How do you take sex to the next level? Make it something that continually enlivens you - without resorting to gimmicks that are unsustainable at best, detrimental at worst? Can it become something that brings you to transcendence and bliss with your partner - as well as connecting you to a deep experience of the divine? And can you have these kinds of experiences in a way that’s sustainable, so that your sexual and sensual connection with your partner is always alive and vibrant? In today’s episode, we’re talking with Margot Anand, one of the world’s most well-respected tantra teachers. She’s author of “The Art of Sexual Ecstasy” as well as many other books on Tantra and awakening through sex. Margot Anand’s new book “Love, Sex, and Awakening” is an inspiring memoir that not only gives you a glimpse into her own personal journey - but also highlights some of the key components of making your sex life transformative - an awakening experience.
Here are some of the essential highlights from our conversation - plus in today’s episode you also get to hear how Margot’s “The Art of Sexual Ecstasy” has had an impact on me personally as well. Margot Anand's approach to sexuality is positive, empowering, and life-affirming - and it will enable you and your partner to experience connection in profound, new ways.
Presence: Presence is the key to sacredness, transcendence, and bliss. Work on mastering the ability to stay present with yourself, and your partner, as this is required to be a good lover and to have access to more sacred and intense dimensions of sexuality and sensuality.
How do I enter into this sacredness? Finding the sense of the sacred in your sex life is not as difficult or inaccessible as you might assume. It is about remembering the basics and stripping away distractions. Begin by interrupting the consistent sense of ‘too-busy’ by dedicating 1-2 hours for pleasure. Shut down the internet, unplug the electronics, close the screens and the telephone and begin to create a sense of peace in your house. The heart will not be peaceful if the house is not. Sit opposite your partner, closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths to help you enter into this time, this space, and your body. Open your eyes and say something along the lines of “I am here to create a sacred space of total presence and to be with you for the next 2 hours ready for whatever is here to grow between us”. This is less technique, and more a return to source, in all its forms.
Common misunderstandings: Due to sex being such a cultural taboo, many people are walking around with no idea of what is possible when it comes to sex. Check in with yourself- are you open to the idea that you can find ‘god’ in bed? What other limiting thoughts are you carrying? You do not have to be in the perfect relationship in order to enter into the world of Tantra. No! You don’t even have to be partnered. It comes down, instead, to a desire to wake up, and to grow. You don’t have to be in the perfect state of mind, or masterful in all things sex, tantric experiences are possible from where you are, and who you are, right now.
Create a personal mantra- Lovemaking is one of the central places in people’s lives in which they experience intense projections, bad habits, fears, and struggles with letting go. For many people when they enter into a lovemaking session they are sooner or later confronted with a double path: the one going to the left says “it won’t be as good as yesterday, the kitchen is a mess, my back hurts, etc.” And sometimes we allow and follow this path of the mind. The other path, however, leads to much more satisfaction and success as it is the road of confidence, acceptance, humor, and openness. - So much of bad sex is caused by low self-esteem- so turn this around! Ask yourself where you want to get? What do you want to feel? What would incredible sex be? Creating a personal mantra to remind you of this is a wonderful way to help your mind shift to the right path. Find a statement unique and authentic to you that feels uplifting and inspiring. “I am an orgasmic woman”, or “I am amazing in bed”, or “I am a passionate lover”, or “I am beautiful”, etc… Allow your mantra to evolve, to change day to day, but whatever it is, make it something you can lean into when you notice you are diverting yourself from trusting intimacy.
Opening your central channel: Along with presence, a core aspect of tantra is the ability to open your central channel. The central channel is that middle meridian of the body that connects your sexual center in your pelvis with your crown chakra (crown of the head). This is not just an imaginary channel of energy, but a highway of nerves that can run energy from top to bottom, and back again. When you can open this channel your orgasmic energy becomes like a motor that travels from the pelvis/your sex to the navel, the heart, the throat, the third eye, and then the crown of the head. The higher levels of pleasure, those associated with skydancing/accessing divine/going beyond climax are all made possible when the energy is able to channel from the groin to the crown chakra, and then expanding beyond the physical body. The sexual energy is transformed into a very different kind of peak/climax in which the energy is now available to use in many ways as it is not limited to a linear progression.
Practice sexual breathing: Begin by sitting opposite your partner, close but not touching. Start to breath into your pelvic, moving the breath, awareness, and energy up the central channel until you exhale it out at which point your partner inhales using the breath to help bring your sexual energy down their central channel, creating a loop. Experiment! This experience, when done slowly and with intention, can in itself bring you to a bliss point.
Solo practice: Be in charge of your own bliss journey and aliveness. Sexual breathing is a wonderful experience to explore on your own too! Imagine your breath coming through your pelvis, and travelling up your body to the crown of your head, and then back down. Many people report that this practice helps to transform anger, to feel stronger, more centered, and more able to freely navigate complex emotions. In order to practice opening your central channel, begin by laying down with your knees towards the ceiling and the soles of your feet on the floor. Place your left hand on your vagina/penis with your right hand on top to ground down. Tighten your sex muscles and slowly move the breath through your sex and up the central channel, then exhale down while slowly relaxing and opening your sex muscles. Exploring your own sexual functioning, especially when it comes to learning how to get close to climax without full orgasm, is important to experience before, and in parallel, with practicing with your partner.
Extend your staying power: Sexual breathing and getting in tune with your central channel are the keys to increasing your capacity to get just to the point of climax without the push to ejaculatory orgasm. Sustaining pleasure to the point that you can get close to climax 6 times in a half-hour is all dependent on your ability to circulate the sexual energy through your body. Remember that letting go of immediate gratification/pleasure is the only way to build up to a bigger and more expansive sense of pleasure later on! The urge is very strong, and so it can be very helpful to make a commitment ahead of time when entering lovemaking that you are going to try to sustain pleasure without ejaculation.
When to end? Some people wonder how they will ever know when to stop having sex without having the clarity of ejaculation. Don’t worry! It may be confusing at first not to have a clear ‘goal’, but with some adjustment you will learn to just know! Trust yourself and your body, or… set an alarm!
Ask yourself: Can I cultivate being desireless in order to be a witness and be present for myself and for my partner even at the heights of my most desiring moment? Don’t forget to practice breathing, do yoga, stretch, dedicate time, turn off screens, cultivate sacredness, and choose presence.
The sky's the limit! Dedicate one afternoon or evening each week to making love with your partner. In this time give each other 100% attention. Invest in each other. Once you have practiced some of the tools of tantra, and you take the time to meet each other in this way, the sky is the limit! Happy skydancing!
A note about healing from sexual trauma: When someone experiences sexual trauma the body responds in a way that it will work to not feel anything in the area where pain occurred. There are many ways to work with the body to release the trauma and to find sensation again, however it must always be done with a very trustworthy other. This is deep and sensitive work and has the potential to heal, while also having the potential if not done with full integrity, to retrigger. Remember that while the body holds the painful memories in the tissues, nerves, and muscles, it also holds the potential to heal. Internal massage can sometimes help to release the tension and allow the person to reintegrate the part of their body they disconnected from in order to bear the abuse. Through this work the emotions come back (anger, sadness, fear, etc.) and sensitivity is restored as the tissues release the memories. **Please note that there are many resources available to you if you are interested in working through sexual trauma, or if you are interested in supporting the healing of your partner.
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