What images spring to mind when I mention tantric relationships? Probably images related to polyamory. Gang bangs and threesomes. Tantric sex. A man striding down the street with two women clasping his hands. Romantic dinners for three, or four, or five..?
Table of Contents
- Tantra and polyamory
- What makes a relationship tantric?
- Using relationship triggers to heal and grow
- 6 steps to make your relationship more conscious and use unconditional love as your guide
- Know your true self
- Develop emotional intelligence
- Know and speak your boundaries
- Put the needs of the relationship above those of your own
- Be disciplined and take action towards what you want in life
- Heal any sexual shame and sexual trauma
- Come back to unconditional love
Tantra and polyamory
The idea that tantric relationships are by nature always polyamorous is an assumption based on misleading information. Recently, tantra has become a bit of a buzzword that is thrown around. Tantric sex is spoken about more and more.
The label has been attached to things that don’t necessarily reflect its true essence. Nor do they grasp the amount of effort involved in being ‘tantric’. Many people who prefer to be in non-monogamous relationships claim to also be tantric. This is often because they are looking for a way to justify their lifestyle choices to those around them who may not understand, or disapprove of this way of relating.
It is important to point out that I am not knocking open relationships here. Nor am I knocking tantric sex. I am merely pointing out the fact that tantra has mistakenly become synonymous with polyamory and tantric sex.
Polyamorous relating, tantric sex and tantric relationships do share some attributes. They require an open mind. They require an attitude that prioritizes personal growth over ego and top-notch communication skills.
Yet there is no need to be with multiple partners when you are in a tantric relationship.
When my clients mention that they are interested in trying polyamory? I remind them that it is easier to evolve spiritually when you are only committed to one person. That is – inside of a monogamous relationship. Relationships and marriage are not easy. They take time, attention, energy, and constant work. Many relationships struggle on a constant basis, even when there is deep love between two partners.
I say to my clients who are having issues with their partner and wanting to experiment with polyamory as part of a tantric relationship: if you can’t hold down one harmonious relationship, how do you expect to hold down several at a time?
What makes a relationship tantric?
What makes a relationship tantric is not how many partners you can have at one time. It is not how many dates you can go on per week with other women. Neither is it triggering your partner’s jealousy through fraternizing with other women.
… What makes a relationship truly tantric is your level of consciousness. Similarly, this is what makes tantric sex truly tantric. Two people exploring sacred sexuality, tantric practice, tantra yoga and conscious sensuality in order to experience deeper connection and more pleasure? That’s a tantric relationship.
Tantric sexuality honors the sacredness of sexual energy and intimacy. Sex between a tantric couple tends to last longer. It recognizes the importance of having a shared spiritual practice. The relationship can even become the spiritual practice.
You are both making a shared commitment to each other’s personal growth. Agreeing to use the relationship as a shared practice to spiritually evolve.
In a truly spiritual relationship, we hold unconditional love as our pillarstone and our guide. As a reward, we get to receive more pleasure, experience our true nature (it’s more erotic and sexier than you think) and embark upon a journey of spiritual growth. Together.
Using relationship triggers to heal and grow
That way, when conflicts arise, or when we are feeling upset, angry, jealous, or triggered by our partner – we use our feelings as an invitation to communicate, express, grow and heal.
When we unconditionally love and are unconditionally loved, there are no expectations or demands. Unconditional love – as romantic as it sounds – is not easy to achieve. It is a constant practice of swallowing pride, compassion, empathy, understanding, and forgiveness.
Two partners who unconditionally love each other might well cause each other pain and suffering from time to time. At the same time, they understand that often it is our own wounding and trauma that actually causes the pain. It is not necessarily the actions of their partner. They also understand that sometimes we act out of and because of pain. There is compassion and understanding for all of the above, which leads to forgiveness, empathy, and acceptance.
6 steps to make your relationship more conscious and use unconditional love as your guide
Do you want to bring more unconditional love into your relationship? Would you like to experience greater levels of harmony and understanding between you and your partner? Do you want to start having more tantric sex and take your tantra practice to new heights?
