Every journey begins with a single step. The journey of the soul can sometimes be a difficult one, and sometimes be an easy one. Of the different ways our souls may choose to make those journeys, taking the road that leads through our sexuality can be one of the most troublesome, as well as one of the most rewarding.
Tantric sexuality shows us ways that we might take that reward and double it, then double it again, then spin it around and amplify it, and then send it out so that it comes back to us amplified yet again. Imagine that you could do that. For most people, it will be a difficult thing to imagine. And yet, great numbers of people are drawn to Tantra every year; many of them seeking only pleasure; many of them seeking enlightenment.
The vast majority of those seekers receive both the spiritual blessings and the better sex. They go hand in hand. If you’re expecting or wanting the one without the other, you may be surprised to find them intertwined.
Readers may find the techniques described here to be similar to or the same as things already learned in yoga, meditation, intense exercise, etc. The basics of tantric sexuality are really fundamentals of many forms of energy work or spiritual practices utilized in various traditions to move and/or transform the life force energy.
What is Tantra?
There are many schools of Tantra out there in the world today, just as there are many schools of each spiritual belief system or practice that exists.
To begin with, it is important for the initiate to understand that Tantra is not a belief system. Most tantric teachers or experts would agree on this. As Osho, one of the masters of modern Western Tantra, put it:
Doctrine is meaningless to it. It is concerned with method, with technique— not with principles at all. The word “tantra” means technique, the method, the path. So it is not philosophical — note this. It is not concerned with the “why” of things, it is concerned with the “how”; not with what is truth, but with how the truth can be attained.
Tantra means technique. So this treatise is a scientific one. Science is not concerned with why, science is concerned with how. That is the basic difference between philosophy and science. Philosophy asks, “Why this existence?” Science asks, “How this existence?” The moment you ask the question, How? Method, technique become important. Theories become meaningless; experience becomes the center.
Tantra is science, tantra is not philosophy. To understand philosophy is easy because only your intellect is required. If you can understand language, if you can understand concept, you can understand philosophy. You need not change; you require no transformation. As you are, you can understand philosophy — but not tantra.
You will need a change…rather, a mutation. Unless you are different tantra cannot be understood, because tantra is not an intellectual proposition, it is an experience. Unless you are receptive, ready, vulnerable to the experience, it is not going to come to you.
Tantra, being a form of spiritual practice, becomes very difficult to define. One will find many definitions of Tantra if one begins to read books on the topic, or if one surfs the Internet. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of differing definitions.
One thing most will agree upon is that Tantra is not only about sex. Tantra is a series of techniques handed down from master to initiate over many millennia, and documented in many spiritual texts. Some of these ancient texts come from other parts of the East, but they predominantly originate in India. Most of the ancient texts focus on various methods of altering the consciousness or attaining enlightenment, and only a handful of the total number of techniques refer directly to sexuality. Many of the non-sexual techniques may also be applied during sex, but to say that Tantra is about sex would most certainly be mislabeling Tantra.
Since those ancient times, many more texts have been written, and many have integrated similar teachings from other traditions, such as Buddhism, Native American sacred-sexual teachings, Western ideas about consciousness and sex, and other traditions. This article will draw primarily upon the ancient and modern Eastern teachings in combination with some more modern Western teachings.
That said, the focus of this particular article is tantric sexuality, and as such, will focus mainly on tantric techniques that relate either directly or indirectly to sexuality. Do not make the mistake, however, of thinking that this article talks of Tantra as-a-whole. We’ll focus on only a narrow portion of what Tantra encompasses.
Below are some basic teachings of Tantra. These can be used to build intimacy, expand the sexual pleasure, and even transform lives and/or relationships. Used properly, they can be used to move closer to enlightenment. Each teaching may be used both sexually and non-sexually.
Central to most Eastern teachings about attainment of enlightenment are teachings about the breath. First off, why is this? Or, more appropriately to Tantra, how does breath relate to spiritual advancement?
We all breathe all the time. If we stop breathing for too long, we pass out or die. So in this sense, at least, breath is directly related to consciousness. Breath is energy. Each breath brings in new oxygen, which is circulated by the blood, and energizes every living cell within the body. Breath and oxygen are among of the foundations of human energy.
