If you want to learn the techniques, first, you have to notice what your orgasm reflex is. Just observe it a few times (ten or more times) and pay attention to how it works. (You might want to do this while masturbating, as it could prove distracting to a partner.) