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Written by: Natalia Jaczkowski

Rather than being a religion or philosophy, Tantra is best understood as a system of living or an approach to self-realization. Tantra is composed of various rituals and practices that are focused on developing deep respect for the human body and directing energy to have harmony with the universe as a means of spiritual transformation and salvation. Tantra emerged in India around the 6th century as a co-development of esoteric Hindu and Buddhist traditions, although it has also influenced a variety of eastern religions. Some important Tantra terms include the following:

  • Aparvarga - Liberation, freedom, salvation  
  • Chakra – Location in the body where energy is centered; there are seven main chakras.
  • Lingam –  Sanskrit word for penis that loosely translates to “wand of light.”
  • Maithuna – Sanskrit word for sexual union, whether symbolic or physical.
  • Yoni – Sanskrit word for the vagina. A sacred spot that represents the Hindu goddess, Shakti. According to Tantric texts, yoni is the “source of life.

What are the chakras?

The chakras are seven energy centers that are located along a central channel in our bodies. Each chakra is associated with a different aspect of our being, and stores experiences and memories related to that aspect. When our chakras are balanced, a Tantra practitioner experiences clarity and feels more joyful and free. The seven chakras include:

  • Muladhara (Root Chakra) — Basic trust, sense of safety, security and being grounded
  • Svadisthana (Spleen or Sacral Chakra) — Pleasure, enjoyment, sexuality and creativity
  • Manipura (Navel or Solar Plexus Chakra) — Self-esteem and personal power
  • Anahata (Heart Chakra) — Love, compassion and forgiveness
  • Visuddha (Throat Chakra) — Expression and communication
  • Ajna (Third Eye Chakra) — Inspiration, awareness and intuition
  • Sahasrara (Crown Chakra) — Spirituality and enlightenment

What are some examples of Tantra rituals and practices?

  • Tantra meditation: This is a dynamic form of meditation that awakens consciousness by opening up chakras within us to allow energy to flow freely. 
  • Tantra yoga: This type of yoga primarily focuses on the cultivation and build-up of kundalini energy (divine feminine energy located in the muladhara chakra). Once this energy has been activated, it is encouraged to flow up the chakras to the crown chakra to “spill from the top '' and create enlightenment. 
  • Tantra ecstatic dance: This is an un-patterned dance with no specific steps where dancers dance freely to the rhythm of the music, leading to feelings of ecstasy and trance. Performing this type of dance is transformative in shedding shame and helping to relieve stress and tension stored in our physical bodies. 
    • Yoni puja: A sacred ritual during which the yoni is worshiped to purify the mind from wordly ideas about the yoni. A yoni puja can be performed by using a sculpture, painting, or sanctified natural object representing a yoni as a focus of veneration or by worshiping the yoni in its living form (female genitalia). 


    What is Tantric sex?

    Tantric sex, a sacred and divine union of sex and meditation, is a fragment of the teachings under Tantra. To most people, meditation implies being alone, sitting upright and still. In Tantric sex, the body is moving around and changing positions, but throughout it all the consciousness remains quiet, still and serene. Tantric sex is not orgasm oriented or limited to genital sensations. It is focused on the unhurried love-making journey and building and exchanging sexual energy with your partner to create higher ecstatic experiences. Instead of releasing quickly in orgasm or ejaculation, sexual energy is encouraged to be retained and re-circulated in the body to revitalize and nourish it. In this sense, orgasm is more of a state of being rather than an event. This doesn’t mean that you never cum; rather, you extend love-making and save cuming for later on or you cum with less frequency. 

    What is the concept of sexual polarity in Tantric sex?

    In Tantric sex, sexual energy is believed to flow between two opposite energetic poles: the feminine and masculine poles. Qualities of feminine energy (Shakti) include softness, reception, and devotion. Qualities of masculine energy (Shiva) include action, strength and confidence. Both energies exist within each of us in varying amounts. In Tantric sex, one partner takes on the feminine expression and the other takes on the masculine expression. It is in the interest of lovers to accentuate the femininity and masculinity of each other to increase the difference in polarization and build sexual tension. According to Tantric sex, it is only through strong polarization that partners can generate a high amount of sexual energy for spiritual purposes. It is important to note that the terms “feminine” and “masculine” do not have to represent a person’s biological sex, they are valid for people of any gender or sexual orientation.

    What are some common rituals associated with Tantric sex?

    • Sacred Space Creation: Setting up a sacred and comfortable space for the sexual experience is important in Tantric rituals. This can involve creating an atmosphere with soft lighting, soothing music, and the use of sacred objects or symbols.
    • Conscious Communication: Open and honest communication is vital in Tantric practices. Partners share their desires, boundaries, and intentions, creating a safe space for exploration and deepening the connection.
    • Ritualized Union: In some Tantric traditions, couples may engage in ceremonial rituals that symbolize the union of masculine and feminine energies. These rituals can include the exchange of vows, chanting mantras, or invoking the presence of divine forces.

    What are examples of Tantric sex techniques?

  • Eye gazing: An exercise where partners look deeply into each other’s eyes to connect energies and build sexual tension without speaking. There are many ways to do eye gazing. One basic method is to simply sit facing each other, whether holding hands or not, and setting a timer for a desired amount of time (for example, 2 mins). Notice what emotions or sensations come up for you. It’s important to breathe deeply, keep your gaze soft, and try not to look away, but allow yourself to blink naturally. 
  • Hands on hearts: This exercise often follows eye-gazing and helps with gaining a deeper connection. While sitting cross-legged and facing your partner, each of you will place your right hand on the other’s heart, with your own left hand on top of your partner’s hand on your heart region. While in this position, synchronize your breathing. You can start by doing 10 deep and slow breaths together. 
  • Tantric massage: In Tantric massage, one partner is tuning into their pleasure and opening up their body to receive sexual energy while the other is moving their hands slowly along their body, giving them ample time to feel every sensation. There is genital specific Tantric massage: yoni massage (Tantric massage for the vagina and clitoris) and lingam massage (Tantric massage for the penis). 

  • What are examples of Tantric sex positions?

    • Yab-Yum – This is an adapted standard yoga/meditation pose. The penetrating partner sits with their legs crossed while the receiving partner sits in their partner’s lap facing them with their legs wrapped around their waist and crossed behind them. In this position, the partners will rock their bodies together. This position allows for eye contact and synchronized breathing to be maintained easily. 
    • The Hot Seat: The penetrating partner kneels down and sits on their heels. The receiving partner sits on their partner’s lap, facing the same direction as them as opposed to facing each other. The penetrating partner is able to wrap their arms around the receiver’s waist for support or to reach down to stimulate their partner’s clitoris. The receiving partner is able to move their hips up and down or in a circular motion to control the penetration. 
    • The Butterfly: The receiver lays down on their back on a table, mattress or sofa, while the penetrating partner stands in front of them. The penetrating partner lifts the hips of their partner and places their legs against their shoulders. A pillow can be placed under the lower back or hips for comfort. In this position, the penetrating partner will control the movement, thrusting in and out.


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