Making love is like learning to sing

Times Online

My husband goes at lovemaking like a bull at a gate – enthusiastic and noisy, but not subtle. How can I get him to use a bit more finesse?

Recommend?  Making love, like learning to sing, requires a modicum of inherent ability. TV pundits claim that no one is so bad at singing that they cannot be taught to be moderately tuneful, even if not up to the standards of a church choir. As with singing, so with foreplay.

We often receive readers’ letters complaining about their partner’s lack of talent in lovemaking. Perhaps, initially, you were pleased and thought that you were lucky to have a man who behaved like a “bull at a gate”. Some women prefer this to long, drawn-out foreplay. But judging from patients’ accounts, men’s approach to lovemaking is more often like that of an over- excited puppy than of a determined, aggressive, goal-orientated bull.

A survey financed by a bed manufacturer a few years ago found that there were more men like your husband than like Casanova.

Can you alter your husband’s lovemaking style? A quick check will reveal that most women have discovered that just as it is difficult to change most other aspects of a man’s character, their lovemaking style and ability is just as deeply embedded in their psyche, both for reasons of nature (their genes) and nurture (early upbringing and experiences). Without wishing to sound negative, you will have to be lucky and skilful to transform a raging bull into a cosy labrador, snuggling up to you on a sofa as he attentively licks your hand and face.

As a start, I would suggest that you leave appropriate magazines and sexual manuals around, including some of the books by the anthropologist Desmond Morris. Morris explains, amusingly but perceptively, the differences and similarities between human behaviour and that of farmyard animals. The possibility is that your husband won’t know that his performance is not the answer to every woman’s prayer,even after a few hints and the scattering of improving literature. It may not have struck him that he suffers from a lack of subtlety, creativity and the ability to communicate, in a tactile manner as well as verbally. The danger is that if you are too outspoken he may feel rejected, and you will be left with a former husband rather than an existing lousy lover.

Possibly you belong to a generation in which women played a passive role, even during foreplay. They handled a penis between their finger and thumb as if it was a rather disgusting dead mouse, or a nasty rag that had been dropped on their doorstep. They made no physical approaches but considered 90 per cent of their partner’s body forbidden territory, even while they expected them to massage and caress their every nook and cranny.

One couple who consulted me had similar problems to yours. The husband freely admitted his inadequacies but suggested that his wife was an entirely passive partner. I suggested massage, pleasant surroundings and dim lights. I told him that I knew women patients who liked to have poetry read to them. The husband looked as appalled at the idea of Shakespeare in bed as the wife was at my talk of no longer handling her husband’s penis like a dirty handkerchief.

She said: “Oh doctor, I don’t think I could do that sort of thing.” A month later they returned in good spirits. The husband was no longer behaving like a desert traveller making for the oasis. His wife had overcome the inhibitions of her youth, and both were happy.

Suzi Godson

This is an issue that you ought to have addressed before he took the ring from his nose and slipped it on to your finger. But we all make mistakes and, if this is the only downside to an otherwise loving and functional relationship, you should count your blessings. But waiting 20 years to tell your husband that you want him to change the way he makes love could negate the whole of your sexual relationship, or even the whole of your marriage.

Reverse this situation and consider how you would feel if he, however gently, undermined your sexual confidence. See what I mean? Unless you are a psychosexual therapist with a PhD in ego massage, there is no such thing as constructive criticism between the sheets and, no matter how diplomatically you put this to your husband, he will almost certainly see red.

If you accept that you can’t change him without hurting his feelings and, consequently, your relationship, you have two choices. You can either glue a poster of Ralph Fiennes to the ceiling and play Classic FM, or you can change yourself. Which is, of course, the right thing to do because it is your silence on the subject that has led your husband to believe that you enjoy the way he makes love. So, instead of crushing his sexual confidence, assert your own.

If you take control during sex, he will take a more passive role and this shifts the dynamic between you. Effecting change can be simple. If you get on top, he can’t thrust as he normally does. If you keep your tongue in his mouth, he can’t grunt. If you use a blindfold and put your finger to his lips, anticipation will make him silent and subservient. And if you tie him up and gently kiss his every crevice, when it is his turn he will mimic that softness, as best he can.

If this doesn’t work, you could consider relearning your sexual connection. A tantric sex workshop would provide you both with objective third-party instruction about an aspect of your relationship that you clearly haven’t discussed much, let alone tried to develop. Though the public perception of tantric sex is a scary cross between hippies, swingers and Sting’s private life, Leora Lightfoot, the founder of Diamond Light Tantra (; 0845 388 2231), the UK’s most established tantric teaching centre, assures me that it is for ordinary couples who “stay firmly attached to each other during the workshops”. In other words, there is no cross-pollination whatsoever.

Diamond Light runs regular introductory evenings in London (£25 for 3 hours) where you can find out more about tantra. Alternatively, there are weekend workshops in Kent, Glastonbury or Cumbria. The tuition costs £210 per person, while food and accommodation costs another £130 to £195. Lightfoot claims to have helped couples of all ages to “transform long-term non-sexual marriages, create intimate partnerships, make love rather than bonk, gain self-esteem, poise and confidence, stop having affairs, get pregnant after not being able to conceive, release sexual trauma, learn to play and have fun, find tools to exercise more choice and to communicate better in lovemaking, feel bliss within their own bodies, learn techniques to enable whole-body orgasm”.

She says that people learn tantra because they want more intimacy, openness and connectedness, and to “live more joyfully and ecstatically, in bed and beyond”. That sounds like something from which we could all benefit.

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Why the stars are getting Tantric?

New Magazine

Celebs love getting spiritual, so no wonder they’re all dying to try Tantric sex. But could you soon be having full-body orgasms, too?

We’re not surprised Billie Piper looks a lot happier these days, if the rumours about her new fella’s bedroom talents are true-it seems 28- year-old law student Amadu Sowe is apparently an expert on Tantric sex.

After it was reported that Billie, 22, who split from her husband Chris Evans in September, and Amadu were an item, Amadu’s former girlfriend revealed: “I can’t imagine a woman he wouldn’t be able to satisfy-he can go for hours and hours. He’s very cultured and into all sorts of Eastern beliefs. He has read into Tantric beliefs and, take it from me, has read into them very well.” No wonder the pair disappeared into Amadu’s flat one Saturday afternoon and didn’t come out until Monday!

And Billie isn’t the only celeb to get into the Tantric trend. Singer Sting is famous for admitting he and his wife Trudie have marathon sex sessions. The 53 year old once joked about making love for seven hours, but has also said, “Tantric is not just about sex, it’s about how you give thanks to creation for the way you walk, eat, breathe and treat others. It’s all about treating your partner as a goddess.”

Hollywood actress Heather Graham has also admitted interest in Tantra. The 34 year old once claimed: “I’m totally obsessed about having sex for eight hours, like Sting-like there is a goal. There is no goal. It’s all about losing control.” Well, we like the sound of that, so we thought we’d better find out more…

What is Tantra?

Tantra originated in India in 3000 BC. It’s a mystical tradition that combines yoga, meditation, breathing and sex. According to Val Sampson, author of Tantra: The Art of Mind-Blowing Sex (Vermillion), “Instead of sex being a purely physical experience, it becomes a way of opening your mind to the purest forms of love. Tantrics urge that a man should delay ejaculation, not only to give him more time to bring greater pleasure to his partner, but to enable him to experience multiple and full-body orgasms.”

That sounds pretty impressive, but does it work? New! asked Leora Lightwoman, who has been running courses in Tantra for nine years, to explain.

“People think Tantra is about having sex for hours-and that is possible,” she says. “But it’s about the quality of lovemaking rather than the quantity. Tantra is focused on intimacy and enjoying intense emotions. It’s about breathing deeply and relaxing, so that you are aware of your bodies and can pay more attention to what’s happening.”

Apparently, it’s about more than having good sex, too. “How you behave in bed is often a reflection of how you behave in the real world,” says Leora. “For example, if you have problems relaxing and letting go in bed, you might have similar problems in the rest of your life. Tantra can help you relax and give in to pleasure, which can help you relax in other parts of life.”

Time to get Tantric

Of course, all these multiple, full-body orgasms sound great, but what we really want to know is, can anyone learn how to do it?

