Much like the Kama Sutra, tantric sex has become a synonym for "wild sex" with little to no explanation of what that actually means. Sure, many of us are aware that Sting supposedly enjoys 7 hour-long tantric sessions with his wife, and certain sex positions have been called "tantric," but that doesn't even begin to cover what the practice is actually about. So we spoke with healer and tantric shaman Maisha Najuma Aza to set the record straight on tantric sex — and to find out how it can improve anyone's sex lives.
For one thing, tantric practices go way beyond sex. Different forms of tantra can be found in Hinduism and Buddhism, and it's been practiced for thousands of years. Although the exact origins of tantra have been difficult to pin down (because it's been around for so long), it's believed that tantric practices were developed as a means of community building and conflict resolution.
It's since been applied to other types of mystical practices, but that core goal has remained mostly intact. Aza explains that one practices tantra in order to connect with others, with nature, and with oneself. "People don’t have to believe in a higher power to believe in tantra," she says. Those interested may seek these connections through meditation, yoga, or other non-sexual routes.
That said, Aza says sex can be a wonderful way to forge connections and find "embodiment" (total awareness of your body and your feelings). She explains that people often forget how important physical intimacy is to feeling spiritually grounded, but tantra places it on the same level as emotional intimacy. And this is what gets overlooked about tantric sex — that it's more about vulnerability than anything else. Practicing tantric sex means "opening up and accessing the expansive and contractive part of yourself," Aza says.