Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Ironically, I learned about this concept without a partner. In my single years, I executed a crazy experiment where consciously, I decided not to have an orgasm for a year.
No touching or canoodling—nada.
Suspecting the spiritual nature and sexuality were connected, I wanted to test abstinence’s effect on my spiritual self-actualization. Walking around like a monkish pleasures-of-the-flesh-abstinence adept, I hoped to transmute the latent sex energy into something awesome. My body would become a living alchemy of crazy sex energy, bursting with power.
Ultimately, this method would provide me with a river of rapid flowing energy discharged for quick manifestations.
In tandem, I yoga’d out and built a meditation practice om’ing three times a day to cope without my usual orgasmic release, which even without a partner, was (ahem) considerable.
At the time, the experiment yielded some fascinating results.
I wrote a book in six months, found an incredible loving partner and saw a major increase in my spiritual expansion. But recently, I was feeling my partner’s absence as something more unsettling. After spending over a week in the Costa Rican rainforest, the lack of my partner’s touches had me feeling the pang of truth from the old adage.
Like the times before without the release, I felt my head was going to pop off.
While lamenting to my best girlfriend about my recent ‘urges’ percolating, she mentioned Tantra as a sexual practice. She’d been to a couples workshop in Colorado led by tantric veteran Caroline Muir. She encouraged me to let the current of bubbly sex energy build, ride the wave and read Caroline’s work to my husband after I got home.
Granted, we already had a pretty rockin’ sex life, even after eight years, but my being away for this stint awakened a strong desire to be more creative in the sack. We’d never broached the subject of Tantra, but if Sting was into it, how bad could it be? I wanted to carry that heart pounding absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder thing back to Alaska and knock his woolly socks off like a Lioness.
I had images of my hair wild, singing Carol King’s, “I feel the earth move under my feet” writhing over top of him like a nature Goddess, riding our wave of ecstasy.
I like to follow the philosophy of the Tao and watch what is present. So when I searched for Caroline Muir and couldn’t find her book online I purchased Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas instead—I wasn’t disappointed.
Carrellas goes into vivid detail and great depths on using the tantric way for mutual stimulation and arousal. She teaches how to literally breathe more life into sex through more traditional tantric techniques like yoni and lingham massage, to more alternative methods like S & M and fetishes; she covers a wide swath.
Thankful for Barbara’s visual aids and along with her compelling voice and stories, I was ready to trust the Tantra.
Tantric sex taps into the erotic energy between two people, no matter what level of sexual experience.
Building this energy is the key to more powerful and longer orgasmic experiences. Practiced routinely, this erotic energy aligns with the other facets of life, including our relationship, more joy, spiritual expansion and intimacy.
Despite my confidence and feeling all big and indestructibly sexy, Carol King Lioness and all, I felt an underlying insecurity. I hadn’t ever practiced Tantric sex—It’s not like being a teenager and practicing your tongue technique by kissing your forearm or working your tongue action in the mirror. On the flight home, I started to consider the fact that I’d be taking a slight risk trying Tantric sex.
Risk can be a good thing.
It’s refreshing and energizing but, in terms of this feeling of insecurity, I couldn’t help Spike Lee’s movie Girl 6 coming to mind. It’s based on the life of a phone sex operator. Girl 6 flawlessly rolls with each caller’s desires. In each scene, she gives erotic directions, chats her listener into a heightened state of sexual bliss, leaving them wanton and orgasmic. I on the other hand, although able to write my emotions, have a very hard time talking a man into any kind of steamy scenario.
I lived in my head.
I’m like Woody Allen to Girl 6’s Hustler: neurotic and tongue-tied.
My sexual creativity just doesn’t roll that way and I’ve accepted this to a certain degree. With practice, I’m sure I could gain some higher skill level but the emotional risk to venture there is terrifying.
Besides, there are well known sexual differences between men and women.
It is commonly accepted that men’s arousal levels are processed through visual stimulation. Women, on the other hand, are more emotionally receptive. With this in mind, I had a shudder of anxiety—what I feel will be a home run in the sexy department might be a real turn off for my partner.
