Tantra is a form of spirituality that combines sexuality, sensual pleasure, and religious life. Common to the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions in India, it dates back to the 6th century.
The modern focus on sexual practices is so different from Tantra's ancient roots that it’s commonly referred to as "neo-Tantric" or as a form of "spiritual sex.” In this context, Tantric sex positions aren't necessarily religious. Rather, they use various meditative techniques to help you reach a spiritual connection with yourself or your partner.
Although genital contact or intercourse can be a part of Tantric sex, they don’t have to be. The goal of Tantric sex positions is to help you reach a deeper state of awareness, transcendence, or intimacy.
Myths About Tantric Sex
Tantric sex is a very open and fluid concept that can be practiced in many ways. But there are some ideas surrounding tantric sex that are not true. Two common misconceptions are:
Tantra Is All About Intercourse
Tantra is a form of spirituality that includes many different practices and ideas. Tantric sex is only one of them. Intercourse isn’t necessary, nor is it the end goal. Tantric sex positions are meant to usher in a spiritual experience and bring a closer connection to yourself or your partner. You can reach this without intercourse or reaching climax.
The Kama Sutra Is a Tantric Book
The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian text on love and sex. It’s similar to Tantric sex positions in that they both relate to sex. But Tantric sex positions are about gaining spiritual experiences, whereas the Kama Sutra focuses on how to gain pleasure.
How Do Tantric Sex Positions Work?
Instead of a specific set of sex positions to try, Tantric sex is more about a way of approaching sexual and sensual intimacy. Tantric sex involves paying attention to your breath, practicing mindfulness, and engaging in meditation. It can be an individual or shared practice.
Sex positions that help you reach this Tantric state of mind include:
Spooning. Spooning allows you to practice intimate meditation with a partner, which is an important aspect of tantric sex. Partners lay on their side facing the same direction, with the length of their bodies touching. Their chakras -- seven areas of the body said to be centers of energy, such as the heart, navel, “third eye” area on the forehead -- would be aligned. They can harmonize their breath by inhaling and exhaling deeply at the same time, and concentrate on sending or receiving energy.
Yab-Yum. In this Tantric sex position, one partner sits cross-legged while the other sits on their lap with their ankles wrapped behind their partner's back. They face each other. This position aligns the seven chakras and promotes mutual awareness. Partners can feel each other’s breath and even breathe it in, gaze into each other's eyes, or touch their brow chakras.
Safety Advice and Special Considerations
Because Tantric sex is more about your mental, spiritual, and emotional approach to sex than it is about the physical aspect, it can work for any fitness or health level. There are plenty of options and positions.
If you want to approach your partner about giving Tantric sex a try, first explain why you are interested in this experience and how you believe it can bring you closer. If they are also interested, you may want to prepare separately before trying Tantric sex positions together. Some ways you can get yourself ready include:
- Learning and practicing meditative practices
- Reading up on the history and ideas of Tantra
- Connecting with your body through stretches and breathing exercises
- Creating a spiritual and distraction-free space.