Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mailbag #2: Tantra for Singles

One of the most common questions I have received from readers is from people who are currently single and want to get ready to learn Tantra with a partner.  Each time, I have added things to what has become my standard response, but I think this now covers most of the essentials:

Hi, ____.

I’m not sure how much help I can be, but I’ll try to answer any questions you have. If you have read this blog from the beginning, you know it’s a pretty complete course on learning Tantra, but it’s also very oriented toward couples. That's what I know, and it's what the people I interviewed know best.  

However, I did ask everyone I talked to about their experiences with things like meditation, sex, and orgasms before they learned Tantra, so I can say a bit about some things you can do now that will make the whole learning process easier when you do have a partner.

The best things single people can do to get ready to learn Tantra are: 

• learn to meditate
• establish a general fitness routine
• work on your Kegels
• experiment with different kinds of solo orgasms
• combine meditation and solo sex

For men, the last two should include learning to have an orgasm without ejaculation if you choose to go that route, because it is far easier to learn to do this while you are single. (See the series of posts starting with Multiple Orgasms for Men if you haven't already read that section.)

However, all of these preparation steps are helpful for both men and women.

Meditation, fitness, and Kegels are all covered here:  Getting Ready to Learn Tantra.  However, the section on fitness is pretty skimpy, so I want to add a little bit more here about two kinds of fitness that can take a long time.


Getting in decent shape is important.  You don't need to be an athlete, but a full tantric ritual can take 3-4 hours, including up to an hour giving a fairly strenuous massage and half an hour or more of active intercourse.  Having enough strength for the former and enough stamina for both is important!

In particular, hand and arm strength helps for massage.  One woman I interviewed got so frustrated about the difficulty of giving a good massage with weak hands that she took up bread baking as a hobby.  She found that kneading the dough by hand helped strengthen her hands and arms a lot.

Flexibility is also important.  The best way to get limber is to do yoga, but whatever method you choose, please be careful.  Slow and steady works, even if it takes a year to see real progress.  Stretching too aggressively and tearing a muscle or inflaming a tendon will just set you back.  (A tip:  the old saw about stretching before exercise is wrong.  Research shows that it is better and safer to warm up before you stretch!)

Make a particular effort to work on stretching your adductor muscles and tendons, along the inside of your thighs, if they are tight.  If you sit with your feet together and spread your knees, you can feel the strain in these tendons where they attach to the base of the crotch next to the genitals.

You don't have to be able to do the splits, but it really, really helps with sex – and particularly with tantra – if you can spread your legs reasonably wide.  If you stand up straight and spread your feet as far apart as you can, and you can't manage at least a 90-100 degree angle between your legs, then you need to do some stretches in this area.

One good way to stretch this particular area is while meditating.  Start with your knees up and your feet together, with your heels tucked in close to your butt.  Then very gradually relax your adductor muscles and let your knees slowly move outward and downward.  Don't force them or push down on your knees.  Just let gravity slowly do the work while you meditate.

This works best if you are sitting on a thick, firm cushion.  A good meditation cushion or zafu is usually about 6 or 7" thick and compresses only an inch or two when you sit on it, but you may be able to simulate that with a thinner cushion on top of a solid block, or even a foam pad on a stack of oversized books.

Meditation and solo sex

The last item on the above list is the hardest one.  Combining meditation and solo sex requires pretty good meditation skills.  Don’t even think about doing it until you've been meditating regularly for at least several months.

When you think you're ready to try it, sit in a place where you can sit erect to meditate and then comfortably lean back and shift to active sexual arousal.  Put your favorite lube or oil within reach.  I suggest sitting naked while you meditate, or else wearing just a towel or a wrap that can be removed without standing up or exerting yourself.  Many people prefer starting with a towel because having one under you can catch oil spills and drips in the second phase and keep them from getting on things that are harder to wash.

Begin by meditating as you normally do.  (For most people, that means attending to their breathing, often by focusing on the sensations at the edges of the nostrils or in the center of the chest.)  Once you are deeply relaxed and have established your normal meditative state, shift your mental focus from your breath to the physical sensations in your pelvis, buttocks, anal area, and genitals.

Important!  Do NOT fantasize about sexual encounters or other erotic content!  Just pay attention to the purely physical sensations in that area.  The first few times you do this, you may feel little or no arousal.  If that’s still true after a reasonable time – say, five minutes – try doing some gentle Kegels to increase your awareness.  If even that doesn't work, place one or both hands over the genital area and press or stroke gently, just enough to get sensations started so you can focus on them.  

