Tantric sex originates from ancient Hinduism and revolves around sexual practices that focus on creating a deep, intimate connection.
In this article, We will explore what tantric sex is, the processes of getting to know one’s body and one’s partner’s body, how to prepare, and building the moment both alone and with a partner.
What is Tantric Sex?
Tantra is an ancient Indian practice that dates back more than 5,000 years. In Sanskrit, the word tantra means woven together. People who practice Buddhist and Hindu meditation may also practice tantric sex as a way to “weave” the physical with the spiritual.
Tantric sex is a slow, meditative form of sex where the end goal is not orgasm but enjoying the sexual journey and sensations of the body. It aims to move sexual energy throughout the body for healing, transformation, and enlightenment.
This practice brings together spirituality and sexuality and emphasizes the importance of intimacy during a sexual experience, It includes breathing, sounds, and movements to activate sexual energy. However, tantra isn’t just about sexual pleasure. It’s more about celebrating your body and feeling heightened sensuality. The practice intertwines spirituality, sexuality, and a state of mindfulness. It encourages a sensual experience that may be experienced alone or with a partner.
The purpose of Tantric Sex
There can be a whole array of goals and expectations around sex that put pressure on us to be a certain way, as well as routines and habits that keep us stuck in a sexual rut. Tantra is about throwing all of that out the window and starting fresh with a beginner’s mind, redefining sex by making it more about intimacy, connection, and playful possibility rather than a race to the orgasm or a box-to-be checked. When you let go of goals like “getting someone off” or achieving anything in particular, there is literally endless room for discovery and such a wide range of what is possible.
Knowing one’s body.
Tantric sex encourages people to get to know their own bodies and become in tune with them. By understanding the desire of one’s own body, one can incorporate this during sex with a partner. This may lead to greater sexual fulfillment and more intense orgasms.
To understand what one’s body wants, it can be useful to engage in tantric self-love or masturbation. If a person finds that they have emotional blocks around self-touch, they should be curious and gentle with themselves as they explore what is preventing them from getting to know their own body more intimately. The more a person knows about their body and pleasure zones, the more likely they are to have a satisfying sexual experience.
If someone does not wish to engage in masturbation and has a partner, however, they may feel more comfortable learning about their own body through partnered sex.
Knowing one’s partner’s body.
Tantric sex is about honoring one’s body and the body of one’s partner. By taking time to get to know one’s own body as well as that of one’s partner, it can help make the experience fulfilling for both people.
A person may consider giving their partner a slow, full-body massage to learn about their body and help awaken their sexual energy. This may also help a person become in tune with their partner’s wants and desires.
As is the case with any sexual activity, if at any point a person or their partner becomes uncomfortable, the activity should stop.
Benefits of Tantric Sex
Tantric sex can offer a wide variety of benefits:
1. Releases you from expectations.
Many people approach sex with certain expectations or concerns—for instance, the expectation that penetration will occur or the concerns around whether you or your partner will reach climax. The goal of tantric sex is to release you from those expectations. You can enjoy tantric sexuality with or without penetration, orgasm, or even a partner. Letting go of these expectations can help you relax and enjoy the present moment, promoting more spiritual wellness around the sexual experience.
2. Encourages mindfulness.
From work to finances, everyone juggles many daily stressors. These concerns and stressors can end up invading the bedroom, making it difficult to give or receive sexual pleasure. Tantric sex works to release you from distractions and zero in on your body (or your partner’s), helping you center yourself in the present moment, harness your sexual energy, and allow you to enjoy better sex.
3. Can lead to a deeper connection.
Whether you’re exploring tantric sexuality with a partner or on your own, the practice can make you more in tune with the sexual experience. Through breathing, massage, or partner-based methods like eye contact, you can unlock a deeper connection with yourself or your partner for a more intimate experience.
4. Often extends intercourse.
Tantric sex aims for a slow, thoughtful interaction that allows you to explore and relax rather than rush toward achieving orgasm. From long sessions of foreplay to “edging” (a sexual practice that involves cycles of intense stimulation while holding off climax for increased pleasure), tantric sex often lasts longer than traditional sexual intercourse.
What happens during Tantric Sex?
Tantric sex involves a wide array of erotic activities, not all of which involve the same kind of penetration and physical stimulation of erogenous zones that most people associate with sex. A typical tantra session involves the subtle realms of sex, including slow embraces, gentle caresses, getting present within the body, and focusing on the movement of energy between the partners’ bodies.
