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This ancient practice could be the key to taking your sex life to new heights. Read on to find out everything you need to know about tantric sex.
What is Tantric sex and how can it spice up your relationship (opens in new tab)? Put simply, it involves slowing down and enjoying all of the build-up to the main event, rather than rushing to get there. The opposite of a quickie, Tantric sex is all about enjoying each other and increasing intimacy. If your libido is low and you’re wondering why you’ve gone off sex (opens in new tab), or you feel like you’ve tried everything to mix things up you might want to give Tantric sex a go.
Co-founder of the Healthy Pleasure Group, Dominnique Karetsos, says "When it comes to sex, we often view it in an isolated sector of our lives, away from our physical and mental health when in reality, everything about our wellbeing, including our pleasure, is interconnected. When we become more aware of ourselves we are better able to live within our experiences, and this is true for sex.”
What is Tantric sex?
Tantric sex is a slow form of sex that's said to increase intimacy and create a mind-body connection that can lead to powerful orgasms. It’s an ancient Hindu practice that has been going for over 5,000 years, and means 'the weaving and expansion of energy'.
Tantric sex - or Tantra as it's often known - can be done by anyone interested in rebooting their sex life and finding new depth to their love-making. If that sounds confusing, think of it this way - if quickie sex is the sexual equivalent of a takeaway, tantric sex is a Michelin-starred meal, slowly and lovingly prepared and all the more delicious thanks to the wait.
Why should I give it a try?
Tantric experts believe that if you extend the time and effort you put into sex, you will reach a higher and more intense form of ecstasy.
Dominnique Karetsos is the co-founder of the Healthy Pleasure Group. She says, "Tantra can teach you balance and connection, which will not only help you build intimacy with your partner but also greater awareness of your own body. Too often we can ‘just go with it’ during sex and not question if we’re really enjoying the experience as much as we could. Learning to be fully present and engaged can help you feel physical and emotional sensations in their entirety as well as connect to your partner completely. This can lead to heightened sexual experiences with new and intense forms of pleasure."
It's likely for this reason that top celebs like Heather Graham, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Rita Wilson and Sting are famous fans of the practice. In fact Rita, whose husband Tom Hanks is also a fan, once reportedly gave out some solid relationship advice around the topic. "You gotta talk, you gotta listen, you gotta laugh. And...you gotta have lots of tantric sex!"
We hear you, Rita. So who is tantric sex suited for?
Tantric sex is good for you if...
- You're looking for something new to do in bed
- You want to become more intimate with your partner
- You want to try to reconnect with your partner
Although tantra is good for all regardless of gender, Karetsos says that "the concept of slowing down and not being goal-orientated when practising tantra could be particularly helpful for women. Research suggests arousal and pleasure are far more context-driven for women, who need to feel free from pressure and distractions in order to fully relax and enjoy themselves.
"Tantric sex teaches you to be entirely focussed on what is happening between you and your partner and not worry about what will happen. If you find you struggle to let go of external stressors and concentrate on the moment, I would definitely recommend looking into tantra."
How to first try tantric sex
The good news is Tantric sex isn't 'goal oriented', which means you don't have to work hard at learning what to do. The trick is to take your mind off your orgasm and instead focus on making foreplay enjoyable and rewarding until you're ready to take it to its natural end.
This is easier said than done of course, so to delay orgasm Tantric sex experts use a variety of methods including meditative techniques, breath control and massage.
Karetsos explains going solo for your first try can not only improve your experience but help you to get your head around the concept, before trying it with a partner. "As it is about balancing your energies and awareness, take the time to build greater awareness within yourself first," she says. "When you are in a quiet and relaxing place, maybe your bedroom, lie or sit down with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. Place one hand on your heart and one on your genitals and breathe into the connection. Stay like this for as long as it feels natural, you could even try squeezing and releasing your pelvic floor muscles in line with your breathing.
"It shouldn’t be about reaching an orgasm or feeling anything in particular but rather just experiencing your body as it is. If you want to begin to explore further you can begin to move the hand on your genitals in a way that feels good for you. Take it slowly and be mindful of everything you feel."
When you feel ready, you can try doing something similar with a partner.
Tantric sex: What to do
- Start by turning down the lights and shutting out the rest of the world.
- Loosen your body: Tantra is about moving energy through the body, so sex expert Louise Van Der Velde (opens in new tab) suggests "shaking your limbs vigorously to energise and unblock your system before you start."
- Stay off the bed: This will trigger the sleep button in your brain, which, according to Louise (AKA The Pleasure Professor), "means you'll be settling for a quickie romp instead of deep connection and loving sex, which is ultimately what Tantra is all about."
