Tantra is a complex marriage of yoga, meditation, ritual, and intercourse that originated in India in 3000 B.C. And, despite its dusty spiritual history, it's the absolute latest thing in getting laid!
Tantric sex promises multiple orgasms for men, ejaculation for women, and a tangle of erotic positions. Encouraging couples to slow sex down through breathing techniques and erotic rituals giving you a sense of harmony that will fill every aspect of your life.
Could an ancient spiritual ritual be changing sex as we know it?
It's difficult to dismiss something centuries old as a fad. Derived from a Sanskrit word meaning to "weave" or "extend," tantra was originally practiced by Tibetan, Chinese, and Indian Buddhists as a sacred act. It became their way of uniting the spirit with the flesh to attain enlightenment.
It's based on the belief that energy flows through the body in much the same way that blood runs through veins and arteries. According to tantric philosophy, this energy connects the body's "chakras," or energy centers, most commonly thought to be at the base of the spine, the genitals, the stomach, the throat, the forehead, and the crown of the head.
By reaching high sexual arousal, tantriks, or practitioners of tantric sex, "open up their chakras," or move the energy up through these physical channels to create a sensation of oneness and ecstasy. In its most authentic form, tantra prohibits male ejaculation, which -- get this, guys -- it believes wastes sexual energy and robs the woman of her potential for multiple orgasms. However, women may, and are encouraged to, ejaculate through tantric techniques.
How is tantric sex done? Very slowly! advise the books and videos. Aside from -- perhaps because of -- the nix on male ejaculation, the biggest difference in technique from "regular" sex is that tantra lasts longer. The average act of regular intercourse (not counting foreplay) is over in 10 minutes. For tantra practitioners, however, it's not unusual for lovemaking to last an hour or more.
Tantra fans report that longer-lasting sex equals longer-lasting and stronger relationships. .
The idea that tantra can help nurture long-term relationships makes it a seductive choice in the post-one-night-stand age. Couples in the '90s seem to be looking for reasons to stay together rather than reasons to play the field.
So the revival of tantric sex is very different from its first go-round in America, during the sexually experimental '70s. Today's couples aren't hoping that making love will keep them from war; they're hoping making love will keep them together.
Tantric sex is not about immediate gratification. It's a lot of work -- and that's even before you hit the sheets.
In the tantra tradition, a vagina is called a yoni, meaning "sacred space"; the penis, the lingam, for "wand of light." Kundalini denotes life force and sexual energy.
There's lots of strange names for the sexual positions. There's "The Splitting of the Bamboo," "Fixing of a Nail," "The Fitting on of the Sock," and the painful-sounding "Pounding on the Spot." And forget about doggie style instead try "The Tail of the Ostrich," "The Elephant Posture," "Frog Fashion," and the less imaginatively named "Phoenix Playing in a Red Cave."
Given the time commitment, Tantric sex is not for casual lovers. First they must learn how to purify their bodies, create a "sacred space" for lovemaking, breathe correctly, heal their inhibitions, and harmonize their "inner man and inner woman."
Cambridge sex therapist Gina Ogden believes that even bad tantric sex is good tantric sex.
"Tantra, even Tantra Lite, gives both men and women some techniques -- eye contact, sensual massage, breathing rituals -- to help them to slow down and get beyond goal-oriented sex," she says. "Men get beyond their penises and the urge to take over the woman's pleasure; women often take more initiative."
Ogden considers the fundamentals of good sex: communication and variety.
Consequently, she views tantric sex as instrumental in improving Western lovemaking. "Our country is locked in a cultural missionary position," she says. "The explosion of tantra is really men and women saying, `We don't want this dynamic.' "
Ogden believes that our sexual liberation depends on uniting these two impulses. Above all, she stresses that partners should adopt the tantric view that sex is about worshipping each other.
"I can understand that it may sound flaky at first, but we must acknowledge romantic sex as a religious ritual involving wine, music, sex, candles, and flowers," she says. "There are similarities between sex and spirit that a lot of people don't realize. We've been taught for thousands of years to separate sex and the soul, the physical and the spiritual, and that never the twain shall meet."
She recommends that couples experiment, choose the techniques and traditions that interest them, and weave them into the rituals they already enjoy. However, she cautions: "Whatever you do, you must be open to the notion that the body doesn't stop at the skin. Sexual response is a process -- a union of mind, body, and soul -- and the connection we feel when this process is in full swing is a mind-expanding, body-blowing, heart-opening experience. It's ecstasy."
Test out much you know about Tantra in this fab quiz from www.thirdage.com
Get practising with Tantra Lite!! The easier Tantra
Basically, Tantra Lite is a slowed-down, more attentive version of "regular sex," and not as difficult to grasp as the ancient tantric is.
It heats up like this: lovers slowly undress, then breathe deeply, gazing into each other's eyes. With palms touching, they concentrate on creating a flow of energy. They then share a ritual, such as bathing together, exchanging gifts, or giving each other a full-body massage. The lights stay on.
