[part 7 in a series that starts here]
In the long run, however, it is just as important for you to learn to communicate with her, to help her find out how to please you and how to keep you on track on your orgasmic curve. Unfortunately, these things get in each other’s way while you are learning. Meditating, controlling your breathing, shifting your awareness, expanding your arousal zone, visualizing a growing pool of sexual energy, holding off premature orgasms – and finding the right words to tell your partner something?
That’s hard, I know, but it can be awfully easy to discourage her with an unintentionally harsh word. Try to find words that will communicate without creating tension. Just saying, “Mmmm…” or "Nice!" whenever something feels good provides a lot of feedback and encouragement. If you are consistent about it, that also lets your silence tell her that something isn’t working for you, so you don’t have to think of anything tactful to say.
When you do need words, “A little softer” is much better than, “Not so hard!” “Can you be a bit firmer?” is better than, “Too soft!” And when you’re giving feedback afterward, try to be specific as well as positive: “I like a lot of pressure when you stroke upward on the perineum with your thumbs!”
The only exception to this rule is that a quick "ow!" is the best way to respond to something that actually hurts. Try not to yell – the softer the better, because you're going to startle her anyway – but don't delay saying it. When we were first learning Tantra, my partner and I made the mistake of being "too nice" about this, and found out the hard way that actually figuring out what it was that hurt can get very confusing without instant feedback.
Others I've talked to have confirmed this, and it's especially true if your eyes are shut or her hands are out of your sight. It's not uncommon to realize that massage givers are completely avoiding certain actions or parts of the body because something they did caused pain, they have no clue what it was, and they're afraid of doing it again. So by all means try to be gentle about that "ouch!", but also be quick. Speed definitely trumps tact in this case.
The other thing you need to do is to work out some nonverbal way to help her keep track of your arousal level. Some men are very comfortable being verbal about it, but even those men usually find that it’s better to have a nonverbal signal that works when they’re deep in a meditative state.
My partner just lifts his hand a couple of inches. If it’s palm down and he makes a downward patting gesture, that’s “slow down.” If he turns it sideways with the thumb raised and gestures upward, he is urging me to increase the pace and intensity. The size of the movement indicates how much. It’s simple to understand, and it takes no effort for him when he doesn’t have a lot of brain cells to spare for communication!
Learning to AcceptA final point. Some men – and a few women, too, but it’s mostly men – find it hard to relax and be passive about sex. If you have that macho “I need to be in charge!” kind of thing going on in your head, tell it firmly that you are in charge. Conjure up a harem fantasy if you need to, where the sexy concubine caters to the sultan’s every pleasure and need. Or do whatever works in getting yourself ready and willing to take on a more receptive role.
One of my interview subjects, Alice, had a serious problem with her husband. “When we first got together, Alan was a good lover, with a lot of stamina and great sensitivity about where I was and what I liked, but he always had to be in charge, to be the doer. He liked giving head, but never wanted me to do him in return. He said it was wasting an orgasm and depriving me. He liked to try different positions, but he didn’t like anything with me on top. And he really liked the idea of learning Tantra, but when it came time for me to give him a massage, I thought I was going to have to tie him down to the table and stuff a gag in his mouth!
“This went on for a while, and I finally called him out about him having a power complex, or not trusting me, or just being unable to turn his brain off and stop thinking so much. It really was mostly the last one. He thinks all the time and he’s a really good problem solver, and his mind just races ninety miles an hour.
“It took some time, but we eventually got past it. We were still learning to meditate, and he was really struggling with it. We’d meditate, and the timer would ping, and he’d realize he’d been thinking about some problem or other for the last 20 minutes. Then he finally reached a point in the meditation process where he figured out how to just turn that compulsive thinking off. After that, he found that he could let go, relax, and just be willing to lie back and receive a gift from me.
“Also, I think at some point he finally accepted that I really do love him, and that he doesn’t have to constantly earn that love by always trying to be Superman.”
If you see any part of yourself in that description, try to figure out how to let it go. Sometimes it’s okay for it to be all about you, not her. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give her is to trust her enough to let her take charge of making you feel wonderful.
Or, as Alan says, “When Tantra is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it!”
Coming up: a series on giving a perfect yoni massage.