You’ve probably heard of tantric sex before; it’s a practice that people worldwide have used to have longer, more meaningful sex for thousands of years. But did you know you can use the same philosophy to have even better sex with yourself?
Tantric masturbation is a fun, pleasurable experience that allows you to dip your toes into the world of Tantra before trying it with a partner! Let’s talk about how you can do it and what else tantric masturbation can do for you.
What Is Tantra?
Tantra, a Sanskrit word meaning “woven together,” first appeared in India in the 6th Century (around 500 AD). Tantra got its name from a sacred text full of rituals that were said to help invoke all-powerful Hindu deities — specifically Shiva (the destroyer) and Shakti (said to be the “original” energy source).
The original Tantra was only practiced by a tiny minority of people, who looked to philosophy as a way to liberate themselves. It allowed them to direct and manipulate universal energy toward their personal goals.
Tantra grew and expanded quickly, though, and it was soon being practiced and studied by both Hindus and Buddhists (and eventually Jains). It even made its way onto the royal court in India! While tantric sex and tantric (Hatha) yoga were pieces of the larger philosophy, it was (and is) about so much more than that.
Unfortunately, just like most things, it was the most “edgy” practices that got the attention — practitioners of Tantra believed that everything was sacred, including sex and intoxicants. The beliefs that didn’t quite match up with the social norms at the time caused Tantra to get an unearned, “bad” reputation when the basic concept was quite innocent and had nothing to do with sex specifically.
Anything can be done tantrically, even eating dinner or taking a relaxing bath! It’s all about finding a way to own your power and exist in your body in an empowered way.
What Is Tantric Masturbation?
So, how do we get from liberation through directed energy and sexuality to tantric masturbation?
Let’s put it into perspective. When you masturbate, how long does it take you to finish? Do you make it an event and honor your body, or do you just “rub one out” in a few minutes and then go on about your day?
You don’t need to respond — we already know the answer. Traditional masturbation tends to be about function, the end goal. The reason you masturbate is to get off, right? Why else would you want to do it?
Tantric masturbation is the exact opposite of that. Instead of trying to beat your previous record, tantric masturbation is about truly learning to make love to yourself. It involves multiple components — touch, breathwork, meditation, and mindfulness — that help you connect with yourself on a much deeper level.
Tantric masturbation is the first step toward having tantric sex with a partner! Knowing yourself this way can help you be a much better sexual partner and have even more fulfilling sexual encounters — because you’re focusing on the experience instead of the orgasm.
How Do I Practice Tantric Masturbation?
Ready to try tantric masturbation for yourself? We’ll walk you through it and set you up for success. Remember, practice makes perfect — it’ll take time to learn to adjust how you think about masturbation!
Set an Intention for Your Session
When you usually masturbate, you have a goal — to have an orgasm — but there are no goals in tantric masturbation. Instead of directing your energy toward getting off, start by setting an intention to explore and raise your sexual energy.
But that’s not where your intention should end. Every time you intentionally enter into a tantric masturbation session, spend some time beforehand thinking about how you’re feeling about your body and sexuality at that moment. Are you feeling self-conscious about certain areas of your body?
Set an intention to pay special attention to those areas and love yourself more. Are you dealing with feelings of sexual shame? Try to grow your comfort level with who you are on a sexual level.
Your intentions don’t have to be sexual, either. True Tantra is about energy — what type of energy do you want to attract more of, or is there anything you want to let go of? Use your sexual energy to raise that universal energy, then direct it where you want it to go.
Set the Scene
Think of tantric masturbation as less of a sex session and more of a ritual. While you can do it anywhere, it’s helpful to decide on a specific place where you plan to practice your Tantra and stick with it. Think of it like a sacred space that will help to raise energy and get you into the right headspace as soon as you walk into it.
To help you turn your otherwise routine space into your sacred space, focus on making it special! What would you do if you knew you were having a new sexual partner over for the first time? You’d clean up and make it feel super romantic, right? Do the same thing for yourself!
For example, light a few scented candles that you’ll use strictly for these sessions (bonus points if they use essential oils, which can harness the power of aromatherapy to help get you in the right mood). Close the curtains to give yourself privacy.
Get rid of any possibility of distraction (put your phone away and turn it off, switch off the television, plan for a time when there’s no one else at home, if possible), and put on soothing music (this doesn’t have to be “new age-y,” just something that gets you in the right mood).
Don’t forget your bed, too! Put on your favorite sheets (the ones that feel the sexiest against your naked skin), and make sure you’re comfortable! You’re making love to yourself, remember? You deserve just as much positive attention; you deserve it!
Don’t Set a Time Limit (If You Don’t Have To)
Tantric masturbation is about enjoying your body and getting to know yourself, so try to schedule your sessions when you don’t have anything else to do — distraction is a killer. However, if you can’t arrange your time that way (and we get it, we’re all busy people!), make sure to at least set a timer for 30 minutes or so.
That way, you can be in the moment without worrying about forgetting to pick up your kid or make it to your doctor’s appointment. Balance is crucial in all things, and we don’t all have unlimited time — that doesn’t mean you deserve to practice tantric masturbation any less.
Breathe the Right Way
It may seem strange to worry about your breathing while you masturbate — that’s not usually something you’re too concerned about, all things considered. But breathwork plays a vital role in tantric masturbation; it’s what helps you begin to raise your energy.
There isn’t a type of breathing specific to tantric masturbation as long as you breathe in a deeper, more conscious manner. If you haven’t done breathwork before, it can help to start by counting your breaths.
Try box breathing — breathing in for four, holding your breath for four, breathing out for four, and then holding it again for four. You’ll feel your mind start to settle, and you can begin to focus on the moment (pro tip: you can use this any time you’re feeling anxious, too!).
