This is really rare in a tantra setting with experienced couples, but it can definitely happen when you are first learning this together, particularly if your partner still has some reservations about doing tantra and perhaps some shyness about being exposed in this way with the lights on. So in addition to looking for physical signs of arousal, be sure to get some kind of confirmation from her before you go ahead. She can signal with her hands, push her vulva up against your hands, or say yes to your soft question, "Are you ready for me to move ahead?"
Occasionally, you might see the opposite situation. She may be ready and eager for you to progress to more direct stimulation even though you aren't seeing the physical signs of arousal. (This seems to be more likely to happen to women who are young and relatively inexperienced when they are learning tantra, and to women who start learning tantra after menopause.) In any case, if she says she's ready, take her word for it, use extra lube, and move forward.
Once your partner is at least moderately aroused, your playing field expands. There are many things you can do at this point and you should definitely try them all. Just don't get carried away when you find something that seems to work really well. Remember that you are trying to help her sustain a moderately high level of arousal while she practices meditating and controlling her attention.
So explore alternatives. Variety is critical to maintaining an intermediate level of arousal. When you do one very stimulating thing over and over, the body tends to get into the rhythm of it and starts to accelerate toward orgasm. Save that sort of thing for the end!
The ClitorisAgain, there’s a great deal that depends on personal preference and sensitivity. Most women hate having rough fingers touch the clit itself, until – maybe! – close to the end, but there are exceptions to everything, and there are a few women who like a lot of firm contact right on the glans, the sensitive tip of the clitoris. (There are even a rare few who like having the clit pinched, pulled, or even slapped, but I strongly advise you not to experiment in these directions unless your partner explicitly tells you to!)
If your partner is like most women, my best advice is to concentrate your efforts on stimulating her clit indirectly through the clitoral hood. The hood covers the shaft of the clit and often the head as well until a woman is quite aroused. (Again, genital anatomy differs widely, so look for yourself.)
One of your first missions is to find the shaft under the hood and gently determine how long the external part of the shaft is when your partner is aroused. (Like the penis, the clitoral shaft continues for quite a distance inside the body.) Many women masturbate with a circular, side-to-side, or up-and-down motion of their fingers on the clitoral shaft – or, rather, on the clitoral hood where it covers the shaft. Remember to add lube, and then try experimenting with those basic strokes, sliding the hood over the shaft. You can also stimulate her clit by rubbing or tugging gently on the inner labia if they are connected to the clitoral hood, as they are for many women.
The Vaginal OpeningThe other area that should get your attention at around this point is the introitus, or vaginal entrance. Again, be sure everything is well-lubed, and then run your fingertips down the vestibule (the smooth area between the inner labia) and around the entrance to her vagina. Alternate your attention between her clitoral shaft, her vaginal opening, and her labia for a while. Take your time; it’s not unusual to need to spend five minutes or more alternating different strokes in this kind of general external massage before going further.
At some point as you do this, you may feel a quiver in the vaginal entrance, or you may see or feel the entrance open up or contract a little bit. This is good! Stroke around the entrance again and then slip the tip of a finger inside and rotate it around, gently stroking the inner wall of the entrance. If your partner pushes her pelvis toward your hand or makes encouraging noises, you know you have the timing right.
On the other hand, if you jumped the gun and your partner isn’t quite ready, she should pull back, say “not yet,” or push your hand away. Most women are used to men diving into the vagina much too soon, and get fairly resigned to it, but this is a case where your partner really needs to give you feedback, so watch for it, or simply ask if she’s ready. If you get a “not yet,” just go back to whatever you were doing and watch for a change in her readiness level that suggests that you should ask again.
Hopefully, however, you will have read the signs correctly and you will find that she is eager and receptive. As you stroke around just outside and inside the entrance, add a second fingertip. (Note: some women, especially after menopause, may prefer you to use only one, but most prefer two and a few prefer three. If in doubt, ask!) Now gently slide your fingers the rest of the way in. The backs of your fingers should be facing downward, toward the back of the vagina and your fingertips should be pressing up against the front wall of the vagina.
Now curve your fingers upward in a beckoning “come-here” gesture and withdraw your fingers an inch or two, using your fingertips to stroke the front (upper) wall of the vagina, going toward the entrance. Repeat this in a slow rhythm, using firm pressure. As you do this, use your free hand to cover and press down on her vulva toward the fingertips from above, or to stroke upward from her pubic area toward her chest, helping her visualize a growing area of sexual tension and to expand her awareness to include her whole pelvis and abdominal area.
The "Sacred Spot"This area is located on the front wall of the vagina, about 1.5 to 3 inches in from the entrance. It has long been known to Tantrics as an important erogenous zone, but is now more-famously known as the “G-spot” after Ernst Gräfenberg, the German gynecologist who "discovered" it in the 1940s. It usually feels flat and smooth at the beginning, like any other part of the vaginal wall, but as your partner becomes fully aroused you may feel this area change to a somewhat firmer, thicker, rippled or corrugated pattern as the tissue on the other side of the vaginal wall becomes engorged.
