Let’s talk about tantra. Some people may think of tantra as a spiritual approach to sex. Others, as a sexy approach to spirituality. While more western connotations of the practice may speak only to the sexual benefits, tantra is really about love and connection as a whole. Similar to Ayurveda and other holistic forms of meditation and discovery, tantra is all about knowing oneself and connecting more intimately with the divine within us all. Where tantra becomes exciting is that it can also offer the unique opportunity to bring a partner along for the journey. So yes, let’s talk about tantra—And while that does include sex, we hope you will see it for the body-affirming approach to spirituality that the rest of this program also offers. In other words, may your sex-life become defined by tantric principles, but may your tantric practice never become wholly defined by sex.
Tantra comes from the sanksrit root tan, which means “to expand” or “to spread,” and the Sanskrit root tra, which means “instrument.” In this way, practicing tantra can literally be a useful instrument for expanding or spreading one’s consciousness or energies. Self-realization is ultimately the goal and intimacy is the vehicle, not the destination. As this intimacy stretches, grows and deepens, so too will your connection to self, to each other and to the universe within. To that purpose, it is important to note that tantra may also relate to the Sanskrit word for “loom” or “to weave,” which speaks back to our fundamental understanding that all of the universe is interconnected on a deeply spiritual level.
All Tantric practices hold a common purpose: To bring your awareness more and more into the present moment, into your body and into the energy that exists here and now so that you may stay with it. Tantra is considered a practical system because it requires practice. No one enters a practice being perfect at it. You may find that is the case with most of our topics on here. One does not achieve enlightenment overnight, but one may begin the journey—And have a lot of fun along the way! Keeping in mind that tantra itself simply refers to a deeper connection with the universe and self, your tantric practice may take on any variety of forms, whether that be intimacy with a partner, intimacy with yourself or greater intimacy with the divine. Take a look below at some of our thoughts and suggestions as you choose the path (or paths!) that speak to you:
PREPARE YOUR MIND
As with any spiritual practice, your mind is just as important as your body. It may be helpful to take 10 to 15 minutes for private meditation before any tantric interaction to help open your heart, clear your mind and prepare you to give and receive from a place of love and worthiness.
PREPARE YOUR SPACE
Your environment has a direct impact on your mindset. Make sure it’s the right one. Your space should be warm, but not hot. Cool, but not chilly. Go for soft textures and warm colors. This should be a place that brings you calm and relaxation.
WITH A PARTNER
Remember: The benefits of tantra ultimately extend beyond the scope of sexual intercourse. Therefore, sex can be something you choose to work up to or even choose not to do at all.
Things to do for sex:
- Set an intention. You and your partner should both know what you want out of your time together.
- Fully experience every stage of your intimacy together. Make it a game to see how long you can remain in each stage before progressing to the next.
- A satisfying progression of stages may look something like this: cuddling → caressing → massage → kissing → masturbation → intercourse
- Practice “edging” or “orgasm control.” If you feel yourself getting close, focus your thoughts briefly on something else. This will further increase blood flow to your intimate areas, which makes any orgasm you eventually do have all the more satisfying and powerful. Other techniques you can use: Change positions, revert back to a previous or less intense “stage” in your lovemaking or change speed or motion. You may do this as many times as you like.
Things to do instead of sex:
- Stare deeply into each other’s eyes. (Really!) Focus on each other’s breath.
- Softly and intimately touch the other. Explore different patterns, rhythms and pressures. This may be done naked or clothed. Try to express yourself purely through your touch. How does your partner react to each?
- Kiss each other softly and slowly, focusing on each other’s energies. What sort of movements do you feel in your own body as you kiss?
- Lay together and/or cuddle. Feel the warmth and security of the other person’s body. Close your eyes and send good energy and warm thoughts to your partner. Can you feel what your partner is sending back to you?
Masturbation is a perfectly healthy, safe way to learn your body and create a deeper connection to the divine in you. For first time explorers, find a time and a place where you feel the most relaxed and safe. You may choose to recline in your own bed or take a warm bath or long shower. Remember that connection and self-discovery are the ultimate goal and that pleasure is merely the vehicle. Take time to touch your body, gently and softly. Be present with your sensations and allow yourself to experience the full range of your emotions without judgment.
Never forget: Any tantric practice that involves another person should always involve informed consent and leave both partners feeling equally valued, respected and healed through the interaction. If that is not the case, please stop and re-evaluate immediately or contact a professional service like Alpha Hearts for a judgment-free consultation.
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