I Did It For Science: Tantric Sex

HWSDI: How would Sting do it?

Sting Tantric

By Grant Stoddard


To enrich the sensual awareness, sexual well-being and pleasure of me and my partner, vis-à-vis the principles of tantric sex.


State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction that can be verified by the results of the experiment.

When I think "tantra," I think hokey Eastern mysticism, I think myopic retirees sporting kimonos and ponytails. I think instructional videos featuring people who look like your parents sitting cross-legged with their partners, smiling moronically at each other in the forest. I think of Ian from High Fidelity, I think of Steven Seagal. I think of gallons of unnaturally stifled seminal fluid welling up into the bloodstream of the tantric male, poisoning his brain and making him wear hemp and patchouli. Nevertheless, some tantra devotees look smug enough to make me think that maybe the stigma is a construct designed to deter weekenders like me. (I mean, how could a small minority of Californian fiftysomethings be wrong?)


Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).

Tantra instructor (Italian, radiant)
Candles (scented)
Trickling water
Sitar music
Aromatic oils
Girlfriend (1)


In this portion of your report, you must describe step-by-step what you did in your lab. It should be specific enough that someone who has not seen the lab can follow the directions and recreate the same lab.

Sting, the rocker turned pompous Muzak god, famously boasted that he could have tantric sex for seven hours. I can't imagine what would be worse: being trapped under a sweaty Sting in a candlelit room, the sounds of pan-pipes heightening your senses for an afternoon — or listening to Fields of Gold on repeat for the same duration. Both could result in feelings of being intimately violated. But to his credit, Sting, in a rare show of humility, made one of the most memorable rock-star retractions of all time. Years later, he said those seven hours "included dinner and a movie."

Sting, the rocker turned pompous Muzak god, famously boasted that he could have tantric sex for seven hours.

I met my girlfriend, Erica, in early February. After swapping information about what we did for a living, the conversation swiftly moved, as it tends to, to weird sexual shit "that I really ought to try." Turns out Erica was curious about tantric sex. "Do you know about it?" she asked. I was about to launch into a routine about how utterly ridiculous — not to mention time-consuming — I thought it was, when she said, "I think it's so hot — just teasing the fuck out of each other for hours!" Now, bear in mind I was doing my best to get this girl's number. "Oh sure," I said. "I've been meaning to give that a whirl for ages."

So I got the number, we started dating, and soon I was on the trail of Tantra practitioners. One of the first organizations I approached was Butterfly Workshops, a.k.a. "The place where people fly." Its founder, Laurie Handlers, spent forty-five minutes on the phone with me, explaining tantra in the most abstract sense possible. She suggested I attend her "Ecstasy Workshop," a four-day extravaganza held somewhere in the ass-end of Virginia. There, in a cabin in the wilderness, couples harness their chakras and become "Gods and Goddesses." (In the email invitation, Laurie encourages attendees to bring their own "God and Goddess wear" like "Mayan pants, a vest, a headdress or a crown." Another cryptic suggestion: "We recommend that you take this time before the course to cleanse yourself. This is not mandatory, but staying away from some of your particular "hot button" substances might be a good way to prepare yourself for experimenting with no time, no space, no gravity.") As intrigued as I was by the prospect of defying time, space and gravity — while trying not to bust ass — as I talked to Laurie, it became apparent that no actual boning was going to occur. From the few bits of information you didn't have to be high to understand, I gathered that her course was about capturing sexual energy and using it for other stuff. Presumably vacuuming, yard work, advanced trig, etc.

My assignment was to have tantric sex. After a few more chats with Tantra buffs, I found an instructor based in nearby Queens: Carla Tara from Tantra New York . She offered me a discount for a two-hour session, with one requirement: that I be a "good, honest person." She would determine this, she told me, by looking into my eyes.