“Tantra is accessible to anyone,” she says. “But it’s something you have to work at. It’s not like going to the gym, where you switch off your mind and work your body. You have to be honest with yourself. The principles are very simple, but putting it into practice isn’t.”

Leora says that it is possible to study Tantra for years and years. But, the good news is, you start benefiting from it a lot quicker. Some people have even had better sex after one half-hour session!

There are websites and books on the subject, but Leora says the best way to learn is in a workshop. “We do workshops for couples who want to improve and enrich their sex life, but we also do workshops for just men or just women,” she says. “Often, they had problems with sex in their previous relationships and want to solve these before they begin a new one. Or they just want to know more about the subject.”

How do you do it?

Tantra workshops involve breathing, meditation, looking at your body and learning to love every aspect of it, and a variety of more unusual exercises. “We do one exercise which involves physically shaking the body as long as you can,” explains Leora. “It’s a way of feeling the natural energy paths in your body which sexual pleasure can move along, so that it isn’t just focused in the genitals.”

Other Tantra classes involve the shaking of the pelvis to release sexual tension and spread it around the body, or learning to shout out at the point of orgasm. Apparently, your orgasm will last as long as you keep making a noise. It also helps to open your “throat chakra”, helping to pull golden light up your inner flute. Don’t worry, that’s just a reference to the central channel of your body which guides energy through your chakras-the power points of your body. Blimey!

If you want a taste of how Tantra could help your sex life, see Leora’s exercises to get you started.

Tantric tips for beginners

▪ Use your eyes: when you make love, keep eye contact all the way through. It makes the experience more intense.

▪ Make an appointment: it might sound weird, but if you plan when you are going to have sex, you will be able to devote more time to it and the whole experience will be more sensual. For example, agree, “Tonight we are going to have an early night-and that’s all we are doing.” Then have a warm bath or massage to prepare yourselves.

▪ Slow down: imagine sexual pleasure on a scale from one to ten-where ten is orgasm. Rather than rushing straight for number ten, try to keep your pleasure levels at seven for as long as you can-then enjoy the pleasant feeling throughout your body.

▪ Communicate: don’t be afraid to talk during sex. Tell your partner what works and what doesn’t-and get them to do the same for you.

▪ Breathe deeply: breathing is very important in Tantra. Simply slowing down and taking deep, regular breaths will help you focus in the sexual energy in your body.

For more information about Diamond Light Tantra workshops, visit or call 0845 388 2231

Why the stars are getting Tantric? Read More »

Greatest Release

TNT Magazine

London wearing you down? Expand your mind and calm your soul with a workshop in tantra.

Mention tantra and most people imagine erotic marathons and Sting’s go-for-five-hours stamina. But there’s more to this 5000-year-old spiritual path than sex, which I discovered on an introductory workshop with Diamond Light Tantra (DLT).

Shaking your body wildly to tribal drum beats in a room of 39 strangers might seem daunting, but ‘kundalini shaking’ actually feels pretty good, and the aftereffects feel even better. Letting yourself go, the biggest obstacle for many, is the key to releasing inner energy, and worth it for the pure tingling sensation when the body stops jiggling and starts feeling. The word tantra means ‘expansion’ and, as explained by Leora Lightwoman, who developed the DLT method, involves “an expansion of consciousness, hearts and minds towards breaking down barriers”. Leora’s aim in DLT is to fully enjoy relationships, both on a personal and sexual level. Of course, tantric practices are extraordinary ways to spice up sedate lives, but they also respect communication with others.

The three-hour class consists of practices, meditations and exercises drawn from traditional tantric sources. Singletons needn’t worry, you don’t need a partner to explore tantra-I ‘came with myself’ and was encouraged to take pride in the fact. All 40 fully clothed people of varied ages, nationalities and backgrounds worked together on breathing and movement mediations guided by friendly ‘tantric angels’ (helpers). Participants can choose how far they wish to go in the exercises, including standing back to back with a partner, fingertip dancing and weaving round the room barefoot.

An enlightening night left me with a sense of achievement and potential, wishing that the respectful Eastern greeting ‘Namaste’, which acknowledges others as special beings in this universe, could be commonplace on the Northern line and in newsagents nationwide. I also wondered, if a bit of jiggling left me trembling, what other tantric pleasures might lie ahead? But that, alas, is another story.

Julie Zirngast

For more information, visit or call Leora Lightwoman 0845 388 2231

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Tantric Sex

Yoga Magazine

If tantric sex is not just to help you achieve multiple orgasms and long-lasting erections then what is it about? Leora Lightwoman explains in plain English the path to blissful sex

“Hands up anyone who is the child of a virgin birth,” I sometimes say at workshops. As far as I know, my parents, your parents, everyone’s parents, at least once, made love. We are the products of that sexual union. Sounds obvious but what we can easily forget is that the essence of our being is intrinsically sexual. Our cells, our bodies, our spirits know about sexual union. So, given that this is the case, we might as well become attuned to the currents of sexual energy flowing within us, and engage with them wisely and joyfully. Tantra is that path.

Tantra is often thought to be a complicated combination of sexual exercises and breathing practices to improve sexual libido enabling men to keep erections for hours and allow women to have multiple orgasms. So, if that is the case, why aren’t we all doing it?

This isn’t an accurate description of tantra. Its more than just a quick fix substitute for Viagra.

Tantra isn’t a panacea for every brand of sexual, spiritual and relational malaise neither is it just a sexual enhancement technique. It may require hours of practice, and yet can become a life-long exploration. Instead of trying to achieve sexual success, tantra reminds us that true fulfilment happens here and now.

It shows us our habitual ways of limiting the pleasure, love and bliss available to us, and so offers the choice to live more ecstatically. Why would anyone want to restrict the flow of sexual energy from infusing the whole of their body and being? Because being fully alive can be scary-it means allowing ourselves to feel. When we feel deeply the exquisite heights of our passion and the totality of our love, we must also risk the pain of their loss. To be able to fully let go into orgasm means being willing to let goof control. Ultimately, it is a spiritual surrender.

However it’s not all about the illustrious goal of transcending duality, if you don’t want it to be. You don’t have to be halfway enlightened, or even terribly fit or supple to begin. Tantrikas come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and practise tantra for many different reasons. Popular incentives range from the desire to re-kindle the passion in a tired marriage, a need to heal past sexual wounds, a longing for a spiritual sexuality, to the desire for more intimacy. And then, for many, the path itself can become the juicey carrot. “Homeplay” of sensual meditations and exercises in self-love and nurturing is far from arduous.

You don’t even need a partner-workshops are for both couples and individuals and there are plenty of meditations that can be enjoyed alone. Neither is a tantra course a dating agency in disguise. Many romances and marriages do spring from tender tantric moments, but many workshops have a “no sex” rule for single people. This continues for some time thereafter, so would-be lovers get a chance to cool off and decide if their interest is really love at first sight or simply their excitement and imagination running wild.

So what do we actually do in a tantra group? Set in an atmosphere of beauty and sensuality, participants remain fully clothed (at least for beginners’ workshops) and always choose appropriate boundaries for themselves. There is space for honet communication about sex. There are opportunities to move your body in ways that help you to connect with your own sensuality, sexuality, love and joy. There is a space for laughter and tears, playfulness and fun, the ordinary and the extraordinary. But essentially, it’s just a matter of remembering what your body, your heart and your soul already know.

For more information on tantra and tantra workshops contact Diamond Light Tantra on 0845 388 2231, email or log on to

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The Love Clinic

Spirit and Destiny Magazine

At first, Cindy and Mark’s sex life was great, but he soon began to suffer from impotence and worry he would scare her off. We sent them on a tantric sex weekend to relight their fires…

The Problem ‘My boyfriend can’t get an erection’

Cindy, 40, and Mark, 44, both account managers, have been together for three months. Although Cindy is satisfied with his other love-making techniques, Mark is unable to maintain a full erection.

Cindy ‘We met at work and first made love when we were away on business-it was amazing. ‘But after a few weeks, I noticed Mark was always soft or half erect. I didn’t mind because he was making me climax through other ways.

Mark ‘When I was 19 I was unable to get an erection with a girlfriend one night and she shouted at me and called me useless. It was awful.