If counting feels awkward for you, you can just focus on breathing more deeply and how it feels — the cool air entering your nose, how your lungs feel when they’re full, and how the warm air feels exiting your mouth or nose.
Once you feel like you’re in the zone, it’s time to start touching yourself. In traditional masturbation, you’d probably just lube up and go to town. With tantric masturbation, you’ll want to go slow — similar to how you’d use foreplay in any other sexual encounter.
This is the time to explore your body, especially your secondary erogenous zones. Use a light touch and explore how it feels to gently run your fingertips across your nipples or less-touched areas of the skin, like your knees or elbows.
Experiment with different ways of touching yourself, using different pressure or patterns. Take your time; you may learn new areas that turn you on. These secondary erogenous zones can help you learn to have better, more full-body orgasms.
After spending plenty of time building your sexual energy, you can slowly begin to explore the more obvious parts of your body. When you do make contact with your genitals, use a soft, gentle touch. Tap, cup, use your non-dominant hand or explore your anus (with plenty of lube).
Don’t Be Afraid of Using Sexual Aides
Just because the focus of tantric masturbation isn’t having an orgasm doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with trying new sexual aids. Remember, the experience is also about learning about your body and what turns you on sexually, so exploring your body that way is strongly encouraged (as long as it doesn’t distract you).
Take prostate massagers, for example. Vibrating prostate massagers, like the Tomo Come Hither prostate massager, can help you try prostate stimulation. But you don’t want to just get right to it.
Use the prostate massager all over your body before inserting it, enjoying the sensation of its material on your skin. Turn on the vibration and try it out on your secondary erogenous zones.
So many people are worried that the sounds they make when they receive pleasure are somehow “annoying” or unattractive — which is far from the truth! Making noise is super hot and connects you with your body on a different level.
There are also ways that you can make specific noises to connect with each of your chakras — lower-pitched sounds tend to connect with and open up your lower chakras (root, sacral, etc.), and higher-pitched sounds are best for the upper chakras (third eye, crown, etc.).
Pull Out Your Mirror
While it may seem awkward to watch yourself during a tantric masturbation session, it can be a huge help (especially if you set an intention to learn to love and appreciate your body more). One of the most well-known tantric sex positions, yab yum (“father-mother”), can be adapted for solo play.
Sit in front of the mirror with your legs crossed (“criss-cross applesauce”), place your hands on your knees, look at yourself, and breathe. If this makes you uncomfortable, you may want to focus more on becoming comfortable with yourself.
Try Tantric Masturbation With Your Partner
Tantric masturbation doesn’t have to be a solo expedition. If you want to explore Tantra with your partner, try tantric masturbation together. So much of sex focuses on the orgasm, which can put a lot of pressure on people who have trouble reaching climax. When you experience this kind of mindfulness side-by-side, you both benefit from understanding your bodies better.
Once you have solo practice down, try expanding that to touching each other similarly. Again, the focus should not be on orgasms (if you feel that happening, back off!). Listen to each other, be vocal about what feels good, and learn about your partner. Eventually, you can even move on to exploring that yab yum position the way it was meant to be explored!
Ultimately, you’ll be more connected to each other — sexually, mentally, and physically.
The Benefits of Tantric Masturbation
Regular masturbation has an obvious benefit — you get off, and it feels good. But tantric masturbation also has many other benefits that far exceed what run-of-the-mill masturbation has to offer.
You’ll Have Better Sex
A big part of having satisfying sex with a partner is knowing what you like so you can also show your partner how to please you (and do the same for them!). Having sex with yourself, especially when you focus on masturbation in a tantric fashion, helps you find even greater pleasure with a partner.
You’ll be able to experience pleasure on a deeper, more satisfying level, even without having an orgasm. It’s like sexual mindfulness, being fully present in your body during intimacy without muting or dulling how it feels.
You’ll Have Better Orgasms
As we said, there are no “goals” with tantric masturbation (especially not trying to have an orgasm — that defeats the point!). However, the greater understanding of your own body and the control you gain from pleasuring yourself without having an orgasm help you to have even better orgasms when you go there.
Think of it as edging, a sexual practice where you hold off your orgasm until you’re ready. Breathwork can help you get there — when you feel your orgasm starting to build, back off and breathe slower and more intentionally.
Some people also find they can eventually become multi-orgasmic with regular tantric yoga practice, even men!
You’ll Appreciate Yourself More Than Ever
Everyone struggles with self-confidence and self-esteem, no matter what their body looks like — it’s a side effect of our culture. Tantric masturbation, especially when you intend to respect and love your body more, can help you slowly learn to love yourself.
But the benefits of tantric masturbation don’t stop with your physical body — it can also lead to increased self-compassion and understanding. We all tend to be far too hard on ourselves, beating ourselves up for anything we find to be a failing. If you can work on this while also learning to love your body, it’s an easy decision.
You’ll Feel More Connected With Your World
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment (as opposed to focusing on the past or worrying about the future). While it may sound strange that masturbation can somehow lead to living more thoroughly in the moment, regular practice can give you the ability to flip that switch consciously. For some people, this can even feel spiritual!
An added benefit of this connection is that you may also notice less stress in your life! So much of our stress comes from the pressure we put ourselves under and the fact that we focus so much on things out of our control (like what we may have done in the past or what could happen in the future).
When you find a way to root yourself more solidly in your body, you let all of that go for a moment and just exist. It’s a beautiful thing! Plus, orgasms help release happy, stress-fighting hormones like dopamine and oxytocin.
Tantric masturbation isn’t about orgasm; it’s about gaining a stronger, deeper, more loving connection with yourself. When you practice it regularly, you’re sending the message that you’re worth the time, love, and effort.
You can also connect more deeply and meaningfully with the world around you (and have better sex and orgasms, too!).
A timeline of Tantra | British Museum