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What Is Tantric Sex? We Talk To an Expert To Get the Lowdown

If you’ve ever wanted to slow things down in the bedroom and get to know your partner on a deeper, more intimate level, then tantric sex could be just what the doctor ordered. Tantra, which means “woven together” in Sanskrit, is a genre of sexuality that celebrates sacred sexuality through slow, meaningful movements.To talk all things Tantra, we’ve connected with sex expert, Susan Bratton, who gives us the rundown on what Tantric sex is, what its benefits are, and how to practice it.

What Is Tantric Sex?

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“Tantric sex is a genre of sexuality that incorporates more reverential, slow, connected sexual experiences,” Bratton explains. “Often called Neo-Tantra or Red Tantra to delineate it from the Yogic Tantra practices, the hallmarks are a conscious approach to communication, more breath and eye contact, and active heart connection between lovers.”

To make things even more interesting, tantric sex also often incorporates ritual and spirituality into the experience, says Bratton. This is because much of tantric lovemaking focuses on “divine spirituality” and deeper connection. “Because orgasm is a blissful state,” says Bratton, “it can be used as a kind of meditation practice that allows lovers to touch source or Gaia or god in their union.”

Tantric sex not only focuses on divinity and the outer body but also incorporates every part of the body (especially the heart). Bratton describes tantric orgasms as extended full-body orgasms, which differ from the friction orgasms generated from direct stimulation of the clitoris or penis. In essence, tantric sex is “a slow, heart-connected approach to honor your beloved and building arousal and turn on overtime, while incorporating eye gazing, breath work and sensual touch create these heightened experiences associated with Tantric lovemaking.”

What Are the Origins of Tantric Sex?

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Like learning any new practice (especially one with a long history), getting to know its roots and beginnings can give you great insight into the practice itself. “Spiritual sexuality originated in India and Tibet in the third and fourth centuries and continued to evolve with the Kashmiri Shaivists in the ninth and tenth centuries,” Bratton details. 

But today’s modern Tantric sex was revolutionized by Osho or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a famous cult sex guru who really got the movement going in the 1980s. If you’re interested in learning more about the rise of modern Tantra and the devotees of Osho, Bratton suggests watching the Netflix documentary Wild, Wild, Country

“Modern-day Tantra teachers have incorporated many of the concepts of Osho into their version of Western sexual enlightenment,” Bratton informs us. “Neo-Tantra continues to evolve through workshops and teachings often focused on Yoni and Lingam worship. The Yoni is the Sanskrit word for a woman’s genitals, Lingam is the male equivalent.”

The Yab Yum Tantric Sex Position and How To Try It

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The Yab Yum (sometimes known as the lotus sex position) is a classic Tantric sex position representing the divine union of masculine and feminine energies. Here, Bratton gives us her tips and tricks for the Tantric sex position. You’ll never want to have regular sex again.

How To Do It

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“He sits upright with his legs crossed or if he’s flexible, with his feet together and knees butterflied open. He can support his back or knees with pillows, whatever makes him comfortable,” says Bratton. “Then she climbs into his lap and wraps her legs around him so her feet come together at the base of his spine. She’s sitting on his lap facing him, her legs over his. This is the open-legged Yab Yum position.”

Bratton suggests adjusting your position according to your body dynamics and finding your comfort zone so you can just relax and be together. If you can’t get comfortable in an upright position, modify the position by lying down and facing each other.

“Now synchronize your breath and feel what happens to your energy. Typically, a man’s lungs are bigger than a woman’s,” she explains. Women will want to breathe more deeply, and men will want to breathe a little more shallowly than usual so you can match your breath.

“You can either breathe in at the same time and then out at the same time or cycle your breath so one inhales as the other exhales and vice-versa. You’re face to face, very close as you breathe this way. You can even get so close that you’re almost touching or actually touching lips as you breathe together,” suggests Bratton.

“When you get the rhythm going, you’ll feel sexual energy start to fill your body. As you continue to breathe, imagine breathing all the way down to your genital area. This will really build up the sexual energy.”

The Yab Yum is a classic, must-try Tantric position because there are multiple forms of stimulation available when you’re so close, and, for Bratton, this is part of what makes it so pleasurable. “He can stimulate her breasts. She can stimulate his nipples. Either of you can initiate a deep French kiss.”

“She controls the thrusts in this position because she’s sitting down on his penis,” says Bratton. “That gives her good simulation for her clitoris, G-area, and perineal sponge. This can also be an anal sex position.” For some women, anal penetration actually feels better than vaginal intercourse, so do what feels best for you and your partner.

The Importance of Eye Contact in Yab Yum

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For Bratton, one of the most special parts of the Yab Yum Tantric experience is the ease of making eye contact with your lover. “It’s a very connected position,” she explains, “perfect for slow, Tantric lovemaking.”

Not sure exactly what Tantric eye contact requires (or reveals)? Bratton explains: “When two people decide to consciously play with their sexual energy, it’s best to begin by simply looking into each other’s eyes with a very soft gaze. It can be a little edgy for some people, looking into a lover’s eyes. It’s such a powerful act of intimacy.” You’re naked and vulnerable. It’s the perfect opportunity to practice letting go.

