When you hear the word “tantra,” what instantly pops in your mind? Is it the idea of spending hours upon hours lost in slow-motion, super-pleasurable lovemaking? Well, that’s where pop culture’s led us a little bit astray.
To learn more about what the real deal is with tantric sex, we talked with Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson, authors of Great Sex Made Simple: Tantric Tips to Deepen Intimacy and Heighten Pleasure, who opened us up to the real workings of tantra — and how everyone can use tantric techniques to take their sex lives to the next level. It turns out tantra has a lot to teach couples regardless of how deeply they want to get into the practice. Here’s what they had to say.
SheKnows: Sting became known for his comments on tantric sex and how he made love for hours. How did he get it wrong?
Michaels and Johnson: It’s funny that a comment Sting made over 20 years ago [about tantric sex] still has an enduring hold on the public’s imagination.
He’s tried to explain it away or recant it in various ways. At one point, he said that he regretted making the statement and didn’t really feel he could talk about the subject beyond saying that his wife, Trudy, is his church. That’s much closer to what the spirit of tantric sex is all about.
In the classical sexual ritual, the participants worship each other as embodiments of deities. We encourage people to bring an attitude of reverence into their lovemaking and to all their interactions. The tantric approach has far more to do with your mental approach than with technique. It’s certainly got nothing to do with bragging about staying power.
Next Up: How you can feel pleasure longer
A version of this article was originally published in January 2013.