After a medical procedure on my cervix 13 years ago, my libido was drastically reduced. I just had no desire for sex anymore. Desperate to find a solution, my husband and I went to a Tantra workshop where we learnt to perform Tantric massage on each other.
I was delighted to find that my sex drive was alive after all, it just took a bit of searching for it. For years, massage was my favourite ‘go-to’ for getting in the mood.
The Science of Low Libido
Although my low libido had a physical cause, I was able to overcome it to some extent through connection, touch, and relaxation. Stress and trauma cause havoc with our libido.
According to sexologist and founder of Self:Cervix, Olivia Bryant, when we feel stressed, cortisol places our body into a survival response. Blood moves away from the genitals and into areas that feel the need of fight or flight.
How Massage Helps
Massage helps because touch and human connection promote the release of oxytocin. As Bryant says, ‘’Oxytocin lowers cortisol. With more oxytocin delivered into our system through social engagement, we shift via our nervous system into a place where receiving pleasure becomes possible.’’
Slow strokes allow us to calm down, and receive without the expectation of giving. Letting go of the need to please a partner, at least for a short while, can actually get us in the mood to do just that!
Setting the Scene
When stress and libido issues cause you or your partner to put off sex, it can make more sense to schedule sex to give you time to unwind and set a scene to promote desire. This may not seem super-romantic, but it can help.
Try a long relaxing bath beforehand. Tidy the room. Light candles and incense to create a more chilled-out environment.
Although an erotic massage can be a great way to get in the mood, it should be given or received without expectation. Barbara Carellas, sex educator and author of Urban Tantra says:
‘’Erotic massage can be a Tantric ritual in itself...I don’t really like the word ‘’foreplay.’’ It implies that the only ‘’real’’ sex is fucking and that everything else is just a warm-up to intercourse. In Tantra, virtually everything can be sex. Tantric sex is like a twenty-page menu you’d find in a great diner – with all the dishes available as a main course at any time of day. On the Tantric menu message, especially erotic massage – is as emotionally, physically, and spiritually satisfying as any great main course fuck.’’
Grounding can be an important concept. To put it simply, you and your partner get in touch with what is currently happening. According to international sex hacking expert, sex educator, and sex coach Kenneth Play, the instructions for Tantric grounding are as follows:
"You and your lover can lay together, one of you on top, facing each other, and align your bodies. Press your skin against one another using the weight of your limbs, and begin to match your breathing. While doing this, really drop into the moment by using all your senses -- what does your partner smell like? Taste like? What can you see of their face? Hear of their breath? Connect physically through this body pressure, and enter into a deep state of relaxation. This type of pressure is similar to the popularity of gravity blankets. Grounding is a great way to precede massage, getting you both into your bodies and feeling connected and relaxed."
A Note on Breathing
In Urban Tantra, Carellas recommends using a conscious breathing practise while giving or receiving the massage. For example, continuous breathing where you do not pause between the inhale and the exhale. You could try breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Imagine your breath as a continuous circle. Relax your jaw. Allow the breath to flow out without forcing it.
Focusing on your breath and noticing it allows you to be more present in the moment rather than thinking about jumping ahead in your head to whatever may come next. This helps you and your partner relax. It also allows sexual energy to flow throughout the entire body.
Tantric Massage Tips
Here are some tips from Xanet Pailet, Tantra teacher and author of Living an Orgasmic Life provides the following tantric massage tips:
- Start with your partner lying on their belly and begin long, slow feather light strokes on their arms and legs. Always start sensual massages at the extremities and allow arousal to build outside in.
- Light touches are the most arousing and sensual. You want to barely touch the skin. Ideally you are just touching the hairs on your partner’s arms and legs. As slow as you thing you are going, go ten times slower.
- Don’t be predictable with where you place your hands. Part of a great Tantric massage is building up the anticipation and not knowing exactly what your partner is going to do next. Also be creative. You can use feathers, silk scarves, and fuzzy mitts to touch your partner and build up arousal.
- Once your partner seems warmed up, move to the back again with long continuous strokes from the back of the neck all the way down to the butt. Start with light strokes. You can vary the pressure and try some deeper strokes if your partner likes that. Deep massage strokes are fine as long as you intermittently switch to feather light strokes. Hair also works really well on necks and backs.
- As arousal continues to build, use more of your own body parts for the massage. It’s incredibly yummy to oil the front of your body and massage your partner with your body, slowly slithering up and down the front of your partner, teasing them all along the way.
Don’t forget about using your mouth to plant kisses all over your partner’s body and try nibbling necks, ears, sides, and shoulders and backs!
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