Although Tantra has long been practiced in many eastern cultures, it is just beginning to flourish in the United States. Born in India more than 6,000 years ago, Tantra emerged as a rebellion against organized religion, which held that sexuality should be rejected in order to reach enlightenment. In its most authentic form, tantra prohibits male ejaculation as the sole objective of the man’s sexual experience. It believes that preoccupation with ejaculation (which many of us men are surely guilty of) wastes sexual energy and robs the woman of her potential for multiple orgasms. However, women may (and are encouraged to) ejaculate through tantric techniques.
The word Tantra means to manifest, to expand, to show and to weave. In this context, sex is thought to expand consciousness and to weave together the polarities of male (represented by the Hindu god, Shiva), and female (embodied by the Hindu goddess, Shakti), into a harmonious whole.
Couples need not adopt the Tantric pantheon in order to benefit from the sexual wisdom of this ancient art. Tantric sexual practices teach us to prolong the act of making love and to utilize potent orgasmic energies more effectively.
How is tantric sex done? The following will show how sex for both can be more than average, and less than selfish.
Practitioners of tantric sex describe the improbable effects on not only the quality of their sex lives but also on their relationships. It is nothing but common sense that dictates that quality time in bed can spill out on the rest of one’s life, and thus so much pain and enmity that exists in many relationships can be soothed by simple additions of tantra.
Without delving into the commitment required for long-term tantric engagement, a ‘low-carb’ version of this sexual practice, called Tantra Lite, exits. Tantra Lite is a slowed-down, more attentive version of ‘regular sex.’ It heats up like this: the lovers slowly undress, begin breathing rhythmically and deeply, gazing into each other's eyes. With palms touching, they concentrate on creating a flow of energy. They then share a ritual, such as bathing together, exchanging gifts, or giving each other a full-body massage. The lights stay on.
Foreplay is prolonged. Anything goes, from hair brushing and toe sucking to body painting and feather tickling; the emphasis is on the woman's full arousal (which usually takes at least 20 minutes, versus 5 to 10 minutes for a man). Oral sex -- notably 69 -- is especially encouraged, given its potential for 'chakra alignment.'
Other favored sexual positions include contortions in which chakras line up and the couple can look into each other's eyes. Men prolong their erections through slow, controlled thrusting; women experience multiple orgasms through vaginal massage and vaginal muscle flexing. All the while, scented oil flows like a Himalayan river and sound-making abounds (noisy sex supposedly helps energy circulate).
Western conventional intercourse derives its form by having a distinct beginning and ending, with a climax somewhere in between and an average duration (though few men will admit it, upon pain of death) of 10 to 15 minutes. When we take into account the fact that most women take twenty minutes to warm up their engine sufficiently, such that orgasm is possible, then we can only assume that we are a group of nations whose women are intolerably unsatisfied.
Tantra defines sex a bit differently. It is seen more meditatively, with no beginning and no end. Freed from the limitations of our sexuality, that separate the goals of men and women, Tantra teaches lovers how to extend the peak of their sexual ecstasy so that women and men can experience several orgasms in a single sexual encounter. Leading teachers of Tantra suggest that even men who experience Premature Ejaculation can learn how to extend orgasm and, with practice, enjoy multiple orgasms.
Throughout the initial introduction to the tantric path remember that the purpose is to make sex more enjoyable through a more intense connection to your own body and a reintroduction to your partner’s. For the first few engagements in tantra practice do not make sex the ultimate goal; rather, enjoy establishing a truly intimate connection, without the expectation of 'doing it!'
Make time for each other every week. Plan a sexual rendezvous at least once per week. Set aside an hour or more of uninterrupted time to be together. Make your relationship a priority, that must be the primary concern of a tantric practice.
Create an inviting atmosphere. Whether you meet in your bedroom, living room or another space in your house, creating a sacred space for each other will help relax you and bring you into the moment. Candles, incense, flowers etc. can also help to set aside the time and space for something special.
Use ritual to develop intimacy. Begin your journey with a ritual. Drinking, eating, bathing, messages, reading to each other, dancing or even listening to music. Most importantly, use this time to communicate, sharing what you adore about each other. The idea is to help each partner feel loved and cherished.
In order to fully focus on each other (rather than on the goal of sex), some lovers experiment with such intimate rituals for several weeks before moving on to the next steps or engaging in intercourse. This is a wonderful way to strengthen the bonds of love and ignite passion.
Experiment with sensual and sexual massage to fully appreciate your partner. Share your desires in an encouraging way, making requests in a clear and loving manner. For example, ask your lover to caress your clitoris or penis (or any erogenous zone), encouraging him or her to apply more or less pressure, to stroke in a specific pattern, to use the tongue, etc.
Once you become comfortable with this process, you may wish to create a pleasure chest. Include whatever excites you and your partner — a feather, sex toys, massage oil, blindfold, soft fabric, erotica and loving notes to each other are just a few ideas. As you pleasure each other, don't be shy about asking for something different. This is your time for appreciation, experimentation and for taking responsibility for your own fulfillment by asking for what you want.
The Tantric tradition emphasizes preparation for lovemaking. Erotic rituals such as those described above focus on exchanging pleasures, awakening the senses and allowing couples to communicate on deep physical and emotional levels.
Maintain a deep level of intimacy. Continue to gaze into each other's eyes as much as possible. Blanket your lover's face, neck and shoulders with light kisses and whisper 'sweet nothings' to make their knees weak and their heart beat. Help each other feel loved and desired.
Keep it slow. A long, slow progession helps men control orgasm and piques women's arousal. During this time, focus on each other. If your thoughts should wander, use the motion of your body to bring yourself back to the engagement at hand, concentrating on your lover and the 'joy of sex'.
Bring your attention back to your breath. Resist the urge to breathe quickly. Quick breathing or panting creates arousal, speeding you toward orgasm. Instead, take long, slow, deep breaths from the belly, exhaling gradually. By make your breathe audible (some suggest making sounds like Darth Vader), it can center your consciousness and make it, especially for men, easier to control the progression of an orgasm.
Vary your Sex Positions to explore your duality. Many different positions can help us shed some of our inhibitions. They can allow us to cross our own social conventions and explore, as the ancient tantra tradition encourages, taboos as sources of sexual and human strength. As you experiment with different positions, some male-dominant, some female-dominant, explore your capacity to be strong and gentle, generous and receptive.
Tantric sex distinguishes between the experiences of orgasm and ejaculation. Although they often happen at the same time, men are capable of having orgasms without ejaculating. By holding back, men can experience a series of 'mini-orgasms'. This does not mean that you are never to ejaculate, but that you can control your climax.
Pump the PC muscles. The pubococcygeal (PC) muscles, that run from your public bone to your tailbone, are the ultimate sex muscles. These are the same muscles used to stop the flow of urine. If properly conditioned, the PCs enable you to stop ejaculation while continuing to enjoy sex. Here's how: Contract your PC muscles three times per day, squeezing 20 to 25 repetitions. Once your PCs are in top shape, you will be able to pump them in order to slide through orgasm without ejaculating and without losing your erection.
Relax. Although it sounds paradoxical, it's important for men to stay relaxed during high states of arousal. If you feel the undulations of ejaculation take a slow, deep breath and stop making love long enough for your arousal to subside. Relax and try to direct energy from your penis up through your body. Uncurling your toes, relaxing one’s buttocks and letting your shoulders drop down your back can assist in postponing orgasm.
Put it all together. When you and your partner make love, thrust slowly, allowing your arousal to build gradually. Before your excitement mounts, relax for a moment, tighten your PC muscles and take a deep breath. Resume your lovemaking, continuing to generate excitement.
Then, relax again, hold your PCs and breathe. Continue to ride this swell until you near the crest. Then, open your eyes, clamp down on your PC muscles and take a deep breath to experience the joy of orgasm without ejaculating. Since these techniques take practice, expect a few 'wipe outs' before you achieve mastery.
It is often said that a woman's most powerful sex organ lies between her ears. Since desire can be short-circuited by fear, guilt, stress and a host of other distracting thoughts, women often need to concentrate on feeling rather than thinking when making love. Taking breaks to pleasure each other, manually and orally, is a great way to ward off any lingering diversions and to coax one or more orgasms.
Many women require stimulation of the clitoris during sex to reach orgasm. Prolonged clitoral touch with a gentle, patient hand is, for many, the key to sexual fulfillment. Use ooo’s and ahhh’s to guide your lover, showing your partner how to stroke you just the way you like it.
The mythic Grafenberg Spot (G-spot) is referred to in Tantra as the ‘sacred spot'. This potent and mysterious female erogenous zone is located about two to three inches up on the front side of the vaginal channel. When your lover is aroused, slip your ring finger into her vagina allowing your fingertip to brush against the inner wall.
The G-spot is between the size of a pea and a quarter with a slightly rippled texture. For some women, though not for all, gentle stimulation can induce powerful orgasms and even female ejaculate. However, take care not to over-stimulate this sensitive spot.
According to Tantric philosophy, lovers who have practiced these ancient techniques can learn to direct sexual energy through the body's 'chakras', or energy centers. Moving the energy of orgasm through these physical channels is thought to create sensations of ecstasy throughout the body and to enhance health. Whatever your reason for interest in tantra, be prepared to do some work - and then to reap the rewards. But believe me when I say, whatever the work, the reward is well worth it!