Sunday, October 6, 2013

Delaying Orgasm

It’s clear how creating an appropriate setting and doing the preparations – especially bathing, meditation, and massage – reduce stress and anxiety and contribute to being deeply relaxed and feeling safe and loved, but that’s the easy part. The big stumbling block for newcomers to Tantra is always the process of learning how to stretch out the orgasmic curve and delay the final orgasm. And, at least to begin with, this brings us back to meditation.

Controlling Arousal

The kind of meditation that is critical during Tantric massage, especially during lingam and yoni massage, is different from the more general kind of individual and couple meditation described earlier.

The goal of solo meditation is to reduce stress and reach a state of deep relaxation. Your focus is normally on controlling your breathing and repeating your mantra if you use one. (In mindfulness meditation, your “focus,” if you can call it that, is an unfocused awareness of your breathing and of all the sensations coming from within and outside your body, without letting any one of them dominate or demand your attention.)

The goal of couple meditation is the same as in solo meditation plus, of course, helping the partners get in synch and deepen and reinforce their bond with each other. And in this case, the focus of your attention is obviously your partner.

But the goal of meditation during Tantric massage is more complex. On the one hand, the purpose is to help you extend the plateau phase of arousal as long as possible, and on the other, it is to help you diffuse, expand, and ultimately increase that arousal throughout your whole body. To do both requires careful and disciplined control of your attention.

To begin with, you need to get as deep as possible into a meditative state. You should already be partly there, and the massage should relax you further, so this shouldn’t be too hard. As you get more experienced and as your Tantric activities become more established, the familiar setting and preliminaries should drop you right into it. If you have problems at this point, they’re generally because the massage feels s-o-o-o-o good that you drift off and forget to meditate at all!

Somewhere during the process, however, your partner will begin massaging your genital area, beginning the arousal phase. At this point, the quick, instinctual part of your brain is going to want to jump in and take over. “Aha! Sex! That’s my cue! Yay! We’re off and running!” If you let it take over, your attention will abruptly narrow down and you will be focused entirely on that wonderful feeling in your genitals, and your increased attention will then make those feelings even stronger.

The rule is:  Sensation amplifies attention and attention amplifies sensation.

When you notice a sensation, you focus your attention on the body part producing it. When you pay attention to a body part, the sensations coming from that area feel more intense, so you pay even more attention to it, and so on. When the sensation is sexual and the location is the genitals, it doesn’t take very long before that reinforcing loop has carried you too far up the arousal curve for you to be able to stop, especially with the level of stimulation your partner is giving you.

To experience the full power of a true Tantric orgasm, you need to stop that normal “rabbit brain” orgasm from happening. And the best way to do that is to deliberately focus your attention elsewhere. No, not math problems! You don’t want to wall off and ignore what’s going on. That would be unpleasant for you and your partner and very un-mindful and un-Tantric! The trick instead is to focus your attention on the sensations in the area around the genitals, i.e., the pelvic region as a whole, rather than the genitals themselves.

Practicing Attention Control

It’s easiest to learn how to do this if you do it first on your own, with no sex involved, over a period of at least a week. Sit quietly and meditate. After about 10 to 15 minutes, you should be deeply relaxed. At that point, direct your attention to your pelvic region. Pay attention, for example, to the sensations in your butt muscles as they press down on the surface below. Notice any itchy or prickly feelings. Feel the interplay of muscles and tendons that anchor your back and belly muscles and keep you in that position.

Pay attention to the genitals, the perineum, and the anus. Notice any fullness in the bladder or rectal area. Slowly tighten and relax your PC (Kegel) muscles. Feel all the areas affected, front and back. Do it again, and try not to tense your belly and thigh muscles. Pay attention to what is connected to what and how it feels. Now clench hard and hold it as long as you can, then relax. Pay attention to the way the tension spreads while you are holding tight, and how the relaxation spreads as you relax.

Repeat 10 times, allowing at least 30 seconds of quiet meditation between repetitions. Pay attention to both the spread of tension and the relaxation process.

For extra credit, pay attention to your left foot during some of the intervals. Really focus on feeling every sensation in your foot. Clench and then point the foot. Curl and uncurl your toes. Feel the skin slide over the bones and muscle.

What happened to the sensations in your pelvic area? They just sort of disappeared, right? If you clench your PC muscles and your foot at the same time, can you be intensely aware of both at the same time? Most people find this very hard or impossible. Instead, they have to “timeshare,” alternating attention between the two areas, and this dims the sensation in both areas.

Okay, take a break. Repeat as necessary until you are comfortable that you are able to direct your attention this much.

The next time you meditate, do your PC contractions, but this time tighten your butt and belly muscles along with them, and try to keep your attention on the whole lower torso area, from your perineum to just below your ribs. Feel the tension spread as you hold tight, and then feel the relaxation spread as you release and relax. Try not to focus on any one spot, even briefly. Most people can do this fairly easily. For others, it takes more practice. But everyone finds this much easier than sensing two separate regions, like the pelvis and foot.  Practice until you can focus your concentration on that whole area during both the contraction and the relaxation phases.

Next, tense your pelvic area, your abdominal muscles, and your chest and back muscles. Spread your attention over the whole area. Practice until you can spread your attention evenly over the whole area without focusing on any hot spots.

Finally, include your neck and facial muscles. These are hard, because we are used to giving them high priority, but I recommend not skipping this step if at all possible. Tip: fold your lips in between your teeth to avoid grinding your teeth when you clench your jaw muscles. Also, don’t forget the muscles around the eyes and in the brow areas.

Remember to pay attention just as much during the relaxation phase as during the contraction phase. The relaxation phase should be longer because you want to feel the tension leaving the area and then feel all the sensations that are present when you're not clenching your muscles.

What’s interesting here is that if you try to do two of these regions that aren’t adjacent, such as the pelvis and the neck, it’s next to impossible to pay attention to both of them at the same time, without alternating your attention between them. But if it’s two or more adjacent areas, you can spread your attention over the whole zone.

It turns out that the reason for this is the way the sensorimotor cortex is laid out in the brain. The portions of the cortex that are linked to adjacent areas of the body are also more-or-less adjacent in the brain, and the attention system (which turns up the volume on the things we are paying attention to and blocks the signals from everything else) can group adjacent areas together.

It’s a lot like using a zoom lens on a camera. You can zoom in and focus on one small point, or zoom out and cover a larger and larger area, but you can’t zoom in to focus tightly on two separate areas at the same time. If you try, you find yourself switching back and forth between them.

When you have practiced your attention control and feel confident that you can do it while meditating, start applying your lessons during your next massage. Once you have received three or four full-body massages (or as many as it takes for you to feel completely comfortable and relaxed while receiving a sensual massage), start meditating at the beginning of the massage and focus your attention inward.

Don't do any muscle contractions for now. Just meditate and focus your awareness on all of the good sensations as your partner's hands run all over your body. Try to avoid verbalizing your thoughts. If you notice yourself doing that, just gently push the flow of words to one side and go back to the flow of sensation. Also try to avoid laser-focusing on just the parts being touched, especially when those parts are supersensitive. Keep your awareness general.

The hard part comes when you and your partner progress to lingam and yoni massages. At that point, you need to keep your attention on all the sensations in the whole pelvic area, especially the anal area, pelvic floor, and the buttocks. A number of people have suggested doing very light Kegel pops and gently tightening and releasing the butt muscles while you are learning, as a way to help you keep your attention on the area around the genitals instead of on the genitals themselves. Your partner should be helping you do this, too, by remembering to include the pelvic area and upper thighs in the massage as much as possible.

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