Do you wish your sex life could be more spiritual and erotic-and maybe even open a door to the sublime? If so, you might want to consider Tantric sex.
One quick disclaimer, however: "Tantrism" is an Eastern philosophy that refers to a range of spiritual concepts and practices (including yoga), so it is not just about sex. As Judy Kuriansky, PhD, author of several books on Tantrism notes: "Tantra is a spiritual path that involves very specific practices that use breath, sounds, movements, and symbols to quiet the mind and activate sexual energy...these practices also help heal past hurts, often stored in sexual centers of the body, so that you can be more fully present in the moment and open to love."
Tantric sex involve learning to love yourself and your partner in a deep sacred and life-giving manner. It is about celebrating your physical body and the ecstasy it can produce, while releasing negative self-judgments and inhibition. It is about using sexuality as a vehicle to actively transcend your awareness of time, let go of your ego and commune with humanity and nature, thereby moving toward enlightenment.
Tantric sex was introduced in the United States in the 1960s. However, Tantric ideas sound more radical today than they did a few decades ago. For instance, in Tantric sex one goal is to come into a state of "hypersuggestibility." This is the state of mind reached when hypnotized, meditating or approaching orgasm, according to Mark Michaels, author of The Essence of Tantric Sexuality. In Tantrism, self pleasuring can be used to open the door to suggestibility. Here's how to do that: As you reach high levels of excitement just before orgasm, concentrate on "feeling wonderful." "When you are in such a highly receptive state, [this] suggestion is taken deep into the mind and can extend into all areas of life," notes Michaels.
Tantric principles can be applied to sex with a partner as well.. Detailed techniques involve serving one another through slow and deliberate massage and stimulation of the primary, secondary and tertiary erogenous zones. In Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-first Century, author Barbara Carrellas encourages couples to focus on "conscious touch." This requires that you learn not only how you like to be touched, but also how your partner prefers to be touched. According to Carrellas, "Ask your partner to tell you when a touch is too hard or too light. When you get feedback, you can easily make an adjustment, and your hands will memorize it."
To feel Tantra in action, here is a stimulating exercise that you can perform without even leaving your chair.
Relax your mind. Sit with your knees bent and feet tucked under your buttocks. Squeeze your thighs and buttocks together and focus on tightening the muscles in the anal area. This area is the source of your sexual energy. It is very important to be mindful of regulating breathing in and releasing the breath while contracting muscles.
Once you are comfortable with this process, add another step: press your tongue against the back of your top teeth. Hold, release, and repeat three times.
Now try pressing your tongue to the top of your teeth while visualizing excitement in your genitals. If your muscles contracted involuntarily, you have just experienced sahaja, or "the natural state in which man and woman become focused on their inner being," according to Michaels.
If there is one overarching principle of Tantric sex, it is that you should stay in the present moment. Stop worrying about other things you need to do with your day. Release your judgments about yourself and your partner and your expectations of what sex "should" be. Surrender to the moment and enjoy sensations throughout your body. Tantra may boost and regenerate your sex drive and increase your health and happiness.
There are a number of excellent books available about Tantra, including those cited in this article. So if your curiosity is piqued, definitely explore further!