Articles

Conscious Sex

by anonymous

Sex – everyone’s doing it, wishing they were doing it, remembering back when they did it, or frowning on those who do it. Sadly, though, only a small percentage of people thoroughly enjoy doing it. Studies show that 15% of women never orgasm. Over half experience orgasm infrequently. Men, even when they do orgasm, do not experience the fullness or sustainability of which they are capable.

The reasons for these facts are many, but one solution can address most: tantric sex. Yeah, that stuff Sting talks about. You have visions of hippies and gurus in flowy garments, sitting lotus style upon satin pillows while chanting; this vision would be far from actuality. Tantra can be boiled down to one concept: conscious sex.

“Well, it’s kind of normal for us to be conscious while we have sex. That doesn’t necessarily make it good.” Consciousness, in our over-saturated, multitasking existence, has come to mean “not asleep.” True consciousness, though, lies in awareness. Here’s an example of how unaware we are, even me. Recently, I dropped my large, full aluminum water bottle on my toes, which were gloriously bared in some stunning strappy sandals. I knew something was wrong immediately; the pain was considerable. I was on break and had to go back to class, where lecturing only slightly distracted me from the throbbing pain I knew meant at least one broken toe. It was hours before I got home and was able to have a good look at my foot, at which point I discovered a rather stunning deep purple color spreading over my third toe. Up to this point, I realized, I had not been sure which toe was hurt. I had this general pain in my toe area, but I was unconscious enough of my body that, until I actually touched the offended digit and saw the bruising, I could not specifically identify which body part was injured.

Think about it. Only when your jaw becomes sore do you realize you’ve been clenching it. When you sit down, you are overcome by lower back pain from a day’s unconscious strain. You see a bruise or cut and wonder how you got that. Every day, we tune into the multitudes of tasks, media, people, cars, machines, and sounds of our world and tune out our bodies. How, then, can we expect our awareness to come flooding back to us when we would most appreciate it – during sex?

That’s what tantra is about, at its core: becoming aware of your body and learning to trigger that awareness and enjoy it when you want to. Your body and mind respond well to training, as any athlete, casual or professional, knows.  We hone sensitivity to many stimuli: chefs know just what spice is missing, musicians hear that out-of-tune string intensely, and mothers pick their child’s cry out of many. Sex is no different. Only our mindset that it should “come naturally” prevents us from deciding that, like any skill, we must start from the ground up and practice.

Practice here does not mean have a bunch of sex. Sure, do that if you can and count yourself lucky! Practice in the sense of tantra means to practice awareness. Here’s our first tantra exercise. I can virtually guarantee that you will find this silly and perhaps even embarrassing, but do it anyway. Honestly, no one will know but  you. And isn’t good sex full of silly and sometimes embarrassing moments? Embrace the silliness, embrace your body, and embrace the practice of becoming aware.

The first step to this practice is to find your PC muscle (PC stands for pubiconimbus). Women may know this muscle from Kegel exercises. It runs from your pubic bone to near your anus; if you aren’t sure where it is, wait until you’re urinating and stop the flow. The muscle you just tightened to do so is your PC muscle. Unless you’re an expert Kegel-izer, I encourage you to test yourself to make sure you have the right one.

Exercising your PC muscle comes loaded with positive effects. Women can tighten their vaginal walls, enhancing pressure – and pleasure – for themselves and their partners. Strengthening PC muscles also helps women bounce back from childbirth and wards off those unpleasant leaking conditions many women suffer as they age. For men, PC control can help delay and intensify orgasm. Moreover, PC control enables men skilled in tantra to orgasm without ejaculating. Imagine the possibilities …

So, now you know where your PC muscle is. Your first tantra exercise is the PC pump. Contract your PC and hold for a 5 count. Relax it. Contract for 5, then relax. Continue this for 5 minutes. As you grow more skilled, lengthen the count. Take a break; you don’t want to overtire your PC. Odds are, it’s new to this.

