How Tantric Practices Can Positively Impact Your Relationship
The concepts of tantric love or tantric sex may be unclear to people who are not directly familiar with them since they’re often shrouded in misconceptions. The tantric philosophy in general has a rich history and meanings and is linked to broader belief systems. However, as it’s most often referred to in popular culture, the tantric practice is a form of meditation done individually or with a partner and is centered on awareness, connection, and energy exchange. Sexual acts are not always a part of tantric practices, though they are sometimes involved as a medium.
The Origins Of Tantric Practices
Tantric practices are rooted in a combination of ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain traditions. They were recorded in some ancient Sanskrit texts that embody an oral tradition that was passed down in India around the 6th century. In these traditions, practitioners worshiped the god Shiva and the goddess Shakti, who represented male consciousness and female power, respectively. In Sanskrit, the word “tantra” is derived from a word that means “weave,” which may apply to weaving together the physical and the spiritual.
5 Things You May Not Know About Tantric Practices
For people who engage in tantric practices with a partner, the idea is often to build a deep, harmonious, and profound link with that person. For those who practice it alone, the goal of building a stronger, sensual connection with themselves is common. Either way, it generally focuses on the awareness of deep connection through meditation. Here are a few things you may not know about tantric love, especially as it relates to a sexual connection.
- It’s about more than gratifying physical desires. Tantric love is about intimacy, mindfulness, and a celebration of the sensuality of the human body. When sexual acts are involved, they’re typically used as a medium rather than an end goal.
- It takes time. Desire-driven and goal-oriented sexual acts may normally happen rapidly and with urgency. In the tantric experience, however, there’s a much greater emphasis on taking one’s time, savoring the connection, and being as aware as possible of each small detail and sensation.
- It’s considered sacred by many practitioners. In the tantric tradition, human sensuality stems from a deeply creative and divine force within a person. The practice of it is often a tool to achieve enlightenment—or at least greater harmony with oneself, one’s partner, and/or even with the world beyond.
- It involves the body and mind. Again, the focus of tantric practices generally isn’t on sex, since many forms don’t even include sexual acts. However, it is common for them to use the body as a way to tap into a deeper connection or to cultivate more profound awareness. It prioritizes the potentially powerful link between mind, body, and spirit for enlightenment or learning.
- It may include ritualistic elements. Certain rituals may be a part of tantric practice to bring the participant(s) to a centered state of awareness. These are often based on the idea of taking time to appreciate the sacredness of one’s body and energy and may include things like massage and prolonged eye contact.
Potential Benefits Of Tantric Acts
Since tantric acts generally take more time and aren’t focused on physical gratification like some other forms of sexuality, people may wonder why someone would engage in them. The reason is that some people find that they offer certain benefits. First, tantric practices can help strengthen your connection with yourself or your partner. Since they often include mind, body, and spirit, you may deepen your bond on these levels. Along with that deeper connection may come a more profound sense of trust, since fully committing to this practice often involves a level of vulnerability. Research suggests a link between vulnerability and deep, meaningful relationships, which may be one reason some couples engage in tantric practices.
Some proponents of the practice also describe potential physical benefits such as multiple and/or prolonged orgasms regardless of gender, and relief from certain sexual dysfunctions. While there’s currently no available research to substantiate these points, sex in general can indeed have a variety of physical and mental health benefits. Whether tantric or not, safe, healthy sexual activity, in general, may be linked to:
- Improved moods
- A stronger immune system
- Better cardiovascular health
- Lower blood pressure
- Stress relief
- Improved sleep
How To Get Started With Tantric Love Practices
As mentioned, tantric practices have roots that span centuries and cultures; the tantric philosophy is broad and diverse. That said, if you’re interested in exploring it as a meditative tool to connect with yourself or your partner, here are a few tips for getting started.
- Do your research. There is a wealth of materials out there about tantric practices, both sexual and non-sexual. Looking into books, videos, interviews with experts, or even classes and retreats may be beneficial on your journey toward trying out tantric practices.
- Set the stage. A safe, quiet, comfortable environment is usually a key part of this practice. It can help you to feel calm and focused, which is a central component of this awareness-based practice.
- Start with eye contact. Deep, prolonged eye contact is often associated with tantric practices. One study suggests that a “direct gaze” can trigger “a heightened processing of stimuli about the self,” and that it may even merit further research as a therapeutic practice. If you’re practicing with a partner, holding eye contact for several minutes and synchronizing your breathing may be a helpful way to begin your session with a connection to each other.
- Approach the body with reverence. Whether it’s your own or your partner’s, having reverence toward the physical body is often a part of tantric practices. Move and touch slowly, noticing small details and focusing on a sense of gratitude and wonder for your or your partner’s body and sensuality.
- Don’t rush. Tantric practices, whether sexual or not, take time. Making sure you have plenty of it so that you don’t feel rushed will likely improve your experience. Try focusing on awareness of the present moment rather than fixating on an endpoint.
Therapy As Another Way To Strengthen Your Relationships
With a digital therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed counselor with who you can connect from the comfort of your own home via phone, video, and/or chat. Since research suggests that virtual therapy offers similar benefits to in-person therapy, some people find this option a convenient and effective alternative to more traditional formats. Those who are interested in overcoming challenges and reaching goals with the help of a therapist can feel empowered to seek one through whatever medium or avenue they feel is best for them. If you’re interested in online therapy, see client reviews of BetterHelp therapists below.
A licensed mental health professional can help you find ways to strengthen your sex life, find greater fulfillment, and enhance connections. Research shows that online platforms are valuable resources for people who want to address issues with intimacy and sex. For example, a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that online therapy helped increase female sexual arousal and fulfillment. The report mentions that people may find online therapy to be a more comfortable forum for discussing sensitive topics such as sexuality. Researchers found that it is also cost-effective and easily accessible. All of these findings are similar to those from several studies that have found online therapy to be an effective form of treatment for many types of mental health-related concerns.
With BetterHelp, you can meet online with a licensed mental health professional at your convenience, from the comfort of your own home or wherever you have an internet connection. A licensed therapist can guide you and your partner on the path toward becoming closer sexually and emotionally while also helping you individually.
“Stephanie is a gem! She’s very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just “knew” I didn’t need it. She’s been key in helping my wife and I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks, Steph!”
“Karen has helped me to be able to look outside the box to find how to find possible solutions to my sex life with my wife. A most insightful approach which I had partly recognized before but not taken seriously or realized just how I felt about it.”
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