Sometimes during tantric sex, you’re barely moving, and the focus is on the meditative, devotional dimension. If you relax and take things slowly, or ramp up and slow down the action, you can make love for hours, and the enjoyment can just keep building. People with penises might also explore practices like edging (getting close to orgasm and backing off), which builds their ability to last longer and hold more pleasure before flipping over into orgasm.
That said, all sexual energy can be tantric when done with awareness. Tantric sex can dive into the raw, intense, and animalistic spaces, where the body’s instinctual intelligence takes over and you are blind to pleasure. Dominance and submission can be tantric as well.
Breathwork is also central to tantric sex; people might use their breath and awareness to move sexual energy throughout their whole body, awakening their capacity for full-body pleasure (rather than pleasure localized specifically in the genitalia).
How to perform Tantric Sex with a partner?
If you and your partner want to experiment with tantric sex, check out these basic tips to get started:
1. Prepare a safe space.
You should always practice tantric sex in a space that feels comfortable and sacred. Pick a room in your home and prepare it by cleaning up, dimming the lights, lighting candles or incense, and playing relaxing music. To prepare for the act, you and your partner should shower and find something to wear that makes you both feel relaxed and sensual. Turn off or silence your phones to avoid distractions and keep you in the present moment.
Set intentions for this session of intimacy, such as, “My intention is to show you with my body how much I love you” or “I’m curious to explore deeply receiving.”
2. Eye gazing.
In the powerful gaze of your partner, there is nowhere to hide, and you practice fully revealing yourself to the other with all that you feel and all that you are. You see them fully while at the same time letting yourself be seen.
Sit up straight on a pillow or chair facing your partner. You can look left eye to left eye or just gaze softly at both eyes, and you can also hold hands if you like. Let the love that is in your heart shine out through your eyes. Gazing at your beloved, see the divine spark in their eyes, marveling at the pure life force that is animating them. Feel the sacredness of this simple moment together.
Try for two minutes. Notice what emotions or sensations come up, or if you feel tempted to look away. It isn’t a staring contest, so you can always close your eyes for a few seconds and then open them again.
3. Hands-on hearts circuit.
This one can often flow nicely after eye gazing. While sitting facing each other with a soft gaze, bring your hands to your own heart and breathe up into your heart. As you feel the love that is welling up in your heart for your partner, reach across and place your right hand on your partner’s heart (with consent), and they can place their right hand on your heart. Each person’s left hand then covers the hand on their own heart. Synchronize your breathing, with slow, deep, nourishing breaths. On the inhale, receive breath and love into your own heart, and on the exhale, send that love from your heart down your right arm and into your partner’s heart, making a circuit of love and energy flowing between you. Do this for about 10 breaths.
4. Add more physical foreplay.
After you have established a meaningful connection, you can add more physical foreplay to increase sexual arousal. Deep, slow kissing or sensual tantric massage are great ways to ramp up the tantric experience.
Tantric massages are another powerful part of tantric sex, one that can be the key to multiple orgasms for both people with clitorises and people with penises. In a tantric massage, one partner gets to just lie back and receive, getting the chance to tune into their pleasure and sexual energy and see how it wants to open up through their body, while the other partner moves their hands slowly and meditatively along their body to let them feel every single new sensation.
Consider trying out the yoni massage (a tantric massage for the vagina and clitoris), lingam massage (a tantric massage for penises), and tantric nipple play.
5. Go as far as you are comfortable.
Tantric sex doesn’t have to culminate in penetration. Check with your partner to determine their expectations for the session. If you and your partner want to have intercourse, start with the yab-yum position, a sexual position that represents the uniting of masculine, penetrative energies (Shiva) and feminine, receptive energies (Shakti). Each partner can serve either role, regardless of gender. For yab-yum, the penetrative partner sits cross-legged while the receptive partner sits in their lap with their legs wrapped round their lower back. In addition to yab-yum, explore any positions, lubes, or sex toys you both enjoy. As you have intercourse, try to continue breathing deeply, staying mindful of your body’s pleasure, and moving in slow, meaningful rhythms.
6. Experiment with edging.
Tantric sex is about more than just orgasm—in a tantric sex session, you don’t need to orgasm at all. If you want to draw out the pleasure, try edging, a sexual technique in which you are brought to the brink of climax in cycles, holding off orgasm for increased pleasure. Edging with a partner allows them to control your release and can result in heightened pleasure upon climax.