Let go of any assumptions you’ve made about the person in front of you. Become curious about who your lover truly is. “Look past the personality and beyond all the stories you tell about them or they tell about themselves. Look into their eyes and just allow their essence to reveal itself.”

According to Bratton, Tantric sex can be a very meditative and informative experience since you’re tuning in with your emotions and mental chatter. Bring your attention back to yourself. Notice how you feel physically. Notice how your emotions are running. Notice if you have any mental chatter going on. She says to tune in to how these various aspects of your experience affect you.

If the eyes are indeed the window to the soul, what do you see through that window when you look at your lover? It’s been said that the heart is the doorway to the infinite. “I want you to start feeling into your own heart as you gaze into your lover’s eyes. What’s in your heart when you look at your beloved?”

How To Get the Most out of the Yab Yum Position

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“You can take this practice to the next level by shifting focus and going back and forth from having your attention on yourself, to putting your attention on your partner as you breathe in and out together. Connecting your breath and breathing together is a beautiful way to deepen your connection. When you’re ready, you can add the element of touch. Reach out and take your lover’s hands. Or place your hand on their heart and bring their hand to rest on yours,” suggests Bratton.

If you want to dive in even deeper, Bratton encourages you to enhance your Yab Yum session by purposely engaging all five of your senses. You can do this by using aromatic oils, playing soft, sensual music, and even feeding each other. “Bring flowers into the room. Use body oils to bring your sense of touch alive and activate the sensual grid that is your skin. Get creative and find ways to delight all of your senses,” says Bratton.

According to Bratton, another way to play with sexual energy is to use intention to actually spread it through your body. Energy follows intention, so be very attentive when you’re making love. “Men, when you’re inside a woman, send your sexual energy down through your manhood and into her body. With intentional focus, she’ll really feel your masculine energy as you enter her sacred place.

Three Benefits of Tantric Sex

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Conscious, Heart-Connection

Unlike a lot of other sex that’s goal is to hit peak climax, the core idea behind Tantric sex is the connection of hearts in divine sexual union. This ideology moves away from the performative, friction-oriented sex, illuminates Bratton, into a feeling of deep love and heart-opening appreciation for your beloved. Which is by far the biggest benefit to Tantric sex.

While opening up your heart can be incredibly scary and vulnerable in the long run, an open heart makes for a better, more fulfilling life. And the good news is that sex can help you get there. “Tantra is a practice,” assures Bratton. “You get better at opening your heart as you do it repeatedly. Tantra has the ability to transform having sex into being a spiritual, reverent experience of ecstatic bliss.”

By now, you may be clear on how Tantric sex helps build that heart-to-heart connection. But what do we mean by “conscious?” For Bratton, the notion of Tantric sex being conscious simply means there’s no hiding behind shame. This means that both partners can enter into a loving experience and openly speak their needs and desires in the loving security of trust they receive from the other.

“Creating a safe container for sex is a core tenet of Tantric sex,” says Bratton. “When partners think about their lover as being as important as themselves, they honor the partner in a way that is not always depicted in modern-day sexuality. This honor is a key part of Tantric lovemaking.”

Multi-Sensory Orgasmic Experience

We probably caught your attention earlier with the “full-body orgasm” discussion – which we had to include as a major benefit to Tantra practice. This sexual practice is meant to invigorate and integrate all of the senses for a full-body experience. “From eye connection to opening one’s heart – from Tantric breathwork designed to increase arousal – the senses are a vital part of Tantric lovemaking,” says Bratton.

“When people are asked to define Tantric orgasm, often they associate it with not coming. This is inaccurate,” assures Bratton. Over the years, a Tantric orgasm has been mistaken for semen retention, which is an ancient Taoist practice that conserves a man’s jing energy or essence.

“Tantric orgasms teach you how to feel orgasmic pleasure throughout your body, rather than sensation isolated in your genitals,” Bratton clarifies. “Expanding orgasm to a full-body experience by leveraging slow sex, heart connection, and eye contact along with rituals such as creating a sensual environment with candles or low lighting and sensual music are the core tenets of Tantric sex.”

Genital Worship

The third core tenet of Tantric sex is genital worship, which essentially moves intercourse from being the main event to being a part of the overall experience. And, according to Bratton, this means putting more attention on genital worship, manual massage, and awakening the G-Spot for women and the P-Spot for men.

“The G-Spot is actually a secondary erectile system in a woman’s vulva called the urethral sponge. This area can hold emotion which is released through G-Spot activation or palpation,” explains Bratton. “Female ejaculation is often achieved through manual stimulation of the clitoris and urethral systems. All women can ejaculate, and all orgasms are simply learned skills for both sexes and across all gender expressions.” Tantric sex widens the pleasure palette by incorporating these additional types of orgasms.

“The Lingam massage is for men to enjoy hands-on penis pleasure,” says Bratton. “Too often men don’t get the genital pleasuring due to them.” (Which you probably agree with). So, slowing down and honoring a man’s penis and testicles as well as exploring his prostate for P-Spot orgasms is another aspect of the reverential nature of Tantric sex according to Bratton.

Focus more on feeling her than pushing in and out of her or having her grind on your penis. It’s all about sending sexual energy into her yoni.” But the most important thing is remembering to have fun. “Sexual energy is exciting to play with and it can take you into even higher levels of pleasure,” says Bratton.

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