‘From then on, I felt pressured during sex. Before I met Cindy I’d had three impotent relationships. It always started after the honeymoon period wore off.

‘When I met Cindy, I was desperate to hide the problem. But the longer we were together the more it bothered me, though things were going really well.

‘I wanted to try tantra because after 24 years of suffering; I knew the problem wouldn’t resolve itself.’

The Therapy

Cindy and Mark went on a tantric sex weekend in Glastonbury, Somerset, with tantra practitioner Leora Lightwoman. Intimate exercises were carried out by the couple in the privacy of their room.

Leora says ‘Mark’s erection difficulties made him stressed and depressed. But the tantra workshop offered him a different perspective on making love, taking the emphasis off penetrative sex and concentrating on maximising intimacy and pleasure.

‘Mark and Cindy took part in exercises to enable them to become aware of their chakras. They also did the Wave of Bliss exercise where they concentrated on moving energy from chakra to chakra, helping them experience pleasure up and down their bodies.

‘Cindy and Mark also tried soul gazing-a magical and spiritual technique where they faced each other, staring into each other’s eyes and synchronising their breathing. This harmonised the energy between them

‘They also engaged their senses by passing around objects such as oils and flowers. With tantra, Mark’s erections soon returned.’

Immediate Reaction

Cindy ‘Mark really opened up to me about the whole issue, and the exercises weren’t at all difficult. In fact, I found them extremely pleasurable.’

Mark ‘It was fantastic. I learnt that sex isn’t all about erections and it has made me question my fear about performing properly.’

Two Weeks Later

Cindy ‘Two days after the course we spent eight hours making love. We had full sex as well as exploring massage, touch and kissing-all the thing we leant.

Mark ‘I feel so much more confident. Our love-making just keeps getting better, and Cindy’s told me I have no worries about pleasing her. This was wonderful to hear.’

Final Verdict

Cindy ‘Sex is now amazing. We’ve been practising moving the energy between our chakras and it’s mind-blowing. I can have up to 10 orgasms-one after the other!

‘We’re doing it all the time. We make love before work, have quickies in the afternoon and sessions that last all night.

‘Mark’s impotency is a thing of the past. It rarely happens now-only if he’s really tired or drunk for example. I’m a very happy lady.’

Mark ‘We sign the contract on our new home next week. We’re a solid couple and I’m raring to go 95 percent of the time.

‘As well as the physical side, tantra has made us connect on a deeper level. It’s changed our lives for the better and we’re doing Leora’s advanced course in a few month’s time.’

▪ Contact Leora Lightwoman on 0845 388 2231 or at

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The Sexual Philanthropists

Marie Claire Magazine

These people have found out the secrets of sexual ecstasy and want to share them with you. One couple has sex before an audience, the others perform on The Lovers’ Guide video. So what makes them think they’re up to the job? Erin Kelly and Katy Regan find out.

‘We demonstrate live tantric sex’ Leora Lightwoman, 33, from London, runs tantra workshops in the UK with her husband and tantric love partner Roger Lichy, 54, who is a holistic doctor in London and Brighton. They have been together for seven years, married for three and live in North London.


‘I have always been good at conveying things-at teaching. So when I discovered the fulfilment tantric sex brought me, it was natural to want to pass that on. I went travelling in my twenties and fell in love with a man who introduced me to tantric sex. Instead of the linear, intense race to orgasm I was used to, sex with him was about making a connection. I found that as soon as the pressure was off, I had orgasms not just during intercourse, but during foreplay, too.

‘A while later, in Australia, I went to a tantric workshop. I was fully clothed, but we did a lot of sensual dancing. The most scary part was spending up to five minutes hugging a stranger. It was incredibly intimate, but quite erotic, too. I was awkward at first, but I felt alive and close to these people. Afterwards, I thought, “This is what I’ve been looking for all my life.” I decided that I wanted to work in the field and trained with Margot Anand, a leading tantric practitioner.

‘I found that fulfilling sex translated to so many other areas of my life. For example, I used to hate public speaking, but now I am confident enough to enjoy it. Plus, my relationship with my mother is better because I fell less needy and childlike.

‘Tantric sex had such a dramatic effect on my life, I wanted to introduce complete sexual ecstasy and well-being to as many men and women as possible. So ten years ago, I set up my school, Diamond Light Tantra, in north London and one day Roger turned up to the tantra group. I immediately sensed something sensual about him. Even just the other day, when we were cutting up fruit to serve a group, I thought the meticulous way he sliced the apples was incredibly sexy.

‘We teach that tantric sex is not a “quick fix”. It’s all about a couple finding a new way of relating to each other and instead of having an isolated “orgasm” that lasts a few seconds, it’s more about an orgasmic vibration that takes over the entire body. The best way to describe this to couples is to demonstrate it. So, Roger and I remove our clothes and give each other a genital massage in front of the group. It’s very intimate, but if we were fully clothed, it wouldn’t have had the same impact.

‘Some people have been in tears at the end. They say, “That was beautiful,” because they can see the eye contact and the facial expressions, which means they are almost feeling the experience with us. I feel very strongly that when a woman is not able to have orgasms, it is a very sad thing. It will have an effect beyond her sex life, so to be able to remedy this is a real privilege. One woman said that after only a short period of learning about tantric sex, people started commenting on how confident she seemed. She was taking compliments rather than believing she didn’t deserve them.

‘When the rewards come, it’s amazing. In one group, we had a burly builder, who had been with his wife for 30 years and not really expressed his feelings before. For him to come up at the end of a session and tell us that he’d experienced something special with his wife and that their sex life would be different from now on, was magical. I got a real sense of satisfaction that we are changing people’s lives. Of course, although we’re here to help, there has to be input from them. It’s important both partners are in the same mindset: they need to be willing to look inside themselves a bit- that’s all we ask.

‘When I started out, I was apprehensive about telling my family. It’s funny-I can talk explicitly about sex in workshops, but in a social context it can be awkward. My parents are happy to remain in semi-ignorance about my work and I let people believe I’m just into yoga. Most of our friends are in the tantra circle. I’ve drifted from those who aren’t, as they’re not on the same wavelength. I feel proud I understand how powerful tantric sex is and hopefully through our workshops, many other people are seeing the benefits, too’.


‘I would never want to push what we do on anyone. But I think if people want a more fulfilling sex life, then my wife and I have a duty to help them. If I didn’t, I would feel that I wasn’t fulfilling my vocation in life.

‘Unlike Leora, I didn’t think there was anything missing from my sex life. I married in my twenties and, after my first wife died, I had a series of loving, sexually satisfying-or so I thought-relationships. Then, about 10 years ago, I was told about tantra by a couple whose baby I delivered. I went to a tantric conference in Spain with them. There was a lot of breathing, touching and eye contact and it was difficult to connect this with what I knew as sex-something rushed, intense and genital. But there I experienced something in my soul, not just in my balls. Discovering this kind of love-making was like turning up the volume 100 per cent.

‘I met Leora at the tantra group we both attended. At the time, she was the unofficial leader, but then one night, another teacher joined the group and Leora switched off from work mode and was just herself. On that evening, we were looking at different archetypes and I was exploring my inner caveman. I just picked her up-literally-and carried her off. We went to the bathroom until long after the class had finished. Then we did the “wave of bliss” together, which is like making love, without the penetration. I knew I wanted to see Leora again.

‘When I was new to tantric sex, I’ll admit there was a degree of macho pride involved. If I brought a partner to orgasm, I’d walk around feeling pretty self-satisfied. But, as time goes by, with Leora I no longer think it’s my responsibility to make her have an orgasm so, when it does happen, I’m happy, rather than proud of my achievement.

‘It’s incredibly liberating, and this is what I want to give to men-a relief from the pressure to perform. I can show them that exploring their masculinity is not about being macho, but about understanding their desires and needs of their body.

‘There is no pressure to be naked in class, but we do advise everyone that they get much more from it if they are. Men often find nudity problematic so I try to help them feel more confident about their body. Obviously, Leora and I are naked-but I don’t get jealous about other men seeing her body. How can I feel possessive, when we are helping other people reach their sexual potential?