Explore the sensations mentally and try to focus around the edges of the area, not on the genitals themselves, while you meditate.  Don't get any more active than necessary.  At this stage you want to explore the sensations down there for as long as you can while still in a meditative state.

Next steps

When you get to the point where you can no longer remain passive, lie back and begin more active stimulation, but still keep it slow and gentle. I strongly recommend using lube or oil at this point, and being fairly lavish with it.  Include your breasts, abdomen, and thighs as well as your genitals, and try to duplicate the very slow extended arousal curve of a good lingam or yoni massage.  Or, as an alternative, try visualizing the entire process of a lingam or yoni massage in your imagination. Not everyone can do this, but if you are one of those who can, substitute it for part or all of your self-massage.

Be patient and do this whenever you get the chance.  Over several months, you should notice a greater ability to relax into a gentle self-massage without urgency and without losing your meditative state.  Remember to pace yourself physically.  With time, you may be able to progress to forty-five minutes or longer, ending with a full pelvic orgasm or more.

After you have practiced self-massage in this way a few times, I also urge you to experiment with multiple orgasms.  A surprising number of people have never tried continuing past the first one, but it can be very rewarding to discover what else your body is capable of, what the intervals tend to be, and how different the successive orgasms can feel.  So, when you do get to the end...keep going!

For men

Take your time experimenting over the next several months.  Among other things, you need to discover whether you can have several orgasms, and also determine your refractory (recovery) time, the time it takes after one ejaculation before you can get your next erection.

One thing to experiment with is to continue stroking with very high intensity during and after the first orgasm.  Some men are surprised to discover that they can get a second orgasm within seconds - or at most a minute or two - after the first one, before losing their erection. The longer you can sustain the arousal phase before the first orgasm, the more likely this is to be successful.

In some cases the second orgasm will also include an ejaculation, though it will usually involve less fluid than the first one.  However, it is more likely that an "aftershock" will be a dry orgasm, and you may be unsure at first whether you had one or not.  Aftershocks usually become more intense with practice, so if you are unsure, keep trying.  It can be particularly helpful to know what a dry orgasm feels like if you are planning to learn how to become multi-orgasmic.

Alternatively, you can take a much gentler approach.  Mop up and reapply lube after the first orgasm and then practice massaging your entire pelvic area, including your soft penis, with your fingers and your open hands.  Most men have never discovered how much pleasure is available without an erection, by massaging the balls, the perineum, and the soft member.  So experiment with a lot of different things, like rubbing, brushing, tapping, and tickling.  Then, if your refractory period is reasonably short, you can just continue through the soft phase and on into the next erection and orgasm.  If your refractory period is longer, you may be surprised to find that you can have an orgasm without an erection.

For women

Try experimenting with different levels of intensity.   For example, if you went slow and took a long time building to the first orgasm, try going to maximum intensity and forcing the pace on the second one.  If the first one went faster than you intended, stretch the second one out as long as you can.

Or mix it up however you want, but pay attention each time to your arousal level.  How far down do you drop after the first orgasm?  How long does it take, and how much intensity is needed, to get you back up to a high plateau?

Whereas most men come most of the way down from peak arousal in a minute or two after an orgasm, most women dip only 5-10% from their peak level of arousal in that much time, but some drop much more if there is no ongoing stimulation.  Knowing where you are on that range can be helpful for your future partner in knowing how much stimulation you're going to need to stay at a a high level of arousal after the first orgasm.

Also pay attention to whether or not you need to stop or greatly reduce stimulation during the orgasm.  Most women stop automatically and never even consider the alternative because it can be really hard to do anything that requires coordination while your brain and body are completely freaking out.  But if you can keep going, try it and see.

Some women really can't stand any friction or stimulation during an orgasm, while others are surprised to find that they love it and that it can make the orgasm last longer, create aftershocks, or carry them into the cycles of a true extended orgasm.  On the other hand, if you are one of those people who need the action to stop while you're right at the peak, try to resume as soon as you can afterward to keep yourself from sliding too far down on the other side.

(For women:  the next post has much more on alternatives for you try, including ways to use vibrators as part of the sensory mix in order to help with multiple orgasms.)

Again, this info can be useful for your future partner.  However, don't get locked into thinking that what you discovered about yourself is unchangeable.  This is particularly true for women who have a slow arousal curve and high threshold or just can't figure out the knack of having multiples. Most couples say that those things can change quite a bit during the first year or two of practicing Tantra with a partner.

