"Tantra is about consciousness and awareness," says Johanina Wikoff, Ph.D., a tantra lecturer and therapist in San Francisco, CA, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Kama Sutra (Macmillan, 2000). "Rather than saying you should try different sexual positions or give up certain things, tantra says: do the things you enjoy, but do them with awareness," she explains.
"Having a deep connection with a partner can help individuals become more relaxed and have better sexual functioning," says Linda Banner, Ph.D., a sex therapist at the University of California San Francisco-Stanford Sexual Health Medicine Program. "Tantric sex is more of a holistic connection than a purely physiological one. It involves the mind, body and spirit," she adds.
How to Last Longer in Bed
If "holistic sex" sounds like a tall order, don't panic. The following tenets of tantric sex can be painlessly incorporated into your sex life.
- Make a conscious effort to engage all of the five senses during lovemaking.
- Looking into your partner's eyes during sex can make the experience more intimate and powerful.
- Try breathing in unison. A conscious, rhythmic breathing pattern can help you connect to your partner, both emotionally and spiritually.
- Don't have sex with a set goal in mind (for example, having an orgasm). Making love without a goal or an agenda will heighten the rapport between you and your partner.
- Focus your attention on your partner's sexual needs and desires, rather than on your own.
Then again, there's something to be said for sex of the "wham-bam" variety. A satisfying sex life will probably involve both types of experiences. "Learning to differentiate the times when you want to have pure, animal sex for physical pleasure versus the times when you want to have a more spiritual type of lovemaking is really critical," admits Banner.