‘My main aim is to liberate men from the responsibility of getting an erection. My attitude is that my penis will have an erection when it wants to and that’s fine with me. Part of tantra is teaching men that this is OK.

‘But, at the same time, I see the workshops as an extension of my work as a holistic doctor, because they have so many other benefits. I sincerely believe that being in touch with your sexual desires will improve your immune system. I used to get a lot of colds, but since practising tantric sex, I haven’t been ill at all. I feel so much stronger, physically as well as spiritually.’

‘We had on-screen sex for The Lovers’ Guide’

Naomi Westwood, 30, a mature student from Melbourne, Australia, and boyfriend, Paulie Paulie Farquharson, 41, a dancer and counsellor from London, had sex on The Lovers’ Guide video. Paulie Paulie also plans to become a sexual surrogate, having sex with women to help them overcome problems. They have been together for nine years and live in South London.


‘When Paulie Paulie asked me if I’d like to try out for The Lovers’ Guide with him, I agreed immediately. Aside from the buzz of having sex on screen, I saw it as a chance to help people by doing something I’m good at. I can pass on what I’ve learned to women who aren’t as lucky as me-who haven’t had good lovers.

‘I met Paulie Paulie nine years ago in a Brixton nightclub. He actually pulled my cousin by handing her a note saying, “I’m Paulie Paulie, orgasmatron-a walking, talking, solar-powered human vibrator. Call me!” They went out for a bit, when it didn’t work out, she said to me, “If you get the chance, go for it. He’s amazing in bed.”

‘I couldn’t resist and, right from the start, the sex was great. I was a challenge to him in bed, because his expertise is cunnilingus and I’m not fussed about it. I encouraged him to learn new party tricks instead. At the same time, he opened my eyes by asking me to discuss my sexual fantasies and open up to him about my sexual needs.

‘It’s was only when I went back to Australia-a year after we got together-that I realised the impact our sex life had really had on me. I felt so much more confident. I worked as a hostess in a club which sold bondage gear-something I’d never have had the balls to do before. I realised that watching others get turned on at clubs and by having imaginative sex, I’d increased my curiosity and enthusiasm about sex and life in general.

‘Although it was Paulie Paulie who initiated the audition for the video, I was keen because I really liked the way it was presented. It doesn’t allude to things, it actually shows things. It was soft, but just explicit enough. I thought, “I really could have done this when I was younger!” You can read The Joy of Sex, but diagrams don’t translate well in the bedroom. No sex manual is ever good as a real couple showing you how. Plus, the whole tone of the video is much less patronising.

‘The casting process, with the producer, was more of an interview. We had to take our clothes off, to prove that we were comfortable being naked in a work environment. But we spent most of the time talking about our relationship and what we were expecting to get out of the experience.

‘We filmed our part over two sessions in private houses-the first session was a clothes-on, massage sequence, then came the sex bit. I wasn’t nervous about getting my body out-I have a bit of an exhibitionist streak. And also, I think it’s important that someone like me was chosen. I’m certainly not your perfect model type, I’m big, curvy size 16 girl. But it was obvious, because we are a real couple, that Paulie Paulie really desired me. That makes me feel fantastic. I wanted other women to feel that, too, and to see that it’s not just thin, beautiful people who can have great sex.

‘The atmosphere on the shoot was totally professional and the crew behaved as if they’d seen and heard it all before. I even had two orgasms during filming. The only distraction was when the make-up lady interrupted to touch my face. A lot of the video is not about intercourse, but more about how to keep the romance alive and how to be tactile. I think there’s a lot of pressure on couples to have amazing sex instantly-like Sex and the City when Samantha meets a guy and immediately has the most fantastic sex. The reality is, it takes time to become great lovers.

‘The lovemaking we did on camera was very pure. I hope we’ve show that “straight sex” can be just as exciting, romantic and horny as experimental and fetishistic sex. It’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that the only thing that really makes good sex is two bodies and a deep emotional connection.

‘Paulie wanted to be a sexual surrogate before I even knew him. To give of yourself physically as well as emotionally to help someone vulnerable is a responsible place to be, and something I definitely couldn’t do! In a way, I’m proud of him, and as we have an open relationship, I don’t see the problem.’

Paulie Paulie

‘I find it very depressing when people are sexually unfulfilled. I remember taking a woman home and, in the morning, we made love. She asked, “How was it for you?” and I said, “Ok, but we don’t know each other that well yet.” She then revealed, “Actually, I don’t really like sex.” It was like saying you don’t like tomatoes when you’ve never tried them. Part of doing The Lovers’ Guide video was to show that anyone can have good sex-you just have to want to help yourself.

‘We certainly didn’t do The Lovers’ Guide for the money. In fact, the fee we thought we were going to get was halved. I heard about the auditions through a friend, who’s a stripper, and I was just intrigued. I’d watched the guide in the past and found it very useful and accessible. I know a lot of people wanted to appear in the videos just for sexual kicks, but Naomi and I have a pretty special sex life and I just thought that we would be an ideal couple to perform on the video.

‘When I met Naomi, it was like a breath of fresh air. She is a very honest person, physically as well as emotionally. I love the fact that her body responds so strongly to stimulation. Unlike some women, she’s not ashamed of the noises, liquids or smells everyone’s body makes during sex. I think that’s one of the last taboos and breaking taboos is what I’m all about.

‘At the same time, I believe that sex shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Orgasms are like buses-if you miss one, there’ll be another one along in a minute. If you learn this attitude from watching Naomi and me, I’ve done my job properly. There’s so much pressure to treat sex like a job, to be good at it, and that’s a shame. I admit that, like any bloke, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t get a hard-on in front of the camera, but once I got over that, we just started making love as we would normally do.

‘I think I was picked from the audition because I’m a trained psychosexual therapist and this means that I know what kind of problems couples experience and I can address this in the lovemaking we demonstrate on screen. For example, a lot of people think that when sex gets stale, you’ve got to go to extremes to get results. But sometimes, something as simple and gentle as a foot massage can be nurturing and lead to great sex.

‘Although we haven’t exactly gone on about doing the video to our friends and family, it is great when you do get feedback. I was at work, dancing at a bar in London, not long ago, when a guy came up and said, “Your sex video was amazing! And now I’m going to try some of those things.” I thought that was gorgeous. I really hope the video just celebrates how to enjoy being together.

‘I’ve always thought sex empowers people and for that reason, my next plan is to move to California to train as a sex surrogate. Sex surrogacy is basically a more hands-on form of therapy, where you actually have sex with women to help them over their sexual hang-ups. It doesn’t pay to underestimate the power of sex: sure, a good sexual experience will boost you for a long time, but a bad one-like abuse or rape-will scar you for life, and it’s scars like that I want to heal.

‘Practically speaking, my role as a surrogate could simply be to hold a woman and stroke her for hours or I might help a woman with vaginismus [a psychosexual disorder where penetration is painful or impossible]. Naomi is completely supportive of my plans-she knows that, for me, it’s no different from counselling people through talking.

‘In the UK, the surrogacy movement is shrouded in secrecy because people tend to confuse it with prostitution. It’s not at all. I will only e paid enough to cover expenses. Once I’ve learned my trade out there, I’d like to bring therapeutic sexual surrogacy to the UK. I want people to realise that conventional therapy isn’t always the way forward. That, in a nutshell, is my motivation for undertaking all these projects-lead by example.’

The Sexual Philanthropists Read More »

Is your sex life in a rut?

Best Magazine

We all hope our sex lives will stay as passionate as they were when we first met. But the sad truth is, in any long-term relationship sex can become boring and feel like less of a priority. So how do you keep the sparks flying? Best investigates…

‘I turned my husband into the perfect lover’
Cathy Kimber and her husband Roger, both 45, found that their love life had gone off the boil after years of marriage and two kids. But then Cathy discovered some new sensual delights…

When Roger and I first got together, our relationship was based on sex. We spent a lot of time in bed, but we had a good friendship as well. We were always going out with friends and having nice holidays-there were no responsibilities at all then.

But things changed for us after the birth of our children, Damien, now 24, and Gregory, 20. I was tired all the time and didn’t want to have sex. We were also under a lot of pressure because I’d stopped working and Roger had started studying. Life just wasn’t fun anymore.

