Continued from Part 1
As part of this paradigm shift, we need to learn more loving, nourishing and supportive ways of relating. Tantra is one way.
As part of this paradigm shift, we need to learn more loving, nourishing and supportive ways of relating. Tantra is one way.
What is Tantra?
Tantra is not a religion but a philosophy and lifestyle that was born in India about 5,000 years ago. It is the combination of meditation and love, and my first teachers Sarita and Geho translated it simply as transformation3.
Tantric practice is a spiritual path to enlightenment–expanded consciousness, liberation from suffering, and freedom from the illusion of separation–instead experiencing the truth that we are all one. Tantra is includes seeing yourself and your partner as a divine god or goddess, as well as a human being. It has a basic philosophy of being in the present moment with total acceptance of whatever arises, as opposed to operating from the mind and trying to control everything the way most people do, most of the time.
“When it works, it is a transcendental experience, but for this at least one partner needs to understand the importance of being present and insist on it,” says Steph.
Controversially, Tantra uses sexual life-force energy as rocket fuel to unite sex and spirit. It takes impeccable self-awareness, consciousness and spiritual discipline to use sexual intercourse as a path to enlightenment.
Not only would it have been challenging for the Churches to teach sacred sexuality to the masses, it would have threatened their rank and status as the appointed intercessors to God.
Instead they denigrated it, and deliberately severed the connection between sex and spirit, threatening hellfire and brimstone should we stray. In the iron fist of the Church, sex has been degraded in schools and in society while being simultaneously sensationalised and scandalised by the media, it’s no wonder that sex and our sexuality is tragically misunderstood and mixed with shame, guilt, repression, desperation and abuse. And intimate sexual relationships rarely realise their full potential.
By making sex outside marriage a sin, the Churches stole our birthright to a direct personal connection with the Divine, and cast a perfectly beautiful and natural activity into the shadow. If natural impulses are denied healthy expression, they become perversion.
In the grip of the shadow many men think tantra is a technique for having: lots of orgasms (via hand relief), having mind-blowing sex and achieving better staying-power in the bedroom, with no interest in the sacred potential. This article is about authentic tantra, it corrects these misperceptions and brings spirit back into sex and back into Tantra.
What is Tantric Sex?
Tantric sex is conscious sex. It’s the opposite of the masculine goal-orientated, fast, hard, exciting, passionate sex often portrayed in films.
It’s making love in a more relational, feminine way, connected to your partner and the Divine, with no goals, being 100 percent present, allowing and surrendering to what is happening. It requires following for your feelings without judging, projecting or blaming, instead trusting the other enough to open your heart.
Ideally, Tantric sex is the merging of opposites, of the divine masculine and feminine combining in perfect union, experiencing extended states of joy and bliss, eternity, timelessness, spaciousness, expansion, oneness, melting and dissolving, floating in the ocean of love, in communion with the Divine.
With dedication, commitment to meditation, cultivating self-love and humility and allowing plenty of time – these states are accessible.
“I often feel my sense of identity dissolves into a deep timeless interconnected beingness where I and my partner become open channels of Divine energy,” says Alan.
What makes Tantric sex different from conventional sex?
- During conventional sex it’s possible to be in the mind, preoccupied with not ejaculating, fanaticising about someone else, worrying that you’re not doing it right or that your bum’s too big, hoping to get it over with, or wondering what’s for dinner.
In Tantra it’s about being present with your partner, in the moment. That means breathing into your belly, because holding your breath stops you feeling too much. And embracing whatever sensations you are feeling in your body, with your senses alive: seeing, smelling, tasting and touching without separating yourself by labelling or making anything wrong. “Learning to be present with my own body and [with] my lover in a way I’d never experienced before was a deeply profound discovery for me,” says Sian Johnson, tantric masseuse & pleasure educator.
- Conventional sex is goal-orientated and focussed on peak orgasm, whereas in Tantra there is no goal.
Peak orgasm is a clitoral orgasm for a woman and ejaculation for a man. They deplete sexual lifeforce energy, which is a finite resource and is best conserved. Peak orgasms can create emotional states (due to the loss of certain hormones) so they can cause conflict in relationships. They may trigger withdrawal from your partner and a desire for someone else (as we are biologically hardwired is to procreate widely). Tantra can open up a whole new world where more fulfilling energetic, whole body orgasms are possible. The key is to relax and let go of any expectations.
- Tantric sex is a juicy, sensual whole-body experience whereas conventional sex focuses on the genitals. For men the positive pole is in the genitals so they need stimulation there. But for women the positive pole is in the breasts and heart chakra, not in the genitals. So, these areas need to be touched before touching the yoni. Loving breast massage, sends arousing currents to the woman’s yoni and back up to her heart.
The yoni likes to be teased, so the longer you massage and stroke your woman everywhere else, the more arousing, and ready she will be for penetration. Some tantric texts say the woman should be begging the man before he enters. Massage for both partners is recommended foreplay for tantric lovemaking.
“Lovemaking has always been a full body experience rather than focused entirely in my sex and feeling a spiritual connection has always felt important,” says Alan.
