We’ve all heard about slow food, and you may or may not have heard about other “slow movement” subcategories, like slow parenting, slow education, slow design, and even slow fashion. It’s not the newest trend, but as the idea of slow living becomes less hippie-dippy and fringe, it’s gaining more legitimacy and interest in mainstream culture. And for good reason.
Slow sex is, as you might guess, a subset of the slow movement that rethinks our instinct to get laid and get off. It’s an umbrella term that can include more specific sexual philosophies or practices, including tantra and Orgasmic Meditation. In a time when efficiency and productivity are highly valued, the concept of intentionally hitting the brakes on anything—let alone sex, which is naturally sort of frenzied—feels counterintuitive. Slow sex is about reprogramming ourselves to savor the moment with our partners. But that doesn’t mean that you have to turn it in to a sappy, saccharine “lovemaking” scenario. (Which I was happy to hear, since I personally find that term annoying.)
“Comparing slow sex to a quickie is like comparing fast food to a seven-course gourmet feast,” says California-based Advanced Certified Tantra Educator Mare Simone, a teacher at the Source School of Tantra. “Slowing down the sexual experience invites a more expansive awareness that engages all of the senses and erogenous zones that are often forgotten when we’re in a hurry to climax. Slower sex has fewer goals in mind and often leads to a wider range of pleasures.” That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with short-lived sex. Quickies can relieve tension, stress, and help you sleep better, says Simone—just know that if all you ever have are quickies, you’re definitely missing out.
One big benefit to slowing sex down is that it can help bridge a natural sexual gap between the sexes, if you’re in a heterosexual relationship. (If you’re not, skip to the next paragraph, because there are still plenty of other benefits for you!) “Men are hardwired to procreate the species, so they instinctually climax quickly—often sooner than they or their partners would like,” says Simone. “Women, on the other hand, are naturally inclined to crave slower, more sensual, and foreplay-driven sex, including a wider range of pleasures and often multiple orgasms.”
Another thing that might motivate you to slow things down between the sheets: It’s much likelier to get women off. “According to statistics, 70 percent of women have difficulty achieving orgasm reliably through intercourse,” says Simone. “Women generally respond best to having all her erogenous zones stimulated before the primary ones.” In other words, having your lips, ears, nipples, and even your toes attended to before your clit.
“Slowing down to enjoy every nuance of erotic pleasure creates a richer, longer-lasting feeling of physical fulfillment that rejuvenates, nourishes, and heals the body, making us look and feel more vibrant for hours after the fact,” says Simone. “The uplifting benefits of slower sex can linger for days, improving your overall quality of life, from mental clarity to a glow that looks better than makeup.” Sold yet?
For slow sex beginners, Mare suggests taking turns exploring less-obvious erogenous zones, starting with the feet and hands, then the toes and fingers, then behind the knees and elbows. “Arousing these areas can increase the pleasure through anticipation, ultimately leading to the primary pleasures of the genitals,” she says. “Teasing is a great turn-on because the brain is the biggest erogenous zone and plays a major role in arousal.” For more beginner’s tips, check out Mare’s tantric sexercises or this surprisingly helpful Reddit feed.
Oh, and if you think you’re too busy to spend hours getting yourself or a partner off, you might want to think again. “Some people claim they don’t have enough time for long, luxurious lovemaking,” says Mare. “I believe that they just don’t know what they’re missing.”