Another Area of Experimentation

For both men and women:  even if you are pretty sure you won't like anal stimulation - in fact, even if you have had a bad experience with it in the past - I would still urge you to use this time to do some experimentation while you can do it slowly, carefully, and in complete privacy.  As a first step, go online or to your local sex store and buy the slimmest anal dildo and the smallest butt plug you can find, plus a copy of Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women.  (It's okay, guys.  In spite of the title, it's equally useful for both genders.)

Read the book and then pick a convenient time and experiment with the dildo and lots of lube.  When you are comfortable with that sensation, switch to the butt plug and experiment with inserting it, leaving it in for awhile, and then removing it.  Remember: GO SLOW, USE LOTS OF LUBE, AND STOP IF IT HURTS!  Pain means you're doing it wrong.

Once you are comfortable with the process, try inserting the plug and walking around with it in for a while.  You may find that this feels erotic, or you may find that the sensation simply vanishes as you get used to it and get distracted by other things. Either is perfectly fine.

Next try inserting it about 10 or 15 minutes before you sit to meditate.  Walk around, fix a light snack, or do whatever you want for a bit, and then get ready to meditate.  When you sit down, you may need to change your standard position or adjust your sitting surface.  (Try placing two firm pillows, such as couch cushions, side by side with a tiny gap between them if you need to relieve pressure in the center.)  Once you are comfortable, start to meditate the way you normally do.

When you get to the point of shifting your focus from your breathing to the sensations in your genital and pelvic area, the extra fullness and pressure in that area should make that much easier.  As you shift to manual stimulation, expand your normal routine by using your fingers to press or tug on the plug to see what, if anything that adds to the sensations and to your level of arousal.  You can also press a vibrator against the outside of the plug or you can try doing slow Kegels, tensing and releasing the sphincters to alter the sensations around the plug.  Some people are startled to find out that they can trigger an orgasm just by doing Kegels with a plug in place!

Try to give all of these things several tries, individually and in combination.  Many people get no response the first few times just because the novelty and the unfamiliarity of the sensations are so distracting.  If, over time, you find any of this pleasurable and stimulating, you know something that will be useful if you have a partner who is similarly inclined.

Alternatively, if you don't find that you enjoy it for yourself, you will feel on much firmer ground when you say no to a partner who asks you to indulge.  And, either way, you will have a better understanding of what's needed to assist your partner if he or she is inclined that way and wants your help.

Spreading the arousal

As you're practicing and experimenting in all of these ways, remember to take your time, listen to your own body, and try to maintain the broadest possible area of awareness, spreading the zone of arousal out as far as you can.  This is much harder with solo sex than it is with a partner doing the active work for you, but it is still possible to get a sustained 2- or 3-chakra orgasm from a good long solo session.

Have fun and good luck!


  1. Hi,

    I'm 21 year old and planning to have control over my masturbation habit and have recently started practicing tantra for solo.

    1) My question is, Is stopping ejaculation in mid way harmful?

    2) Another question is, whenever I reach to the ejaculation point I stop it and take some rest and try it again next day. So is this the right way to do it?

    Thanks & Eagerly waiting for you reply :)
    Appreciate your writings!

    1. 1) Stopping an ejaculation in the middle can be harmful. A lot depends on how forcefully you ejaculate. If you block ejaculation by pressing hard on the urethra, this can cause damage to the prostate gland or to the urethra itself from the pressure created as the semen is being forced out.

      More to the point, it doesn't do any good because you are still ejaculating even if the semen doesn't come out of your penis. It will just dribble out later or go backward into the bladder and come out the next time you urinate. You will still lose your erection and have to wait until you have recovered from that ejaculation before you can get another erection and have another orgasm. (See Understanding the Male Orgasm - http://moderntantra.blogspot.com/2016/02/understanding-male-orgasm.html for more about how this works.)

      2) No. For edging, what you want to do is to get close to an orgasm, then stop for a few minutes, then do that again several times before getting to the point of no return. If you are doing it right, you should be able to edge yourself 4 or 5 times in half an hour before having an orgasm.

      If you are trying to learn how to have dry orgasms, you should first get very good at edging yourself, so that you can get closer and closer to the edge each time without having an orgasm.

      As you get very close, practice doing a hard kegel contraction just at the point where you stop masturbating. In time, you will be able to have an orgasm without any sensation of ejaculation.

      In sum, blocking an ejaculation with your fingers may be dangerous and it won't help with tantric sex. Instead, you need to practice edging to postpone the orgasm, and then learn to have dry orgasms if you can.

      Good luck!

  2. Thank you very much for this article! I'm a single, menopausal woman and my experience of my body is changing quite a bit over the last year. I will try some of your suggestions as I learn how to continue to experience pleasure in my body even without orgasm.