Foreplay is prolonged, with couples exploring each other's bodies "as if for the first time." They tell each other what they want and what feels good. Anything goes, from hair brushing and toe sucking to body painting and feather tickling; the emphasis is on the woman's full arousal (which usually takes at least 20 minutes, versus 5 to 10 minutes for a man). Oral sex -- notably 69 -- is especially popular, given its potential for "chakra alignment."
Other favoured sexual positions include contortions in which chakras line up and the couple can look into each other's eyes (see our tantric sex position featured in our kama sutra below). Men are supposed to prolong their erections through slow, controlled thrusting; women experience multiple orgasms through vaginal massage and vaginal muscle-flexing. All the while, burn scented oil and don't be afraid of "sound-making" as noisy sex supposedly helps energy circulate.
If you haven't already, see the takemetobed guide to tantric sex
"What is Tantra?"
The Many Meanings of Tantra
Most People are unclear about what Tantra really is and what it can do for you. Probably the most common view is that Tantra has some connection with Oriental religion, with uninhibited sex, and with the lovemaking positions and techniques outlined in the Kama Sutra (see our own guide - click Kama Sutra), Hinduism's oldest sex manual. To some, Tantra is a free-love cult, a survival of the psychedelic sixties; to others, it's New Age spiritual sex therapy, part of the California lifestyle, a slice of 1990s pop culture.
None of these views of Tantra are wrong outright, but none really explain what Tantra actually is. So what is Tantra? What does it mean? And, most important of all, what is its relevance to us today?
The word Tantra is Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism. It derives from the root word tan, which translates as "to extend, expand, spread, continue, spin out, weave; to put forth, show, or manifest." Like the universe we inhabit, Tantra is continually expanding, spreading, and manifesting itself like a "cosmic weave," made up of different energies. We are part of this weave, as are our forefathers and foremothers, all life, and every type of energy and matter. This includes thoughts, actions, and all physical matter.
Some Definitions of Tantra
Because Tantra is a mystical subject, it is nearly impossible to define. Even eminent scholars have had a hard time explaining what Tantra actually is.The different explanations of Tantra indicate its multifaceted nature. Tantra is a spiritual science, which means it is also mystical, in its interconnectedness, the holistic wisdom link between ourselves and the universe we inhabit.
By embracing Tantra, we become more "real," more "complete." How? By recognizing and stimulating our inherent sensual spirituality, we discover parts of ourselves that have remained asleep or have been repressed. With Tantra, an energy is released that is evolutionary and "upwardly motivated." We can learn to use this energy for pleasure, for achieving our worldly goals, and for aiding our spiritual evolution.
Familiarity with Tantra can help a person to enjoy life to the fullest. It can help do away with guilt or fear, break down self imposed or limiting cultural boundaries, and guide us in our search for solutions. Tantra teaches us to become familiar with our mystical nature, and when we do so, our boundaries expand. We enter into new domains of awareness. We become empowered, more fulfilled, and more perfect.
Traditional dictionary definitions of Tantra are revealing. A Sanskrit word, Tantra is sometimes translated as "leading principle, essential part, model, system, framework, doctrine, rule, theory, scientific work," also as "order, chief part, rule, authority, science, mystic works, magical formulas, means, expedient, stratagem, medicine." Finally, a Tantra is sometimes defined as "a type of mystical teaching set out mostly in the form of dialogs between a c cosmic couple. intimate insightful dialogs, between God and Goddess, Shiva and Shakti, the male and female Tantric adepts, were at times written down and became known as Tantras. Naturally, these dialogs, being intimate, included sexual secrets as well as many other fascinating topics.
Tantra has been well tested over thousands of years, not in worldly laboratories but in the laboratories of the human body, by Yogi scientists and Tibetan Lamas who were not driven by commerce but by the earnest desire for spiritual knowledge and liberation. Their observations and insights have been passed down to us.
The sacred Hindu and Buddhist scriptures known as Tantras provide detailed instructions on a wide range of topics, including spiritual knowledge, technology, and science. Their content is often paradoxical. In Tantra, science and mysticism go hand in hand, as do sensuality and asceticism. Just as advanced scientific treatises are difficult for the layperson to comprehend, so traditional Tantras require adaquate preparation before they can be properly understood.
"What is Tantric Sex?"
TANTRIC SEX is meditative, spontaneous and intimate lovemaking. Through it you learn to prolong the act of making love and to channel, rather than dissipate potent orgasmic energies moving through you, thereby raising the level of your consciousness. Tantra transports your sexuality from the plane of doing to the place of being. There is no goal in Tantric sex, only the present moment of perfect and harmonious union.