We were no longer paying attention to each other’s needs as husband and wife and decided to go for some counselling. While talking things through made us realise that we were still in love-finding time for sex continued to be a problem. And even when we did make love-it wasn’t exciting anymore.

But when Damien left our home in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, in 1996 to go to university and I went back to work full-time, I started to feel sexy again. For the first time in years I felt like a woman as well as a mum.

I wanted to explore my sexuality and so, three years ago, I went along to a Tantric sex workshop with some girlfriends.

Tantra is a sensual approach to sex that comes from India. The idea is to reach spiritual enlightenment through physical pleasure. We were taught how to awaken our senses by experimenting with different tastes, smells and ways of touching.

When I first suggested the idea of going to a weekend couple’s workshop a month later, Roger wasn’t to keen. He’s a down to earth guy and so e thought it was a lot of airy-fairy nonsense. But he reluctantly agreed to come along and join in. Like me, he really wanted to ignite some passion in our relationship.

On the first night Roger was really bored and I was worried he’d end up ruining the whole weekend. But once he opened up to the idea and joined in, he became really interested. By the end of the course, he was a changed man!

Tantra isn’t just about sexual technique-it teaches couples how to appreciate all kinds of simple, sensual pleasure. We’d light candles, burn essential oils and take time giving each other a gentle massage.

We made more time for each other and had intimate discussions about our likes and dislikes. We’d caress each other with feathers or the tips of our fingers, and both of us would get excited long before we even thought about penetration. We also learnt how to accept pleasure without feeling guilty. One night Roger would treat me to a massage and I’d just lie there enjoying it, and the next night it would be his turn.

It reawakened so many feelings and made us realise how deeply we still felt about each other. And once you fall in love all over again, the sex just follows automatically.

Our sex life is even better now than when we first met. They say the average session lasts just six minutes, but with us it’s usually two or three hours. Before we were only making love every three weeks or so, but now we have sex about twice a week.

Tantra teaches you how to concentrate on your breathing rather than focusing on your pelvis, so the sex can go on for as long as you want it to. We’ve even set aside a special room for our Tantric encounters.

Roger and I feel much closer now, too, and we’re always touching each other. We hold hands when we’re out and cuddle up to each other when we’re sitting on the sofa.

We’ve talked to our sons about our renewed passion for sex. While Gregory finds the whole subject embarrassing, Damien and his girlfriend don’t mind talking about it and have even became curious about the whole idea of Tantra.

You can’t keep making love in a Tantric way all the time, but it has made us rethink our approach to sex. We’ve also watched the odd blue movie and tried some sex toys for fun. It’s just something different. Whether you have a long, lingering lovemaking session or a furious, passionate quickie-it’s all part of a loving relationship.

Roger says “I wasn’t particularly interested in the Tantra workshop at first and only really went along for Cathy’s sake. But now I think it was one of the best things that could have happened to out marriage.

“For me, it isn’t even just about the sex-Tantra has taught Cathy and me to have more of an understanding of each other. If you want to have a lasting intimate relationship, you need to be really dedicated to making things work.”

Feature by Mark Chadbourne

10 tips for long-lasting love…

Psychosexual therapist Paula Hall has 10 tips to help you make love to the same man for the rest of your life.

1. Communication is important. Open up and be honest about what you like and what you don’t like in bed. I’ve met couples who never talk and never kiss and then wonder why they’re not having sex!

2. Tune in to your needs. What turns you on and where do you like to be touched?

3. Maintain physical contact outside the bedroom, too. Hold hands or sit close together on the sofa, and try sharing baths.

4. Try to stay healthy and free from stress. You need to keep your energy levels high to enjoy a good sex life.

5. Make plenty of time for each other
6. Let go of your inhibitions and don’t be afraid to experiment when you have sex. Spice things up by trying new positions and locations.

7. Read or watch something that stimulates your desire-it could be a sexy scene in a novel or a film that turns you on.

8. Go out and treat yourself to some pretty lingerie. Keeping the romance alive is all about doing things that make you feel sexy and, that means slipping on a pair of frilly smalls.

9. Flirt with your partner. Send saucy text messages to each other during the day.

10. Learn to take responsibility for your own sex life-don’t always leave it up to your man to initiate things. Women are very good at blaming men for an unsatisfactory sex life, but it takes two to have an explosive orgasm.

Hot Monogamy

It’s not only possible to have a great sex life in a long-term relationship-it’s necessary. “Sex is an essential expression of intimacy,” says Paula Hall, Relate’s psychosexual therapist. “But everyone needs to accept that, at some point in their lives, they’re not going to be up for it. Stress, illness and certain life changes make us feel less sexy. And after a while, sex can become a routine.”

The first lustful period of any relationship lasts for just six to 18 months. During the initial flush of romance, the brain releases a chemical called oxytocin that encourages pair- bonding. But once the brain decides you’ve bonded, the oxytocin switches off and so does the desire to make love.

“You can still have hot sex in a relationship-you just have to work at it,” says Paula. “If time is an issue, learn to enjoy a passionate quickie. Dash off and seize the moment once the kids are out of the way. You need to use the obstacles to make sex more interesting. If you adapt, you can carry on having a fantastic sex life.”

Is your sex life in a rut? Read More »

When Sex Is Good For Your Soul

The Mail on Sunday

Can you rekindle your sex life after the initial flames of passion have died down? Through its deeply pleasurable techniques, Tantra will help you discover your sexual energy, enrich your physical relationship, and bring you and your partner closer than ever

Report Val Sampson

Can you imagine sex with your partner being more exciting after 30 years together than after three? Suppose that you could exude a magnetic sex appeal into your 60s and beyond. These are not impossible fantasies. There is a direct route to rekindling sexuality and bringing depth and richness to your relationships. It is called Tantra.

The popular myth about Tantra is that it’s ordinary sex tat goes on for hours. In fact, offers an entirely different approach to sex, based on honouring and respecting your sexual partner as the other half of yourself. It’s a 5,000-year-old tradition, yet its relevance to the 21st century is astonishing. It offers an approach that enables women to feel sexually confident and good about themselves, and gives men an opportunity to become multi-orgasmic and to satisfy their lovers in the most intimate, soulful ways.

Tantra isn’t a religion. Like yoga, it can practised by people of any faith, or no faith at all. It originated in India as a quiet rebellion against a male priesthood who decreed that sexuality should be repressed for an individual to achieve enlightenment. The first Tantrics were teachers who felt that sexuality was a gift of the Divine and should be celebrated. They believed that the experience of good sex offered people glimpses of love that could be explored as part of their spiritual development and help create a deep connection with the universe as a result.

Today, Tantric practices enable anyone with a willing spirit and an open mind to access this potent energy. In the West we are programmed to think the only way we can get in touch with our sexual energy is through someone else. Which is why we sit by the phone waiting for Mr or Mrs Right to call. Tantra, on the other hand, shows us that a powerful sexual energy exists in us all the time. And we don’t need someone else to make us feel good. We can learn how to channel our own sexual energy to benefit our minds and bodies using simple breathing and visualisation techniques.

Accepting this you can be sexy and can enjoy sexual energy without necessarily having a sexual relationship is a new idea for most of us. The majority of people tend to shut down on their sexual energy if they are not with a partner. This may lead to frustration; more often it means they are missing out on a vital part of themselves. Practising Tantric exercises by yourself can change your attitude to your sexuality if you are single. You can learn how to enjoy your erotic energy without having to go to bed with someone else.

So instead of sex being a purely physical experience-a kind of genital squeeze-it can become a way of opening your mind to the purist forms of love. Sex becomes a route to emotional and spiritual connection, either with a partner or by yourself, rather than just a physical release.

If you’re in a relationship, in purely physical terms this means that sex changes from being a race towards orgasm and ejaculation for the man (and an orgasm for the woman if she can match his pace). There’s a shift in focus. Tantra is about intimacy and connection. You both make love with the thought, ‘How much love and pleasure can I possibly give my partner?’

This approach relieves men of the pressure to impress with their ‘performance’ and switches attention instead to building intimacy between you. There is, for example, no problem in Tantric practice if a man can’t maintain an erection-you don’t need to reach for Viagra. A soft penis has as many nerve endings as a hard one and its owner can bring his partner as much pleasure.

