Friday, September 27, 2013

Learning Tantra: Massaging the Front

I start my front massage with the face, shoulders, arms, and hands, moving to one side and then the other.  I spend a fair amount of time on the hands and fingers, and then work back up each arm and do the pectoral and upper side muscles on that side, before switching to the other arm.

For men:  During the transition from one arm to the other, I suggest that you also oil and massage both breasts while you are standing at the head of the table.  Be very gentle unless your partner tells you to be firmer.   Breasts aren’t muscles and most of us don’t like having them kneaded or mauled!  Instead, brush your fingers over them and gently rub your palms over them in a swirling motion. 

Brush the nipples lightly, but don’t pinch or tug on them unless your partner specifically tells you she wants you to.  Some women love nipple play, but usually not until after they are fully aroused.  This confuses many guys who are still stuck on the middle school idea that the breasts are “second base.”  They assume that grabbing a girl’s breasts or pinching her nipples is going to get her hot, but it usually has just the opposite effect.  If you do that here, you will completely undo all the good, deep relaxation you have just carefully created!

For women:  While you are doing his chest muscles, do gently experiment with his nipples. Check with him before doing anything aggressive, but I was surprised to find out that some men find nipple play just as stimulating as some women do, and that they are much more likely to enjoy having them pinched and tugged than we are!

After finishing the second arm, work your way down the table again.  The lower ribs and belly can be tricky.  We’re programmed to be very protective about these areas, and most people don’t like much pressure, if any, on them, so stick with a light, light touch. You want your partner to feel the pleasurable sensation of your hands gliding over their skin, without anything that could be mistaken for a threatening gesture or potentially painful amount of pressure.  And whatever you do, don’t tickle!

As you continue south, dribble some oil on your partner’s penis or vulva and spread it around with a light or playful touch, but don’t linger.  Keep working down the near thigh, the calf, both feet, and back up the other side.  Say hello again to your partner’s penis or vulva, this time with a bit more enthusiasm, but don’t get carried away quite yet! 

For women:  You will probably need to stop after just a few strokes if your guy is already firm, or things will go too far.  For men:  You can continue with hand play and maybe some tongue flicks until your partner is unmistakably aroused.  Many men have never actually seen what their partner's vulva looks like as she becomes aroused, so this is a good chance to find out what the visual differences are between normal and full arousal.  However, unless you know she is reliably multi-orgasmic, you should stop there for now, at least the first few times you do this.

Decision Time

At this point, I suggest that you switch to yab-yum or your normal sexual activities instead of continuing with the full yoni or lingam massage.  You can join your partner on the table (check its weight rating) or use the towel to help wipe off the excess oil and then switch to the bed or mat.

Why stop here?  Well, that’s complicated.  First, you might not need to.  Long-time couples with no inhibitions and good meditation skills can just continue at this point with the yoni or lingam massage if they feel they are ready.  But most couples would be better off if they took it slower.

There are several related issues.  The first is that the massage giver needs to practice being totally present during the massage, and it takes time to learn to do this.  You want to be completely into the skin contact, and what your eyes, ears, and hands are telling you about your partner’s sensations.  In effect, the massage should be an extension of the couple meditation, where you are wholly absorbed in your partner’s experience.

It’s very, very hard to do this the first time you give a massage in a sexually charged setting. You will still be learning your partner’s signals, the quiet hum or sudden breath, the curled fingers or toes, the slight shifts of the head or the knees, that indicate tension or relaxation, pleasure or discomfort.  And you will almost inevitably get distracted by thinking about specific massage techniques, or what is coming next, or what it will feel like when it’s your turn on the table.

The second problem is that the recipient needs to be meditating during the massage but also needs to be communicating with the massage giver about what feels good, what’s too hard or soft, what should last longer or be skipped lightly over.  And you can’t really do both of those things at once, so the meditation gets neglected during these first few massages. 

Finally, getting a full-body massage can make even the most secure person feel a little vulnerable, so it is hard to be completely relaxed the first few times.  It is far better to practice and become familiar with your partner’s body and touch before going ahead with something that needs you both to be deeply relaxed and completely focused.

Instead of rushing ahead, practice this much of a massage at least four or five times for each of you.  Each time you do it you will be less concerned about the specifics of giving the massage and more confident of your partner’s reactions and needs.  This will let the giver concentrate more on the receiver's level of arousal and let the receiver concentrate much more on meditation and controlled attention.

Next Steps

Giving a really good Tantric massage isn't easy.  It takes lots of practice and care.  But, believe it or not, receiving a Tantric massage in the right way can be harder than giving it. The kind of meditation required while receiving a Tantric massage is probably the hardest single part of Tantra to describe and to learn.  Before I try to explain how to do it, I need to digress a bit and talk about what is happening inside your body and your mind while you are experiencing prolonged sexual arousal.

Over the next series of posts, I’m going to discuss the chemistry of sex, orgasms, what we know about them, why they vary, and one way to classify the different kinds of orgasms. Then I’m going to discuss attention, particularly how a very specific way of controlling the focus of your attention can help you prolong your arousal period, create the euphoric effect of the Tantric high, and delay and strengthen your orgasms.  After that, I will come back to the lingam and yoni massages you will be practicing next.

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