Tantra isn’t about sex — yes, you read that right.
It can include sex, and the sex you have may be tantric… but the ideology itself is so much deeper and wider.
In Sanskrit, tantra means “web” or “to weave energy.”
Tantra is about connection and fusion before it’s about anything else — that’s what so many couples get wrong when they attempt to engage in tantra.
And, just so you don’t get it twisted, tantra is not only for couples. Like most wellness practices the West has adopted from the East, it’s about calibrating our consciousness to the sensations our body experiences…
Rather than numbing and distracting and throwing darts at the pleasure board.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that, make sure the conditions are perfect…
And you might get somewhere.
Connect your body, mind, and spirit?
That’s a horse of a different color.
Should you choose to practice this with a partner, the bond you develop as a result of channeling, coalescing, and altering your energy is what makes tantric sex famous — not necessarily the crazy positions you hear about.
By infusing sex and intimacy with spirituality and mindfulness, the act of connection becomes less perfunctory and more engaged — the way it should be.
Let’s examine a few ways you can weave tantric principles into your intimate experience.
Have you ever thought to define foreplay?
Without deliberate engagement, our understanding can be pretty limited — usually to less than five moves.
There’s a lot more to foreplay than simply arousing one another/yourself, especially when you expand your thinking to include energy work.
Foreplay can be taking a shower or a bath together. It can be extended and intentional eye contact. It can be massage (and play with oil temperature, too!)
You could even try doing something you’d normally do, but stretching it so it’s twice as long.
Create a Connection Space
The longer we’ve been doing something, the less special and more common it becomes. We stop noticing details and feeling in awe of our surroundings.
That’s true whether this is a solo journey or a 20-year marriage.
Allow the character of your space to reflect how special your mission is. Dedicate a part of your space to lovemaking or connective activity and don’t use it for anything else.
That means whatever it means to you! Mood lighting? Spicy scents? A water pitcher? Silky materials and pillows? Toys?
Expand Your Idea of “Successful” Sex
Sex doesn’t have to include “completion” for either party, but many people think it does.
Sex without punctuation can be just as intimate, loving, and powerful — alone or partnered — as sex that doesn’t meet that metric.
Those are human limits we imposed on ourselves — free yourself from them.
Yin and Yang Your Love Expressions
Sex and its energies can connect heaven and earth. Put another way, yin is thought to represent grounding to the earth, while yang helps bind us to heaven.
Since yin is often associated with feminine energy and yang with masculine…
This is an opportunity to live in your fullest expression, and not within the confines of your gender roles.
You could try swapping traditional masculine and feminine roles. (Think action-oriented and attention to beauty, respectively.)
Or you could balance both energies within yourself and challenge yourself to stay flexible and flowing rather than defaulting to your usual disassociation.
Breathing in sync can be a thrilling way to leverage your physicality in the spirit of joining.
And try doing it for at least ten minutes — nothing else. Breathing in at the same time, and out at the same time…
Then, you can try inhaling on your partner’s exhale, and they yours.
This exercise channels intimacy and creates a deeper union.
For some, cuddling is considered aftercare (which if you’re not doing now, introduce it consciously to your intimacy.)
But cuddling can strengthen your bond (even with yourself!) before, during, and after an intimate event.
Make an attempt to give as much attention to holding your partner, or yourself, in new ways and places and angles, as you gave to the actual sex and foreplay.
Skin-on-skin contact releases so many hormones and can unlock trapped energy — for an added adventure, change the way your fingers touch them. Lightly, with more pressure, with just your fingertips…
Slow and Lengthen
Sex and intimacy shouldn’t feel like a race to the end. (Although quickies have their place in the busy life of householders!)
Talk to your partner beforehand about setting an intention to slow and lengthen your bodies to slow and lengthen the experience.
Remember that sex doesn’t have to be “successful” or punctuated in order to be powerful.
Simply experience the sensations caused by each other with control and care.
Really, you want to shock your comfortable, mindless routine with a bolt of tension — the good kind!
Anything that draws your expression and energy higher will help you get into the flow of tantra.
If you enjoyed these thoughts and think we’ve got something in common, I have a feeling you’re going to love the Urban Monk Academy. It’s the home of every class I teach — from Qi Gong to Life Gardening to Dream Yoga to Gut Health and even Tantra (I teach that live!) — and for two weeks, you can try it for free.