Learn About the Tantra

Believed to date back 5,000 years, Tantric sex is an ancient Eastern spiritual practice. Like yoga or Zen, it is practiced for the purpose of enlightenment — and the philosophy transcends the bedroom into all aspects of life. In the Tantric view, sex and orgasm equal spiritual awareness at its peak. When Shiva, male energy, and Shakti, female energy, come into a sexual union, it is believed to be the highest point of enlightenment.

We all hold the key to Tantric sex: breath. If you can keep your body relaxed and your mind clear of the mundane, your "inner goddess" can be fully present. Using your breath, you can spread orgasmic energy from your genitals through your entire body. This allover tingling can lead to a deeper, more intimate connection with your partner.

Despite all the talk of too-good-for-words orgasm, the big "O" is not the goal of Tantra. Instead, it's just being in the moment and riding a wave of sensation and arousal (yours and your partner's). If you focus on getting to one big bang at the end, you may miss out on tons of other "orgasmic joys" happening in your bodies along the way. Tantric instructors promise that in addition to fuller orgasms, women experience orgasm more quickly since they learn to become more relaxed and sensitized. Try these easy exercises, advises Dawn Cartwright, a SkyDancing Tantra instructor in Los Angeles, to get you started.

Create a sacred space for lovemaking

Transform your bedroom. Awaken your senses with flowers, aromatherapy oils, scented candles, fresh fruits, and chocolates. Include sensual fabrics like silk -- whether it's your sheets or your lingerie.

Shake your body alive

Put on your favorite music and stand with your legs hip-width apart, relaxing your body and breathing through your mouth so that your breath travels down to your belly button. Shake your whole body — your legs, head, butt — for one minute. Lie down, and invite your partner to come into the bedroom. "You've opened up all these places where there's tension and increased the sensitivity, allowing pleasure in," says Cartwright. "If you make love after doing that, it's more likely that you'll have a whole-body orgasm."

Breathe and rock

Sit on the bed or floor, facing your partner (you're on his lap). Start by closing your eyes, and use your imagination to watch your breath move in and out of your body. Start to allow your breath to go three inches below your belly button. Begin rocking like you're in a rocking chair, moving your chest forward as you inhale and rocking back as you exhale. Then, as you inhale and rock forward, tighten your PC muscles; relax them as you exhale and rock back. "You may start to feel sexual sensations," says Cartwright. Stare into each other's eyes ("soul gazing") and breathe, rock and pulsate together. "The amazing connection that you'll feel will blow your mind," says Cartwright. "Your energy fields get together, so you're both in the same state and are much more sensitive to each other. It's very electric."

Share a Tantric kiss

Continue to sit on his lap and rock together — you inhaling while he's exhaling and vice versa. As he breathes out, you'll discover yourself breathing his breath into your body and down to your sex organs. As you exhale, be conscious that you're sharing all of yourself with your partner. Then kiss and share the breath. "Intercourse is not even necessary because you're so merged," says Cartwright. "Tantra is about diving deeply into desire and pleasure. If you feel good and ecstatic, then you're on the right track."

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