In Tantra, the longer you have been together, the deeper and more passionate your relationship can be. There is a saying that it takes seven years to know your partner’s body, seven years to know their mind and seven years to know their spirit. Boredom often sets in when couples continue to make love in exactly the same way, at the same time and usually in the same place. Tantrics would say that it also occurs when people make love only with their genitals and their hearts and minds remain disconnected. They say sex begins between a couple a day or two before they actually make love, and that when they start to touch each other sexually they are bringing the positive and negative energy, as well as the stresses and joys, of the previous 48 hours with them. Clearly it’s not practical (or even desirable) to wait to make love only if you’ve spent a blissful 24 hours with your partner beforehand. The message here is simply to be aware of what you are bringing with you, and to leave as much of the negative stuff as you can outside the bedroom door.

If you want to rekindle desire between you, try this exercise (its easier to stand when doing it):

The Heart Breath

▪ Gaze into each other’s eyes.
▪ Place your right hand on your partner’s heart
▪ With your out-breath, imagine breathing the energy from your heart into their heart (picturing this as pink or gold light may help).
▪ With your in-breath, imagine inhaling their heart energy into your heart.
▪ Once you feel comfortable with this, try breathing alternatively. In other words, as you breathe out, they breathe in. This way, loving energy is circulated between you.

Don’t worry if you struggle to find the right rhythm at first. It’s natural to feel a bit embarrassed, too. It’s your intention that really matters. If you embark on this with the intention of becoming closer to your partner, no matter how many times you get the giggles, it won’t detract from the spirit of the exercise, which is to bring you closer together.

If you want to try Tantric sex, introduce changes slowly, and stick with the things you already enjoy. It’s still fine to have a quickie if it feels exciting and that’s what appeals to you both. But if sex is always over in five minutes, you may want to explore some of the Tantric options on offer. Tantric massage, for example, where you use more than your hands to give pleasure, could be one way of making a difference. Feathers, hair (either your head or his chest), soft, silky fabrics and butterfly kisses can all be railed across your partner’s body to bring them deepening levels of delight.

Also think about where you make love. Tantrics create a ‘sacred space’ for their lovemaking-the idea is that if you are going to treat your partner as a divine reflection of yourself, then it is only right to ensure that you make love somewhere that is as pleasing as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to turn your bedroom into a boudoir. But light a few candles and play some music. These changes can make a surprising difference to your sexual experience.

Take note that Tantra is not a ‘quick fix’ for a relationship that makes you miserable. So before you seek is as a solution to sexual difficulties, ask yourself if you respect your partner as a good friend, if your life is better with them rather then without them, and if you trust them to be there for you. If you are uncertain about any of this, think carefully about your relationship before practising Tantric techniques together. Tantra can help heal wounds but it is not a magic cure.

Assuming that you relationship is a respectful, loving one that perhaps has just lost the spark, Tantra can help enormously. The main trick is to not give up. If you can, keep your excitement high but reduce your expectations of immediate results. Renewing a relationship rings rewards in all sorts of ways but takes time and effort. And while there is no technique in the world that will transform your sex life if you don’t have love in your heart, near in mind that Tantra has successful 5,000-year-old track record.

How Tantra Can Improve Your Relationship

▪ If your love life is on a downward spiral, it is a good idea to take some time to talk before you make love. You don’t have to do this every time you have sex, but it will help you form a deeper connection sexually if you practise really listening to what your partner has to say. Talk for about half an hour.

▪ At least once a week, put aside an hour or two that is sacrosanct. This is time for each other when you can enjoy a conversation that is not about whose turn it is to pick up the kids from school. Focus on building intimacy between you. It can become sexual or not. It doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to schedule time when you can listen properly to each other. Don’t be put off if booking time together sounds contrived and not sufficiently spontaneous. If you both lead busy lives and you’ve been married for a few years, it’s better to plan time together and actually get it.

▪Tantric sex does not need to take a set amount of time. Tantra is not about imposing rules and regulations. There are techniques you can learn to prolong passion, but as long as you make love with the thought, ‘How much love and pleasure can I give my partner?’, you can take minutes or hours. It’s up to you.

For Him: is she’s no longer interested in sex

▪ Men, as a rule, become turned on more quickly than women. If you want her to really enjoy your lovemaking, take time to treat sex as intimate and pleasurable.

▪ On the most basic level, a woman won’t want to kiss a man who doesn’t smell good. A lot of women equate a man being careful about his personal cleanliness with an emotional safety net. In other words, if a man bothers about making himself clean and fresh, he is bothering about his partner.

▪ Men often want to use sex to unwind. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you want to coax a reluctant partner to make love to you, just having sex to shake off your stress will leave her feeling ‘used’.

▪ Instead, take time to touch and caress her whole body. As mentioned before, Tantrics use more than their hands to give pleasure.

▪ Talking to your partner and whispering the things that you love about her as you caress her can have a liberating and pleasurable effect on a woman.

▪ Don’t be obsessed with ‘making’ her have an orgasm. You’ll win no popularity contests.

For Her: the good news

▪ Tantra teaches women how to be vital and sexy without the need for dieting or face-lifts. Tantra places sexual satisfaction of the woman as equal or above that of the man. And it is the woman’s sexuality that is acknowledged as the fuel that drives the couple’s sexual experience.

▪ For a Tantric relationship to be successful, it’s important that you believe that your inner self and the inner self of your partner deserve to be honoured. Social research shows that men find their partners increasingly attractive as they grow older. A partner who genuinely loves you will be blind to any defects you may perceive about your body.

▪ Women’s bodies are designed to have rounded tummies. The phenomenon of the flat female stomach is a recent one and, according to Tantric practice, it isn’t advisable. Women store powerful female energy in their bellies and by trying to flatten them they are losing out on an integral part of their femininity. If you are a woman who hates her rounded tummy, try thinking of it as a symbol of your feminine power instead of something to feel bad about. You may even start to like it.

Tantric short cuts

These are designed to intensify your orgasm and help move your sexual energy around your body, so you feel energised and refreshed after sex. Try them separately or together.

▪ The next time you experience an orgasm, imagine energy moving around your body, away from the genital region. You don’t have to do anything complicated, such as trying to move it physically or force it in another direction, just relax and imagine it lightly moving up your spine.

▪ Keep the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, at the front of the palate (it helps energy circulate).

▪ Breathe deeply as your approach orgasm. Most people tend to hold their breath, tighten up and ‘will’ their orgasm to happen. In reality, your orgasm will be more intense if you can relax into it and breathe fully.

For more information about Tantra, visit Diamond Light Tantra runs nation-wide workshops, tel: 0845 388 2231, or visit for more information.

When Sex Is Good For Your Soul Read More »

When familiarity breeds good sex

The Times

The decline of desire in a long relationship is seen as inevitable. But Val Sampson says it doesn’t have to be-just take up Tantric sex.

When couple talk about sex changing the longer you are together, usually they are referring to the fact that sex becomes cosy, if you are lucky; or practically non-existent, if you are normal. The idea that your love life could be more passionate after 30 years than it was in your first three months is alien to most of us.

We may be bombarded by images of sex at almost every level in our culture, but its portrayal and our understanding of it remain narrow. Often it seems that sex in Britain is confined to slim, attractive people under the age of 35 with good hair.

As a result, many older people are left with the idea that sexual bliss hovers like a distant island on the horizon, while they remain stranded on the shoreline, gazing out to sea and feeling they have missed the boat.

But the good news is that there is an approach to sex and relationships that values maturity, self-knowledge and lengthy relationships. It allows couples who have been together for decades to rekindle the passion they may think they have lost. It teaches men and women to become multi-orgasmic, and it even enables men to wave goodbye to Viagra by showing how you can make love to a woman without an erection. This route to long-lasting sexual satisfaction is called Tantra.

The popular myth about Tantra is that it is ordinary sex that goes on for hours and hours. (Or, as the veteran playwright John Mortimer put it: “It is very slow. My favourite position is called The Plumber. You stay in all day but nobody comes.”)