Tantra teaches you to revere your sexual partner and to transform the act of sex into a sacrament of love. Tantra teaches that lovemaking between a man and woman, when entered into with awareness, is a gateway to both sexual and spiritual ecstasy. In India, traditional Tantrikas spent many years under the guidance of a spiritual teacher and engaged in elaborate yogic rituals to purify and master the body and mind. These practices were intended to awaken the powerful psychic energies through which the adept could enter into higher states of consciousness When a disciple was deemed ready he or she partook in sexual rites with a partner.
Through the sacred act of love, they sought to merge the dual nature of their sexuality into an ecstatic union. Through this came the harmonization of their own internal masculine and feminine polarities and a realization of the blissful nature of the Self.
The best reading, writhing, and tantra tricks out there that you can learn!
Tantra tradition recommends sharing a good laugh with your lover before sex as a way to nurture intimacy. Conveniently enough, a tantric how-to video or book might just do the trick ~ especially with instruction on breathing, prolonged erection, female ejaculation, erotic positions, and spiritual-sex history.
Here's a selection to get your kundalini flowing:
Illustrated Kama Sutra Vol. 1
Illustrated Kama Sutra Vol. 2
Complete Kama Sutra : The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic
- An Intimate Geography
Secrets Special 20th Anniversary Color Edition
Can a Man Really Have Multiple Orgasms
featured in Ancient Secrets of Sexual Ecstasy
I get asked this question a lot. For the record, the answer is Ohhhh Yes!!! From the Tantric perspective, orgasm is not a goal or completion of sex, but rather an aroused physical and emotional state that literally can be experienced throughout one's entire being. The longer one lingers in this aroused state of excitement, the more energy and life force they can absorb and radiate. A man may have multiple orgasms without ejaculating and yet actually feel energized in the afterglow. As a woman, I can only tell you that it's extraordinarily satisfying to be with a man who can continue to ride wave upon wave of pleasure with me. It creates a deeper and profound feeling of union.
The techniques that assist one in developing these skills can be learned and mastered with practice. Physiologically, it is possible for a man to have an orgasm without ejaculating. Sadly, it is also possible for a man to ejaculate without much physical pleasure at all! Orgasm and ejaculation are functions that are activated by separate parts of the nervous system. Although they often do occur simultaneously, each of these functions can be experienced independent of one another. To a man this means prolonged and multiple orgasms are possible without an ejaculation.
During ejaculation, sleep hormones are produced and released in the brain. An immense amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals and amino acids as well as vital energies are lost in the ejaculate. Although Taoists masters such as Mantak Chia, author of the best selling book, "The Multi-Orgasmic Man" may disagree, I believe that this depletion factor does not mean that a man should never ejaculate except to procreate; but rather to do so with consciousness and wisdom. When a man ejaculates, if he plants his seed along with an intentional thought or vision, it becomes a conscious conception; whether it's for a baby or an empowering state that one can conjure and imprint, it is infused with the creative life force.
A non-ejaculatory type of orgasm for a man can occur repeatedly without him feeling exhaustion. Once a man comes and "spills hisseed" he's usually spent; especially if he is past the age of 35 when his hormone production begins to slow down. Tantric practices offer a man the ability to maintain a level of heightened arousal with numerous peaks and multiple dimensions of exhilarating pleasure. Many men find this to be more satisfying. The key is to be able to be excited and relaxed at the same time. On the "pleasure scale" of one to ten, a man must learn to maintain a level seven (which is heaven) for as long as he desires. Breathing and movement exercises can assist one in opening up to feeling fabulously aroused while calm and centered at the same time. Orgasm is deep like the ocean. We can learn to ride the waves and experience great pleasure and the immense benefits that it brings.
Depending on a man's health, his age and other conditions, frequent ejaculation can be depleting. With Tantric methods he can learn to actually re-absorb his vital essences and become empowered by them. When a man doesn't ejaculate during orgasm, he is able to effectively move the energy and fill his body with a highly charged and oxygenated life force. Through the simple techniques that tantra teaches, a man can reach an orgasmic state that satisfies on a deep and peaceful level. In fact, men who don't release after sustaining high levels of pleasure often feel energized and rejuvenated afterwards. This expanded state can last for days and can lead to a more refined sensitivity towards pleasure. This profound experience can be enjoyed solo, or with a partner. With proper guidance and practice, men often find a Tantric orgasm more pleasurable and satisfying than an orgasm with release.
When a man experiences multiple orgasms it awakens him to feel a very similar experience to a woman's sensations. Men have often reported to me feelings of pleasure that rise to their heart with a lightness and glowing warmth that radiates throughout their body. Men who are multi-orgasmic have the potential to become more emotionally intimate and able to join with a woman in conscious sexual bliss. When a man discovers his ability to relax into pleasure, it takes him to a new level that can only be understood through direct experience. Relaxing into pleasure is a gateway that can open him up to realizing his full spectrum of orgasmic states.
further reading: The Multi-Orgasmic Man
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