"I got there, and I was telling myself, 'just stay open minded and take it seriously' but there was a pewter dragon in the corner... a f**king pewter dragon...!"
I brunched with a friend recently who was looking to expand his sexual repertoire by dipping his toes into Tantric waters. He had just visited a Tantra Coach to get some 1-on-1 insight into this new world. He enjoyed the experience, but was distracted by what he and others refer to as 'the woo'. Tantra has a few associations, some to do with multiple orgasms, Sting and 10-hour sex sessions, others to do with incense and moons and pewter f**ng dragons.
Now some people are into Tantra, and also into purple-energy-oras, and that is perfectly fine (I just make fun of it because I find life and sex are taken far too seriously). But you can practice Tantra and also be into felling trees, boxing and designer handbags. You also do not need to become 'a Tantric Person' if you don't want to, instead you could simply trial applying some tantric principles to your current sexual experiences.
Here are three principles of Tantra including exercises I feel everyone can bring into their lives regardless of whatever else they're into.
1. Daily Touch Ritual.
I learnt this one from said pewter-dragon-averse friend who looked up the Australian School of Tantra. They have a practice they call Daily Devotion, also highly recommended for times of low libido. After you wake up (if you sleep next to a partner), dedicate 5 minutes to just holding each other and syncing breath. Tantra encourages physical closeness and the enjoyment of simple touch without agenda. Just try it for a week and see how you feel.
2. Simple Touch
I attended a Laneway Learning class on mindfulness and sexuality this week by the lovely Caitlyn Cook who runs mindfulness-based tantra workshops. She is a fellow analogy-addict and nails Tantra with this one :
"I went to Rome recently and to choose the best Italian restaurant in a new place I came up with this trick.. order the Margherita pizza first and see what that's like. Because if they can nail the Margherita using three simple ingredients.. their Caprese will probably blow you away!"
To nail your Margherita, go back to the basics of touch. Take your partner's hand, ask them to close their eyes and simply trail your fingers around their palm for a few minutes. The only agenda here is to enjoy touching their skin and noticing how that feels. It is unreal how relaxing this exercise is whichever side you're on.
3. Don't forget to Breath.
At most tantric classes (such as Passionfruit the Sensuality Shop) the instructor will often stop the class and instruct everyone to breath in, and out. A deep breath in, right from the base of the belly, and released slowly is a game changer. If you feel your partner is tensing up, get them back into the groove of good sensations through asking them to take a deep breath with you.