Most people breathe totally unconsciously most of the time. Think about that for a second. Most of the time, you don’t pay any attention to your breath. It simply happens without your considering it even for a moment. Your life is entirely dependent upon something of which you are mostly unconscious.
What happens when a person makes breathing conscious? Tantra and other Eastern systems utilize breath in a conscious and deliberate manner, and thereby transform the relationship of the practitioner to their energy. By becoming conscious of the breath, and focusing intently upon it, the practitioner can move and/or regulate their energy.
If you begin to pay attention to your breath during the sexual act, or the breath of your partner, you may notice some interesting things. Very frequently in sex, when people become excited, they will hold their breath for a few moments or for a long time, then letting out or in a large amount of air. Breathing often becomes strained, or tense, and then releases suddenly. Such breathing stops the energy from moving.
In making breathing conscious during the sexual act, one may learn to move the energy at will, rather than simply allowing it to flow and stop in an unconscious manner.
The teaching here is to make the breath full and relaxed. Breathe deeply. Breathe fully. Do not stop the breath, or tighten the chest/lungs. Let the breath be complete. Full complete breaths allow the energy to move throughout the body. Short, shallow or start/stop breathing slows the energy and can even choke it off.
A more deep and full body type of orgasm becomes more easily obtainable by allowing for full complete breathing. So relax. Focus on the breath, and allow it to move completely. Feel the whole breath going all the way in and filling the lungs, and going all the way out and emptying them.
Much like the breath and the shallow start/stop breathing most people engage in during sex, muscular tension can slow the energy.
Again, for most people the level of muscular tension in the body, especially during sexual acts, tends to be a completely unconscious thing. The key in tantric energy work is to make muscular tension conscious so that one becomes intimately aware of every muscle and how it is being held. Of course, some tension is required for movement, and for holding the body up, but tension is not required for anything else.
If you make your tension conscious you may notice that you hold many muscles tense during sex with no need or purpose. If you observe your lover, he may be the passive partner during a particular sexual act, such as oral sex. He may simply be lying back and enjoying a woman’s oral attentions, but still he may be tensing the muscles in his torso or legs, or any other part of the body. In such a case none of this tension is necessary, and indeed stops the flow of energy.
By simply relaxing all of the muscles not required for a particular sexual act, the energy moves through the body more smoothly and easily. Focus your attention upon relaxing all the muscles of the body. Relax. Let go. Feel your sexual energy spread into all those relaxed areas and flow throughout the body.
Relaxation, however, is not just about the body. Let go of your expectations. Let go of your preconceptions, too. Relax. Relax your rules and restrictions upon yourself and others. Release those old emotions you’ve been holding on to. Relax. Allow yourself to just be.
Make a Sound!
Making sound is also critical to moving of energy. Some people are nervous or self-conscious about how they sound, but do not make this a consideration in tantric lovemaking.
Let go of your internal self-talk about how you sound. Make the noises that most clearly express exactly how you are feeling right now. This type of sound may be labeled a connected sound. It is a sound connected to an emotion or sensation; the sound of whatever you are internally present to in the moment. The sounds you make will move your energy.
If you are silent, it is much harder to move your energy, than if you are very loud. The more noise you make, the higher your pleasure. The more those sounds are connected to your emotions, the more powerfully they will move the energy of those emotions.
If you attempt this, and think to yourself something like, “that emotion doesn’t have a sound,” or “I’m not feeling anything right now,” then ask yourself these questions. What if it did have a sound? If it did, what would it sound like? What if you took that little nothing of an emotion or sensation that you’re feeling right now and turned it up? What would it feel like then? What if you spun it around, made it brighter, amplified it, and then looked again? Does it have a sound now?
If not, make one up, and keep going. If you still say to yourself, “but I don’t feel anything,” then ask yourself “how do I feel about not feeling anything?” This may sound redundant, but you surely must feel frustrated. Frustration has a sound too, and if it does not have a sound to you – make one up anyway.
Sometimes, we experience unpleasant or disturbing physical sensations or emotions during sex. Allow these experiences to be vocally expressed as well. Do not hold them back. If something makes you feel pain, make the sound of the pain with your voice. This not only helps to move the energy of the pain, it also is excellent feedback for your lover. If he hears you making pain noises, he can alter what he is doing to bring your noises back more towards pleasure.
