the genital areas.
For those with vulvas, the massage is called a 'Yoni' massage. For those with penises, the massage is called a 'Lingam' massage. Everything from your abdomen, thighs, feet, toes, chest, nipples, and fingers should be massaged first before continuing onto the lingam or yoni massage.
It is important to note that orgasm is not the goal of tantric massage; if it happens, it happens. Tantric massage uses energy and chakras (a centre of energy in the body, according to Indian belief) to relax the person into the state of feeling that physical boundaries have dissolved.
Use natural and aromatic essential oils (coconut, jojoba, ylang ylang and geranium are good) to fully massage the body and relax the muscles and the mind. Setting up a relaxing, safe environment is an important part of the ritual. As with everything tantra, it is all about combining physical and mental pleasure and awareness.
Tantric sex distinguishes between the experiences of orgasm and ejaculation even though they can both happen at the same time. For both male and female, it is all about 'riding the wave' and achieving greater control over arousal rate.
Once a peak is reached, the idea is that penis-owners can choose to have a genital orgasm without ejaculation, by allowing the energy to subside and move up through the body where orgasmic sensations can be felt in other parts of the body before continuing. Vulva-owners can also choose to have an orgasm, or continue riding the wave before they peak and allow the energy to subside. These types of orgasms are called energy orgasms.
A great way to learn to have better control over orgasms (for both penis-owners and vulva-owners) is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles with regular exercises. A simple exercise that you can do at any time is to contract your pelvic floor muscles (the ones you use to stop yourself needing to pee) three times per day, squeezing 20 to 25 repetitions.
After a month of exercises, try to extend the squeeze, holding each contraction for two seconds. Gradually work up to 10 seconds. Once your muscles are in top shape, you will be able to control them in order to ride the orgasmic wave without gliding over the brink too soon. If you do feel the undulations of ejaculation, take a slow, deep breath and stop making love or masturbating long enough for your arousal to subside.
Tantric sex positions
Tantric sex is all about the intimacy and awakening senses, so as long as you're connecting, there's not really right or wrong way to do it. Just remember to breathe mindfully, slow things down (a lot), add lots of eye gazing, and stay in the moment and feel free to get creative. Below are some sexual positions that are great for experimenting with tantric sex.
There are no rules as to what tantric masturbation includes, apart from refraining from that 'rush to the finish line'. Do what feels good for you. And don't shy away from trying new things like toys or different environments.
Concentrate on your breathing, slow down your touch, be super-mindful of your whole body. Taking longer to reach climax can make your orgasm more powerful.
This is known as the tantric sex position: The penetrating partner sits cross-legged and the receiving partner straddles their lap, facing them, and wraps their laps around the partners lower back. (Note: the penetration here can happen vaginally or anally)
This also known as the missionary position, is probably the most common and widespread sexual position in the world. It is usually used by heterosexual couples, but can also be used by same-sex couples. One of the partners lies on their back whilst the other partner penetrates.
Receiver on top
This is another widely practiced sexual position, in which the giver lies down on his back, and the receiver straddles them. The receiver can either face toward or away from the giver. The benefit of this position for the receiver is they have much greater control over the depth, speed and rhythm of the thrusting. The benefit for the giver is that it is easier for them to relax their pelvic floor muscles. This can help them to have multiple orgasms and channel sexual energy through their body.
As with the Cowgirl position, the penetrating partner lies on their back and the receiving partner rides them -- but there's one key difference. The partner on top pulls their legs up towards their chest as if they're doing a deep squat. This enables deep thrusting movement with support being given from positioning their arms on the partner's chest.