You may have heard about tantra or tantric sex, maybe at your local sex shop or in celebrity gossip magazines — it's a pretty
trendy concept nowadays. But what is tantra exactly? And more importantly, how can you add its principles to your sex life?
The origins of tantra are
hard to pin down, since it's been around for thousands of years, but we know the ancient practice appears in Hinduism and Buddhism (just maybe not exactly as pop culture would have you believe). At its core, tantra is all about awareness, mindfulness, and connection. "The general definition of tantra is to weave, to unify, and to mesh," says Devika Singh, a tantric sex and relationship coach.
So yes, that means tantric sex tips are heavily based in relationship 101 tools, such as communicating, to achieve unification with your partner. And the great part about tantra is that it isn't stiff — it's all about unifying with your partner so you can both
enjoy yourselves. But that doesn't mean it's not intimidating if you've never tried incorporating its principles into your sex life before.
If you're looking for where to start, here are some expert-approved tantric sex tips that you can try whether you're a tantra first-timer or
a Sting-level expert.
Sit on your partner's lap.
One of the most famous tantric sex positions is
Yab-Yum, a symbol of divine union with Tibetan origins. While it can be done between any genders, as traditionally depicted, the male sits while the female partner sits in his lap, wrapping her legs around him.
Singh says this is a sex position often taught in tantric sex workshops, but rather than get hung up on the exact leg positioning, think about what sitting in your partner's lap allows for. "They’re locking eyes and synchronizing their breath," Singh says, two tantric techniques that allow for the intimate connection and mindfulness tantric sex is all about.
In her tantric sex worships, Ward teaches that people with vulvas are capable of achieving over 11 different types of orgasms. What's one of those orgasms? You guessed it: clitoral. To achieve a clitoral orgasm when having tantric sex with your partner, Ward suggests trying cunnilingus for direct stimulation.
So, what's the secret to making your cunnilingus intentionally tantric? Both parties should be present. "The whole goal of tantra is to get present in your body so that you connect with yourself and your partner," Ward says. During cunnilingus, focus on your breath, and if you're the one going down on your partner, don't be afraid to look up and make eye contact.
Utilize all senses during kissing.
Kissing in tantric sex isn't just about the act itself — it's important to engage all of your senses.
Sight: As you are able, "look at your partner's lips, their face, their eyes. What do they look like to you? What about them makes you smile and feel loving?" says tantric sex and intimacy coach Maisha Najuma Aza. "Keep your eyes open while kissing, at least in the beginning."
Smell: Aza recommends focusing on your partner's pheromones here, rather than artificial smells like perfume. "The way your partner's breath smells is just as important as the way their body and hair smells," she says. "If you really let the pheromones do their job and the chemistry between you two (or three or four) work, the smell of their breath will titillate you!"
Taste: Since your senses of taste and smell are connected, try playing with different flavors to enhance your erotic experience. "You can both share delicious palette cleansers, like strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, mint, or even chew fennel seeds to spice it up a bit," Aza says.
Touch: The lips aren't the only erogenous zone on the face. Aza encourages exploring your partner's lips, cheek bones, eyelids, and eyebrows with your hands, lips, tongue, and even your eyelashes. "Touching the jaw, lips, or chin while you're tongue-kissing can also be a huge turn on," she says. "This can be done softly, firmly, or some also like this done roughly while kissing." Sound: We know it's important to be vocal during sex, but that extends to kissing, too. Listen to the feedback your partner gives you when you kiss them (and make sure to give feedback of your own). Aza notes that focusing on the sensual sounds you make while kissing can propel you to another level of arousal entirely. More
Make eye contact.
Adding tantra to your sex life may sound complicated, but it's just about heightening connection to your partner and being in the moment. One of the easiest ways to experience that is through eye contact, Singh says.
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By exploring kink and BDSM, you can channel an open-mindedness that allows for the connections tantra is all about, Singh says. "When you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position, you’re putting yourself in a position to be cracked open, which is such a huge part of tantra," she says.
Whether that means you're blindfolded and waiting for
a whip to make contact with your bum, or you're simply sharing your secret fetishes, you can really tap into tantric sex principles, including making eye contact and being aware of your breath. "Once you learn how to make yourself vulnerable to your partner, that’s where transformation happens," Singh says. "You can have people emotionally cry and de-block, if you will, even if it doesn’t look like as what we think of as tantric technique." More
Talk during sex.
According to tantric sex coach
Devi Ward, when it comes to kissing, touching, and sex, it's all about the connection — and one of the best ways to foster this connection is to talk to your partner while you're doing all of these things.
Rather than simply guessing that a moan during oral sex means your partner enjoys that technique, or being worried that silence means they're bored, step up your tantric sex game and actually talk about what you enjoy while you're enjoying it. Moaning is great, but try to use your words to verbalize exactly what you like about your partner's technique and what's happening in the moment, Ward says.
"When we discuss our pleasure with our partner and give them praise and appreciation, number one it makes them want to do it more, number two it builds intimacy and trust," she says.
Synchronize your breathing.
Stop what you're doing and take 10 deep, long breaths. Feel better? We thought so. Ward recommends taking 10 deep breaths before initiating touch with your partner to ground yourself. Once things start to get sexy, you can take your tantric breathing exercises a step further by synchronizing your breaths with your partner.
Ward says that these breathing practices are best done when facing your partner, so try a face-to-face sex position like
Lotus, and then look into each other's eyes and follow each other's breaths until they match. "When you harmonize your breath, this allows for this juicy energetic connection to occur, specifically if you’re sitting genital to genital," Ward says. More
Write a list of what turns you on.
Tantra is friendly to first-timers, but it still requires you to do a little bit of homework (don't worry, it's fun). Since communication is the key to forming the connection tantric sex is all about, it's important that you understand what turns you on
before you communicate your sexual wants and needs.
During her tantric sex coaching sessions with couples, Singh has each partner write a list of what turns them on. After each individual has made theirs, they exchange lists and talk them out. Not only will this activity turn into a steamy brainstorm session — it's pretty much dirty talk — but it's a wonderful opportunity to learn more about yourself and your lover. Plus, Singh says that any kink, from
role-playing to BDSM, can be tantric when done intentionally. More
Awesome news: You don't need to be in a relationship to add tantra to your sex life. Anyone can try tantric sex by masturbating. "When you’re single, that’s a great time to work on [breathing, awareness of your desires, and being present], and become sexually explorative of yourself," Singh says. In fact, she says that practicing tantra while you're flying solo will allow you to be more in tune with yourself when you're having partnered sex. Also, if you do have a partner and they're not into exploring tantra, masturbating is a great way to incorporate it into your own sex life.
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