- In conventional sex there is no requirement to have a heart connection or even a face-to-face connection.
In Tantric lovemaking, connection is everything, firstly connection to yourself, your body, heart and soul then connection to your partner, and to the Divine. If you physically connect your hearts you may even experience heart orgasm.
“Most of my sexual relationships have been tantric as I am naturally empathetic and…the energy connection has always been where the deepest pleasure and connection is felt,” says Alan J.
- In conventional sex there may be performance anxiety.
Conventional sex requires the man to get hard and stay hard for the duration which can cause feelings of failure if he isn’t. In Tantra we say ‘Yes’ to everything and trust that whatever happens is perfect, however imperfect it may seem. So, we don’t try to force the lingham (Sanskrit for penis) to get hard, or panic that it’s not. There is complete acceptance of what is, and the knowledge that it’s natural for a man’s lingham to go through phases of hardness and softness in any lovemaking session. It’s natural to have a valley (rest) and allow the energy to build up to a peak (high level of arousal) and cycle through this several times. Penetration is not the be all and end all, and soft penetration is possible. Or if it’s not happening, perhaps what you really want is a cuddle or an intimate heart to heart.
- Conventional sex is all about excitement, sensation, friction, build up, at least one peak orgasm and ejaculation.
In Tantric massage and love-making the aim is for relaxed arousal not excited arousal, so the man does not go over the edge so quickly. When the arousal level goes up to 7/10 take it back down again. Stop, withdraw if you need to, breathe deeply and relax everything: legs, genitals, anus, spine etc (See Whole Body Orgasms below).
Tantric sex is referred to as “cool sex” by Diana and Michael Richardson, Tantra teachers and authors of the informative books Tantric Sex for Men and Tantric Orgasm for Women 1,2. They explain how Tantric sex is about “sensitivity rather than sensation”. How reducing the level of excitement and letting go of tension can cause waves of orgasmic energy to ripple through your body. Valley energy orgasms can feel exquisite when the man is being still, deep inside the woman. And the subtlest of movements can cause strong, orgasmic energy to stream around the body.
- Maintaining the polarities is important.
Conventional sex requires the man to do something, usually the quick in out thrusting, faster and faster until he ejaculates. And women sometimes get swept up into goal-orientated lovemaking. But this not tantric lovemaking because you are going against the natural polarities of the man being active and a woman being receptive.
Tantric sex requires man to enter slowly with sensitivity and awareness. And the woman needs to feel the love streaming from her heart so she can surrender, allow and open to receiving her man. Both partners need to relax and let go, be in the moment and rest together afterwards. The man may need to resist the urge to end abruptly and get up to do something, like have a shower, or roll over and go to sleep. Lingering in the afterglow can be the best bit of the whole lovemaking, merging, oneness and energetic orgasms may still be happening.
- Tantric lovemaking is more relaxed, more yin and more feminine. It gives time for the woman to be receptive and gradually open like a flower, so it can be more natural and fulfilling for women, than conventional sex is. In fact, Tantric lovemaking can be an antidote to going off sex during menopause, especially if its due to being penetrated before being truly ready, repeatedly, over years.
- Conventional sex can be over in five minutes, the average time it takes for a man to ejaculate. Tantric Sex can go on for hours or even days! (I recommend setting aside around four hours).
- Tantric sex is a spiritual experience and conventional sex generally isn’t. While tantric sex can be an incredibly pleasurable transcendent, heart opening, blissful experience,it’s also likely to bring up all your unprocessed experiences, and emotions. As the kundalini energy moves from your base chakra up your central column and spine into your head, it will be clearing, burning and dissolving everything that stands in its path.
Genuine spiritual seekers do not bypass the shadow. They understand that they have to look into the darkness, to find and heal their wounds, triggers, traumas, blocks, past lives, and eventually move beyond the ego identity to reach the light.
Common blocks that come up around tantric sex are sexual and body shame, guilt, mistrust, numbness, false beliefs, fear to speak our truth, heart contraction due to the pain of previous heartbreak, denying our gut instinct and psychic intuition and refuting the existence of the Divine. So, it’s crucial to get some energy healing alongside your tantric journey*.
Whole Body Orgasms
Tantric whole-body orgasms happen when the body is relaxed and free from stress, in contrast with conventional sex which relies on excitation and tension.
In Tantric sex once the man is inside the woman, the energy moves by itself, rising up in peaks and falling into valleys. Tantrikas may use their breath and intention to move the sexual energy up through the central channel of the chakras. If you try this you may visualise a colour or just feel energy moving, or not.
In moving the sexual energy from your sex centre, to your heart chakra you are connecting sex to love. From your heart you can visualise spreading the energy into your arms, then into your legs, and then up into your third eye and crown to connect to the Great Mystery/oneness and float into an ocean of bliss riding the orgasmic waves. You may feel involuntary shaking, quaking, undulations of the spine, tingles in your hands and fingers and legs, sounds and laughter may arise. Welcome whatever is happening, don’t repress anything.
With practise you can intend the energy to move up one chakra at a time from the sex centre, to the sacral chakra, to the solar plexus, to the heart, throat, third eye, up to the crown in the centre at the top of your head. It is also possible to orgasm in each chakra as a rising wave rippling up the body. Shared heart orgasms are deliciously connecting.