Taking any kind of risk with a sexual partner can be psychologically daunting because it isn’t just a physical intimacy issue; it’s an emotional risk as well. All the information in the world wasn’t going to lessen that small insecurity of baring my naked soul, vulnerability and exposure I felt over putting my Tantric Lion self out there—no matter how long we’d been married.
I decided to push past my insecurity and be brave.
The sexy bug bit me through all my reading on Tantra and I decided it was worth it to challenge myself. I was glad I did. After I got back home, it was like a whole new playing field. There were some big successes and a few minor pitfalls.
First, let me share this cautionary warning if you read Urban Tantra. When it comes to the Twist and Shout, a stroke for pleasuring men, take the teenager route and try a few times on a banana to gauge your strength and grip before working it on your man.
I’m serious, she doesn’t call it theTwist and Shout for nothing.
Another thing I’ve learned from my adventures in Tantric Sex is this: start slow. Beginning anything new takes practice so wade in gently. Try a few techniques—what I call ‘risky exposure.’ If successful, if your partner is open to trying more, take it a step further.
Over all, tantric sex, with its erotic energy surely can replace the more rigorous method of abstinence to induce the alchemy of spiritual energy and instant manifestation.
With a willing and honest partner it can become a practice much like yoga that opens up the heart and infuses it with a warm liquid heat of eroticism fueling deeper passion and connection to the inner-self. Tantra brings with it new meaning to the word fulfillment.
Here’s a short list of three small tantric changes I made that took intimacy to a whole new level—the impact is immediate.
1. Open your eyes and watch.
Often times we lay back and shut our eyes and lean into the experience through one sensory experience, the feeling sensation. I learned that this small technique makes a world of difference in the turn-on department. Try to use more senses during the process starting with visual observation.
Watching yourself while you pleasure or your partner getting into you, your body and the eroticism that builds between the sheets while you gaze at the action is nothing short of electrifying.
I’ve had conversations with my friends before about looking into their lover’s eyes while they kissed. I was always curious about the eyes being the window to the soul as partners stroked their way through sex, but most reported closing their eyes to enjoy the feeling. Even in some conversations with my male friends, I’ve learned they shut their eyes to imagine something else!
That’s a sure sign of an unhealthy sex life.
While I understand this philosophy of eye-closed feeling experience it can be enlightening to open the eyes and take in your lover while in the act. The subtle cues, finger tips on skin and lips parting can take sexuality to new heights when becoming an observer.
When you both feel brave enough, have your partner look back at you.
What we feel may be perfect for our partner in terms of giving, like touching or stroking a certain way, a familiar position and the amount of foreplay could be way off the mark without specific direction. Sometimes a lover may not be in the right mood for a candle light massage. They might need more communication first before getting to the physical plane.
Drop the need to direct the course of the lovemaking and ask what they need.
It sounds simple, but often times we feel we know what’s best for our partner without giving them a choice. Openness and solid listening skills can revivify and nourish without any overt action because it’s a simple way of showing care, love, respect and trust within the sexual relationship.
Once your partner shares their needs, get intentional about providing it. Use all your senses and imagination to deliver.
3. Spend time on the periphery
Even though it is tempting to get right into the action and stimulate the main attraction, don’t dive straight into the sweet spot.
Work around the edges of erogenous zones with plenty of time and care. Take the time to build momentum slowly like a gentle wave cresting. Notice you or your partner’s state and respond by focusing on heightened the feeling of pleasure without thinking of a goal you need to achieve immediately, like orgasm. Spending time on the periphery means working from outside the erogenous zone inward to the most sensitive pleasure spots.
Be present in what you are doing and focus on each little detail.
Carrellas and Muir both talk about being present and focused. Pay attention to how often your mind drifts during sex. Where do your thoughts run? Be mindful and bring your attention back to yourself and your partner. Learn how to build the state of expansive pleasure by becoming an expert with each stroke, kiss and word you express.
Often times we rely on past experiences, even from our first teenage explorations, and let these experiences drive our sexual experiences by what has worked. Tantra is a way to evolve sexual practice into deeper intimacy and ultimately more confidence as a partner and lover. It is a philosophy that encompasses a new way of looking at the world through eroticism and connecting a vibrant healthy sex life to more vitality, joy and pleasure in life.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photos: wikimedia / Sacred Matrix / Flickr