Dear Dr. G,

I read with interest your article several weeks ago about the importance of foreplay between the sheets, so that couples can continue to explore and communicate with each other about pleasure and displeasure in the bedroom experience.

I was somewhat surprise, and a bit disappointed, you did not even mention anything about the art of tantric sex.

I am sure you are aware tantric sex, which is in essence an ancient practice, dating back at least 5, 000 years, mastering the art of slowing down and enjoying all of the build-up to the main event.

Being based in Asia, I really hope to put Dr G on the spot for the benefit of the wider audience the scientific basis of tantric sex.

Can you explain what exactly is practiced, and how does it achieve the intended climactic build up?

How many versions are there? Is there any harm in practicing such arts?

I understand this is not exactly how you address matters of sexual health, and hope my tantric queries are not off tangent.

I am tentatively looking forward to a tantric-revealing Sunday.

Tantric Tatum

Tantric sex, as I understand, is a modern interpretation of ancient Hindu traditional texts and principles of Tantra, an esoteric tradition of Hinduism and Buddhism co-developed about the middle of the first millennium AD. The word means any system broadly applicable “text, theory, method, instrument, technique or practice”. When referred to this way, the erotic sensual connotation naturally diminishes.

Of course, tantric sex can have different interpretations for different individuals. However, in the context of foreplay and sexual practices, it generally means slowing down the rush before sex, and mindfully appreciating and enjoying the build-up to the main event. In many ways, that makes sense. The average duration of sex ranges from five to eight minutes of penetrative intercourse (Many sufferers of Premature Ejaculation may even last less than a minute). With such a short interval of pleasure, it is natural to prolong the prelude, which is within the control of most individuals.

In essence, tantric sex is perceived to be a slow form of sex (as opposed to a quickie) that increases intimacy and creates a mind-body connection that is believed to lead to powerful orgasms.

Tantric sex is “goal-oriented” and requires a process of unlearning the old practice of rush and learning the art of focusing on the foreplay and the build-up, taking the mind off the climactic orgasm. The differences in various followings are the variety of methods achieving the distraction, including meditative, breath control and massage techniques.

In most teachings, the tantric foreplay begins with the “sacred space” when all the senses such as smell, hearing and touch are addressed. These may include light music, scented candles and luxurious bedding. Then the couple get comfortable in pajamas or naked; followed by getting in sync with each other.

This is when it gets a bit unconventional (and weird). Generally, couples are encouraged to sit across each other while in a crossed-legged position and touch the other’s palms. Couples are also encouraged to stare into each other’s eyes and synchronise their breathing. Then the tricky part of “harnessing the emotion and feelings and allowing partners to witness important parts of fostering a deeper and spiritual connection!”

Frankly, it is easier said than done. In many teachings, tantric massage is also part of the deal. This involves teasing touches of non-erogenous zones initially, and becomes deeper and more sensual over time. The massage is supposed to connect the couples at a spiritual level. Try doing that when the gush of sex hormones are raging through your brain!

The award-winning American singer, actress and comedian Bette Midler once said: “If sex is a natural phenomenon, how come there are so many books on how to do it?” In many ways, there is nothing “tantric” about tantric philosophy. Tantric foreplay is simply about the art of communication and giving each other time to connect spiritually before the ultimate intimacy.

For some celebrities like Sting and Trudie Styler, the overwhelming desire is to tell the world that tantric sex opens up the journey of hours of pleasure between the sheets.

For others, the quiet rewarding pleasure of enjoying and communicating with each other in the bedroom is more breathtaking.

When Dr. G is put on the spot whether tantric sex is off tangent for all those wishing to spice up their sex life, his view is simply: “Sex is a natural phenomenon, there is nothing tantric or off-tangent in slowing down and listening to each other, before reaching for the climactic end!”

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