How to perform a Solo Tantric Sex?
While you can perform tantric sex with a partner, you can also experience tantra pleasure during solo masturbation. Here are some tips to get you started:
You should always practice tantric sex in a space that feels comfortable and sacred. Pick a room in your home and prepare it by cleaning up, dimming the lights, lighting candles or incense, and playing some relaxing music. To prepare yourself, shower, then select an outfit that makes you feel relaxed and sensual. Turn off or silence your phone to avoid distractions and keep you in the present moment.
2. Feel your breath.
Your breath plays a vital role in your mood and mindfulness. First, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, then inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Feel your abdomen expand and contract with each deep breath.
3. Explore your body.
Use your hands to explore different parts of your body in an intimate tantric massage. Spend time massaging your neck, chest, stomach, and inner thighs, as well as your arms, face, and ankles. As you explore your entire body, take notice of the different sensations you feel in your groin area and pelvic floor.
4. Go as far as you want.
Tantric sex doesn’t have to culminate in orgasm, so you can always stop the process if you feel satisfied. If you want to continue, you may begin to masturbate, moving slowly. You can incorporate toys, lotions, and different positions, but remember to breathe deeply, staying mindful of your body’s pleasure as you move in slow, meaningful rhythms.
5. Experiment with edging.
To draw out the pleasure and hold off on an orgasm, try edging, a sexual practice in which yourself to the brink of climax then delay the orgasm to prolong the pleasure. Edging gives you full control of your body’s pleasure, allowing you to unlock an orgasm at the time of your choosing.
Q: Can anyone practice tantric sex?
Yes. There are elements of tantra that can work for most people, even if you don’t necessarily buy into the idea of tantra and even if you’re LGBTQ+, disabled, or single. That’s right, you can incorporate tantra into your solo sex sessions!
Q: Do I need to consult a guru to learn about tantric sex?
If you’re not much of a self-learner and want to explore more of the non-sexual (spiritual) concepts of tantra, then it may be beneficial to seek out a guru who can guide you. However, if you find it odd to talk about sex with others or simply prefer to explore tantra on your own, a guru isn’t necessary.
Q: How important are sex positions to tantric sex?
The sex positions suggested here and in other guides to tantric sex can help you get the most out of tantric practices such as exchanging breath or otherwise moving energy through your body and your partner’s.
However, you can achieve many of these same goals through other positions. It’s more important for you to be tantric-minded than to stick to a list of tantric sex positions.
Q: Does Tantra make you have stronger orgasms?
We can’t guarantee it, but some people report stronger orgasms from tantric sex. You’ll just have to try it out yourself and see. What tantra does do is encourage you to try new things, be in the moment, take more time to connect with your partner, all of which can make orgasm more likely/easier and potentially more intense.
Q: Is tantra the same as Kama Sutra?
Not exactly, but the two are connected. Tantra derives from Buddhist and Hindu as well as some Indian traditions. The focus of tantra was on education long before the term became associated with religion or sex. Lessons and education were woven into a person’s life.
On the other hand, the Kama Sutra is an ancient Sanskrit text about sex and eroticism that was written by Vatsyayana between the 2nd and 4th centuries A.C.E. It’s not entirely a manual or all about sex. In fact, it’s similar to tantra in that it teaches new ways to think and live, which includes sexuality. Together the concepts of weaving and sex (“Kama”) make up the essence of life.
Q: Does tantra help with sexual trauma or PTSD?
Some people report relief from symptoms caused by PTSD or other conditions when they begin to practice tantra. What may make tantra effective is that it incorporates elements of mindfulness or being aware of the moment. Mindfulness may be helpful in relieving those symptoms as it has been helpful for people who have borderline personality disorder, substance dependence, stress and anxiety, and major depressive disorder.
Mindfulness may also be beneficial for trauma survivors according to some studies, However, some people may find that mindfulness can intensify symptoms of PTSD. If you’re worried, it’s best to talk to your medical or mental health provider to see if mindfulness is the right practice for you.
Tantric sex is a meditative sexual practice that encourages people to focus on mind-body connections. This can lead to fulfilling sexual experiences and greater intimacy.
When preparing for tantric sex alone or with a partner, it is good to set aside some time and find a comfortable environment. This can help people focus fully on the experience.
Breathing is a key component of tantric sex, as it helps a person focus their mind and be in tune with one’s body. Tantric sex with a partner encourages the synchronization of breathing to promote connection and intimacy.