If the answer is yes, here are 6 of my best tips for building a conscious tantric relationship:
1. Know your true self
Do you know yourself? Like, really know yourself?
Do you know what all of your needs are? Your wants, priorities, must-haves, deal-breakers, likes, dislikes, fetishes, turn-ons, challenges, shortcomings, and absences?
You would be surprised how many people don’t know these things. Yet they still enter into relationships. They expect their partner to understand and attend to each one of the above fully. How can they expect their partner to know them on this level if they don’t even know themselves?
Having self-awareness about what you do and do not want/need from a relationship is absolutely crucial. Once you have this awareness of who you are and what your own needs are, you can then communicate them to your partner.
False expectations can cause issues in relationships. Many people find themselves either trying to change their partner, or with a partner who is trying to change them.
Know thy self first
When you know yourself, you are more able to stand solid and resist this kind of manipulation and change tactics.
Learn about who YOU are. You are certainly much more than your job title, your ego, your emotions, and your thoughts.
We spend such a large proportion of our lives nowadays working at a computer, scrolling social media, or mindlessly chatting to our friends on WhatsApp. All of this is fine. It is part of the 21st Century human existence, but it doesn’t help us to know ourselves.
Get to know your own soul on a deep level by spending uninterrupted, undistracted quality time with yourself. Do the things that you love to do. If you don’t know what they are – try out some new things.
Open a book. Do a tantric meditation. Watch a thought-provoking movie. Walk in nature. Paint. Play music. Anything that gets you more acquainted with the unique tapestry of you.
Once you have gotten to know yourself better, you will be able to make better decisions when it comes to choosing a partner. You will be better able to identify and communicate your own desires. Trust me – a man who can communicate what he wants is really, really sexy.
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2. Develop emotional intelligence.
This is a big one.
We are taught so much in school-related to academic intelligence. Despite this, we are never taught how to develop our emotional intelligence.
Why is this a problem? It comes back to communication again. If we aren’t aware of our own emotions, we aren’t able to communicate them. And when we can’t communicate our emotions? Our partner might feel that we are disconnected, absent, or doing something we shouldn’t be doing – like cheating.
This creates distance and tension within a relationship. Especially if it goes unspoken. Both of you will be able to feel the pull from each other, but the reasons for why will remain unclear and unsaid.
Speaking as a man, TO an audience who are mostly men, I can attest that emotional intelligence is harder for men to acquire than for women.
Women are naturally more emotional creatures. We men on the other hand are conditioned and taught from a young age to swallow and hide our emotions. Tantric relationships recognize this difference and honor it.
Thankfully, it is possible to develop your own emotional EQ. You simply need to give yourself the time and space to sit with, feel into and identify whatever feelings are arising.
Tools such as meditation, journaling, and mindfulness, are wonderful techniques for building emotional intelligence. The truth is that most of us spend our lives in a constant state of hurry and distraction. We barely give a second’s thought to how we are feeling inside. These practices force you to slow down. By doing so, you will automatically gain a deeper understanding of how you are feeling.
3. Know and speak your boundaries
Another buzzword: boundaries. Yes, the word might make you roll your eyes. But it’s really important when it comes to tantric love, orgasm, tantric relationships AND tantric sex.
One of the hardest things to do is to face the fear of speaking your own truth.
We get so caught up in how it will make the other person feel that we forego our own comfort or happiness for the sake of them. This often leads to feelings of violation, disappointment, and even resentment.
If certain language, behaviors, attitudes, or actions are not OK for you, it is important to express them to your partner.
If you don’t, you are depriving them of the chance to adapt and adjust.
This will lead to conflict. Another thing I always say to my clients… Human beings are not psychic!
Find out what your boundaries are and practice communicating them in a healthy, non-demanding way. Of all tantric techniques, speaking your boundaries is perhaps the most important.