Of course, you can be verbal as well as vocal. Verbal means using words. Vocal means using sounds and/or words. Feel free to outright say, that’s hurting if you feel pain, or to say that’s perfect, but a little more to the right if that’s your truth in the present moment. Expressing through sounds, however, tends to move energy faster and more easily than expressing through words.
We can see this quite clearly in children who have just acquired language. A child of this age does not typically attempt to express emotions through language. They do it through sound. Think for a moment of a toddler in a tantrum. Typically you hear a lot of sounds, but not many words. And if words are present, they’re simple and to the point, such as “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!” Toddlers will launch their emotions off the charts at full volume, whether that calls for the sounds of laughter or the sounds of wailing sadness. Be a toddler with your expression of emotion.
Let go and really make sounds, no matter what they sound like to you or your partner, that truly express what you are physically and emotionally feeling in the moment. The more that you do this, the deeper and more connected your sex will become, and the higher you will feel as a result.
This point cannot be emphasized strongly enough. Perhaps the article should begin with sound, to stress how vitally important this component is to the practices of most tantric seekers. Of all the teachings of Tantra, people seem to struggle most with this one. Get over yourself. Open up. Express.
Make Eye Contact!
Eye contact is vital to intimacy and a deepening tantric connection. It is often said that “the eyes are the window to the soul.” By connecting the eyes of two lovers, the souls communicate with each other, so to speak. Keep the eyes open, and gaze into your lover’s eyes frequently. Allow the energy raised through breath, relaxation and sound to pass between your eyes and into one another. Allow the energy to pass through the eyes, and not only through the genitals.
Eye sex is fantastic, as we’ve all probably experienced. Think of some time you looked across a room and saw a man you were really attracted to, and your eyes met. Recall that electric, connected feeling when neither of you looked away; the desire rising in you – the power of that connection. Perhaps your heart even began beating more loudly.
Our eyes communicate in ways our words cannot. Much like sound, the energy connection is much greater when the eyes are kept connected as much as possible. In gazing into your partner’s eyes, you may become aware of nuances you’ve never noticed before. You may see other faces in your lover’s face. You may come to know what’s truly deep inside by connecting in this way.
There is a saying in some tantric circles that “energy flows where attention goes.” Put your attention on where you want your energy to move.
If you want a full body orgasm, put your attention on your entire body, and on feeling those powerful sexual sensations in every cell. If you want a deep vaginal orgasm, put your attention deep inside yourself, and feel those sexual sensations deep inside.
Use the breath, the muscular relaxation, the sound and the eye contact to send your focus, attention and energy exactly where you want it to go. If your attention is entirely on your genitals, this is where your sexual energy will be.
In Tantra, it is generally considered preferable to move the sexual energy throughout the entire body. To put the attention on moving the energy out from the genitals so it passes through every cell. Tantrics sometimes use that energy to revitalize the body, or sometimes for a specific purpose. Consider where your attention is during lovemaking. This is where the sexual energy will flow.
Underlying all of these teachings is the concept of being present. What that means is to be in the moment, not off somewhere in a fantasy, or in your mind. Be present to what is happening right now.
Many people are off in fantasy land during sex and lovemaking. They have their eyes closed, and are picturing something. Some men even deliberately picture something glaringly non-sexual and non-present just to hold off ejaculating. This is generally considered undesirable in Tantra, or any form of energy work.
By being present, a person feels more of what is happening right now, and has more energy to move. By being away during sex, it is harder to be in touch with your energy. If “energy flows where attention goes” and your attention is on a fantasy of a knight in shining armor sweeping you away, then your attention is decidedly not on your lover. Your energy will not flow to him. Your energy will flow, instead, into your fantasy. That stops the energy flow between you and your partner, and generally decreases the pleasure potential.
This article is meant to only touch upon some elementary basics of Tantra. It is not meant to be a full guidebook on Tantra or tantric lovemaking, but to only give a taste of what is available through tantric practice.
Try using these techniques in your lovemaking, and see what comes up for you. You may find many of them far more difficult in life than they sound on paper. You may find them very easy. Check in with yourself and remain present to what your experiences are.