What Is a Yoni Massage?

iJupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Yoni is the Sanskrit word for vagina and, loosely translated, means “sacred space.” Tantric philosophy approaches the vagina from a place of love and respect and yoni massage as a means of honoring women. While yoni massage is both sensual and pleasurable, the intent is not to bring the woman to orgasm but to awaken her awareness of her own sexuality and generate a bond of trust and intimacy with her partner.

Who Benefits from Yoni Massage?

According the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in six women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. This means that one in six women have been, or will be, in situations where control of their own sexual response is taken away from them. This could be rape, inappropriate touching or a sexual partner who takes things too far. Some women may move on from these experiences unscathed, while others may internalize their trauma and disconnect from their bodies and their sexuality.

Yoni massage helps these women learn to trust their partners and empowers them to regain control over their own sexuality. Beyond survivors of sexual trauma, anyone can benefit from yoni massage. All women, regardless of sexual history, benefit by getting in touch with their own arousal and learning to trust their partners with their most intimate of spaces. Men benefit by becoming familiar with their partners' bodies and sexual response. Men also benefit by learning to touch women in a giving and honoring way. Yoni massage is not gender specific, and partners of all sexual orientations can benefit from the bonding and trust building that yoni massage provides.

Why Orgasm is Not the Goal

Orgasm is a welcome benefit, but it is not the intent or focus of the yoni massage. The reason orgasm is not the intent is that the massage then becomes about the orgasm and about the person doing the massage and not the woman and her awakening. If the massage has a goal, then the person doing the massage will focus more on that goal and may do things to achieve that goal that make the woman uncomfortable. He may even ignore her body language, breathing and verbal cues in favor of what he thinks needs to happen to achieve that goal. There is also the issue of patience. If orgasm becomes the goal both partners, may rush the process in order to meet that goal. The whole point of the yoni massage is not to reach a destination but to experience the journey, however long it takes, together.

The Roles of the Participants

The woman needs to be able to trust the most intimate part of her body to her partner, so the key to yoni massage is that the woman is always in control. Her partner’s job is to listen to her verbal and non-verbal cues. Some women may be very vocal, while others may not. It’s up to the partner to ask questions, watch body language, breathing patterns and facial expressions, and encourage the woman to express herself. In turn, the woman needs to be open and honest with her feelings and communicate fully with her partner. Open communication serves two purposes: to teach the partner about the woman’s sexual response and to empower the woman to take control of her sexuality. In doing so, the woman will understand that, even in someone else’s hands, she still has control over her sexual response. That she can open herself up and trust her partner to respect her needs. Throughout the massage, both partners need to be mindful of their breathing—taking care to avoid holding the breath or shallow breathing.

Giving a Yoni Massage

Yoni massage in done in a comfortable and safe space. The room should be warm enough to be comfortable naked, and the area should be free from distractions and interruptions. Play soft relaxing music, if desired, but the music should not distract focus from each other. Both partners should focus on each other and make eye contact. The woman should recline in a comfortable position, propped up on pillows so that she can see both her vagina and her partner. Before beginning, both partners should start with simple breathing exercises to relax and focus the breath. The giver should start the massage by first massaging other areas of the woman’s body, giving her time to relax. Initiate all touch with gentle, loving intent.

After the Massage

A yoni massage could last a few minutes or a few hours. At the end, both partners may feel a range of emotional and physical sensations and need time to decompress from the experience. The giver should end the massage slowly and gently, allowing his partner to relax and enjoy the after effects of the massage. He can cover her with blankets for warmth, and cuddling is highly encouraged.