If you’ve lost connection with your partner, find yourselves in the same sexual routine or you’re looking to turn up the flames of your relationship, exploring tantric sex can transform your love life.
Though many people associate tantra with wild sex (thanks to Sting’s tales of seven-hour sessions), the premise of this style of passion play is much deeper.
"The idea is to build arousal very slowly so you both stay just below the boiling point for as long as possible," explains Nitya Lacroix, author of The Art of Tantric Sex, to Cosmopolitan. "That way you really focus on the full sexual journey — getting turned on, stimulating each of your five senses for maximum passion, harmonizing your sexual rhythms."
The end goal of traditional sex is to climax, with all sexual acts being put toward that purpose. Tantric sex, however, is all about connecting your bodies and energy, heightening your intimacy and channeling your sexuality to prolong orgasm—meaning you stay at your sexual peak for minutes at a time, rather than those seconds of climax.
To start the practice of tantric sex, you must experience closeness with your partner, making yourselves fully present for the act. The most basic (and most popular) way to do this is by having the man sit—likely on the floor—while the woman sits in his lap and wraps her legs around his body.
This position is called Yab-Yum, a symbol of divine union with Tibetan origins, and often taught in tantric sex workshops.
But instead of getting hung up on your exact positioning, think about what sitting in your partner's lap can allow, says Devika Singh, a tantric sex and relationship coach, to Refinery29. "They’re locking eyes and synchronizing their breath," she says, two tantric techniques that allow for the intimacy and connection the practice is all about.
Once you make it to this position, keep eye contact, embrace or hold hands and connect your breathing. Feel the energy you share.
"If you’re feeling uncomfortable, you’re on the right track," healer and tantric shaman Maisha Najuma Aza tells Refinery29. "You have to get uncomfortable in order to learn something new... Get naked—and when I say 'get naked,' I mean get naked energetically." Opening yourself up to vulnerability with your partner will allow you to truly explore raw, passionate sex.
To be fully present for your practice of tantra, engage all of your senses as you begin to kiss your partner. During this prolonged act, listen to the sounds your partner makes and any feedback they give you (be sure you're giving them the same). As you explore what you enjoy, be sure to let your partner know how you feel about every act, and encourage your lover to do the same.
Maintain eye contact throughout your sensual makeout session for as long as you can, taking in how your partner looks in that moment and focusing on the attributes you love most about their body and energy. Though you can begin to focus on the sense of your lips touching, caress your partner's erogenous zones on the face or slide your hands over those parts of the body you particularly love on the other person.
As you breathe in through your nose, take in your partner's natural scent. "The way your partner's breath smells is just as important as the way their body and hair smells," Aza says. "If you really let the pheromones do their job and the chemistry between you two (or three or four) work, the smell of their breath will titillate you!"
She notes that taste and smell are connected senses, so you can enjoy "delicious palette cleansers, like strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, mint, or even chew fennel seeds to spice it up a bit," she says.
As you continue kissing and taking in every moment of the passion play, move into touching each other or practicing oral sex while communicating clearly what you're thinking and feeling.
Don't leave it to your partner to guess that breathing or moaning means you like what they're doing. Talk through what you're enjoying or tell your lover what you'd like them to do next. Though the practice of tantric sex should be experimental, there's no room to waste time and energy doing something that you don't find pleasure in; that'll only squash your sexual energy.
When you verbalize your feelings based on what your partner is doing to your body, it'll make them want to continue pleasuring you, and you'll show that you're open to sexual exploration which builds trust and love in the relationship.
Moans are great, but naughty words are better.
You may have noticed this theme already, but this tip is worth the reminder. During the entire practice of tantric sex, every movement must be slow and mindful. Touch your partner with purpose, never rushing into intercourse or toward orgasm. If you do that, you'll miss out on discovering incredible sensations you've never felt before, and you'll lose the trust and connection with your partner.
This focus of tantric sex also helps females enjoy sexual activity more than traditional sex. As men reach climax much faster than women, sex often ends with only one partner reaching peak pleasure, leaving the other unsatisfied. Slowing down the process and allowing both parties to relish in every moment will allow time for her to experience maximum pleasure, too, and if often slows down his road to orgasm.
"We live in a culture where we’re about productivity and the goal of the climax, so if we don’t get that climax, then it was terrible sex," Aza says. "But what if it was great sex and you just didn’t climax? Can we still call that great sex? Yes, absolutely!" Though intercourse and genital stimulation can certainly be part of tantric practice, some couples opt not to touch each other in those parts to ensure they aren't skipping a single sensual act.
For tantra beginners, you'll likely want to end the session with an orgasm, and that's totally fine. Climaxing doesn't mean you 'failed' at this style of sex; as long as you were present throughout the act and sought to enjoy the entire acts, you accomplished it and you're welcome to have a happy ending.
As you go through the exploration of tantric sex and enter the part of the session where you have intercourse, keep the movements slow (think: less thrusting, more swaying or grinding) and try the edging technique. This method is often used during female masturbation for a 'blended O' or for men who want to last longer during sex.
When you feel close to orgasm during intercourse, stop and go back to kissing or giving your partner oral. Allow yourself to come back down for a few minutes, then return to penetrative sex. Repeat this flow of movement until you must give yourself over to the orgasm.
You may not be able to last long at first (this is super sexy, after all!), but with practice, this technique can help you reach the peak of sexual pleasure for long periods of time without 'finishing', thus ending the passion play.
For more details to introduce the art of tantric sex into your love life, check out our full beginner's guide here.