When asked about Tantra, most people think of tantric sex and Sting’s famous marathon love-making sessions. However, tantra is so much more, and a wonderful path to explore together with a partner.
Brief history of Tantra
Tantra is said to have originated in the Indian sub-continent, with the first written records of it originating some 1,500 years ago. It is likely that the oral tradition is much older, with some scholars estimating its origins at 5,000 years ago. Classical Tantra was a set of writings called the tantras, which stemmed out of the dominant religion of Shaivism of the time. According to Christopher Wallis, author of Tantra Illuminated, the most accurate translation of the word tantra is “wisdom that saves”. Other common translations are “expansion” and “liberation”.
Tantra is likely to have migrated to the West in the 20th century, with teachers such as Aleister Crowley and Osho. Much of the original context was lost, with the modern so-called neo-tantra much more focused on aspects of human sexuality. In brief, most modern Tantra is focused on taking a sex-positive view, connecting with the body through mindfulness and using all of the senses, and celebrating all aspects of life. Breath, being in the present moment and seeing the Divine in self and others are all central themes of modern tantric practice.
Did you know? Tantra is about more than just feeling more pleasure. It is also a powerful way to heal from trauma and past negative experiences
Connect with your partner
Despite the misconceptions, modern Tantra is not all about sex, and is so much more. The practice invites us to slow down, to be more present, to be more accepting and loving towards self and our partners. Here are some suggestions on connecting more deeply with each other:
- Create a sacred space: think of some ways to please the senses with candles, incense sticks, calming background music, soft or silky sheets or some little bits of fruit or berries at the side. These are just suggestions and the invitation is to create a space that feels good to you. Since Tantra honours the Divine in everyone and everything, you may also want to think of making the space feel more spiritual to you, if that appeals. This can be done by creating an altar, with some items that have special significance to you. It is also important to note that there is no right or wrong way to set up your space, so feel into your intuition.
- Make sure you will not be disturbed: switch off your phones, get a babysitter for the night if you have children, make sure there is nothing that you will need to attend to whilst you are together. This will enable you to focus on each other for the time that you have.
- Get ready: it can feel wonderful to prepare individually before meeting in the sacred space you have created. You may want to take a bath or a shower, and to put on some clothes that feel good to you. Some couples find it beneficial to sit and meditate in their own space before meeting, to get centred or to feel into their intentions for their time together.
- Come together: there are many different ways in which you may want to connect more deeply with each other at this point. Sitting cross legged or kneeling opposite each other, whilst looking into each other’s eyes, can be a powerful practice. As variations, you can add holding each other’s hands to feel a physical connection, or synchronising breathing. The word for ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’ is the same, or shares the same root in many languages, pointing to the fact that many cultures consider breath to be a gateway to the divine. Feel into how long you want to do these practices. Starting with a few minutes at the beginning may be sufficient.
- Connect from the heart: before proceeding, it can be wonderful to feel into the love that dwells in your hearts, inviting them to open more. One way to do this is to put your right hand over your partner’s heart, and vice versa, and stay in this position for a few minutes. You may want to visualise the love flowing from your heart to your partner’s, and your partner’s love flowing back into your heart, if that feels right for you. After connecting in this way, you may want to finish with a hug.
- Talk about what you want: it can be a good idea to share your desires and intentions. These can change each time you are together, so checking in helps you to know what your partner wants. For example, one of you may want to cuddle for a short time, whilst the other one wants to make love all night long. Talking about this can help you agree on what it is that you will actually do during your time together. Of course, it is also fine not to have a structure and to see what unfolds. You may find consent and boundaries games, such as the 3 minute game, useful and fun to play together. Also read 10 communication tips for couples.
- Enjoy your time together and learn new things! Kiss, cuddle, massage the whole body, include yoni massage and lingam massage, talk, play, explore, experiment, make love, learn specific techniques such as Sensate Focus, whatever feels good! Staying aware of your breath and your body throughout the time you have can help the experience to feel more intimate, as you are likely to feel more present.
Tantra is much more than just sex
Note that this blog has so far not talked about tantric sex – that’s because there is so much that can be done and experienced with a partner that doesn’t have to involve oral or penetrative sex. I will write a separate blog on tantric sex for couples, including positions, benefits and techniques for experiencing mind-blowing, heart expanding and soul shattering lovemaking!
Did you know? Both men and women are able to be multi-orgasmic, allowing for prolonged and fulfilling lovemaking to be experienced
I offer sessions to both couples and individuals online and face to face in Teesside/ North Yorkshire and London.