If you become bored with the pump, try variations. You can do fast pumps, slow ones, lengthy ones, whatever you like. As long as you are learning control over and raising awareness of your PC, you’re on the right track. One tantrika (practitioner of tantra) I knew pulsed her PC to her car stereo rather than drum her fingers on the steering wheel. Remember, no one will know you’re doing it except you.

 Now, let’s take it up a notch. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class or tried meditation, you know how important breathing is. We do it all day, ever day, but it’s another one of those things we take for granted and, thus, turn off our awareness of. For this exercise, sit straight, cross legged or in lotus position. If this bothers your knees, you can sit on a chair. Sitting on a hard surface works best for this exercise.

Sit calmly for a few moments and focus on  your breathing. Most people are shallow breathers, not utilizing their full lung capacities, which denies their brains and bodies full oxygenation. It’s hard to do things fully when you’re doing them unconsciously. Focus on breathing in and out fully, trying to fill every air sack in each lung and then trying to squeeze them out. Try to make your inhalations equal to your exhalations; normally, we exhale less than we inhale, allowing spent air to accumulate in our lungs.

Once your mind is calm and your focus is on your breath, add the PC pump to this exercise. Contract your PC as you inhale and relax it on the exhale. Imagine that you are breathing through your perineum (the area over your PC muscle). Imagine the air flowing up through your body, from the floor (earth) and filling your being from the bottom up. When you exhale, the air leaves your head and travels through your body to exit your perineum. Your PC has become your body center, your energy center, and your center of consciousness.

This may sound odd, but it’s a common element in many traditions. The chakra system places the root chakra in the groin, at the perineum. It is the source of rooting one’s energy and consciousness to the earth. Kundalini (which we will explore more in a bit and for many columns to come) claims that a serpent of energy lies coiled at the base of the spine (on the opposite side of the body from the PC); this serpent lies at least partially dormant in most people, but, when fully awakened, sends energy up through the body, to the upper energetic field of the person, and back down again, completing a cycle. You don’t have to believe any of this, but you should be aware that this level of focus on your PC, with your breath incorporated, heightens awareness and control of your genitals and your sexual response. That alone makes it worth doing.

For our last portion of this first tantra exercise, we’re going to loosen up your lower body. Our lives lead to stiff and uncomfortable lower bodies. If you don’t believe that, poll your friends to see how many of them have low back pain. Low back pain, swaybacked posture, slouching, sitting for long periods of time, and other ills of our modern life keep our cores stiff and still. They forget how to move. We forget to move them.

We’re going to remember how to move and we’re going to do it consciously, in conjunction with our deep breathing and our PC pump. As you inhale and contract your PC, arch your low back. Try to stick your abdomen out. Isolate your low back, though, being careful to keep this movement below the rib cage. You don’t want to arch your entire back, but just the lower portion. Keep your back arched until you finish your inhale, then, as you exhale and release your PC, rock your lower back out, again focusing the movement below your ribcage. You should end up doing a slow rocking motion with your pelvis. If you have trouble with this exercise, lie down with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and focus on lifting your navel and abdomen to the sky, then pressing them into the floor. Keep your focus on your PC, your breath, and your motion.

Most people who do this regularly find relief from low back pain and even, for some females, cramps. Do this exercise daily, several times a day. The rocking may have to wait for the privacy of your home, but the PC pump travels well and can keep you entertained during those dull board meetings.

You don’t have to believe in the spiritual practices of tantra, but learning to focus on your body and taking responsibility for its sensations and, in fact, your own pleasure, is an empowering and astonishing journey. If the least you do is practice the exercises (and come back next issue for a new set to expand your tantric horizons) with the intension of brining consciousness to some very vital and, sadly, unappreciated, body parts for the purpose of enhancing your own pleasure (and perhaps your partner’s, as well), then you’re certain to see results in time.

Tantra is not an quick fix. You won’t find your sex life rejuvenated overnight. You will, however, see quick results in your own awareness and, therefore, your own responses. Tantric fruition builds gradually. Enjoy the steps, enjoy the rewards, and anticipate those to come.

Namaste and go consciously fuck somebody!