“Let’s look at this one,” I said, suggestively pulling a copy of The Kama Sutra from the shelf. My husband and I were at our favorite bookstore downtown, and we had just gotten married. As we flipped through the pages, we snickered and chuckled like schoolchildren, then stole a kiss alone in the corner of the bookstore before we headed home, walking hand in hand. That was the first time my husband and I had ever consulted any outside material for ideas on what to do in bed, and that was 11 years ago.
For the most part, my husband and I have a great sex life. We've always been happy exploring options on our own, and we never felt like we needed any help in that arena. But now that we have a baby, things have become less passionate in the bedroom. So we decided to try tantric sex for a week to spice things up. We realized it was time to devote some extra attention to our still active but understandably strained sex life, and tantric sex seemed like just the thing we needed to "bring us back" together.
According to Good to Know, the term Tantric sex comes from the Sanskrit word tantra, which refers to “the weaving and expansion of energy." The goal of Tantra is to prolong and intensify your sexual experience, not so much by focusing on reaching climax, but by connecting and enjoying the sensual activity of sex. It’s about moving past the “quickie” mindset of sex and indulging in the mystical (and even sacred) ideas behind intimacy.
When I suggested the idea to my husband, I told him about the mystical and spiritual elements that go along with tantric sex, such as the goal of becoming one with God during sex. My husband and I are both quite spiritual, and we agreed that we could get on board with the idea of God being a part of our sex life.
I couldn’t help but giggle at first, but then I settled in.
Before trying this experiment, I did some research on tantric sex positions that promote prolonged pleasure, which got me excited and interested in this new endeavor. But if I’m being perfectly honest, my research also made me feel a little tired, like, “Oh man, I’ve got one more thing to add to my list, and it might last for hours.” As a mama, I know that time and energy are precious commodities, so I wanted to make sure the extra effort would pay off.
My husband and I decided that we would devote one week to having Tantric sex at least three times that week. This would be a normal week, without any special baby-free time, so we'd just have to figure out how to carve the space for this experiment in our busy parenting lives.
Tantric Session 1: Tantric Virgins
I spend most of my after-mama hours tired and catching up on my latest Netflix obsession. But this time, I freshened up, put on a robe, and went to start the experiment. Normally, sex lasts anywhere between 15 and 25 minutes. But this time, we lasted just over an hour from start to finish.
We started by de-robing and sitting on the floor facing each other, with my legs wrapped around my husband's. (Louise Van Der Velde, a tantra expert, suggests staying off the bed so you don't trigger the sleep button in your brain.) We looked into each other’s eyes and focused on synchronizing our breathing. I couldn’t help but giggle at first, but then I settled in. I felt like I was searching his eyes for his deepest thoughts and emotions, but I couldn't figure out what he was thinking.
After a moment or two, I needed to physically change positions, because I had some pain in my back. So we lay down together while still facing each other. I started touching him, and he suggested we take turns exploring each other's bodies. I gave him a tantric massage, a form of erotic massage that involves focusing on various pressure points and creating various sensations with your hands.
He said it was good to practice appreciating my body without thinking about the end goal of reaching orgasm.
"I feel like I'm 'serving' you," I told him. It wasn't in a way that felt demeaning to me, but in a way that allowed me to focus on admiring his body and realize how grateful I was for him in my life. While he explored my body with his hands and mouth, he said he felt something similar, and that it was good to practice appreciating my body without thinking about the end goal of having sex.
At this point, we were ready for intercourse, so we switched from missionary position to me on his lap. But even though we were trying to go slowly, he soon reached climax. He did say the experience was slightly more intense for him than usual, but I didn’t even have a chance to climax while he was inside of me. To prolong my experience though, he used his finger. I tried to notice when I started to tense up and breathe more quickly, so I could purposefully breathe more deeply and relax in order to delay orgasm, as recommended by Tantra. Although it took some concentration to “let go,” when I finally finished, I did feel a deeper orgasm.
Emotionally, however, I didn’t feel incredibly connected to my husband, nor did I feel like the sex was that spectacular. Because I was thinking about the experience and processing it the whole time (thanks, type A personality!), it didn't feel that natural. I felt like I was a little too in my head to fully appreciate it.
Tantric Session 2: Real and Raw
The night after the first night, we were too tired to have sex and didn't really want to put the extra effort into having Tantric sex. So we decided to wait for the next night. “This tantric thing is totally more for, like, when you get away for a weekend and the whole point is sex," I told my husband. "Doing it as working parents doesn’t necessarily work.” But the experiment wasn’t over yet.
After our daughter went to bed, we settled in for the evening, watched a little bit of TV, and got things going. I suggested we start with our clothes on this time, but nestle in together close and peel off our clothes as things heated up. My husband wanted to sit behind me and let me rest on his chest. We opted for the couch this time, as the previous experience on the floor wasn’t the most comfortable for us.
It was one of the most exciting sexual experiences I've ever had.
David began stroking my body and eventually started focusing on my breasts. He made a point to stay there for a while even after I was completely aroused. By the time we had both taken our tops off, we wanted to face each other for the intimacy of skin-on-skin contact. As all of our clothes came off, I got on top. David wanted to switch positions, but I reminded him that this wasn’t meant to be a race to the finish line.
“Oh yeah, I should actually just relax and let you go,” he said. When he gave himself to me like that — which is something that had never truly happened in our 11+ years of having sex together (however shocking that might sound) — I felt like the most powerful woman in the world. I've always been happy to generally let him “do the work," but when I was given the ability to take over all the effort, it was one of the most exciting sexual experiences I've ever had.
From start to finish, we only lasted about an hour, even though apparently you can work up to several hours at a time, as famously noted by Sting and wife Trudie Styler, who are Tantra experts. But I felt much more empowered and connected to my husband.
Tantric Session 3: It’s Always Been You
By the last night of our experiment, I was really longing for our time alone together. I was looking forward to putting everything from the day out of my mind and focusing on my husband. I realized that while Tantric sex was something I had to get used to at first, it eventually became something I craved.
This time, we didn't have to introduce our session by talking about what we were about to do to each other. We just naturally connected. It reminded me of when we first started dating, and we were learning about each other's bodies. We spontaneously began mirroring each other’s moves all over our bodies, and it seemed we couldn’t get enough of holding each other.
This time we tried The Mermaid position, which involved him standing and holding my legs in the air. My orgasm was good, but I felt more connected to my husband than ever before, which is what Tantra is all about.
Doing this experiment helped my husband and I develop a strong sense of trust, and it also reminded us of the trust we already have in each other. That sense of mutual trust has lasted beyond this week, because every time we’ve had sex since then, we’re more willing to take it slow.
After years of marriage, we'd slid into the impulse to have almost purely "maintenance"-style sex. It’s totally refreshing to have sex not because “it feels like it’s time" to do it, but because you truly love your partner and want to celebrate them. Tantric sex was just one way we were able to remind ourselves of what brought us together in the first place.