The next Thursday after work, Erica and I got on the train and made our way into deepest, darkest Queens County. We turned up a half hour early in a part of Queens so Irish, Conan O'Brien would be described as "swarthy" by the locals. After a quick beer to steady our nerves, we jumped into a gypsy cab for the final leg of our journey. Our destination: enlightenment. Even though this whole procedure was Erica's idea, she was starting to express some reservations. "Will she touch us?", she asked nervously. "Will we have sex right there in front of her?" As I understood it, the session would involve actual sex between me and Erica — not us and Mother Earth, Odin or any other heavenly deity. But other than that, I was pretty much in the dark.

Commentarium (23 Comments)

May 14 03 - 12:34am

Haha! Another fantastic "I did it for Science", funny stuff.

May 14 03 - 12:35am

Well done well done. You got me trying to subdue my laughter in my cubicle here. And I agree about the next Did it For Science - strap on city!!!

May 14 03 - 12:41am

You need to shift your attitude. I noticed a pattern in your experiments ... you go in to them and try to do a good job but you carry in with you your preconceptions and ego and this truely blocks you from your sexual experience. This is why time after time you come out of your experience with a "not for me" attitude. Relax a little and try to pretend you "know nothing" ... and for heavens sake stop thinking so much! ... unless you are doing the experiments just to generate entertaining pieces, and there you have succeeded.

May 13 03 - 7:20pm

Mean ... very good post yes that is true too ... the approach was a bit silly but still I get what was being taught .... and yes I've used it and yes it works nicely but you have to adjust it to your (and your partner's) way of doing things ... to simply dismiss it as it was here or make fun of it is not right.

May 13 03 - 9:40pm

fucking brilliant
piece of writing

May 14 03 - 4:59pm

yes grant, let erica strap it on. strap-it-on

May 14 03 - 5:22pm

Very interesting. I would have liked to have read a bit more about Erica's experience with Carla, where Carla touched her, etc...still, intriguing.

May 14 03 - 5:24pm

tboy's got a point!!!! Next assignment: Erica Straps It On!!!!!

May 14 03 - 8:36pm

Williamsburg hipster much Grant?

May 20 10 - 2:27pm

I enjoyed your article. You have an engaging writing style. One thing -- you should brush up on your use of personal pronouns: specifically, when to use I and when to use me. You're too good a writer to continue letting that mistake appear.

Aug 27 10 - 1:49pm

I miss the Science articles! I wouldn't mind seeing some new writers try some of the past experiments, just to see how a different personality would react and get another perspective.

Aug 27 10 - 8:27pm

Aw, you forgot the best part of Sting's retraction: not only dinner and a movie, but three hours of begging!

Aug 28 10 - 2:28am
Michael H.

Sting says he doesn't have a clue about tantric sex, and was just making stuff up. But good on you for trying it!


Aug 31 10 - 4:29pm

Do you think Brendon and Rachel do it Tantric style?

Sep 01 10 - 11:31am

i thought that was laugh out loud funny. no idea about tantric sex who knew?sounds like the fourth or fifth date when your still accepting experimenting. if us old married types tried that,we would both laugh,thats probably a good thing. good writing ,author .

Sep 02 10 - 9:48am

i havent read anything remotely as interesting and hilarious as this in a REALLY long time!

Sep 07 10 - 10:02am

Unsexiest experience ever, albeit hilarious. I've always wondered about those workshops. Why exactly did the instructor need to unrobe?

Sep 24 10 - 2:36pm

So, blue balls are a good thing? And I'm with demanda, why did Carla have to disrobe? Maybe a bit of a show-off?

Oct 17 10 - 9:43pm

Well written, as always, Grant.

Years ago I had a threesome with a woman over 20 years older than my girlfriend and I. Age made no difference. They were both wonderful. Don't dismiss older people. If they're in good shape, they have a lot to offer.

Nov 19 10 - 12:59am

Why do you always come off as a bit of a prude? You should try liking something sometime.

Jan 12 11 - 1:30am

This was hilarious! Well written, chap!

Aug 07 11 - 8:46am

You're a riot. thanks for sharing the experience ;D

Apr 23 12 - 12:22pm

like a pair of asthmatic seals!!!!!!!! quality