You've probably heard of tantric sex, a Hindu or Buddhist practice that's been around for more than 5,000 years, according to Chanta Blue, LCSW, CST, a sex and relationship therapist and co-founder of Blue Counseling and Wellness Center in New Jersey. But if powerful orgasms are the first thing that come to mind when you hear the words "tantric sex," you probably have a limited understanding of this ancient practice. Tantric sex is about building spiritual and physical intimacy through techniques like breathwork and meditation. Think of it as a sensual, almost yoga-like form of foreplay.
While tantric sex can result in intense orgasms, those are secondary to the primary goals of the practice. Tantric sex is meant to help you and your partner break down walls and establish a soul-to-soul connection. The journey is more spiritual and emotional than animalistic. That out-of-this-world orgasm you might experience? Well, it's just an added benefit. POPSUGAR tapped an expert to help you better understand how tantric sex can bring you and your partner closer, as well as identify some techniques that won't feel intimidating for beginners. Be ready for sparks to fly.
What Is Tantric Sex?
Tantric sex is a slow, meditative practice that isn't necessarily about achieving orgasm (though you might). "Translated, tantra means 'weaving and expansion of energy,'" Blue explains. "People often look to tantra as a way of harnessing their sexual energy to use it for greater self-discovery and enlightenment." She notes that tantra can be practiced solo or with a partner. During tantric sex, you'll use breathwork, synchronized movements, and other techniques to help build intimacy and establish a deeper, more spiritual connection with that other person.
What Are the Benefits of Tantric Sex?
Because of the deep-breathing exercises involved in tantric sex, the practice is believed to improve blood circulation throughout the body, which can be beneficial both during and after sex. "Healthy blood circulation is necessary for adequate arousal of the genitals," Blue tells POPSUGAR.
She adds that tantric sex may actually help you achieve a more powerful orgasm, though that isn't the primary goal. "The techniques utilized in tantric practices allow for longer, more sustainable orgasms as well as multiple consecutive orgasms," Blue says. However, you're more likely to experience these benefits if you regularly engage in tantric sex, so don't expect to have the best orgasm of your life out of the gate.
If you find that you're often in your head during sex, tantric practices may also help you to feel more grounded and present, which can make it easier to experience pleasure. Blue explains that this can be particularly helpful for those who have experienced sexual trauma, have shame or guilt around their sexuality or body, or experience mental blocks during intimacy (whether emotional or physical).
How Can Tantric Sex Make You Feel Closer to Your Partner?
"Tantric sex creates space for you to be vulnerable and shed the weight of frustration, anger, shame, and guilt that you have about yourself or your partner," Blue explains. "When we are open to receiving and being vulnerable, we are allowing our partner to see our most authentic self." This is what builds emotional intimacy.
Tantric sex can also build physical intimacy, if you and your partner choose to explore that aspect. Some tantric positions focus on skin-to-skin contact. For example, in Yab-Yum, you and your partner sit in a full-body embrace. "Skin-to-skin contact releases a bonding and emotional regulation hormone called oxytocin, aka 'the cuddle hormone,'" Blue says. Oxytocin is also released when laughing, trying something new, meditating, or showing care for someone else - all of which can occur during tantric sex practice.
How to Practice Tantric Sex
There are several introductory tantric sex techniques you and your partner can try at home - but first, you'll need to cultivate a sacred space. You may decide to furnish the space with throw pillows and blankets, and incorporate dim lighting to help set the mood. How you set up the space is up to you. However, it should radiate calmness and be free from all distractions, including electronic devices like your phone. Blue adds that lighting candles or burning incense can help fully engage the senses and fill the room with a relaxing energy.
Next, you and your partner will want to focus on regulating your breathing. "During arousal and sex, we tend to speed up breathing, which can also speed up your orgasm," Blue explains. "Tantra encourages slower, deeper breaths for more intense and sustainable orgasms. The slower breaths help you to have more control over your pleasure and direct blood flow to your genitals." With your mouth closed and body relaxed, take slow, deep breaths through your nose. Then slowly breathe out through your mouth. You and your partner can sync your breathing if you like, but it isn't required.
Once you've regulated your breathing, you can try practicing some basic tantric sex techniques.
Eye gazing: Also referred to as soul gazing, this technique is all about establishing connection and intimacy without physical contact. To start, sit face to face with your partner and look directly into each other's eyes. Try not to make any noises or faces at one another, and refrain from speaking.
Hand to hearts circuit: This technique is commonly done after eye gazing. "Face your partner. Place your right hand over your heart and breathe into your heart. Once you feel love in your heart for your partner, you then each place your right hand on each other's heart and your left hand on top of your partner's hand that is touching your heart," Blue explains.
Tantric massage: Focusing on one partner at a time, give each other a sensual massage with slow, controlled movements. This technique is about emotional intimacy just as much as physical intimacy. "The massage should almost be meditative and focus on non-genital areas first, then build up to manual stimulation of the genitals," Blue says.
Yab-Yum position: This technique is a full physical embrace. One partner (the base) sits crossed leg and the other partner sits on their legs, wrapping their legs around their partner's waist and their arms around the their shoulders. "In this full embrace position, the two fully connect their bodies and begin to synchronize their breath," Blue explains. "Eventually, both partners move together in slow circular movements activating their sexual energy."
These four techniques are a good starting point for couples interested in trying tantric sex. If you want to learn more about other techniques and positions, Blue recommends taking a tantric sex class or visiting a trained tantric professional who can help guide you.