What is Tantric masturbation?
The main difference between Tantric masturbation and ‘regular’ masturbation is the lack of a ‘goal’. Whereas typically masturbation would end in ejaculation or clitoral orgasm (and often that’s the sole motivation for doing it – to get to that end point), Tantric masturbation is more about exploring and enjoying your body, whilst cultivating and building arousal energy that can then be ‘drawn’ up and kept in the body as a source of vitality. In the same way that Yoga is a form of exercise that has a Spiritual aspect or philosophy attached to it, Tantric sex or masturbation is a form of sex that incorporates the belief that our sexual energy is meant for more than just ejaculation: it can be a source of fuel to connect us with higher purpose, meditative states and Spiritual experiences.
What are the benefits of Tantric masturbation?
The benefits include a more relaxed nervous system (as Tantric masturbation usually includes more oxytocin boosting full-body touch – not just fiddling with the genitals whilst tensing and clenching the body). Tantric masturbation can be a great way to increase body and sexual confidence through the judgement-free, goal-free, loving touch and connection with yourself. It can support people to overcome sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, anorgasmia and vaginismus, as it helps them to learn how to relax and enjoy their body in the present moment (rather than being distracted by performance anxiety thoughts, body insecurities or expectations in the mind). Tantric masturbation has many of the benefits that practicing meditation can offer – less attachment to mind chatter, discipline and focus, feelings of relaxation in the body and increased sense of wellbeing through regular mindful time spent in a ‘flow’ state.
What does Tantric masturbation involve?
Generally Tantric masturbation is practiced with intention setting, slowness in touch and movement, deep and expansive breath and sometimes includes prayer, affirmations or meditation. It may or may not include genital stimulation. It might include anal and prostate massage. The duration is typically longer than ‘having a quick wank’, and will intentionally take in different arousal ‘levels’ – not just 0-100 and then ‘falling over the edge’ into orgasm. It’s less of a sprint, more of an enjoyable walk through the countryside with moments to pause and enjoy the scenery. I encourage my clients to incorporate things like music, different body positions, different kinds of touch, allowing sound or emotion to move and always a period of quiet integration at the end (rather than rushing on with their day).
How can I get started with Tantric masturbation if I've never done it?
There are three simple building blocks that I offer to clients who want to develop a more Tantric or mindful relationship with masturbation.
1 – Pay more attention to your breath. Begin and end your masturbation by spending a few minutes connecting with a deeper, slower breath. Throughout your masturbation, be aware of how you are breathing and where in your body you are breathing. Notice if you are holding your breath or breathing short and shallow. Keep returning to the deeper slower breath as a way to spread arousal, sensation and sexual energy upwards from your genitals to your heart. Intentionally play with breathing faster or slower and notice how that changes your experience of sensation and arousal.
2 – Make sound. Incorporate intentional long sighs, hums or ‘aaaah’ sounds with your exhale. This will encourage you to open your mouth and relax your jaw. It will keep you present with your body and give you a sense of being massaged from the inside out! Most people are very conditioned to be silent during masturbation, it can be difficult to let sound and noise come out initially but it’s a totally liberating and exciting way to open your body up and move energy.
3 – Move your body. This includes changing position (standing up, kneeling on all fours, lying on your side etc) but also invites you to move from a passive body experience to one where your body is moving without tension, contraction or clenching.
In addition, a simple but powerful shift towards a more Tantric approach to masturbation can be to state a clear intention or mantra at the beginning of your practice e.g. ‘my intention today is to explore pleasure and sensation in my chest and nipples’, or ‘may pleasure and relaxation be felt by all beings’.
How do I get the most out of Tantric masturbation?
1. Let go of the goal
Set yourself a challenge to not ejaculate or cum on your clit. If you have been habitually used to the goal-oriented approach to masturbation, with a 5-10 second peak orgasm every time, try re-wiring your experience to focus more on the present moment and a sense of exploration and curiosity about all the different sensations in your body.
2. Make it an event
Set time aside, light candles, prepare your space, make it a self-pleasuring ritual rather than something that happens by accident. Lend a sense of sacredness to the way you relate to yourself, your body and your pleasure.
3. Use a soundtrack
Music can be a powerful conduit to altered states. Put together a playlist that helps you to feel sensual, relaxed, aroused, elevated and loved. Use the energy or vibe of the music to connect with sensations, emotions and expression in your body.
What common mistakes do people make?
They still focus on the goal of orgasm. Whilst arousal and orgasm are a wonderful part of Tantric masturbation, they are not necessarily required. Try to avoid your habitual or ‘usual’ ways of doing things – don’t just go for the familiar level of arousal. Explore how different sensations, touch and movement create different flavours of arousal.
They don’t give it enough time. Your body needs at least half an hour to drop into a relaxed state, for the nervous system to calm down and the brain to enter a more meditative wavelength. Realistically a Tantric masturbation session will last 45 minutes plus to give you time to enter a more open and altered state.
They move too fast. Slow your breathing down, slow your touch down, slow your movements down. However slow you think you’re going, try going 20% slower. The slower you go, the more you will feel. For most people, ‘regular’ masturbation is quick, hurried, furtive, a desperate and frantic squeeze over the finish line. The Tantric approach has no finish line, so there is no hurry, slow down and take your time. At first you might find this frustrating, or your body might feel numb. When you have been used to rushing and being highly stimulated (or over stimulated) it will take some time and practice to learn how to pay attention to subtler sensation and the energetic/Spiritual aspect of your experience.