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back to ba(sex): tantric sex


Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons

There, he said it: Sting admits he doesn’t last seven hours in bed. Since 1990, The Police singer has been captivating the imagination of sexual beings throughout the West with his revelation of taking wife Trudie Styler to pleasure town for an extended period with tantric sex. It’s not quite like that, Sting says after almost a quarter of a century of leading us on. He jokes it includes dinner and a movie.

‘I don’t know any purer and better way of expressing a love for another individual than sharing that wonderful, I call it, “sacrament”,’ Sting said. ‘I would stand by it. Not seven hours, but the idea.’

There: it’s not about penetration for hours and hours and hours, as was the media’s interpretation of the famous quote. Hark! Was that a sigh from the male population? To me, a straight woman, the whole idea sounds a bit painful after the first sixty minutes or so – even if the routine includes non-penetrative acts. As Trudie has explained, the notion we have is derived from some beer-induced banter in a three-way interview with Sting, Bob Geldof and a journalist. In an anticlimax to this fact-checking, the rest of the world has kind of been left scratching their heads. What is tantric sex and why were we so caught up about it?

Originating in South Asia in the first millennia BCE, the idea of tantra is connected to cosmic yoga and meditation in Hinduism and other Dharmic religions. These acts were made to worship, from a Hindu perspective, the yoga god Shiva and female empowerment, creativity and fertility goddess Shakti. But of course, in the West, when we hear of tantra, all we think about is its relation to sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. There’s been a lot of hype about it in, even in Australia, with workshops and schools devoted to it for decades.

When applied to sex acts, tantra is about increasing the sexual energy in your body. Of course much of tantric sex draws on positions outlined in the kama sutra. By delaying orgasm and prolonging the plateau period of arousal (commonly known as “edging”) it’s believed to increase health and bring partners closer together emotionally and spiritually – so tantric sex is probably not the go-to style for your one night stand, unless you’re non-spiritual and just want to be amazeballs in bed.

From my decoding of the phenomenon, the purpose of tantra is about connection with your partner(s). It is about receiving pleasure and giving pleasure without the end goal of orgasm. It is all about communication and the need for equality in the bedroom. Tantric sex, especially in heterosexual relationships, presents an alternative to a mode of thinking that privileges male ejaculation above any other form of pleasure. So, regardless of what equipment you have below the belt, the question is not ‘how long can I go for?’ or ‘can I beat Sting?’ but ‘how can we both feel good?’


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