"The single most important key to sex that I've yet discovered is conscious rhythmic breathing; the more you breathe the more you feel and the more you come alive. Many of us breathe only enough to survive but not to live fully. Deep breathing is a door to waking up to healing and to more personal freedom."
-- Annie Sprinkle, PhD., Tantrica & Ex-Porn Star
Breathing doesn't seem very sexy but it's the key to orgasmic pleasure and self-empowerment for women and to lasting longer for men. The benefits of learning new, simple ways of breathing are extraordinary and have direct health benefits, too. Breathing deeply into your belly increases relaxation, decreases tension and stress, helps women focus on pleasure and puts more oxygen into your blood stream. Oxygen is what delivers the 'O' in Orgasm.
Many years ago I had my first introduction to ecstatic breathing. While this experience was more cathartic than sensual it produced a powerful understanding in me about the power of breath. Up until that point in my life I had never had an experience like this. I had taken many psychedelics before this but my breath experience was so far beyond any of that. I quickly began to build and incorporate breathing techniques into every aspect of my life. Breath is a tool for transformation and can be used to play in the many fields of ecstatic living.
Breathing techniques are utilized in all forms of yoga, meditation, Taoist and Tantric practices and even health activities like exercise and blood pressure reduction. There are calming breaths that incorporate deep belly breathing for relaxation and there are 'charging' breaths for increasing focus and turn-on.
For instance, did you know that you can easily lower your blood pressure by calmly breathing into your belly through your nose and out through your mouth? Try this the next time you're about to go to the doctor, give a presentation or discuss a difficult topic with someone you love. It works.
It's well known that women have a harder time than men focusing on sensual and sexual activities. In studies done with Functional MRI technology scientist can see the oxygen flow to the various regions of brain during different situational inputs. Men tend to focus most of their active brain regions on the sexual activities. Women, on the other hand, have multiple regions in their brains going off. Areas that involve worry, attention to things they didn't get done during a given day, the children, external noise, etc. - their brains are busy and not on the activities they're supposed to be on at that moment.
This is why experts suggest all kinds of things that will get women thinking about sex and in the mood. Sexy talk, hints whispered in her ear, light and flirtatious touching, kissing, music, candlelight, lots of foreplay - and all long before you get to the bedroom. Though this is a generalization, and not true of all women, it is a good signpost to go by, especially if it's been a very hectic day and you're counting on a great date in bed.
Each of us is responsible for our own pleasure. Blaming your partner isn't going to get you very far. Knowing your own body and the sexual stimuli you desire is of the utmost importance. But there is another thing a woman can do to advocate for her sexual focus and presence. It will increase the blood flow to her extremities (think clitoris, G-spot and pelvic area) and help her focus her mind on sexual turn-on and the stimulus she is receiving. That 'thing' is breathing.
I'm not talking about calm breathing as in meditation or yoga. To focus the mind and increase blood flow a woman can do several specific breathing techniques that are very simple yet effective in moving her much faster into the 'zone' of body/mind unity. One breath pattern, in particular, is easy to remember and use. This one is a type of panting breath that is specifically for increasing oxygen and nitric oxide (this is the stuff in your blood that Viagra targets) in the blood.
It's best described in this short video above. I demonstrate and explain this breathing pattern so it's easy to grasp. Practice it before you get to the bedroom a few times so you have it down. Don't start to vigorously at first - take it easy so you don't hyperventilate. A more advanced practice would include visualizing the out-breath as a flow of loving energy washing over your body. You can use it multiple times during any sexual encounter when you notice your mind is wandering, you've 'slipped' from a plateau or you want to enhance the experience you're already having. As you get better at it you'll find it adds a new dimension to your pleasure.
Suzie Heumann is the founder of Tantra.com. She studies, writes, has authored three books and makes films about conscious sex, Tantra and the Kama Sutra. Check out Tantra.com Premium for the most comprehensive tantra training available on the Internet!