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What Is Tantric Sex?

Tantric sex is a mix of yoga, controlled deep breathing, and rituals that bring you closer to your partner emotionally and spiritually.

When you're perusing the internet, you might come across such pieces as "12 Tantric Sex Positions to Take It Up a Notch" or "Tantric Sex: Here's How to Set the Erotic Scene." And while all of that is great and helpful (who doesn't love a bunch of candles and mood music?), there is a crucial piece missing in all of this: what the hell is tantric sex?

We rounded up some experts in the art of tantra to create a straightforward, no-frills guide to understanding what tantra is and why people like it so much. Allow us to inspire your next fabulous sexual adventure.

Tantric sex sounds like this wild, crazy thing, when it's actually pretty simple. It combines all the breathing, connection of body and mind, and inner-consciousness of meditation with sex. You know, passion. It's about leaning into your emotions and erotic feelings to connect with your partner. It is a "new age" or Westernized interpretation of the more traditional — and widely interpreted — Hindu and Buddhist tantra. Tantric sex, or "neotantra," is a combination of elements from original tantra with Western ideas and practices.

It helps couples experience sex on an entirely different level, one further elevated than your run-of-the-mill animal humping. "The meditative-like practice of this type of sex makes each partner focus on being present and in the moment. It is a way to tune out all of the chatter in your mind and just be in the moment with your partner," Kristie Overstreet, PhD, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist, tells POPSUGAR. Tantra can be as simple as concentrating on breathing and togetherness during sex.

Of course, there is a bit more to it than that (and more reasons to try it other than emotional connection). Tantra has a host of health benefits that can make sex better for you and your partner. "You can use tantra to increase blood flow and orgasms, strengthen erections, increase stamina, and form deeper connections with your sexual partners. It takes sex beyond the action and brings it to the level of spiritual practice, leading you to sexual enlightenment, a state of mind which is more fulfilling than regular sex," Daniel Saynt, chief conspirator of NSFW, a digital agency and private club for the sexually adventurous, tells POPSUGAR.

Tantra can be as simple as concentrating on breathing and togetherness during sex.

The main focus isn't orgasm. In a world where we put so much emphasis on who finishes first, this practice offers a welcome relief from the pressure of coming (or not coming, unfortunately). It's about connecting with your partner and exploring. Overstreet tells us that orgasm may not be achieved by either or both partners. It is about the journey, not the destination.

"Tantra is slow. It builds over multiple sessions. Tantra is anusara and Bikram yoga [or] meditation. It's more focused on the mental over the physical, which is why it's more of an ongoing spiritual practice than a one-night stand or quickie. It's mostly about connection, but many tantra practices can also be applied to mindful masturbation, helping you self heal through its practice," Saynt tells us.

When we're constantly working on deadline, too much caffeine, and five-year plans, it can be difficult to get into this peaceful headspace, but that only makes it that much more important, fulfilling, and erotic.

Where do you begin? It can be pretty overwhelming to engage in an entirely new sexual foray, even if it's with someone you love and trust. Saynt says it starts with deciding if you're trying to do neotantra for new sex positions or for the mental enlightenment it offers.

If you choose the latter, you need to have a discussion with your partner about the level of commitment to which you want to aspire together. Communication is key to successful tantric sex, as it hinges on your ability to connect with your partner physically and mentally. "Not only verbal communication, but also physical cues will help support your meditative state during practice," Saynt says.

Saynt suggests beginning with Yab Yum, also known as Lotus, wherein you sit on your partner's lap, face to face. This position is extremely intimate and will give you the access you need to align your breathing with that of your partner's (not to mention it's great for making out).

Go with the proverbial flow. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to "do it right." In neotantra, the only thing that makes it right is how connected you feel to your partner. "If you are feeling good, enjoying the moment, and tuning out all of the noise in your head, then you are doing it exactly right," says Overstreet.

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