: 03 July 2016

4 Tantric Practices that Create Intimacy & Connection in Your Relationship

Tantra is the practice of being in a full-relationship with life.

An alive connection with what is.

Opening yourself – your senses, your awareness, your emotions – to the present moment and experiencing reality from that place of openness.

Tantra drops us deeper into the felt experience who we really are. It creates an active merging of body and spirit. When we practice tantra, life turns on.

And so do we.

Over the passed several months, I’ve been in a tantric relationship with a man who has taught me so many techniques to become even more awake and alive in our connection, in every moment.

Before I go any further, I’ll answer the question I know you’re wondering: “What exactly is a tantric relationship?”

To us, it’s an intimate relationship that’s grounded-in and guided-by Truth.

Meaning, it’s a partnership where our purpose (as a couple) is to be as awake as we possibly can be. To be real, to confront our fears, and to grow in Love.

And it’s this practice of realness, truth, devotion and love that’s created a deeper connection with a man than I’ve ever had in my life. So far, it’s been an unbelievable ride.

My partner has been practicing tantra for over 20 years and in that, he’s introduced me to many techniques that strengthen our connection and deepen our intimacy. He’s happy I’m going to share some of those practices with you in this article.

Below are four, simple tantric practices that will awaken you to yourself, to your partner, to love, and to the spirit that we all are. Give of few of these practices a try in your relationship and watch your connection flourish and grow.

1. 5 Things We Like

When my partner I first started connecting, he suggested that we try a practice together in the morning, an hour or so before we’d say goodbye. It’s a practice of telling each other 5 things we like about the time we’ve spent together.

I have to say this technique is one of the sweetest, most loving, most connecting experiences I’ve ever done with another person. Months later, we’re still practicing it. It never gets old.

The process is simple – it goes like this: While you’re laying in bed (or eating breakfast, or in a chill moment with your partner), in a fully-present manner, each of you say 5 things you enjoyed about the time you just spent together.

You can say anything! It can be silly, sweet, deep, or profound… and if you do this practice this enough, it’ll be all these things and more!

When you honor your partner and the time you share together, you create a sacred container for your relationship. Doing a practice like this on a regular basis can only deepen your love.

2. 5 minute check-in

Around the same time that my partner and I do “5 Things We Like,” we also do a 5 minute check-in. The purpose of this check-in is to tune into yourself, see what’s important to you in this moment (about anything in your life), and to share that with your partner.

This check-in is not about the relationship necessarily. It’s about you! It’s about dropping into who you are in this moment and expressing your truth to your partner. Again, it’s simple but profound.

Here are some questions that can guide you in a check-in:

– How am I doing in my life?

– What’s important to me in this moment?

– What am I working on?

– What do I want to create?

– What challenges – if any – are appearing for me right now?

– Who am I right now?

By having a little bit of time to tune-into to your own process then share it, you create a deeper connection with yourself and an more intimate connection with the person you love.

3. Shadow Check

Ahhh… the shadow check. Not always easy but definitely an important technique for couples to do.

So what is a “shadow check”?

It’s a time to come together with your partner and discuss the uncomfortable, challenging feelings and experiences that are occurring in the relationship. It’s a designated container for you to be real about what you’re struggling with in yourself and with your partner.

While a shadow check is typically not comfortable, it can be a lifesaver for a relationship because it creates a safe space to move through challenges.

So how do you do it?

Either on a semi-regular basis or when you feel that something “shadowy” is surfacing in your relationship (you’re moody, upset, or resentful), you create a designated time to come together with your partner to discuss it.

My partner and I typically do shadow-checks in public places (to keep the level of intensity down) and we try to be respectful of ourselves and each other throughout the process. Here are some ways we do that:

– Each person gets 15 minutes to talk about what’s going on, without interruptions (we use a timer)

– We try to steer-clear of blame

– We try to use “I statements” (i.e. “I’ve been feeling ____ way.” “My experience is this…”)

– We try not to exceed 1.5 hours for the whole shadow check (to avoid burn-out)

– We understand that the point is not to have an agenda or get something from each other; instead the point is to understand ourselves, each other, and reach common ground again

What really helps a shadow check go smoothly is if you’re committed to being on the same team as your partner. Yes, uncomfortable feelings arise in intimate relationships, however if you know that love is the foundation of your connection, then always make it through the other side.

4. Conscious Sensuality

Conscious sensuality is what most people think of when they hear the word “tantra.” Without a doubt, it’s an amazing part of being in a tantric relationship.

What is conscious sensuality exactly?

It’s being fully aware in your touch, contact, erotic energy and lovemaking.

As simple as it sounds, many of us aren’t that aware in our sexual contact, but that’s okay because it’s a practice. Here’s a simple way to bring more awareness into your physical intimacy:

Using a timer, do 10 5-minute intervals of connecting with your partner, focusing on being fully-present in each exercise.

Set the timer for the first 5 minutes, sit in front of your partner and look him or her in the eyes while moving your body slightly as you breathe. Just focus on this one task – eye-gazing and breathing – for the full 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, bow to your partner to acknowledge the end of that session, then move on to the next.

In the next 5-minute session, one partner can sensually touch and massage the other’s arms, legs, neck and body. The partner who’s giving touch can practice being fully-present in that giving; the partner who’s receiving can practice fully-present in receiving.

In the next 5 minutes, switch roles.

