Is it just me, or does it seem like everywhere you turn these days, there’s a new type of orgasm everyone is buzzing (literally and figuratively)? TBH, I’m starting to feel a little like an old lady, shaking my head as I say, “In my day, we only had one or two types of orgasms, tops—if we were lucky!” Now, brain orgasms are apparently a thing, as evidenced by a Well+Good writer who actually had one. Breast orgasms are the real deal, too. And while it hasn’t yet been studied, I’m pretty sure there’s such a thing as a Netflix orgasm, usually occurring on Friday and Sunday nights and often induced by the arrival of Thai takeout.
Why bother with any of these, however, if such a thing as a full-body orgasm exists and it doesn’t require bikini waxes or birth control? According to sexperts, this too-good-to-be-true-sounding phenomenon is not something invented by men whose sexual partners deserve Academy Awards for their climax performances, either. Instead, it’s a tantric practice that can actually be done solo. (Sex coach Helena Nista had one alone in her car, an anecdote that, as an Angeleno who considers the freeway to be the seventh circle of hell, has me saying, “I’ll have what she’s having.”)
What, exactly, is a tantric practice, though? As with most things in life, my only exposure to the idea was a rather disturbing episode of Sex and the City involving a tantric sex class that leaves the women covered in an old man’s, uh, ejaculate—so frankly, I’m a bit traumatized. But tantra isn’t strictly sexual, nor need its practice end in a shower. Instead, Michiko Takatani, tantric healer and founder of Neo Tantra Orgasm, describes it as a spiritual practice.
Tantra is associated with Kundalini energy, or “the electric kind of energy that runs through the spine,” and while Kundalini can be “raised” by any type of yoga—including simple breath work—Takatani tells me it’s often easier to “trigger” through sexual touch. A full-body orgasm can result from this type of practice, and it’s described by Nista as the “the release or movement of energy in the body” that leads to the “riding [of] orgasmic waves for minutes or hours.” (Hours!) It can be achieved alone or with a partner, with touch or without.
According to tantra educator Mare Simone, the practice requires different things from men and women. For guys, she says, it requires the discipline to resist release while for women, it’s more about surrender. “This involves focusing on sensual pleasures while breathing deeply throughout the body to engage your whole being in the sensations of arousal, dancing between the instinct to tense up with movements and relaxation to help channel energy up the body, and resisting the instinct to clench and hold one’s breath as a ‘squeeze and burst,’ which creates a quick, short-lived orgasm,” she says.
“[A full-body orgasm] can make you relax like a physical orgasm, yet you don’t lose energy and [instead] feel rejuvenated.” —Michiko Takatani, tantric healer
Since these descriptions feel a bit abstract to me, Takatani points me in the direction of science (in video form) that supports the existence of tantric full-body orgasms and offers the illustration I need to wrap my mind around the phenomenon. In the study she cites, climaxes were achieved at the hands of a tantric healer who never actually touches those he’s healing. (It’s a little like Reiki—watch the video for a better idea, but maybe not at work.)
Takatani, who does use massage that includes some non-genital sexual touching in her practice, tells me that with some professional instruction, you can learn to have (or give) full-body orgasms without a healer in the room. There are advantages to putting in the work to do so beyond mere pleasure, too. “[A full-body orgasm] can make you relax like a physical orgasm, yet you don’t lose energy and [instead] feel rejuvenated,” says Takatani. “Also, this electric kind of energy can cleanse energy centers (chakra) and take some blockages off, which can have many healing effects.” Increased blood circulation and improved sex drive are also benefits, she claims.
I was raised Catholic, so the whole spiritual side to this makes me uncomfortable—any mention of sex alongside “the spirit” will have me in a shame spiral that’ll effectively ensure I never have any type of orgasm again. Plus, I’m a bit too shy to imagine myself in a room with someone teaching me how to give myself full-body orgasms, whether there’s touch involved or not. Luckily, sexologist Jess O’Reilly, PhD, host of the Sex with Dr. Jess Podcast, offers a more clinical definition, and a different, more hands-on approach. “A full-body orgasm usually refers to an experience in which you feel pleasurable orgasmic sensations across your body. You might feel a tingle in your face and hands, a wave of pleasure over your back and thighs, or a sense of pleasurable release along the surface of your skin. Folks of all genders can experience orgasmic sensations beyond their genitals and enjoy full-body pleasure,” she explains.
Dr. O’Reilly’s approach to achieving said orgasm is far more physical than spiritual. “One theory suggests that the G-spot and the prostate may produce full-body sensations, and stimulation of these areas may be more likely to lead to full-body pleasure,” she says. “The G-spot is believed to communicate with the brain via the deep extensions of the vagus nerve, which bypasses the spinal cord and wanders throughout the body; this may explain the more full-bodied sensation association with G-spot stimulation.” Prostrate orgasms, she says, are similarly explained.
Need a G-spot primer? Dr. O’Reilly explains it as the “sensitive area accessible through the upper wall of the vagina, toward the stomach.” It is, she says, an area marked by many sensitive nerve pathways, tissues, and organs, but it is not a distinct entity, nor is it located inside of the vagina. To stimulate it, she offers this technique: “Curl two fingers gently into the vagina and press against the upper wall (toward the stomach). Pull in on that spot with a come-hither motion, then pulse and release gently, or use a vibrating toy against this area.”
If you have a prostate (as many non-binary people and trans women do) or if you’d like to stimulate your partner’s, O’Reilly notes that it’s located next to the rectum just beyond the anal canal. “You may have heard that it is located inside of your butt, but it’s actually a friendly neighbor that rests against the sensitive front of the rectal wall,” she explains. “It is round and somewhat conical in shape and sits in the pelvic cavity between the bladder and the pelvic floor.” To massage it, she offers the following options: curl two fingers up toward the stomach in a slow, come hither motion; pulse two fingers against the prostate gland in rhythm with stroking the penis; use a vibrating prostate toy like the We-Vibe Vector; and/or stroke the shaft of the penis while simultaneously curling one finger against the prostate in rhythm with your strokes.
Dr. Jess doesn’t recommend you focus solely on these two areas, however. “Take your time and explore every square inch of the body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes,” she suggests. You can use a light touch, breath, your lips, your tongue, a lubed vibrator, etc, she says. “Do all of this before you even consider touching the genitals,” Dr. Jess advises. “Take your time to build anticipation and draw awareness across the entire body and you’ll be more likely to experience full-body pleasure once orgasm eventually arrives.”
So, the two ideas of a full-body orgasm differ, but the result—ideally, pleasure—are the same. And by that measure, I think my aforementioned Netflix night should count in this category, too.
If you’re still feeling sexually stuck (um, i.e. you consider Netflix sexual), sexpert Lila Darville has a step-by-step guide to bringing sexy back. Or, spice things up with a sex toy designed for him and her and them and zie and hirs, etc.
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