by Becky Garrison: During this time of self-quarantine, stay connected with your sensual side with tantric touching…
During this time of self-quarantine, how can you remain connected to your sensual self?
One answer to this question can be found in the ancient art of tantra. Though most Westerners associate tantra with sex, tantric touching can also provide a way to delve into your erotic side, according to Cliff Rees, who facilitates events focusing on meditation, intimacy, sexuality, boundaries, and presence.
As Rees explains, through tantra, we can “weave or integrate all the different parts of life into a single, coherent whole.” Furthermore, he notes that sex is only roughly 20 percent of the Kama Sutra. “The other 80 percent is about how to live a much more fulfilled, happier, connected life,” Rees adds.
“Tantric touch simply means connecting with another with your whole self as opposed to the superficial, nervous touch that our culture primarily teaches us,” Rees says. “Most people immediately start doing something when they touch another person. Let yourself really connect with that person before you begin moving your hands.”
He adds, “Really connecting with another is a great way to calm yourself and, in that calmer state, you become more self-aware—more capable of both knowing what you really want as well as what you’re looking for in your relationships.”
Using tantric touch can also lead to a better sex life in general, Rees explains. Sacred sexuality is the recognition that deeply connected erotic interactions can produce much greater self-awareness along with far more satisfying relationships.
“We can learn an enormous amount about ourselves by moving slowly, staying connected, letting one’s self be truly seen during sex,” Rees observes. “It’s vastly more fulfilling than the sexual interactions that most people have.”
Try the following tantric techniques to more fully and deeply connect with yourself and your partner, whether you’re in the same room or not.
Tantric Eye Gazing
For those who now find themselves solo while practicing social distancing, Rees recommends experimenting with eye-gazing, a simple but very powerful tantric technique. If you and your partner cannot be in the same physical space, you can connect virtually with someone else via a platform such as Zoom. Another option is to engage in this practice alone by looking at yourself in a mirror.
To begin, sit still with your eyes open. Drop whichever of your masks you’re currently wearing to whatever extent you can and let yourself be deeply seen.
Another technique for deep calming is to simply sit comfortably with eyes closed for five minutes while breathing in deeply through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. To get an even deeper connection, consider placing one hand over your heart and the other hand on your pubic bone as you breath in and out.
For those who are not practicing “social distancing” with an intimate partner, Rees recommends sitting in yab-yum position together either clothed or naked.
In this position, the man sits with his legs crossed and the woman sits on his lap while facing him, wrapping her arms and legs around him. (For a same-sex couple doing this exercise they can decide who takes which position.) Both partners then embrace each other fully and gently synchronize their breathing. While this position can lead into sex, the primary point of this exercise is to achieve a deep, intimate connection between two people.
Theater artist, musician, and facilitator Mel Moseley says engaging in tantric practices such as tantric touching has strengthened her relationships. Since connecting with Rees and Dr. Charity Benham as part of a polyamorous triad, she says Tantra has truly changed her life.
“Not only has my sex life improved, but my relationships are so much richer because I am more grounded. Tantra relies on dropping your masks and focusing on the core that is you. I call it going back to ‘Original Mel,’ she says. “It is so freeing to have that center. While the roles I play are different—friend, lover, partner, mom, actor, daughter—I am always clearly the same Mel in those roles. That has not always been the case for me.”
For those looking to explore online tantric connections during this global pandemic, Charity, Cliff, and Mel (CCM) created a series of virtual offerings titled “Love In the Time of Corona.” Their educational workshops and select other offerings such as a performance of Mel’s award winning show Sexology: The Musical! will be open to the public via Zoom through their organization Empowered Pleasure PDX.
Addressing Touch Deprivation During Self-Quarantine
In addition to eye gazing and sitting in the yab-yum position, Dr. Charity Benham, a clinical psychiatrist and one of Rees’ partners, recommends these exercises for anyone experiencing touch deprivation right now.
- Do a shared activity with loved ones via distance. Share a movie using an app with a chat function such as Netflix parties or play games online. Laugh.
- Wrap up in a soft blanket. Cross your arms over your chest and squeeze each shoulder in alternation. If possible, do this while on speakerphone with a loved one, asking them to share words of love and connection while you hold and soothe yourself.
- Watch videos of cute animals. Seriously. It absolutely can give you a wonderful oxytocin dose.
- Do a guided loving-kindness meditation. Also known as “metta” meditation, try one offered by .