Remember that relationships are a constant cooperation and require compassion and kindness. Use lots of ‘I’ statements, eg. ‘when this happens, I feel that….’
4. Put the needs of the relationship above those of your own
It is also important to recognize that the relationship itself has needs. These are outside of and separate from the needs of the individuals inside of the relationship.
Today, it is constantly pushed on us to value our independence. We are told to love ourselves and put ourselves first.
I personally believe this to be a flawed way of looking at things. Whatsmore, I believe it to be terrible dating advice.
This way of operating will eventually bring a relationship to its knees. Relationships are about cooperation and compromise. A relationship should emphasize selflessness rather than selfishness.
Who wants a selfish partner? Certainly when it comes to sex, lovemaking and orgasm we do not. If our partner is selfish and prioritizes his or her needs, we will never get an orgasm or feel sexually fulfilled.
Sooner or later, both partners putting themselves first all the time is going to lead to disappointment, hurt, and feelings of being let down.
Shift the priority and the focus from ‘what can I get from the relationship’ to ‘what can I give to the relationship’.
By doing so, you will paradoxically find that all of your needs are met.
Having a conscious relationship is about creating a third entity. You and your partner as one.
That third entity must be treated like a child. It must come first. The child must receive priority, attention, and utmost care.
When it does, the relationship will become conscious and above average. It will exceed both of your expectations and more.
5. Be disciplined and take action towards what you want in life
One of the most important elements to a spiritual relationship is both partners having intent and purpose in their lives. Unfortunately, a lot of us are held back from ever fulfilling our purpose by fear.
Reaching our goals isn’t attained by sitting around and waiting for our goals to reach us.
Scoring any goal requires action.
Sometimes the heart and the mind disagree with one another. Despite the heart desperately wanting something, the mind kicks in and overrules. The mind’s fearful cries of ‘what if’ and ‘it’s not the right time’ stop us from having what we desire the most.
Usually, this is because the mind is worrying and fretting about the things that could possibly go wrong. Despite the fact that they will probably never happen, the mind simply cannot let go.
This kind of thinking keeps us small. It keeps us trapped in a narrow-minded fear-based mentality. It stops us from reaching for our goals.
In order to reach those goals, we need to shift the focus to that of a wide-angle lens.
When our heart wants to do something (for example, make a YouTube video about something we’re passionate about), we focus on all of the good things it can do for us (share our passion with the world, inspire someone, express our creativity, help people) rather than the small number of unlikely, negative outcomes (being laughed at or receiving a negative comment).
Do you feel that you are being held back from reaching your goals due to fear? If so, you might want to work with a coach or a mentor for some professional help with overcoming limiting beliefs.
6. Heal any sexual shame and sexual trauma
Even for those of us who (like myself) have been working on it for years, shedding sexual shame and trauma is a life’s work.
We are constantly peeling off layers of the onion skin. After all, sex has been shamed, demonized, and slammed within society for lifetimes.
Since childhood, we are conditioned and taught to hide our sexual organs and genitals from the world. We are told not to touch ourselves ‘there’ and that sexual interactions and ideas are somehow perverse.
How comfortable would you be talking about your sex life with your parents? Probably not very. If this is the case, I would guess that you still have some sexual trauma and shame to shift.
Becoming comfortable in your own sexuality will open up so much in terms of your next relationship and the heights to which it can go.
When there is true intimacy within a relationship, sex (particularly tantric sex) has the power to shape, change and heal us. There are really no limits as to how far it can go.
But when there are blockages, it cannot do its magic work.
One step I often give to my clients who are dealing with sexual shame is to stand in front of the mirror, naked, every day. You would be surprised by the number of people who are deeply ashamed of their own bodies. This is so damaging. In order to fully embody our own erotic nature, we need to first own ourselves as an erotic being. Accepting your naked body is the first step.
The next step would be to masturbate in front of the mirror. Do you think you could get turned on by the sight of your own reflection giving yourself pleasure?
If not, it might be time to start doing it…
Come back to unconditional love
After all of this, maybe you are wondering what the point is of having a tantric relationship?
