Linguistically, the words “sex” and “magic” have a lot in common: both are umbrella terms covering a wide array of interpretations. “Sex,” depending on the person, can mean anything from fully-clothed non-penetrative erotic contact (i.e. frottage) to balls-to-the wall four-day orgies. “Magic” can be defined as being sleight of hand tricks, on one side to the spectrum, to trying to manipulate the universe itself on the other.

Still others who take these two words and combine them, forming a personalized method to conjure deep personal insights and even channel life-changing energies through erotic experiences.

Welcome to the world of sex magic.

Eye of Newt, Toe of Frog

As with the words that make up the term, sex magic is open to personal interpretation. Some, for example, might practice it through solo or mutual masturbation while others might use it while engaging in bleeding (literally) edge BDSM scenes.

Because of this, I can’t really cover all the different ways that sex can be used magically. Saying this, though, I’m going to try and touch on more than a few of the more common ways to use the first word to (maybe) conjure the second.

Here Be Dragons

Since you might be exploring unfamiliar territory - sexually as well as magically - caution and care should always be taken before attempting sex magic. In short, take it slow and easy until you have some understanding about what you might experience.

By experimenting with sex magic you are going to be dealing with two extremely potent forces, both packed full of raw emotional power. So, even if you consciously curl your lip at the idea of magic (scoff, scoff) your subconscious could very well surprise you. All I’m saying is what everyone in the BDSM community says all the time about that similarly-powerful sexual activity: hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Now, preparing for the worst when it comes to sexual magic really depends on your own interpretations of what magic is - and can be. If you are Wiccan, for example, you might want to get your sage ready as well as having your favorite grounding objects at hand. Other belief systems should do the same - just replace the sage and grounding objects with whatever speaks to you.

Even agnostics and atheists, who can use sex magic as a form of guided meditation, should take precautions. You might not believe in magic, but, again, your subconscious might have a few unexpected tricks up its sleeve. So, be careful.

Finally, I do not recommend practicing any form of sex magic if you are in therapy: at least not until you discuss it thoroughly with your doctor.

Ideally, a sex magic ritual should leave you feeling positive, reflective, energized and/or at peace. If you find yourself feeling worse than how you began then whatever form of sex magic you used may not be right for you.

Opening the Way

You don’t really need much to prepare for many types of sex magic, although it really depends on your personal preferences. Personally, I recommend a subtle incense or another unobtrusive scent coupled with a soothing, yet powerful, piece of music. Both of these can be used after your ritual to remind you of your magical experience should you need a pick-me-up.

I also recommend a bit of prep time beforehand to put you in the mood. A hot bath is excellent, as is a walk in the woods, staring up at the stars, reading your favorite book, or repeating your favorite mantra. Of the latter you can use something classical or just make up your own.

If you are new to sex magic, masturbation coupled with positive visualization is a great way to start. You can do this by doing the first while also performing the second, using the subsequent orgasm as a crescendo of energy to send your dreams out into the universe.

Another good way to use masturbation is coupling it with a form of guided meditation. As you pleasure yourself, think good thoughts about yourself and your place in the cosmos, and about how beautiful and deserving of love and sexual desire you are and always have been.

Two Into the Cosmos

For couples, sex magic can take many forms. A common one has its roots in tantric yoga, where those involved begin by synchronizing their breathing and then raising their erotic energies through steady, for lack of a better word, foreplay. Some might say the goal is to achieve simultaneous orgasms. Having such an often stressful goal, for either party, kind of defeats the purpose of sex magic, though. Because of this, it’s usually better to just focus on the sharing of erotic sensations as slowly and thoughtfully as both people can handle. After all, if someone comes first you can always try it again.

The idea here is to take things slowly and not rush to orgasm, mutual or otherwise. As with solo sex magic, both parties should try to connect both with each other and with the cosmos itself: thinking positive thoughts or envisioning a loving and beautiful future.

The Magic of BDSM

For many in the BDSM community, sex magic can be an integral part of the experience. Bottoms often say they feel a sense of personal power and at one with the cosmos when they are being flogged or caned. Others find bondage to be a kind of sexual meditation, giving them both a sense of profound peace as well as a feeling of erotic empowerment. Many Tops also said that they achieve a kind of sexual nirvana when they are perfectly attuned to their bottoms.

Read: The Emotional Weight of Physical Bondage

There is also the magic that comes through Goddess or Dominant worship.This can be where the BDSM submissive feels the universe embodied in their Dominant, the person whose pleasure and happiness is all that matters.

This might sound a wee bit … well, cosmic, as I keep saying. When it works and a Dominant and a submissive have this kind of special relationship, it can feel exactly like that: a magically powerful connection to both a person and all that person represents, both in this world and beyond.

The Magic in Yourself

Sex is a big word. So is magic. Coupled together, they can be more than the sum of their parts. No one can unlock the power and mysteries of either one for you. But erotic pleasure is a powerful transformational tool - and you are your own magician.