Many couples struggle with sexual desire discrepancy, no more so than after children. While it’s an exciting time and so wonderful to have wee people. It can cause a strain on your sexual relationship. Not to mention the stresses of work, in-laws, and all the other calls for our attention.
Tantra might be your answer. So what is Tantra?
When you mention Tantra, the first thing people say is sex, which is a touch reductionist.
Classical Tantra is the study of ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts with sacred religious rituals and practices designed for spiritual awakening and connection to divinity.
Tantra was brought to the West in the early 20th Century. Modern Tantra or Neo Tantra focuses on the body and sexual energy as an instrument for ecstasy. Most of us may have heard of the Kama Sutra.
When the producer reached out to me for Tod Sampson’s new season’s documentary Mirror, Mirror discussing Tantra I was intrigued, to say the least. Coincidentally I had just watched last year’s doco with my Dad as I was a featured expert on Social Media and its impacts series.
So there I was looking into the camera trying to keep a straight face discussing Tantra and Tantric sex as an Imago Relationship psychologist and coach. Hilarious, as Mel the producer the only other woman with around 7 guys in the studio.
There’s a hot debate on the Westernised and monetized versions of Tantric Sex like Neo-Tantra. Tropical paradise beckons for a week of self-discovery at a price. Commercialization most definitely undermines the spiritual component of Tantra.
Yet revering and honoring our bodies as sacred intuitively feels appropriate and respectful.
Bet you didn’t know some of the Tantric Sex practices aren’t dissimilar to the techniques we coach couples within our clinic. Clothes on of course.
Here are some common features supported by the science we utilize in therapy.
Eye Gazing the Look of Love
In Imago Relationship Therapy we invite partners to turn their chairs towards each other. We may ask them to hold hands and they hold a soft gaze into each other’s eyes in silence.
In this space, barriers break down. Warmth and intimacy reignite.
Many couples giggle nervously as they cross the bridge into each other’s worlds sans words. Simple and yet powerful. Partners report how it’s been ages since they really looked at their partner. Not as a parent, or as a foe, but rather as a friend, their mate.
Naturally, they feel seen and acknowledged in this safe space. Without the danger of words and thoughts escalating into an argument.
30 years of research supports sustained eye contact in increasing intimacy, greater attraction, and trust building. This loving gaze stimulates our pair bonding hormones – oxytocin and phenylethylamine or PEA.
Next, we allow space to connect to our core selves using the breath with an inhale and long exhalation. Your Imago therapist coach will guide you to deepen and extend the out-breath simultaneously. Lengthening and synchronizing our breath and connection physiologically.
Again science assists our therapy knowledge and practice.
When we are fighting, we are in our Sympathetic Nervous System – which kicks in to deal with the perceived threat in our environment. If we were to view our brains in an fMRI we would see our threat detection areas like the amygdala are activated. Our brains see our partners as attacking so our body mobilizes for action – increased heart rate and blood pressure rises.
We are in fight or flight mode. Rational thought flies out the window.
Instead, we can down-regulate our body’s alarm system, safely and naturally with longer out breathing.
Here we are tapping into our Para-Sympathetic part of us – the rest and relaxation arm of our nervous system. Long Pranayama (Yogic) breathing has been shown in numerous studies to reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, and increase immune system responsiveness. These are all factors associated with greater life expectancy.
In Imago we encourage intimacy and play. Intimacy, sex, and orgasm are great ways to reconnect in the privacy of your own home. Tantra suggests exploring you and your partner without the goal of orgasm. Instead relishing in the journey of touch and intimacy – tapping into your largest sex organ your brain.
I wonder if you can experiment with this breathing and soft gaze in your bedroom tonight. You might enjoy what Sex Therapist and Intimacy and Desire author David Schnarch calls – electric wall socket sex with an eyes-open orgasm. Inviting all your senses into your and your partners’ connection. Be brave, bold, and respectful.
I hope you found this article helpful.