In the next 5 minutes, practice kissing with full awareness for 5 minutes. Just be in the moment, not needing to do anything else but kiss. See what that’s like…

And keep going from there! Get creative! As you can imagine, there are lots of possibilities.

What’s beautiful about conscious sensuality is that, unlike spontaneous lovemaking, there’s a container for the experience so you’re less likely to move forward towards the “next thing.” In other words, you’re staying with one sensual practice for a set amount of time, which allows you to fully show-up for that experience.

Basically it’s meditation and sex combined! And who doesn’t like that?!

As you can see, all these tantric practices hold a common theme: Bring your awareness into the present moment, into your body, into the energy that exists here and now and be with it. That’s what tantra is, and that’s what an alive relationship is, too.

Please leave a comment below telling us which tantric practice your going to try with your partner (or share another practice if you have one!).


  1. Leah on July 8, 2016 at 3:44 am

    Whoooaaaa!!!! haha Awesome!!!!!!! Great timing Shelly!!! <3 U!!

    • Shelly Bullard on July 8, 2016 at 8:50 am


  2. Marina on July 8, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I loved your article! Great aspects that go beyond what people think of when they hear “tantra” (that is tantra sex, I guess).

    • Shelly Bullard on May 23, 2017 at 6:59 am

      yes 🙂

  3. Daniel Nugroho on July 8, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Awesome! Nice article Shelly!!!

    • Shelly Bullard on May 23, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Glad you liked it!

  4. Rachel on July 8, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I really loved reading this and being filled with a new vision for romantic love in my life. Thank you for sharing this and I hope to see more from you on it!! xox

    • Shelly Bullard on May 23, 2017 at 7:09 am


  5. Rachael on July 8, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Do you have any book recommendations on this subject?

    • Shelly Bullard on July 11, 2016 at 4:26 am

      I don’t.

  6. Barbara on July 8, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Love, love, love this <3Btw, when is your new course coming out? I'm very impatient to get it 😀

    • Shelly Bullard on July 11, 2016 at 4:26 am

      Oh sweet, Barbara. Out in the next month. 🙂

      • Barbara on July 11, 2016 at 12:42 am

        Thank you!

  7. helen Duckworth on July 9, 2016 at 8:49 am

    A really lovely article Shelly. A sweet and inspiring introduction to something very simple but also very complex and quite scary for so many of us. I wish I had seen this 2 yes ago when my husband stopped loving me and started toeave me emotionally. He’s left me a when ago now but I know if we had know about these simple things it .ay well have been a different story. I am in a different place emotionally now and much more open to express g bow I feel and I feel very inspired about my next relationship, when it happens, using the ides you have givenThank you!

    • Shelly Bullard on May 23, 2017 at 6:56 am

      You’re welcome, Helen.

  8. helen Duckworth on July 9, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Sorry so many typo’s! I am quite literate, just writing on a very small phone!

  9. Nina Thiara on July 10, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I really envision myself having this sort of connection with new partner in the future.

    • Shelly Bullard on July 11, 2016 at 4:25 am

      Beautiful, Nina. xo

  10. Silvie on July 17, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Good article, looking forward trying it out…especially the shadow work.

    • Shelly Bullard on May 23, 2017 at 6:55 am

      Awesome Silvie!

  11. Ann on July 30, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    This article was very inspiring for someone like me who is trying to discover tantric practices. I am reading as much about it as I can. I am also trying to ease my husband into it by showing him simple and well-written articles such as this one. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to get my husband to try new things after 20 years of doing the same thing over and over again. I want to make changes in the way we are NOT experiencing life and NOT really experiencing our love-making either. He jokes about my reading all kinds of “shit” as he calls it but his laughing and joking tells me perhaps he is just uncomfortable about trying new things. I don’t know how to get him to try new things with me. We’ve gotten in some serious fights about this. To be fair however, he is not entirely to blame in all this. When we started our lives together, I was totally closed to his wanting different things sexually because of sexual trauma I experienced when I was 7 and 8 years old. Consequently, I felt dirty during sex and I am not entirely certain I still don’t feel this at times. At the time, my husband loved me and respected me enough to go with what I needed but denied himself in the process. All of a sudden, at 52 I want to start experimenting different things like tantra. We have talked about this together and he always changes the topic or it turns into an argument. But I understand why he doesn’t want to experiment with me now. I don’t fool myself into thinking he doesn’t understand my sudden need to experiment. He does understand it but he is resentful that I should suddenly get to experiment when I took that need away from him when we were younger. I will keep on trying new things with him but it won’t be easy. Today, I have a need to tell people who have been sexually abused to please, get some quality professional help as soon as possible so that you can deal with your issues and move forward in this beautiful life. Otherwise, those wounds stay with you and seep through every aspect of your life, especially your precious sexual life. I have done a lot of reading about tantric healing and cleansing for victims of sexual abuse. This is looking like a serious option for me. Shelly, perhaps you can write about this in a next post or, if you already have, direct me and others like me to where you have already written about it. Thank you for all the hard work you do for us and please forgive me for the long text.

  12. CJ on March 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    great article 🙂 Looking forward to practicing but I only counted 4 of the 10 intervals you mention, are we supposed to creatively come up with the other six or are there specific things you recommend?

    • Shelly Bullard on May 23, 2017 at 5:47 am

      The title says 4 🙂

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I’m a relationship coach, licensed marriage & family therapist, wife, girl mom, world traveler and… a damn good manifesting teacher.

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