Tantric sex: What is it and is it for you?

Written by | Sex & Relationships

Paolo Gallo / Shutterstock

Paolo Gallo / Shutterstock

More often than not, when we talk about Tantra in the West, we’re referring to sex. What we call Tantric sex derives from a 5,000 year-old Indian religious tradition of ritual practices, of which sex formed only a small part. Sex is one of dozens of other Tantric rituals, including yoga, mantras, pilgrimages, singing, and eating, whose purpose is to access the transcendental through the mundane. In traditional Tantra, sex in particular is a means of undergoing transformations in the body to facilitate heightened states of awareness.

But as Tantra was imported to the West, its meaning and practice changed significantly. We no longer take into consideration rituals other than sex, which has become synonymous with a long, slow form of sex. Today, it is sought for its capacity to intensify intimacy between partners and forge a connection between the mind and body that can lead to powerful orgasms. So even though our modern-day Western Tantric sex may not have much to do with Tantric religion, it might not be such a bad thing after all. I mean, who would say no to greater intimacy and a more intense sexual experience?

Despite its hyped associations with otherworldly orgasms, this is not the goal of Tantric sex. It’s actually not goal-oriented in that way at all—it’s more about being in the moment and enjoying pre-orgasmic sensations. If all you think about is the explosive orgasm at the end, you cut yourself short of all the smaller pleasures that only become more intense the longer you prolong them. Basically, the trick of Tantric sex is to take your mind off your orgasm and instead focus on foreplay, not simply as preparation for the big bang, but as something that is enjoyable and rewarding in itself. And then of course when you do reach orgasm, because it has been delayed for so long, it’s of a totally different order than ordinary quickie sex orgasm.

If you think delaying an orgasm and focusing primarily on foreplay is easier said than done, don’t worry, as there are a number of techniques to help you, including massages, meditation, and breath control. If you’ve never tried Tantric sex before, this webpage gives some good advice for your first time.

One of the main goals of these techniques is to relax your body so that you’re more receptive to pleasurable sensations all over your body that would otherwise be blocked by stress and anxiety. If you reach this state together with your partner, you become much more sensitive to each other, and the smallest gesture becomes electrically charged with pleasure.

If you’re wondering whether Tantric sex is for you, keep in mind that it can be a great way to liven things up in bed and to reconnect or increase intimacy with your partner. You don’t have to convert to a new religion to try it, because the way we practice it in the West is largely dissociated from its religious roots. If you’re simply interested in rebooting or intensifying your sex life, and going to new depths in physical intimacy with your partner, Tantric sex might just be what you’re looking for.

Last modified: September 27, 2016