What Is Tantric Sex?

Medically Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo, MD on July 02, 2023
4 min read

Tantra is an ancient Indian practice that dates back more than 5,000 years. In Sanskrit, the word tantra means woven together. People who practice Buddhist and Hindu meditation may also practice tantric sex as a way to “weave” the physical with the spiritual.

This practice brings together spirituality and sexuality and emphasizes the importance of intimacy during a sexual experience.

However, tantra isn’t just about sexual pleasure. It’s more about celebrating your body and feeling heightened sensuality. The practice intertwines spirituality, sexuality, and a state of mindfulness. It encourages a sensual experience that may be experienced alone or with a partner.

The goal of tantric sex is to achieve spiritual or energetic contact during a sensual experience. This practice is slow and the aim is not always to achieve orgasm. Instead, it’s about feeling a connection either to your partner or to yourself that’s both intense and enlightened. It includes breathing, sounds, and movements to activate sexual energy.

Tantra isn’t just a sexual practice. It’s an Eastern philosophy that includes several spiritual concepts.

Tantric techniques include breathing, yoga, and meditation that can then increase sexual energy. A common misconception about tantric sex is that it involves wild, uninhibited sexual experiences. While tantric techniques can open you up to new sensations, it’s as much a mental practice as a spiritual one.

Another misconception around tantra is that it’s always necessary to have a partner. While many couples practice tantric sex together, it can also be an individual practice.

In reality, genital contact or intercourse doesn’t even have to happen to have a tantric experience. Sexual intercourse can enhance your experience, but you can also practice tantra to feel more connected to your own mind and body and give yourself pleasure.

In fact, those who practice tantric techniques, or follow the tantric path, have the overall goal of freeing the soul and expanding consciousness. This can be done in a number of ways, tantric sex being just one of them.

Tantric sex also isn’t about bending into strenuous poses or positions. It’s about being close to your partner in a way that’s comfortable for you. You have the freedom to move and touch however you and your partner decide is best.

As you look for information on tantric sex, a few words come up over and over again: tantra, tantric sex, and neotantra. These terms often get used interchangeably, but it’s important to note there are some small differences between tantra and neotantra.

Tantra, as mentioned, is the ancient Eastern practice that developed more than 5,000 years ago. Neotantra is the modern, Westernized version that’s associated with new religious movements.

Neotantra is a modern, New Age look at the ancient tantric texts. This means that neotantra includes some unorthodox practices and techniques that aren’t necessarily used by those that follow the traditional path of tantra.

To explore tantric sex, there are a few techniques that you can try to get ready. The first thing to do is to create the right environment. A good place to practice tantric techniques should be a place that’s comfortable and free from distractions. Once you’ve found your preferred place, it’s time to relax and settle in.

Meditation. Whether you’ve practiced meditation before or not, this simply means taking a moment to be aware of your surroundings. Use your senses to really absorb everything going on around you.

Breathing. Inhale deeply and slowly, then exhale and empty out your lungs. Repeat this until you have rhythm. The goal with tantric breathing is to breathe deep enough to start to feel sensation in your sex organs.

Movement. Lay flat on your back and let go of tension. As you breathe, arch your back and lift up your pelvis. You can repeat this to create a rhythm and feel yourself letting go of stress and starting to connect with your body and emotions.

Many couples practice tantric sex to feel connected to their partner on a higher level. Tantric techniques help to form close, intimate contact and allow you and your partner to explore each other’s bodies. You both can discover what you really like and you can teach your partner along the way.

Tantric sex is meant to be slow and satisfying, and sessions are typically quite long. Many people aim at putting off orgasm to enjoy the closeness and intimacy as long as possible. 

If you’re ready to explore tantric sex with your partner, the first thing you can practice together is eye contact. Start out by facing your partner, clothes on, and look at each other in the eyes. Practice the breathing techniques and synchronize your breath. Once you’ve gotten into a rhythm, you can begin to incorporate tantric techniques.

After you undress, you can begin touching, feeling, and moving with your partner however feels best for you. The key here is to maintain eye contact and to continue to focus on your breathing. The only thing that matters is the present moment and enjoying every sensation.