Ever since Sting appeared on Oprah declaring that tantric sex had enable him to make love for hours, millions of couples have become curious about experiencing it.
So what is Tantra?
One translation of the word tantra is “tools for expansion.” Tantrism is over 1,500 years old and, like yoga, it originated in India among Buddhists and Hindus.
It is a set of teachings and practices specifically designed to help humans feel more content, to increase awareness of one’s own energy and the energy around them. The path that tantra takes to these ends is the exploration of sexual energy.
The goal of tantric sex is to allow couples to experience more depth and breadth in their love life. The goal is not necessarily an orgasm (and certainly not a “quickie” as so many eager-beaver guys seem to be partial to), but rather it is about enriching the whole sexual experience with your partner.
Tantra is different from typical Western ideas about sex in some important ways. The Western concept of sex is like a story with a clear beginning (foreplay), middle (penetration) and end (orgasm). This is what many of us believe is the way it’s supposed to be and if you don’t follow the story line, then something must be wrong with you. Sex without penetration is often viewed as being “not real” or merely foreplay.
In tantric sex, the point of sex is not orgasm, the point is to truly feel. There is no clear-cut beginning, middle or end. Most of the movements and methods related to tantric sex involve slowing things down, trying not to focus on one’s external body, or orgasms, or anything outside of the experience of the moment.
Without a focus on orgasmic conclusions, the goal becomes increased awareness leading to greater understanding of ourselves, which eventually leads to a higher level of enlightenment as a whole person—inside or outside the bedroom. There also must be no pressure or over-eagerness to “get over the top.” This doesn’t mean that orgasms don’t exist in tantra; it’s just that the fantastic orgasms it creates aren’t the only things to look forward to. The spiritual experience and the good sexual feelings are inter-related, each leading back to, and improving the other.
What tantric sex “looks like” will be different for different people that partake in it. Tantra is taught by many teachers/gurus around the world, who have their own take on it, and each is largely influenced by the culture they grew up in. Certainly a key feature of tantric sex is the importance of breathing, and slowing down sexual behavior compared to the hectic, orgasm-focused approach.
In popular culture, you may have heard a mention of tantric sex in the movie American Pie, when Eddie Kaye Thomas, playing Paul Finch espouses the practice.
He, it turns out, is not alone as a devotee to this increasingly popular method of lovemaking. Aside from Sting there were also former lovers, Scarlett Johansson and Josh Hartnett, in terms of celebs that enjoy tantric sex.
Hartnett claims he has been trying to master the mystical practice—which involves meditating while having sex to achieve a mind-blowing overall experience—and insists it is incredible once you get the hang of it. “A really dirty friend of mine gave me a book on tantric sex for my birthday. I studied it to see what all the fuss was about. It’s not easy, but it’s all good,” Harnett exclaims while discussing it with UK’s MORE magazine.
Open and flowing
Tantra also teaches that sex should be a celebrated union between people, rather than something taboo or sinful. It’s a way of opening the flow of energy between partners and showing how the role of the mind, body and spirit are all equally important for the sexual experience and, of course, performing them.
Before you roll your eyes, you need to try and understand that if you take this seriously, you will experience lovemaking like never before; and we are talking about multilevel orgasms for both men and women. Tantric sex is about channeling your energies. Next time you’re in the act, focus on the sensation in your genitals and try to move it throughout your body.
It is helpful to imagine it in your head and channel the inner energy. By gaining control over your energy, you are no longer enslaved by your sexual urges. This can change your life forever, from helping men who prematurely ejaculate to allowing both men and women to reach full body orgasms.
Following the teachings of Tantra, sex should involve full flowing energy and passion
• Daily Devotion. This can be very complex to properly master, but it is great for healing and gaining greater connection between partners. You should be locked in four places: your mouths, legs, arms and genitals. The key to this position is to master enough self-control to stay motionless.
• Scissors. This begins with no physical movement. Both partners should envision an orange sphere of energy radiating from their sexual centers. Enter into a meditative state by sending your energy back and forth between each other. For women, contract the vaginal muscles regularly to help stimulate the male erection. This can be great before or after sex.
• Yab Yum. This position has both sitting, facing one another, with the woman on top. There is always enhanced intimacy when your faces (and specifically, eye contact) are in close proximity.
• Nurturing. This position can be used to bond during an argument. Both your heart and sexual centers are connected, which certainly makes it difficult to stay angry for long. It’s also generally just a very comfortable position and is great for cuddling after sex as well.
There are many, many more positions obviously, but when you decide to get into the tantric sex, you’ll need to do some studying and most books have illustrations of the variety of useful positions.
There has been a lot of buzz about tantric sex in recent years, so it’s about time you found out if it’s something for you. Some folks like it easy get-it-over-and-done-with, and some might like it rough and unpredictable. Maybe tantric sex is an alternative to those routines you’ve had, and something that may enhance your quality of life.
By Hariman Halim
This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of DA MAN. For information on back issues or a subscription, click here.