Tantra is actually a spiritual practice, so if you want to know how to have tantric sex, you also need to understand the spiritual basis for tantra before you jump in bed with someone and try out so-called tantric sex positions…
And, believe it or not, there are many tantric exercises for singles too – you don’t have to be in a relationship to start learning and practicing tantric sex.
Tantra – the Story Behind Tantric Sex
Tantra is “the esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism that co-developed most likely about the middle of 1st millennium CE.” As tantra branched out in different directions there’s not just one interpretation of the spiritual practice, but many, but it has clear roots in some of the sacred texts of Hinduism and Buddhism.
There have been sexual practices amongst some tantric traditions, but tantric sex (also known as neotantra) is actually more of a Western concept. Pierre Bernard introduced it to America in the early 20th century, setting up tantric clinics that became very popular.
Whilst there is no “right” way for how to have tantric sex, most practitioners today talk about activating the chakras, using Kundalini energy and worshipping the divine feminine. Chakras are said to be energy points where channels of life force (prana) come together in the non-physical body (think of it as streams coming together at certain points in your body).
There are seven main chakras along your spine, of which the one at the base of the spine is said to contain Kundalini – a primal energy, which is described as a coiled serpent, or woman, awaiting awakening. It’s the force of creation and of change; often pictured as the divine mother. As such it also has connotations to fertility and sexual energy.
It’s said that when Kundalini energy is awakened and travels up the spine, you reach a state of deep meditation, enlightenment, and bliss. A lot of people practice yoga, especially Kundalini yoga, to activate this force through movement, meditation, and breathing.
In a sense, you could say that tantric sex has to do with actively engaging the Kundalini energy in sex and seeing sex as a sacred act. In more practical terms, tantric sex can help you engage with your body and with your partner; helping you stay present during sex to fully explore the emotional and physical sensations that you experience.
For many, sex comes with a fear that their body isn’t perfect enough or they aren’t good enough lovers. Others feel fear expressing what they want from their partner. Tantra can be a neutral playing ground where you learn to open up to each other in a loving space.
As there are as many different interpretations of tantra and tantric sex as there are practitioners there is no right and wrong of what tantra should and shouldn’t bring you.
Below you find some of my interpretations of various tantra techniques.
How to have tantric sex – Setting the scene
Not unlike the idea of Zen, tantric sex is best practiced in a space where you feel relaxed. Clear out the room where you intend to practice it – make sure it’s tidy, clean and fresh. If you feel relaxed and sensual (not sexual) in the space, then it’s ready.
Avoid any harsh chemicals, such as unnatural cleaning agents. If you want to scent the room, use an essential oil diffuser. Make sure you use real essential oils and essences and try to keep it at a minimum so that the scents don’t overwhelm you.
Find scents that you both like. And bear in mind, whilst some scents are said to be erotic, like neroli, on their own they’re often way too pungent. Try the testers in the store to see what you like and if you want, have fun blending various different scents together at home.
The lighting can also help set a mood of relaxation. Try to find lights with dimmers, or use a few different smaller lamps that give out a soft light. Candles can also help you relax, just be sure to keep them away from a draft and anything that can catch fire.
Make sure that once they burn down they won’t reach something that can catch fire either. You can, of course, have tantric sex during the day in natural light as well.
Getting ready for tantric sex
Tantra, the original spiritual practice, has been translated as “weaving energy.” As mentioned tantric sex is all about awakening the kundalini energy and then merging the male (shiva) force with the female (shanti) force.
As such, it helps to gently stretch your body and do some light movements before you join your partner so that energy can flow more freely. Showering and brushing your teeth is also recommended as it will help you relax and make your feel fresh.
You can choose to be naked, or wear clothing; preferably so thin you can feel someone’s body through it and so comfortable it doesn’t restrict your movements in any way. If you like you can use something like an open shirt, so that you can still have skin contact with your partner. Be sure to stay warm. Being cold won’t help you relax one bit!
In the room where you intend to practice, have some water ready to drink, as well as some sugar-free mints. As you will do a lot of breathing, chances are you will get thirsty and you might want a mint, or two.
Chewing gums will be distracting and if you have mints with sugar your mouth won’t feel fresh afterward. Whilst you might want to avoid some sweeteners, xylitol is generally considered OK to consume in small amounts (in large amounts it has a laxative effect, but that’s a lot more than what goes into a mint!).