- Get comfortable: Try lying down with your partner on the floor and slowly start to touch each other, taking your time to leisurely make your way around their body.
- Experiment: Try a variety of touches - firm massage, light feathery touches, and gentle stroking. The aim here is to heighten his senses in a slow and intense way so that you're building him to a peak but not taking him all the way and vice versa. Performed in the right way this can prolong sex and your pleasure for hours.
- Think about breathing: If you find your mind starts to wander, re-focus on your breathing. Inhale as your partner exhales and vice versa - it can help improve the connection between the two of you and keep your mind on what's happening.
- Don't give up: If you don't last beyond 10 minutes, try again. Tantric sex takes time to get to grips with because we're all used to sex in a western way - this means we expect sex to have an obvious start, middle and end.
How to get your partner involved in Tantric sex
If your partner is a little skeptical about tantric sex, Val Sampson (opens in new tab), author of Tantra: The Art of Mind Blowing Sex suggests that you explain it to them and do research together. "Tantra is like yoga," she says, "You can add the spiritual side or just do the exercises. Many people choose to do Tantra, not because of the mysticism but because the sex tips are better."
If your partner is still a little unsure, encourage them to go away and do their own research on the issue and come back with any questions or concerns. Share with them why you want to try it and explain why you might want to slow down and take away the pressure to perform. Having an open dialogue about new sexual activities is always the best way to be.
Tantric sex exercises
- Try the heart breath to tune into each other. Stand opposite one another and look into each other's eyes, placing your left hand on your partner's heart. Your partner should then place their hand over yours and then try to match each other's breathing for at least two minutes.
- Sit face-to-face (this works better if one of you sits in the other's lap). Wrap your arms as tightly around one another and press your body against each other. The skin contact promotes greater feelings of intimacy.
- Ensure you move and breathe slowly during sex (it can help to avoid any position that you know makes you orgasm easily) and work towards a gradual build-up of pleasure. The more slowly you can allow your feelings and sensations to build up, the more intense your eventual orgasm will be.
Top tantric tip
"Slow your breathing down as you approach orgasm," says Val Sampson. "Most women breathe more quickly as they feel themselves peaking and tense up trying to bring the orgasm on. If instead you relax your tummy and take slow deep breaths into your stomach, the orgasm will last longer and be more intense."
Our pick of the best products for your Tantric sex life
Tantra: The Art of Mind-Blowing Sex Paperback £14.71| Amazon (opens in new tab)
Whether you are in a relationship, whether you are single, gay or straight, or young or old, Tantra will bring a new dimension to your sex life and your relationships - and this book is here to help.
Loovara – Erotic Massage Oil XXL (1000 ml), Nourishing Love-Oil for Foreplay, Partner Massage Before Sex and Suitable for Sex Toys, unscented and Tested by Dermatologists £19.99 | Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Loovara Happy Hand Massage Oil increases the pleasure during lovemaking due to its high gliding properties. It is easy to apply and nice to massage in.
Naughty or Nice - The Couples Card Game £14.99 | Amazon (opens in new tab)
Naughty or Nice the couples card game will help you start thought provoking conversations with these romantic, fun and intimate cards that introduce the same curiosity and excitement you shared with your significant other on your first date together.
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With the goal of building a Sexual Health & Technology Economy for better education, innovation and investment in the industry, along with her co-founders, Dominnique has developed a purpose-built global infrastructure via the HPG ecosystem that will enable this to happen.
Dominnique is passionate about empowering women of all ages to understand more about Sex, Tax and Money, alongside creating good and smart businesses to contribute what she can in creating a better world through behavioural change. In essence, helping people everywhere understand that healthy pleasure is for everyone and sexual self fulfilment and sexual health must be more accessible, affordable and attainable.
Val Sampson qualified as a couples counsellor with Relate, and since then has spent more than a decade working with clients to rebuild their relationships and create rewarding partnerships.
She's the author of four books on sex and relationships, which have been published in the UK, Europe and the USA. She's also written as a relationship counsellor for a wide variety of publications, ranging from The Times to the Daily Mail and Good Housekeeping.
Anna Bailey is the editor of GoodTo. She joined the team in June 2018 but has been a lifestyle writer and online editor for more than 14 years. Career highlights include Lifestyle Editor at ITV.com, Features Editor at MSN UK and Digital Lifestyle Editor for UKTV. Anna has always loved attending weddings and big family occasions. She combined this interest with her passion for interviewing people about the subjects that matter to them most to become a wedding and baby naming celebrant, fully accredited by Humanists UK.
- Ellie Hutchings Junior Features Writer
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