Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is Tantra for You? (Part Three)

Finally, there’s the problematic case of new lovers.  Often they’ve been together for just a few months, they’ve gotten past the first awkward bedroom stage, they’re madly in love, they’re looking for new adventures to tackle together, and Tantra sounds perfect!  Ah, young love!

If this is you, I certainly don’t want to discourage you – a lot of veteran Tantrics started out in your situation!  I just want to caution you about the shift from the adrenaline rush of new love to the sybaritic pair-bonding delights of Tantra. 

No matter how enthusiastic and adventurous you are, my interviews suggest that you aren’t likely to get very far with Tantra until you’ve gotten a few other things out of the way.  Here are some questions every couple needs to think about before starting to learn Tantra, but they are especially important for new couples:

Are you still rushing breathlessly into the bedroom, ripping each other’s clothes off, and having at it with mad abandon? 
Urgent, breathless sex is adrenaline sex.  Repeat after me:  Tantra is slow sex.  It takes patience.  If you’re in a hurry, you’re doing it wrong.

Do you and/or your partner like it rough?
Because that’s also adrenaline sex.  It’s sex for thrills, not sensual pleasure.  I’m not saying it isn’t fun, but it’s a completely different kind of fun.  Tantra is (mostly) gentle sex.  It’s true it can get intensely vigorous, but that’s typically just a hotshot added at the end, after a couple of hours of pure, sensual euphoria.

Are either of you concerned that sex will become being boring if it is scheduled and predictable?
The need for novelty and spontaneity is another characteristic of a preference for adrenaline sex, but unless it’s really strong, it may not be a serious problem if you can put Tantra in a different mental category from regular sex. 

Most of us like a lot of variety in some parts of our lives and a lot of consistency in other parts, and one or both of you may need to reprogram yourselves to think about this one part of your sex life a bit differently.  Tantra requires significant preparations and a block of time that isn’t easy to achieve without scheduling.  Once you are used to that, and have experienced the pleasures of great Tantric sex, scheduling actually becomes an advantage, not a drawback, because you will find pleasurable anticipation building up for days beforehand.

Do the two of you like to cuddle and touch outside of sexual situations?
This may sound like an odd question, but it’s a really good indicator that two people have started to make the transition from the excitement of being head-over-heels in love to the very different process of building a long-term loving bond as a couple.

Every Tantric couple I interviewed rated themselves as at least medium and mostly high to off-the-charts on casual hugs, kisses, touches, fanny pats, hand-holding, shoulder rubs, and other kinds of non-sexual physical contact.  And almost all of them said they were that way before they started Tantra.

Touches don’t have to be long to count.  But they do matter.  Frequent, casual, affectionate, non-sexual contact, unselfconsciously given and unselfconsciously received by both partners, is one of the best indicators I know of for a relationship that is going to stay good and go the distance.

Have you, as a couple, figured out the basics of orgasms? 
Even if you are fairly experienced, I urge you to look at Better Sex 101, the tab at the top right on this page.  There's advice there that will help almost everyone, especially couples who are new to each other.

Ladies, it’s absolutely essential that you be honest with your guy about your needs.  If there’s something you want him to do or that you want to do for yourself, he needs to hear it.  If you’ve been faking it, he needs to know that the two of you have a problem.

To begin with, promise him you won’t fake it again, and keep your promise.  Even if he finds it frustrating when you miss, he needs to know what’s working and what isn’t, so he can learn what to do to help you.  Just as important, he needs to be able to trust you completely.  He can’t trust you if you’re lying to him.

And if you are in the large majority of women - 70% or more in most surveys - who seldom or never have orgasms during strictly vaginal sex, he needs to know that, and you both need to decide what to do about it.  Learning Tantric sex will almost certainly change this for you, but it may take a while, so it is best to take more immediate steps to bring the sexual experience more into balance for both of you.

The essential thing is for you both to understand that this is, unfortunately, completely normal.  As for what to do about it now, I urge both of you to study and practice the advice in Better Sex 101.  It will bring you up to parity by greatly improving the woman's experience.

Are you completely comfortable talking about sex? 
Do you have a common language for the body parts – and the sub-parts! – that doesn’t annoy or embarrass one or the other of you?  Do you both know where the frenulum is?  The G-spot?  The perineum?  (Or maybe you call the last one the “taint.”)

Again, see  Better Sex 101 for advice on how to handle this.

Are you completely comfortable being nude in front of your partner?  And are you truly confident that your partner is turned on by seeing your body? 
If not, Tantric massage is going to make you feel mercilessly exposed and vulnerable, and you’ll be so anxious about it that you won’t be able to enjoy it.  I understand that most of us have less than god-like or goddess-like bodies.  The question isn’t whether you would be comfortable being naked in front of a stranger or a co-worker.  It’s whether you truly believe that your partner finds your body attractive.

If your partner has issues with this, redouble your efforts to reassure them that their body is appealing in your eyes.  We all have a sense of what is considered attractive to the average person.  But the average person does not exist, and every study has shown that men and women are attracted to a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and appearances.  What you need to do is to find ways to convince your partner, deep down, that he or she is attractive to you.

If you and your partner both gave the right answers to all of these questions, then you’re ready to get serious about Tantra.  If not, then fixing those wrong answers is your first assignment!

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