How to give a yoni massage

Yoni massage is a spiritual exercise that honours a woman's sacred temple -- the yoni (the Sanskrit word for the vagina).

It is less about sexual orgasm, and more about building trust and intimacy with your partner, letting go of negativity, accepting the love and energy of your partner, fostering a deep trust and sense of equality and safety in the relationship, and connecting with a higher energy. When it's not used as a spiritual practice, it is used by sex therapists to break down barriers caused by sexual assault and to heal and restore sexual power in rape victims. It is an educational tool for both men and women, helping women gain a more meaningful understanding of their bodies. It helps teach men reverence for women's bodies, encouraging men and women to exist as equal spiritual beings.

Prepare for the massage. Suggestions include bathing together as a cleansing exercise, lighting candles and using sage to clear any negativity from the room. Try lying close to each other and beginning to focus on relaxation. You can also do full-body massage to aid in relaxation.

Take position. The receiver lies on a soft surface with pillows under her head and hips. She bends her legs at the knees and let them gently fall open, revealing her yoni. The person performing the massage sits in between the receiver's legs with crossed legs, or in a similarly comfortable position.

Begin taking deep breaths in the nose and out the mouth to relax the body. Breathe in deeply, pushing your stomach out, and exhale strongly, pushing out any negativity, shame or fear. It may be helpful for one person to lead, saying the name of each part of the body out loud as you both relax it. Start at the head and work downward, releasing any negative feelings or associations that come to mind. Revel in how comfortable you are in your body, and how comfortable you are with your partner.

Begin the massage. (The remaining instructions are for the giver.) Apply oil to her yoni, or to your own hands, to make the massage more comfortable. Massage the inner thighs, alternating softer and firmer touches with longer and shorter strokes. Make eye contact with your partner and try to maintain it for as long (and as often) as possible. Work your way toward the outer folds of the yoni. Move your hands up and down the yoni, caressing the folds, and separate them gently. Take your time and find out what sensations your partner enjoys. Move to the clitoris, trying different kinds of touches with different levels of pressure. Try taking it between your finger and thumb and gently squeezing. Apply more oil if necessary.

Continue the massage for as long as she feels comfortable, and focus your energy on creating and sharing this intimate bond. Enjoy the process. Yoni massage is about giving and receiving, not about orgasm. Allow her to determine the extent of her arousal and the natural stopping point.

Reflect. Spend time together in each other's arms, and process any feelings that arose during the massage.