In fact, Tantra offers an entirely different approach to sex-based on honouring and respecting your sexual partner as the other half of yourself. It promotes intimacy and connection between two people and shifts the focus of a sexual encounter away from the joint sprint to genital orgasm towards heightening the levels of pleasure and passion en route. By using simple breathing and visualisation techniques you can learn to move your sexual energy around your body, so instead of sex being a kind of genital “squeeze” which is all over in a few seconds, orgasmic feelings can spread through your body and up to your brain.

Tantric philosophy is a reversal of the idea that a new relationship is always better and more exciting sexually. Tantrics believe that the longer you are with a partner, the more you know them and the more closely connected you can become. There is a saying that it takes seven years to know your partner’s body, seven years to know your partner’s mind and seven years to know your partner’s spirit.

The pop star and yoga enthusiast Sting may be its most famous advocate, but you don’t have to be a rock star or vegetarian to practise Tantra. Increasing numbers of middle-class professionals, including teachers, doctors and lawyers, are adopting a Tantric approach to their relationships and reaping the rewards of a better sex life as a result.

For Cathy and Roger Kimber, from Hertfordshire, who have been married for 29 years, practising Tantra boosted their commitment as a couple as well as enhancing their sex lives. “We understand each other better,” says Cathy, 51, a public relations manager. “Tantra has rekindled our love as well as our friendship and closeness.”

Roger , 47, a company director, says: “Tantra has given me an inner peace and an understanding of how deep our love is. We are aware of how much we love each other now, so to get into petty arguments just seems like a waste of time.”

If you take the typical Western linear approach to sexual relationships-they start off hot, cool over time and end up pretty frozen-then a waning desire is only to be expected. This is one of the reasons why so many couples split up. Novelty can be a powerful aphrodisiac, and meeting someone new can reawaken feelings of which you thought you were no longer capable. Where we go wrong, though, is in assuming that it is the new person who is generating these good feelings in us-and that only he or she is capable of doing this. Tantrics say that the key to living a more alive and connected life lies within us.

The additional bonus of this is that you don’t need a partner to make a rewarding connection with your sexuality. As John Hawken, a Tantra teacher, explains, “When you learn to move sexual energy away from the genitals into the rest of your body, the word ‘sexual’ becomes irrelevant because the experience becomes different. But by doing this we find the things that we search for in our sexuality-a sense of being alive, and feelings of excitement, contact and connection.”
Tantra:The Art of Mind-blowing Sex by Val Sampson is published by Vermillion

What is Tantra?

Tantra is a 5,000-year-old spiritual practice. Like yoga, it is not a religion and can be practised by anyone. It originated in India as a quiet rebellion against a male priesthood which had decided that sexuality must be repressed for an individual to reach enlightenment. The first Tantrics were men and women teachers who felt that sexuality was a gift of the Divine and should be celebrated. They devised techniques to enhance the experience of sex, as they believed that a unifying sexual relationship offered ordinary people glimpses of love that could be explored as part of their spiritual development.

Tantric Exercises

▪ Lie on your back, either on a soft quilt or cushions or on the floors. Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing upwards. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the floor, a hip’s width apart. Stretch your neck and relax your jaw and shoulders. Keep your neck relaxed as you start to raise your pelvis from the floor. Begin to bounce up and down; you can either do this rhythmically or you can experiment with different speeds (a musical soundtrack with a strong beat helps).

▪ Sit facing your partner; place your left hand on his heart, and cover his left hand on your heart with your right hand. Look into each other’s left eye and breathe together. Imagine receiving love and energy from your partner as you inhale, and giving out love and energy to your partner as you exhale.

▪ Next time you experience an orgasm, imagine energy moving around your body, away from the genital region, Imagine it lightly moving up your spine. Keep the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, at the front of your palate.

When familiarity breeds good sex Read More »

The Truth About Tantric Sex

Real Magazine

Chloe, 27, trembles slightly as the man blindfolds her with a silk scarf. She’s never met him before and doesn’t know his name. Neither does her husband, who has been left a home tonight.

Sensing her arousal, the man strokes her bare shoulders with an ostrich feather. Chloe, a pretty blonde accountant from Fulham, SW London, feels no guilt. This isn’t a clandestine affair-it’s a Tantric sex workshop. And she’s signed up for three days of ‘pleasure, love and ecstasy.’ Her husband, although supportive, is too shy to attend and won’t be joining her.

There are 16 of us-four single women, four single men and four couples-sitting blindfolded in an East London dance studio and nervously wondering, what will we have to do? And to whom?

We’re here to learn about sex, or, more precisely, Tantric sex-a meditative, deeply intimate form of prolonged lovemaking (Sting claims to go for five hours). Potent orgasmic energies reportedly move through you, raising your consciousness to higher levels. Tantra is said to offer sexual and spiritual ecstasy, the only goal being the perfect present moment and harmonious union.

But we won’t actually be having sex. That only happens at level eight of the course, after over a year of lessons.

Like Chloe, I haven’t brought my partner. ‘I’m not cavorting with naked hippies’, were his exact words. So it’s just me in a sarong and vest top, in a room full of strangers, determined not to loosen so much as a bra strap.

Usually I’m cynical of alternative practices, especially those praised by tree-hugging pop stars like Sting. But I’m curious if it reaches the parts conventional love-making can’t.

‘Smell, touch, taste and sound intensify when you’re deprived of sight,’ says Leora Lightwoman (her real name). ‘Don’t think, just feel,’ adds Roger, the other half of our teaching team.

We sit on velvet cushions, and floorboards creak as ‘Tantric angels’ (helpers) tend to our sensory awakening. One feeds me a chocolate, then slivers of mango, before passing a musky perfume under my nose. It’s true-everything seems more potent and vivid. But, like the early throes of an inappropriate liaison, I’m crippled with doubts. Am I too repressed? Should I even be doing this?

A large, fluffy toy is placed in my arms. Curious, I feel for my Tantric teddy’s button nose or sticky-out ears, and realise with a jolt that my new furry friend is a cuddly penis for me to fondle.

An hour later, the blindfolds come off. We relax around a silk-covered shrine, complete with candles and statues of the god Shiva making love to the goddess Shakti-definitely not one for the Antiques Roadshow.

Our group is aged between 22 and 62. Couples will remain together throughout the (non-residential) weekend workshop, while single people will pair off in turns. I avoid the 50-year-old Peter Stringfellow lookalike in a tie-dyed waistcoat.

William, 37, an investment broker, explains why he and his wife Tasmin, 35, are here. ‘After 15 years together, we want to improve our sex life,’ he reveals candidly. Art student Danny, 22, says he simply loves sex.

Far from being a Mecca for New Age disciples, the course attracts ordinary people. ‘In our competitive, goal-obsessed world, appreciating pleasure for its own sake is an attractive proposition,’ explains Leora. ‘You get bored cramming in “quickies” between jobs and children,’ agrees Tasmin. As a result, the course, which is in its sixth year, is very popular.

‘Tantric sex encourages intimacy,’ says Leora. ‘And you can experience whole body orgasms that go on for hours.’

Day two begins with gentle meditation, then I pair off with Danny for our ‘boundaries’ exercise. We’re to lie down (clothed) and stroke, hug, and massage our partner (erogenous zones are optional), using the commands ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please’ and ‘maybe’. Embarrassed, I can barely make eye contact with Danny.

‘Intimacy,’ Leora interjects, “is about being truthful with how you feel, accepting others’ honesty, and learning to be in the moment.

‘Often during sex, we go from liking something to disinterest, without telling our partner,’ she continues. ‘Worried about hurting their feelings, we say “yes” when we really mean “no”.

After a series of ‘nos’ and ‘maybes’, I let Danny stroke my hand. Saying ‘yes’ feels way too intimate. My turn over, I soon discover exactly what Danny likes (head rubs) and doesn’t like (neck tickles).

Getting into it a bit more now, I team up with Tony, 33, a teacher, for the ‘kundalini shaking’ exercise. This involves vigorous jiggling from head to toe for 20 minutes-to ‘draw out emotion and energy from out bodies.’

