Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Five Keys to Tantric Sex

The five keys are:
  • Extended Time
  • Deep Relaxation
  • Prolonged Arousal
  • Controlled Attention
  • Intimate Knowledge 

Extended Time

In all my conversations with Tantra enthusiasts, I’ve never met one person who thought you could enjoy the full Tantric experience in less than two hours.  Most couples schedule at least three hours. 

Partly, this is because it would be hard to fit all the parts of the ritual into much less time than that.  Even two hours feels rushed.

But that’s only part of why you need to reserve a generous amount of time.  All of the strange and beneficial effects of Tantra depend absolutely on greater duration.

Deep Relaxation

No, not like sitting down with a beer to watch the telly.  Much deeper than that!  Every single veteran Tantric I interviewed is an experienced meditator, and meditation is essential to getting to a state of profound calm.  But even that is not enough.  Beginners, especially, need to create a safe place where they feel secure and know there will be no interruptions for several hours.  Then the full Tantric ritual begins with mutual bathing, meditation, and massage to get rid of all lingering physical tension and, at the very least, to put all mental anxieties on hold for a few hours.

Even with all that careful preparation, relaxing deeply and staying relaxed during sex is hard unless you have complete and total confidence in your partner.  This is one the main reasons that couples who have been together only a short time often fail at learning Tantra.  Most normal sexual encounters are filled with raging anxieties, about sexual performance, about body issues, about what your partner really thinks.  Until you get past all that, Tantra simply won't work.  Yes, you can have better sex.  Anyone can, just by slowing down and extending foreplay to at least half an hour.  But it won't be the true Tantric experience.

Prolonged Arousal

Other things being equal, the longer the arousal phase, the longer and more intense the orgasm or series of orgasms.  That's a very good reason for stretching things out.  But there's more to extending arousal than that.  Strong sexual arousal triggers the release of a number of chemicals in the brain and the body.  And the longer the arousal goes on, the higher the levels of these chemicals in the brain.

I'll talk about the whole neurosexual cocktail in a later post, but for now, just consider phenethylamine, the endorphins, and the endocannabinoids.  These chemicals stimulate energy, block pain, reduce anxiety, and increase pleasure.  In large doses they’re literally intoxicating – when they flood the brain, we get high.

Endurance athletes are familiar with a version of this called the runner's high.  During a long run, endorphins accumulate in the body, blocking pain and fatigue and endocannabinoids accumulate in the brain, providing a nice buzz.  

Extended sexual arousal can do the same thing, although the chemical mix is a bit different and there is (or should be) no pain or fatigue working against it, so the result can be quite a bit more intense.  This is the Tantric high.

Controlled Attention

This is something Tantra shares with Kundalini yoga:  a disciplined form of attention to different parts of the body during meditation.  In Tantra, we use it to manipulate, control, and extend the area of sexual arousal far beyond the normal concentration of sensation in the genitals.  Initially that involves focusing on – and spreading the area of arousal to  the whole pelvic region, then extending it to the abdomen, the chest, and the rest of the body.

The goal is two-fold:  to lessen our attention to the genitals themselves, which helps us prolong the arousal process, and to set the stage for the release of that arousal from a much wider area, in what Tantrics call a "multi-chakra" or "whole body" orgasm.  This is a completely different kind of orgasm that often makes you feel like your entire body is being shaken apart.  By comparison, normal orgasms can seem a bit feeble!

Intimate Knowledge

Beginners often think of Tantric massage as purely a process of giving, or as an exchange, like trading a gift for a gift.  But it turns out to be the key to a great deal more, including a lot of benefit directly to the giver.

The key to giving a true Tantric massage is learning to completely understand your partner's body and senses.  As you work with their body and manage their arousal curve, bringing them close to the peak - but not too close! - and then learning how to keep them at that level for extended periods, you are forced to concentrate on every twitch, every sound, every grimace.  In time, you become such an expert on this one favorite subject that you can begin to anticipate exactly how every touch, every stroke is going to feel to your partner.  There comes a point where you don't have to ask what is going to maximize your partner's pleasure, you simply do what you know is going to feel best and it does.

And this leads in time to one of the more startling things about Tantra. Later on, during the second half of the Tantric ritual, the euphoria of the Tantric high combines with your deep, intimate knowledge of your partner's sexual response, and vice versa, to pave the way for an astonishingly realistic sense that you are sharing each other's bodies, that you are plugged into each other's nervous systems, that you have truly become one person.

A clear majority of my interviewees reject spiritual or mystical beliefs, yet all of them described having this experience and it is one of the things they value most highly about Tantra.  The perception that you are experiencing every touch, every stroke, and every orgasm from both sides at the same time seems overpoweringly real, and it more than doubles the pleasure and the intensity of sex as well as the emotional bond between partners.

More to come...

I'll go into more depth on each of these keys and how they are built into the Tantric experience in future posts!

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