What Is Tantric Massage? 7 Ways To Try It At Home
Kelly Gonsalves is a sex educator, relationship coach, and journalist. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern University, and her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.
Many people fall into the trap of following the same sexual scripts. Sex looks the same every time, usually involving some kissing, maybe some oral, and then a person with a penis thrusting aggressively into a person with a vagina until the former orgasms. Learning to move away from these scripts can unlock whole new realms of pleasure, new types of sensations, and more uniquely connective experiences. One way to throw all the rules out the door is to explore tantric sex and, specifically, tantric massage. Here's what happens during a tantra massage and how to give one to your partner.
What is tantric massage?
Tantric massage is a style of massage or bodywork that draws on the principles of tantra, an ancient spiritual practice originating in Central and Southeast Asia. In most modern-day practice in the West, tantric massage involves massaging and stimulating the full body with particular focus on sensitive areas like the penis and vulva. It's sometimes referred to as simply an erotic massage, although a tantra massage also incorporates breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness elements and is not necessarily sexual. Tantric massage also has a spiritual and energetic component, wherein the practitioner or giver helps move the receiver's energy throughout the body to promote inner healing.
"Unlike other forms of massage, this sacred practice incorporates the tantric essence of shakti, or energy," Tiffany Tanner, a tantra teacher and massage therapist in Arizona, tells mbg. "When skillfully incorporating this universal force into a massage, it can touch the deepest layers and aspects of a human being and be a profound instrument of spiritual and emotional healing."
Tantra stems from ancient Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, though most tantra taught and practiced in the West can be referred to as neotantra, a modern adaptation that focuses specifically on sacred sexuality as opposed to the other spiritual and religious elements of traditional tantra. "The experience we offer is not intended for the tantric purist," Genevieve Duarte, a tantric massage expert at White Lotus East, says of the tantric massages offered at their New York studio. "If anyone desires to explore and commit to the more traditional teachings of tantra, then this experience can serve as a beginning platform."
What happens during a tantra massage.
What happens during a tantra massage offered at a massage studio or spa center will vary greatly depending on the facility. In general, tantric massage involves massaging and stimulating a person's full body, including genitalia, while doing breathwork, meditation, and other spiritual practices or energy work. Some forms of tantric massage include the yoni massage (focused on the vulva), the lingam massage (focused on the penis), and massaging the sacred spot (aka the prostate).
Tantric massage can also be practiced at home with a partner and can be a way to introduce a slower, more intentional, and more intimate form of sexuality into a couple's sex life.
People can orgasm during a tantra massage, though it's not the goal. Tantric massage is more about leaning into pleasure, releasing energetic blocks and tension, and connecting spiritually with another person. Intercourse is not usually part of a tantra massage, though tantra massage can be incorporated into a tantric sexual experience between a couple.
How to give a tantric massage.
Before attempting to give a tantric massage, it's helpful to learn a little bit about tantric principles in general, as it'll ensure you're approaching the experience from a perspective of sacred connection and intentional pleasure.
These are the most essential elements of a tantra massage, according to Duarte:
- For the recipient, being able to receive pleasure without feeling compelled to reciprocate.
- For the giver, being willing to provide pleasure without the need of the same in return.
- For the giver, learning to read the partner's body language and understanding the importance of touch.
- For both, forgetting about time.
- Each partner having a strong desire to please the other.
- Strong personal hygiene in preparation for the experience.
"It's often difficult for someone to express how one wants to be touched and how many people are inept in the way they touch one another," she tells mbg. "Touching someone in a manner that they want to be touched takes time, experience, and open-mindedness."
Below are instructions for specific types of tantra massage. You can do these with a partner or by yourself.
A lingam massage focuses on honoring and pleasuring the penis:
- Get the penis owner relaxed, lying on their back in a comfortable position with their legs apart and knees bent. Remind them to breathe deeply throughout the experience.
- Practice breathing in their energy of arousal as you inhale and sending them loving energy as you exhale.
- Lubricate and massage the areas of the penis, starting by sliding your hands up their thighs, pubic bone, and perineum.
- Gently, slowly massage the testicles. You can pull them slightly, cup them in your hands to fondle them, or use your fingernails gently on them.
- Massage the shaft, varying your grip, stroke sequences, and twisting motions. Vary from one hand to two and from slow to fast.
- Don't let them climax. Keep them at the edge of orgasm, also known as edging.
- If they're comfortable, stimulate their sacred spot, also known as the prostate.
- When they're ready, allow your partner to climax with an ejaculation orgasm.
Here's tantric sex educator Psalm Isadora's full guide to lingam massage.
A yoni massage focuses on honoring and pleasuring the vulva:
- Have the vulva owner lie on their back in a comfortable place with a pillow under their hips, knees up, and feet on the ground.
- Guide them in connecting to their breath.
- Warm up with a body massage or tantric breast massage (see below) to slowly build arousal.
- Move to the vulva and begin stimulating the clitoris, alternating between circling, pushing and pulling, tugging and rolling, tapping, and G-spot massage.
- Encourage your partner to practice edging, or to lean in to experience multiple waves of orgasms.
Here's Psalm Isadora's full guide to yoni massage.
Tantric breast massage.
The tantric breast massage or nipple massage simply applies tantra massage principles to the breasts:
- Set the scene with candles, incense, or music that makes your partner feel sexy.
- Remind them to focus on their breath, taking long, deep breaths throughout the experience.
- Drip some oil at the center of their heart between the breasts, as well as over the belly.
- Start by massaging the belly to stir up sexual energy before moving on to the breasts.
- Circle the breasts using a feather-like touch, then move to massaging and squeezing them.
- Once their body is begging for it, move to the nipples using tracing, pinching, and rolling.
- As they come close to orgasm, massage their body up to the neck, head, and scalp. Have them undulate their spine and rock their hips to create arousal throughout the whole body, creating waves of pleasure.
Here's Psalm Isadora's full guide to nipple play the tantric way.
Bonus tantra techniques.
Here are a few more techniques to add to a tantra massage or to any tantric sexual practice:
As certified tantra educator and registered nurse Leslie Grace, R.N., tells mbg, tantric sex is as much about the mindset as it is about the physical techniques: "It's about wholeheartedly celebrating the sacredness of our bodies and desires while bringing a quality of mindful awareness to the shared expression of pleasure."
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