There are several important structures in this area: the urethra runs lengthwise down the center of this region, just as it runs up the underside of the penis. It is surrounded by a roughly tubular erectile structure known as the urethral sponge. And behind and on either side of the urethral sponge are the internal extensions of the clitoral shaft, sometimes called the clitoral roots or legs.
By stroking the front wall of the vagina, you are stimulating the clitoris itself, via the clitoral legs, and you are stimulating the urethral sponge to fill up. As these two structures tumesce, they become thicker, firmer, and somewhat lumpier, something you may be able to feel through the vaginal wall, depending on your partner’s anatomy.
Incidentally, your partner may prefer it if you try to keep your fingertips slightly separated from each other, at the 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock positions instead of the 12 o’clock position. The reason is to avoid stroking right down the center of the urethra itself, which may feel uncomfortable after a while.
Confusingly, there are some women who are not especially sensitive in this part of the vaginal wall. If you find, after several tries, that your partner is one of those who are not responsive here, experiment with other sorts of strokes. For example, one of our couples reported good results when the man crossed the tips of his index and middle finger and moved them in and out in a corkscrew motion. Some women are also more sensitive in the 4 and 8 o’clock areas than in the 12 o’clock (G-spot) area.
However, the majority of women find that stimulation in the G-spot area creates a deeper and more intense orgasm, especially in combination with direct clitoral stimulation. In the early stages, you will probably want to alternate between vaginal and clitoral massage, but if your partner has a “high threshold,” she will probably prefer to have you do both at once. This can sometimes present coordination problems for men who are used to being “one-handed lovers,” so you now have a good reason to work on your ambidextrous skills, your hand-tongue coordination skills, or both!
Early in the massage, alternate this technique with others to avoid sensory overload. You don’t want to keep your fingers inside her vagina all the time, and when they are inside, you don’t want to do the “come hither’ motion all the time, especially not with the exact same tempo. At the end, however, this is a very good candidate for part of your finishing combo. At that point, try to settle into a regular rhythm with that hand and use your other hand and your tongue to caress the clit. Watch for her response and ask her afterward what she liked and what she thinks would feel even better.
As always, the most important thing is learning your partner's orgasmic curve and threshold. If you know she rarely or never reaches orgasm with straight vaginal sex, and takes a long time to get there with oral or masturbation, you need to maintain a fairly high level of stimulation throughout. But if that's not the case, keep your pace moderate and move your attention to a wider area from time to time as you notice her tensing up or breathing faster.
As long as you keep her at an intermediate level of arousal, you should be focused more on doing things that feel good than on doing things that push her higher up the curve. Going past 80% to 90% of her threshold not only risks misjudging and pushing her over the top too soon, it also makes it harder for her to concentrate on meditating and expanding the focus of her attention. What you're after during this part of the massage is "Mmmmm.... that feels SO nice!" not "OMG, DON'T STOP!"
A Note on Female EjaculationAs a consequence of all the publicity given to the G-spot, there has also been a flurry of recent interest in a phenomenon rather misleadingly called “female ejaculation.” Continued stimulation of the G-spot can cause clear fluid to collect in the urethral sponge and the urethra itself. The amount can be anywhere from a small dribble to a teaspoonful. If you are the recipient, it can feel like a sudden urge to urinate, which can be highly distracting if you aren’t expecting it.
When you see a porn film where the woman "squirts," or gushes liquid, that IS urine. It's not what scientists are looking at when they study “female ejaculation." Encouraged by the porn industry, the public as a whole has become confused between female ejaculation, which doesn't produce anything dramatic or visible, and squirting during sex, which is highly visible and makes for dramatic video footage.
Fortunately for normal people, it's very difficult for either sex to urinate while highly aroused because the urinary sphincter clamps shut during the arousal process. In men, this is essential to keep the sperm from going backward into the bladder instead of forward toward the penis. In women, it's essential to keep urine from getting pumped into the vagina by the motion of the penis and diluting the man's sperm.
While it looks like female porn stars are doing this, the reality is that they are faking the level of arousal and peeing normally. The whole event is staged using camera cuts to make it look as if the "squirting" is happening in the middle of passionate sex. If the actresses were really as aroused as they look, they would find it almost impossible to "squirt."
So relax! If you feel some pressure in this area, let it happen. The small amount of fluid normally produced by real female ejaculation doesn’t smell or stain, there’s not much of it, and that’s what towels are for. (It’s also much less messy to have this happen on a mat or massage table than in a bed, where it can make a noticeable wet spot!)
Some women find this sensation pleasurable, so if it happens, welcome it and enjoy it!