Sometimes sex can seem like a race toward orgasm. With so many tips, guides and articles for achieving orgasm ("guaranteed," "multiple" and "mind-blowing," get tossed around a lot) it’s no surprise that we sometimes forget that there’s more to sex than the finish line. Tantra, the Sanskrit word for "interwoven", puts sex in a different perspective. Tantric sex is about slowing down, connecting with your partner, and becoming orgasmic rather than focusing on achieving orgasm. It began in India as a form of yoga that exalted the union of men and women. Today, it's a way to experience your partner's body and mind in a way that for many people is completely new.
Real tantra is something that must be explored and learned and discovered over time, but here are a few ways to start bringing some of its key elements into your love life. (For related reading, learn about Karezza in Why Some Couples Are Giving Up Orgasm (but Not Sex).)
Create and Intimate and Relaxing SpaceIn Tantra, sex is considered to be a full body and mind experience. That means that a big part of Tantra can involve satisfying all of your senses. Think of what smells relax you and your partner, or what scents might stimulate you. Lavender is typically said to relieve stress, and incense or candles can definitely be handy. Consider color, texture, music, even foods. Make sure you are dressed comfortably, with clothes that feel good against your skin. Remember that the space you create shouldn't draw attention to itself. Instead, it should form a zone in which you're able to focus on your partner.
Breathing is an excellent way to relax your body. Start by sitting down across from your partner, either cross-legged with your knees touching. Or, if you'd prefer more physical contact, wit with one person in the other person's lap with your legs wrapped around each other.
Breathe and Make Eye Contact
Try drawing in a deep breath for four seconds through your mouth, then releasing air slowing for four seconds through your nose. Try also coordinating your breath with your partner's to create a feeling of connection. Inhale when your partner inhales; exhale when he or she exhales. Alternatively, do a breath exchange: inhale when your partner exhales, exhale when he or she inhales. Focus your gaze on your partner's eyes so you're looking straight at each other. This may feel very vulnerable at first, but with practice, it'll be an avenue to a feeling of deeper intimacy. (Read more about the importance of foreplay in 10 Things You Don't Know About Foreplay.)
Practice AwarenessInstead of rushing through pleasure, let yourself slowly become aware of every part of your body and how it feels when your partner touches you. It helps to move through your body in sections, starting from your toes to your ankles right up to your neck and face and the tips of your ears. Take note of everything from the way your skin feels to the temperature of the room. Caress, kiss, and otherwise touch your partner and have him or her touch you, but slowly, and in places of your body other than just the typical erogenous zones. Try touching your partner's neck, or stomach, or thighs. Don't worry about being aroused. Just let that come naturally as you appreciate your partner's body fully. You can even try implementing body oil or a massage. (From softly scented to warm and arousing, check out a great range of massage oils here.)
As Tantric sex is about being orgasmic rather than working toward having an orgasm, one technique you and your partner may try is coming close to orgasm, then letting your arousal plateau before you go over the edge. Then build it up again. Doing this intensifies the sexual energy that you and your partner are generating. Every time you reach the edge and pull back, you heighten your arousal. This is also a good way to develop self control, and ultimately makes your orgasm much more intense when you finally finish.
Sex is fun, but Tantra promises to take lovers to a higher plane of ecstasy. It's about awaking sexual energy, exploring your senses, and finding a deeper connection with your partner. By taking the focus away from climaxing, Tantra can help partners experience sex in a more holistic way. It's also something that needs to be learned and practiced over time. But hey, it isn't such a bad a way to spend a Saturday night!