The Benefits of Tantric sex according to Tantrikas
“Conservation and gradual build-up of sexual energy, sharing mindfully every nuance of the experience and a deeper understanding of the power of sexual energy,” says Martin Brown, writer and Tantrika.
“I’ve started to honour my body much more than when I was engaged in conventional sex. I feel nourished by tantric sex, energised and more connected with myself, my lover, and the wider world. … [and]…better equipped to deal with the challenges that life throws at me,” says Sian.
- Make lots of time for lovemaking. When touching your woman, go slower than you think you should men.
- In Tantra the woman usually initiates sex and has initiated throughout the ages think of the sacred courtesan. There’s no need to wait for your man to make the first move women.
- Try to reduce friction on the head of the lingham as this deadens sensitivity and stops you being able to feel the subtle sensations of being inside your woman’s yoni. Repeated friction and insensitive penetration can dull the yoni’s sensitivity and even lead to numbness, especially if there is not enough lubrication. (Use lube if you need to).
- The ability to move the energy may depend on how still your mind is and how clear your chakras are. You may need to do emotional release, energy healing*, tantra workshops, have 121 tantric therapy, tantric counselling or body psychotherapy to work through everything.
- “Understand what your own needs are so you can communicate those to your partner.When we touch a place of honesty, we can open our hearts and connect with our partner from a much deeper place,” says Sian.
Tantric lovemaking example:
- Make (at least) a four-hour appointment with your partner. Putting it in your diary will prepare you for it emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Keep this appointment sacred, don’t move it. Your ‘stuff’ may come up and this is an excellent opportunity to heal it – fear, anxiety, sadness, anger for example. The mind may make a million reasons why now is not a good time but unless there is a real emergency, stick to the appointment time and allow emotions to surface and be healed through the lovemaking.
- In advance, ensure the kids are being taken care of elsewhere, the phones are off, and that you will have no interruptions. Create a sacred temple space – a clean, private living room or bedroom with clean bed linen, cushions in warm sensual colours and fabrics. In the temple make an altar for example with flowers and a candle and anything that feels appropriate to your relationship e.g. a photo of you both. You may want to use incense to clear the energy and change the vibration of the space.
- State an intention together – for example, this lovemaking is for the highest possible good, or for blessing our relationship etc.
- Ask for the presence of the God & Goddess of Love, Shiva and Shakti or any divine beings and allies you are connected with to bless the lovemaking.
- Take time to meditate/tune in to yourself so you know how you feel before you connect. Then spend a few minutes eye gazing into the left eye.
- Breathe in Divine Feminine energy from the earth and the Divine Masculine energy from the sky into your hearts. Hold hands with the right-hand giving love and the left hand receiving it, creating a circle of love through your hands and your hearts.
- Let the man receive first before you swap over. Before using oil, you can do relaxing strokes with a silky sarong, feathers or fur. Then a light caressing meditation with your fingertips3. Touch, stroke, kiss your man all over use tantalising touch in his inner thighs, kissing the back of his neck etc. Ask him what he likes.
- Anoint him with warm coconut oil and stroke him from the base of his spine to the top of his head to awaken the kundalini snake energy, and use your thumbs release some tension in his neck, then massage him all over, try a body glide, ad lib.
- Turn him over and caress the whole of the front of the body (as above) before using oil to massage his neck, chest and belly. Then sitting between his legs, massage his lingham, not just up and down as this is likely to tip him over the edge, try side to side, cock shiatsu, massage his balls etc.
- Swap over and repeat steps 7-9 leaving a bit more time for the woman. GO MORE SLOWLY THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED TO GUYS. Then massage the breasts as your woman likes it, check it’s okay to massage the womb/belly area, then massage the legs and inner thighs before going to the yoni. Yoni massage can be very healing, if there’s no rush or goal a woman can release emotion from past experiences. If the woman is ready you can go seamlessly into the lovemaking.
- Include lots of kissing and eye contact, with awareness connect your genitals, and practice slow, conscious penetration all the way to the cervix and then rest there, feeling the inside of the woman. If you are relaxed you may experience energetic whole-body orgasm, and the woman may experience womb and cervical orgasm. When the energy moves to a peak, have a peak at 7/10 and when it moves into a valley, rest let this happen a few times before ejaculating or better still don’t ejaculate. Spend time resting together. Nesting in the magnetic rays created by the woman’s orgasm is replenishing for a man.
- End by thanking each other and any other beings you invited. You can hold the hands in prayer position to say Namaste or bow with your head on the mattress.
(Take a tantra massage course if you want to learn more).
As well as learning new paradigm ways of physically connecting with your partner, it is crucial to learn how to balance the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves. In particular men need to enhance and live out the inner feminine part of themselves to bring equilibrium back to the planet.
See now Part 3: The Myth Of Romantic Love
* This article is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. firstname.lastname@example.org
** An edited version of these 3 parts will be published in Kindred Spirit magazine in April for the the May/June 2020 edition. Please buy a copy.