Sometimes, sex can be a little wham-bam. Let me introduce you to the exact opposite of that: tantric sex. It’s that long, slow, “souls-connecting” type of sex that honestly sounds simultaneously intimidating and sexy AF.
You’ve probably heard about tantric sex before. Maybe you have a vague sense that it involves prolonging a dude’s erection (which it kind of does). But tantric sex has actually been around for thousands of years and has origins in the same teachings as yoga.
“Tantra is an ancient Hindu practice, translating to the weaving and expansion of energy, that promotes deeper intimacy by using breath, slower touch, energy, and delayed orgasm,” says Dawn Michael, Ph.D., certified sexuality counselor, clinical sexologist, and author of My Husband Won’t Have Sex With Me. “It’s not orgasm-focused, so it works for individuals who may have anxiety achieving an orgasm too fast or not at all.”
There’s no rulebook, per say, but at the heart of tantra are sexual rituals that get you in the mood and help you connect with your partner. One biggie: “worshipping” or serving each other. Partners turn the focus on one another (like through massage), which prolongs and builds arousal, say Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels, co-authors of Tantra for Erotic Empowerment and The Essence of Tantric Sexuality.
Perhaps the best part of tantric sex is that it benefits everyone. “Tantra can help men suffering from premature ejaculation because it slows down the process of sex and removes the pressure to perform,” says Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. licensed psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of Getting the Sex You Want. “For women, learning to relax and be in the moment can help with orgasmic function as well as building desire.” It can also help your relationship outside the bedroom by improving intimate communication.
While orgasms aren’t the goal, per say, “tantric orgasms” are often referred to as transcendental experiences, says Sally Valentine, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist in Boca Raton, Florida.
Sign me up, right? But how the heck do you go for it? First, talk it over with your partner. Give them the deets on what it is, and why you want to try it (you know: deeper intimacy, passion, more satisfying sex, or just for fun). Once your boo gives the thumbs up, start incorporating the art of tantra into your sex routine with these simple steps.
Get into the mood is by incorporating rituals into sex. That can be anything, such as setting up your space as a sanctuary with candles, pillows, and soft music. What’s most important is that you make sex feel, well, special.
You want a sense that sex is something important and distinct from everyday life.
Give each other mini erotic massages. David Yarian, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, recommends switching between who gives and receives pleasure. For instance, you might ask your partner to give you a foot rub for two minutes, and then you would do whatever your partner says they’re craving for two minutes.
During your turn, give your partner feedback for example, “to the left,” “a little more pressure would be great,” etc. Then, when it’s your partner’s turn, encourage them to do the same.
“This is a way of practicing an element of love-making very intentionally as a way to learn—learn how to be the best lover possible for our partner,”
“Delaying orgasm often intensifies the experience,” say Johnson and Michaels. “Remaining in a high state of arousal can also help people experience energetic orgasms, or orgasms without ejaculating,” they add.
Delaying an orgasm means you bring yourself to the bring of having one, only to back off and delay it. Called edging, it’s best to give it a whirl while masturbating to get a handle on the technique.
Practice getting yourself up to the point of orgasm, then stopping, and starting up again. Then, when you’re with your partner, you can take turns getting each other up toward climax, sliding back down, and then going back up again toward orgasm before surrendering to the fireworks finale.