A lot of people – especially men – come up to me asking about tantric sex. Usually they say something like, “How do you do that?” or “You mean you really don’t have orgasms?” My answer to them is that learning tantra is like getting to Carnegie Hall (just hop in a cab!), and that the goal is not to stop having orgasms but to let them build into endless, earth-shattering ones. Got your attention?
A friend of mine recently said to me, “There isn’t a woman alive that wouldn’t want a tantric lover.” Maybe she’s right, I don’t know – I don’t claim to be an expert and am certainly not a “rock star” (but it has a nice ring to it). What I do know is that there’s a whole lot more to it than having endless, spiritual sex. Tantra is a full-time gig!
Western culture is filled with misinformation about tantra. I recently guest lectured to an undergraduate class on “Spirituality & Sexuality” and just mentioning the word “tantra” invoked all sorts of myths among the students. Most of them knew about the sex part, yet none of them had any knowledge of how to “do” it. They may have flipped through the Kama Sutra once or twice and checked out any number of questionable websites, but in general they were unaware of the larger discipline within yogic lineage.
The principles of tantra date back to around the 5th century A.D. Ritualistic sex was not a major selling point back in those days. Early Tantrics were interested in “liberation” – literally conquering death – through a radical acceptance of the body and its passions rather than a renunciation of pleasure that was (and still is) typical of monastics. Over time sex became acknowledged as a powerful vehicle for transcendence, but it was only one piece of the puzzle. Some Tantrics would also eat burning corpses (yum!), though that part isn’t nearly as sexy.
Among the many myths surrounding modern tantra is that men should try to stop their orgasms. On the contrary, tantric men should train themselves to inhibit ejaculation. “Aren’t they one and the same?” you ask. No. With practice, a man can re-wire his bodymind to have orgasmic experiences without exhausting his sexual energy, which is the inevitable consequence of ejaculation. One way to do this is to work on maintaining 75% of your pleasure threshold during sex. Gradually that threshold will rise higher and higher until one day (usually anywhere from two to six months) all that energy will boil over and flood your (and your partner’s) whole being with ecstasy.
That’s the easy part, though for most men it’s probably one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do (and if you drop the ball you’ve got to start over). Meanwhile, throughout this whole process and, assuming you’re in for the long haul, for the rest of your natural life you’re going to need to work on something called sublimation, which involves raising the excess energy out of your loins and into your higher chakras where it is transmuted into a more refined spiritual “magic.”
Without sublimation practices, all of that sexual mojo will fester below your belt – instead of endless orgasms, imagine endless blue balls! As for how to sublimate, it falls beyond the scope of this article. Find a knowledgeable (and ethical!) tantra instructor to teach you special postures and breathing exercises and expect to practice them daily. Also, keep in mind that storing up all of that seed may make you mildly crazy. One friend suggested not starting with tantric sex until you’re over thirty and your hormones have chilled out a little.
In my experience – and this goes for both men and women – the real art of tantric sex lies in being able to GIVE YOURSELF COMPLETELY to your partner. If you were to take away one thing from this piece, let it be the notion that sex is better when you’re not pleasing yourself. Next time you’re between the sheets, notice if and when you’re trying to get yourself off. This is where sex becomes a mindful act – continually bringing your attention squarely back to your partner and feeling into their heart for how you can best serve them. In doing so you create a feedback loop that will push each of you to new sexual and spiritual heights. With a little bit (okay, a lot) of practice and even more TRUST, not only will sex be orgasmic, but so will your life.