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Marie Claire - Tantric sex: the ancient spiritual practice promising to transform your sex life

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

Media feature in Marie Claire

Get ready to have the best sex... ever.

Ask anyone about tantric sex and they’ll probably tell you two things.

a. that it’s meant to be amazing

b. that they don’t actually have a clue what it involves

Sure, you’ve all heard the rumours about those steamy sessions which supposedly last for hours on end, but just how much of this is actually true? And if it is, how do you do it?

We bought you guides to the hottest sex positions, different Kamasutra sex positions and bondage for beginners, as well as shopping guides to the best sex toys, best condoms and best lubes. Next up: your complete guide to tantric sex. Keep reading.

So, what’s the tantric sex definition?

Well, according to trained sex and relationship counsellor for Lovehoney, Annabelle Knight, tantric sex is a slow, meditative form of sex where the end goal is not orgasm, but enjoying the sexual journey and sensations of your body. “It aims to move sexual energy throughout the body for healing, transformation, and enlightenment. Think the kind of sex that is a mind-altering journey,” she explains.

In the experts’ words, it’s an exploration of how much deeper, dynamic, healing, creative, and inspiring sex can be when you allow it to be about more than just the orgasm.

You might have already invested in some of the best sex toys for couples, but this is taking things far deeper spiritually, too. As Ferly sex practitioner Georgia Rose explains, tantric sex “incorporates rituals, visualisation, mindful breathing techniques and slow movements that ground us, connecting us to pleasurable moments – in ourselves and with others.”

So while tantric sex can give you mind-blowing orgasms, this isn’t actually what it’s all about.

Tantra is the union of sex, heart and spirit, bringing all of these into not just our sexual experiences, but into our life,” adds sex coach Sarah Rose Bright. “Tantra and positions like the yab yum position invite us be really conscious about who and how we are as a sexual being.”

But, of course, the improved sex is a part of this as together, sex and orgasm are believed to equate to the highest level of spiritual awareness.

Tantric sex practitioner Layla Martin made a good analogy recently. She shared: ‘what makes spiritual sexuality different from your everyday sex, is the same as what makes yoga different from stretching, and meditation different from just sitting.’

10 top tips for for tantric sex for beginners

Even if it’s always been one of the most common sexual fantasies, know this: tantra takes time to master. The whole point of the practice is to actually delay your orgasm, which many – especially men – may initially find frustrating, rather than a turn on. Follow the below techniques from the pros to master tantric sex as a beginner.

“The key is not to focus too closely on your orgasm”, explains Knight. Instead, try and prolong the foreplay for as long as possible before reaching climax. Other half not so keen? Learn how to talk to your partner about a fetish, here.

1. Set the mood

Get some scented candles, turn off your phone and prepare to devote at least two hours to your lover.

2. Loosen your body

Tantra is about moving energy through the body, so shake your limbs vigorously to energise and unblock your system before you start.

3. Stay off the bed

This will trigger the sleep button in your brain. Tantra is not about a quick romp – you are seeking a deep connection. Get comfortable by lying on the floor with your partner using some cushions.

4. Stimulate your senses.

Sight is the most powerful of the senses, so it’s important to look good. Wear some sexy lingerie, decorate the room with some fresh flowers.

To stimulate your sense of smell, use oils like rose, ylang-ylang and jasmine.

On the audio front, you could even sing to your partner, or whisper intimately into their ear. Not so keen? Playing their favourite music will work, too.

Taste wise, melted chocolate, honey and fresh fruit all work. As the sex becomes more intimate, you should apply them to body parts and lick them off.

And finally, touch. Massage their head, neck, hands and feet, and more.

5. Get closer

Sit face-to-face – with the woman on the man’s lap if this is comfortable. Wrap your hands tightly around each other and press your bodies against each other. “This kind of skin contact promotes greater feelings of intimacy,” shares Knight.

6. Let foreplay become intimate

Quite opposite to sex positions like pegging, tantra is all about taking your time and leisurely make your way around their body. “Try a variety of touches – firm massage, light feathery touches, and gentle stroking. The aim here is to heighten your lover’s senses in a slow and intense way so that you’re building them up to a peak but stopping just short before the orgasm,” explains Knight.

Oral sex now is fine, but not to the point of climax. Remember, you are aiming to make the pleasure last for hours.

7. Stand up opposite each other

Look in each other’s eyes and place your left hand on your partner’s heart. He should do the same to you. Match each other’s breathing (tantric breathing is a big part of the tantra) for at least two minutes.

8. Try some role play

If it turns you on, use a blindfold. Take it turns – one could even be submissive and one dominant, shares Knight.

9. Progress beyond foreplay to intercourse

Avoid any position that you know makes you orgasm easily. Work towards a gradual build-up of pleasure. “The slower you take it, the more intense the orgasm will be at the end,” Knight stresses.

10. As you’re reaching orgasm, try tantric breathing – that is, slow your breathing down.

Tantric breathing is hugely important in tantra. It may seem illogical as most of us breathe more quickly as we approach climax. Women, in particular, can tense up at this stage of sex as they try to make themselves come.

“Instead, relax your tummy and take long, slow, deep tantric breathing,” Knight recommends. “Your orgasm will last longer and be more intense.”

Rose adds that tantric breathing is one of the most important elements of tantric sex, and so to really hone in on yours, if you’re comfortable doing so. “Tantric breathing is key. Inhale through the nose and to exhale through the mouth, using sound. The use of sound upon the exhale supports a release and a sense of letting go, whilst encouraging a dropping down into the body. Liberate yourself using sounds,” she encourages.

Think heavy sighs, deep guttural growls, funny noises and even screams – they’re all welcome in tantric breathing. Why? Well, “the practice helps to transition us into a much more embodied, grounded and present space – which is essential for sex,” Rose explains.

Keen to find a partner to try tantric sex with? Check our guides to the best dating sites, sex apps and dating profile tips, while you’re here. Don’t forget an expert’s tips for what to talk about on a first date, too.

And remember – don’t give up

If you don’t last beyond ten minutes, try again. “Tantric sex takes time to get to grips with because we’re all used to sex in a Western way – sex with an obvious start, middle and end,” explains Knight. She encourages you to use your imagination. Your sex life could go off in all sorts of new directions, thanks to tantra.

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