I always thought of Tantra as one of those Eastern practices, vaguely connected with the Kama Sutra, and having to do with chakras and energy and contorted positions.
While it does involve some of these things, turns out that Tantric sex plays to the strengths of older people. We aren’t in a hurry. In fact, we’ve had to switch our focus from a quick, hot fire to a slow burn. From intense passion to warm intimacy. From fireworks to steady candlelight.
Tantric practice is all about taking your time and learning to be vulnerable. With Tantra, the journey is the destination.
Dr. Susan Kellogg Spadt, a MiddlesexMD advisor, defines it this way: “Tantric sex originally developed as a form of Eastern yoga practice, the goal of which was to use sexual energy to enter a higher spiritual realm. Although it is an ancient practice, this type of loving has undergone a recent resurgence of popularity.”
The main elements of Tantric sex are a focus on the breath, the alignment and flow of energy (specifically sexual energy), and attention to the partner in the present moment. You’re not in a hurry with Tantric sex, nor are you lost in fantasy world. You’re relaxed and present.
While I’m no expert in the practice, here are a few techniques drawn from Tantric sexuality that might energize your lovemaking.
Prepare the space. Since Tantra is based in spiritual practice, consider the place where you have sex as “sacred.” How would this space look and smell? How would you prepare the environment? Would it feel mysterious or would it be full of light? Would it look lavish or spare and uncluttered? Would it have music or the sound of chimes? Or silence?
You should make it as beautiful and natural as possible. You might have candles or incense burning. You might decorate it with soft fabrics, maybe silks, maybe beautiful tapestries.
Prepare yourselves. Spend some time decompressing from whatever might occupy your mind. Loosen your muscles, especially those in your jaw, neck, and shoulders. Maybe take a bath so you’re soft, relaxed, and sweetly scented. Clear your mind of any preconceptions. Expect nothing. You are here with your beloved. That’s all, and it’s enough.
Breathe. Unsurprisingly, breath is central to this practice as it is to many Eastern traditions. Breath releases and directs energy.
In Tantric sex, you breathe in tandem with your partner. Face your partner and breathe deeply, fully, and consciously. Breathe together-you breathe each other’s breath.
Don’t hold your breath or let your breathing become shallow at any time. Concentrate on full, relaxed breathing throughout sex. According to the Tantra, this allows energy to flow unimpeded through your body.
Maintain eye contact. In fact, keep your eyes open throughout your sexual encounter. Breathe together and look into your partner’s eyes. This will probably feel strange and challenging.
Here is an account from a woman who attended a Tantric sex class with a platonic friend who was simply doing her a favor by accompanying her. The instructions were to “think about what this person looked like when they were first born… before they were wounded… what they will look like when they die.”
“Looking into Jeff’s eyes, I felt like I was watching the movie of his life. I saw my friend in a way I rarely see anyone; with all his vulnerability, fear, pain, and joy. It was unsettling but strangely beautiful. I felt cracked open and began to cry.”
If this is the experience of two friends, what might happen between committed lovers?
Get into position. There are lots of Tantric postures, but the one commonly mentioned is the Yab Yum position in which both partners sit erect and the woman sits on her partner’s lap, wrapping her legs around his or her waist. Then, according to Susan Kellogg, “The woman actively rocks forward and back, using her pubococcygeus [pelvic floor] muscles to “milk” her partner’s penis, creating high levels of sexual arousal.”
Don’t hurry. Don’t lose focus. Keep your breathing slow and relaxed. Eyes on your partner. Only tense the muscles you need to use and consciously relax everything else. Be present in the moment. Express what you’re feeling—pleasure, pain, discomfort, joy, connection—either in words or sound, any sound.
Direct your energy. A Tantric saying is, “energy flows where attention goes.” This means that you have control over the flow of energy depending on what you’re paying attention to. If you’re focusing on genital sensation, that’s where the energy goes. But if you pay attention to your entire body, this is where your sexual energy will flow. Powerful, whole-body orgasm is a hallmark of Tantric sex.
Finally, after fully exploring and experiencing this exchange and flow of energy, this intimacy with your partner, according to Susan Kellogg, “Tantric joining… ends when partners, at the point of orgasm, join in a close embrace, usually mouths sealed and fingertips in full contact. Each partner powerfully contracts the pubococcygeal muscles and ‘draws’ orgasmic energy from their genitals up through their pelvis, abdomen and throat to an area in the middle of the forehead known as the third eye that is the center of ‘spiritual enlightenment.’ ”
Not surprisingly, entire books are written about Tantric sex, and larger cities may offer classes on the practice.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to stick my head in the freezer.