The first tantric exercise: Eye contact
Sitting cross-legged (if this is uncomfortable, try putting a cushion or a yoga block underneath the back of your butt) opposite each other, look each other in the eye until you feel you’ve established contact and are both fully relaxed, or for a minimum of two minutes.
The second tantric sex exercise: Breathing
As mentioned, breathing is extremely important when learning how to have tantric sex. Once you’ve established a real connection through looking each other in the eye, start breathing together. Slowly, slowly, inhale through your noses and just as slowly, exhale through your mouths. As you inhale, imagine the kundalini energy rising from the bottom of your spine, up your back towards the tip of your head.
The third tantric sex exercise: Heart to heart
Having tantric sex is a lot about connection, so what could be better than feeling each other’s heartbeats? As you continue to look each other in the eye, breathing in sync, put your left hand on your partner’s heart, as they put their hand over yours. After two minutes, swap so that they put their left hand on your heart and you put your hand over theirs.
The fourth tantric sex exercise: Eating breath
Sit down in your partner’s lap – if he’s able he can stay sitting cross-legged (preferred), otherwise, he might need to sit in a chair – facing him and wrap your legs around his waist. When he breathes out you breathe in his breath and when you breathe out he breathes in yours. When you breathe in, imagine his breath traveling down through your body to the base of your spine, awakening the kundalini force. This is a tantric kiss of sorts.
The fifth tantric sex exercise: Rocking
Continue to sit in your partner’s lap, looking each other in the eye, eating each other’s breath, as in the exercise above. Slowly start rocking back and forth together, in a sensual, fluid, movement. As you rock forward, breathe in and tighten your pelvic muscles and as you rock back, breathe out and relax.
The sixth tantric sex exercise: Exploring giving and receiving
When you learn how to tantric sex you also learn to give and receive energy; loving energy. One way to do so is to sit together and tell each other what you appreciate with each other. Start with connecting as in the first two exercises, then honestly share what you appreciate with one another.
Take turns sharing short statements, such as “I love the way you always kiss me good night,” “I love your sense of humor,” I love the way you care for your niece,” “I love the way you look after your employees” and so forth.
You can also, in another session, or later in the same session, share what you like in the bedroom. “I love it when you kiss my breasts,” “I love it when you send me sexy text messages,” “I love seeing you get undressed,” etc.
Another way to explore giving and receiving is to have one of you lie down, first head down, then turning around, and have the other give something through the senses. For example, you can touch their entire body with a featherlight touch, massage their entire body, kiss their entire body, or use a feather on their entire body. As you do so, concentrate on loving thoughts about them. In another session you can concentrate on sensual thoughts you have about them.
If you want to touch their genitals, you should save that for last, as the idea is to first build the connection.
Tantric sex and actually having sex
When you learn how to have tantric sex the focus is on connection, not on having an orgasm (though it’s certainly not wrong if you have one during practice). By the end of a session, you can choose to have sex where you orgasm and there are many sexual positions people claim to be tantric in nature.
Just bear in mind to continue the connection with your partner and focus on the sensation of energy running through your body. As you are about to orgasm, breathe the energy through your body – imagine it traveling from your core chakra up through your spine and throughout your body.
Tantric sex exercises on your own
Tantric sex isn’t just about practicing with your partner – it’s about awakening your own kundalini energy. When you learn how to have tantric sex it is incredibly useful to do those exercises. Women like Shakti Malan have entire books about exercises such as these.
For example, try sitting cross-legged with closed eyes, focusing on slowly breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you breathe in, imagine the kundalini force at the base of your spine/perineum awakening and traveling up your spine and through your body.
You can also do the rocking exercise on your own – move forward with each inhales and tightening your pelvic muscles, relaxing as you breathe out and rock backward.
As you practice always imagine your body and the sexual energy that is awakened as sacred. Likewise, when practicing with your partner, imagine their body and energy as sacred too. After all, what you love is sacred.
Further exploring tantric sex
There are many, many books about how to have tantric sex available. There are also workshops by a variety of different teachers. It’s important you find a style and (if you like) teacher that works for you.
Read a couple of different books and see what speaks to you. If you go to a workshop you don’t like, don’t be put off – just because one teaching style doesn’t fit you, doesn’t mean tantra isn’t for you (some teachers seem to have gone off to teach orgies rather than tantra…). And you can always choose to study with the help of books.