How To Use Scratching, Spanking & Biting During Sex, According To Tantric Principles
Although they might seem like polar opposite to some of us, rough sex and tantra actually go hand-in-hand. In fact, rough sex dates back to what people consider the oldest authority on sex—the Kama Sutra—which was written around 400 B.C. The Kama Sutra has whole chapters on rough sex, actually. Scratching, spanking, and biting during sex can all be part of deeply connective tantric sex.
Rough sex can be really fun if you're looking to spice things up with some role play and explore new things. Sometimes when a person has a Type-A personality or has a lot of power in their daily lives (i.e. The Boss), they like to be more submissive and let her partner take control in the bedroom. This is perfectly normal. And yes, rough sex, when you're doing it for the right reasons in the right way, can deepen your connection to your partner. Here are a few rough sex techniques to try that are totally aligned with tantra.
The Kama Sutra has a chapter titled "The Art of Scratching" that details the different kinds of marks lovers make with their nails, as well as how to scratch, when to scratch, and why to scratch.
One line reads, "The nails are used for scratching and scraping in order to increase excitation. [Scratching and biting] have the same effect[s] of increasing [excitement] and showing domination."
The Kama Sutra describes eight kinds of nail marks, including the Peacock's Claw, which is described as such: "When the nipple is seized by all five nails and pulled outwards, the nail marks around the breasts are known as the peacock's claw."
In tantra, we use our nails in a more gentle way—using feather-light touch. So, you'll more lightly touch your partner or yourself to awaken your senses. But you can up the intensity on this method and dig your nails in just a bit—just don't go so far that you draw blood.
To stay connected with your partner during this kind of rough play, try to sync your breathing and maintain eye contact while you run your sharp fingernails up and down their body starting with a light touch and slowly adjusting to create a more intense sensation.
The other tantric principle it's important to hold on to is consciousness. Even when your sex is rough, you should approach it with awe, respect, and total presence. When you can maintain eye contact, you know you're exchanging sexual energy with your partner through your eyes. This is a very powerful tool for building intimacy, and it also forces you to pay attention to what your partner is feeling—what they like or dislike.
"Biting with the teeth, like scratching with the nails, is a sign of possession" the Kama Sutra chapter on biting reads. The book describes 10 different types of biting, including the Necklace of Dots, which is comprised of "numerous pointed marks made in the same area."
The Kama Sutra also clarifies that biting can be done on almost any body part. My teachings on both the nipple-gasm and tantric breast massage include nipple-pinching as a technique for reaching orgasm. (Here's my full guide to orgasms from nipple play.) To roughen it up the Kama Sutra way, try nibbling or biting instead of pinching. Be very careful to go slowly here. Let your partner know when it's too much. There's a very fine line between pleasure and pain.
In ancient tantric practices and in the Kama Sutra, they focus on learning to balance between biting and pinching the nipple hard. If you lead someone to their threshold—or what they think is too much pain—right at that moment, if they take another breath, it's like hitting a wall just before you cross the finish line in a marathon. That's the moment someone can actually break through to the most intense orgasm ever.
The "Blows and Sighs" chapter of the Kama Sutra describes multiple ways of spanking. When you spank someone's ass, you're actually spanking what we call the lower chakras—where the sexual energy resides. It sort of lights them on fire, allowing the sensation to move through their whole spine, which feels like lightning.
When I went to India, I actually found very old texts that referred to spanking as a way to release or awaken your kundalini—which is sexual energy or chi. When you spank or smack, it sends that chi up the spine from the root chakra. This is another way to have full-body orgasms.
Precautions for engaging in rough sex.
Firstly, check in with yourself to make sure that you want rough sex for the right reasons. A woman at one of my workshops recently told me that in the course of her marriage when things weren't going well, her husband would pursue rough sex as a way of taking his aggression out on her. If you feel like your interest in rough sex might be related to unresolved emotions, you'd be better off working out that aggression by talking to your partner about the issues you're facing. Beware of abusive behavior masked as rough sex.
Another client told me that she had a hard time feeling anything because she was so closed off to her own body. She couldn't feel pleasure without feeling shame because of past sexual trauma. Rough sex won't fix that. Instead, work with a mental health professional to process your trauma and a sexuality professional to help you reconnect with your sexuality. You need to get back in touch with your body before you explore different kinds of sex.
Psalm Isadora was a renowned Tantric sex educator, sex coach, and yoga teacher who taught thousands of Tantra and sexuality workshops internationally. Her groundbreaking work has been featured on CNN, NPR, The Huffington Post, iHeart Radio, Bustle, and many more, and she reached over 66 million homes as the star of Playboy TV’s reality show Cougar Club. She founded sex education organization Urban Kama Sutra and is the creator of the practice of OYoga, a combination of yoga, belly dance, and burlesque to help women unlock their inner sex goddess.
Isadora passed away on March 26, 2017. During her life, Psalm made a name for herself as a bold, outspoken sex, relationships, and trauma expert who lived to inspire the next generation of women. She demystified the ancient secrets of Tantra to make them accessible to the modern masses.
Raised in a religious cult as a child, Isadora endured years of sexual trauma that eventually ignited her passion to teach sexual empowerment and modern sex ed. In 2007, Isadora traveled to India to immerse herself in the ancient teachings of Tantra to facilitate deep healing and discover her own path as a healer. For eight years, Isadora traveled to India to delve deeper into the path of Tantra and teach yoga to sex-trafficked women in the red light district of Calcutta, work that would eventually become part of a documentary titled Shakti. She studied the Śrī Vidyā tradition of Tantra under spiritual guru Sri Amritananda (Guruji) in Pradesh, India, and was initiated into Shakti Tantra Yoga.
We will miss you, Psalm. You will certainly never be forgotten.