Around me, people are moaning, one man is sobbing, and a previously mild-mannered accountant is swearing loudly. After I’ve finished shaking, I lie down and feel a wave of involuntary trembling moving from my feet to my head. It’d like an intense feeling of mental spaciness, similar to that which precedes an orgasm-only it lasts for 20 minutes (honest). I began to think that Tantra might actually work. If you can feel like this after a bit of innocent bouncing, what might you achieve in a truly passionate encounter?

The philosophy behind the jiggling is interesting. ‘We carry hurt, pain, disappointment and loss around with us all the time,’ Leora says. ‘If we don’t let go, it creates barriers and prevents us experiencing pleasure and ecstasy.’

We spend the rest of the afternoon dancing-to help us express ourselves without being self-conscious. The stereo blares out Alanis Morissette, The B-52’s and Madonna for the women, and Adam Ant, Travis and Meat Loaf for the guys. Men who’ve only ever danced when drunk at weddings stomp to the beat. Women sway without fear of lewd comments. ‘We all want to feel appreciated,’ Leora says, sashaying to Britney Spears.

But the best is yet to come. I get together with Michael, 39, a divorced father of four, for some feather-tickling. I notice, alarmed, that most of the class are naked. Michael removes his jeans and T-shirt. ‘Please keep your Y-fronts on,’ I beg, tying my sarong a little tighter.

He agrees, but I still have to spend the next 15 minutes stroking his body with a feather, studiously avoiding the Y-front area. Some men in the room are clearly enjoying the experience. Michael, luckily for me, simply appears relaxed.

‘There’s no goal but your own pleasure,’ Leora instructs as I lie down. The feather feels sensuous against my skin. I make a mental note to try this at home.

The next day, full of confidence, I rush to class for our session on ‘love muscles’ (think pelvis-floor exercises). We’re told to clench as we breathe in, and unclench as we exhale. ‘This keeps a connection between your genitals, arousal and your body,’ says Leora. Using our love (pelvic-floor) muscles during sex, we’re told, can lead to earth-shattering orgasms.

Leora tells us about chakras-the seven energy centres in our bodies. They’re located in the pelvis (life-force), abdomen (creative sexual centre), solar plexus (identity), heart (love), throat (communication), forehead (insight) and crown (connection to the universe).

We’re urged to visualise each one, breathing deeply throughout. Then we sit opposite a partner, lock eyes and continue the exercise-Leora sits astride Roger to demonstrate (Tantric partners can incorporate penetration at home). Eventually, I feel tingly, light-headed and alarmingly frisky.

It’s time to say goodbye. People hug and swap numbers, but I’m too embarrassed to sign up for level two. There are only so many strange men I can tickle.

But a week later, I get out my Tantric feather. Lighting some candles, I lead him to bed. As I try out my new-found expertise, he relaxes and our black mood lifts. Maybe Sting has the right idea after all.

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We experience orgasms that last anything from 30 minutes to two hours

Leora Lightwoman, 33, has been with her husband Roger, 54, a doctor and homeopath, for six years. They live in Finchley, North London, and teach Tantric sex to couples all over Britain.

I come from an affluent family. My father was a lawyer, my mother a top statistician, and I studied psychology at Oxford University. So a career as a Tantric sex teacher was not something I was expected to do.

But in my 20s, I realised I wasn’t fulfilled in my work or sex life. I’d spent years unable to experience orgasm, and when I finally learned how, I dominated my partners in bed because that was the best way to achieve them. But that soon became boring and meaningless.

While working as a yoga teacher, I stumbled across a Tantric sex workshop. It sounds like a cliché, but it literally changed my life. I discovered there was more to sex than a fleeting orgasm. Opening up to someone allowed me to feel more, not less pleasure.

Tantra taught me compassion and understanding, and I now see beauty in every person. It can help people feel good about their body and sexuality, especially women who have suffered a bad sexual experience.

Our society values intellect over emotion. Good marks, CVs and jobs are admired. Classified ads always say ‘intelligent with a great sense of humour’, and hardly ever ‘open, caring, warm person’. Our heads are so goal-oriented, we invariably feel tension during sex. Tantra teaches us to trust out bodies. If we have feelings of sadness, it allows us to let go and not suppress them. Accepting who you are is the first step towards fulfilment.

Roger and I argue like any other couple, but when we make love, we feel connected. Our orgasmic waves last anything from 30 minutes to two hours.

Ultimately, everyone wants to be loved and cherished. Tantric sex stops forgetting those basic human emotions. That, and the amazing physical pleasure it affords, is why people get hooked. And we’re all capable of it.

The Course Restored the Intimacy We’d Lost

Antoni Gobeo, 33, a lifetstyle consultant, has been with Ben Lyons, 24, an events organiser, three years. They live in Chiswick, West London. They’re Tantric beginners, but a single weekend course boosted their flagging sex life.

Ben and I had been bored sexually for some time. After the initial lust had worn off, real life exposed our inhibitions and emotional baggage. We still loved each other and made love every week, but the spark had gone. We were on the verge of splitting up.

Some couples try sex toys and kinky techniques, but tantric sex offered a long-term alternative. We didn’t have any expectation, but one weekend transformed our lives.

I’d had three relationships and a few flings before meeting Ben, and although I enjoyed sex, it had often left me emotionally unfulfilled. The course restored the intimacy Ben and I had lost, and which I’d never quite achieved with others. Without the pressure to have ‘fantastic sex’, we were able to freely give and receive pleasure.

Ben’s male reserve disappeared. He was able to tell me what he wanted in the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ exercise, without fear of rejection. Maintaining eye contact and holding hands-things we’d forgotten-became really powerful.

Tantra helped me feel more confident about my femininity. Modern women are encouraged to be in control in the bedroom, but struggling for power doesn’t allow for much sharing. I’d also equated femininity with being weak. The course turned all that around.

We didn’t learn anything ground-breaking. Tantra simply gave us the tools with which to be intimate-the secret of all great sex.

We’ve since moved on to the next level. And although we haven’t learned complicated Tantric positions, our sex life has changed beyond recognition.

We make love everyday now, and it’s incredible. Everything we do is highly charged with emotion and pleasure. We use the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ exercise, particularly if we’re too tired for sex, and kundalini shaking beforehand to relax.

We’re not hungry for approval from each other, so even a hug is erotic, because of our genuine feelings. And it’s getting better. I don’t know if we’ll make level eight, but I love the idea that our sex life will improve. That seemed impossible six months ago.

Celebrity Tantrics

Jade Jagger, 30, whose jewellery once included a range with saucy slogans, has always been upfront about her sexuality and is a Tantric sex devotee, according to friends.

Sting, 50, married to Trudie Styler, once boasted he could ‘keep going’ for five hours. He said: ‘Tantric is a serious way of taking aspects of normal life and-eating, drinking, walking, speaking, sex-as an opportunity to give thanks.

‘I’m a very sexually oriented person. I think I’m getting better at the real business of it. In other words, it’s a fantastic mechanism for showing care and showing love, its great fun-and it can potentially make life. It is an extraordinary religious experience for me, it really is.’

Rita Wilson, 43, wife of Oscar winner Tom Hanks, attributes the continued success of her 13-year marriage to some Tantric intervention. She revealed: ‘You gotta talk, you gotta laugh. And you’ve just gotta have lots of Tantric sex.’

Five Top Tantric Tips

1. Breathe Slowly
People often hold off their breath in the throes of passion. But if you relax and breathe slowly through your mouth, you can make it more intense. Notice how you breathe during sex, and take time to relax.

2. Express Yourself

Let your partner know you are enjoying yourself, either by making noise or telling them you like something. It sounds simple and obvious, but making someone feel appreciated slows them to flourish, give them confidence and encourages communication between you. Plus, your mind isn’t going to drift off if your lover is shouting your name.

3. Gaze Softly
The eyes are one of the most powerful parts of the body. A soft, receptive gaze, rather than a hard stare, makes the other person feel special and important. This is the most intimate thing you can do.

4. Maintain Body Contact

Include the whole body in touch during sex, not just the obvious bits. Stroking your partner’s chest, head, arms and legs will keep both of you interested and anchor you in the moment.

5. Consciously Relax

People often tense their sexual organs during lovemaking, particularly when reaching orgasm, perhaps they fear losing it. If you notice this happening, try to relax that part of your body. You’ll notice increased sensitivity and a longer, wave-like orgasm.

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