It really comes back to unconditional love.
When there is unconditional love, the relationship stands a much better chance of standing the test of time. Unconditional love being present makes tantric sex much more achievable. This is because tantric sex is about presence, connection and intimacy. Much moreso than ‘regular’ sex.
Relationships are not easy. As the last year of the pandemic has shown us, life can sometimes throw large, unexpected hurdles our way. But when two people are fully invested and committed to their path of growth? There are few obstacles that cannot be overcome.
Are you in a relationship that is facing obstacles? Do you want to learn even more about how a tantric path could help your love life? If so, you can check out my free training here .
Over the years I have helped countless couples move past obstacles that once seemed impassable. They have gone on to have the best relationships of their lives. I have put many of my secrets into this training . Don’t you want to see how far your next relationship can take you? Click here.
What makes a relationship tantric?
A relationship is tantric when both partners use tantric principles, tantric rituals and tantric teachings as their guide to navigate through the relationship. The couple may use other elements such as tantric massage or a special tantra meditation. These can be used before or after lovemaking to heighten the experience. Sex is considered a divine or sacred act.
How is it different to other relationships?
A tantric relationship puts most value on the needs of the relationship. This is recognized as more important than the needs of the individuals inside the relationship. Other relationships tend to prioritize the needs of the individuals.
What is sacred union with another person?
Sacred union refers to sexual intercourse with emphasis upon the sacredness of sex. When a man and a woman make love and look into each other’s eyes, it is the closest two human beings can physically or energetically become. Strong, solid masculine energy and dynamic, soft feminine energy. They intertwine to become one. Sacred union refers to the act of intercourse with awareness of it’s ultimate sanctity.
What is the difference between tantra and neo tantra?
‘Tantra’ refers to classical tantra. Classical tantra has been practiced for hundreds of years. It is a set of methods for working with the subtleties of the energy body. Some techniques are sexual, but the majority are not sexual. Neo tantra emerged far more recently. It is a set of methods for improving sexual performance and moving sexual energy. Neo tantra and classical tantra both also work with kundalini. Through neo tantra AND classical tantra we can reach states of sexual ecstasy. This goes beyond simply reaching orgasm. Both classical tantra and neo tantra are both legitimate aspects of the spiritual path.
What truly makes a relationship tantric and how should one start down this road?
A truly tantric relationship is one in which each partner sees, witnesses and honors the divine in the other. If you don’t know where to start, have a conversation with your partner about your fears, boundaries and desires. This will open up the kind of honest, healthy communication that is VITAL for creating a tantric relationship. If both partners are not willing to communicate in this way, things cannot go any further. In many but not all tantric relationships, tantric ritual features in sexual activity and lovemaking. How far you choose to go with ritual is up to you. Many men in tantric relationships also retain their semen. This is known as non-ejaculation. I have a blog where you can read about it and the benefits here.
How do you forgive a loved one?
I get that this can be very hard. The key is to empathize and put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Come into the present moment. Feel your love for the divine being that is standing in front of you right now. Remember that hurt people hurt people. Forgiveness is important, but if your partner is asking for it again and again, it might be time to question the relationship.
What is conscious sensuality exactly?
Conscious sensuality is a continuous practice of presence. Presence in your body and it’s sensations in daily life, during lovemaking. Feeling into your heart and all other aspects of your physical and energetic body. Inside of an intimate relationship, conscious sensuality should be practiced whenever you are physically intimate with your partner.
Men's Relationship Coach
Steffo is the founder of The Tantric Man Experience, the #1 masculine mentorship program in the world. There he helps men in relationships reignite the passion to restore their marriages from the brink of divorce. And single men attract their dream women naturally with success. He's on a mission to guide men towards an intimate and meaningful relationship, and end the war with their sexuality, so they can finally become integrated men, fathers, brothers, husbands, and leaders in the world.
“It meant a paradigm shift in life.” – Patrik, Sweden
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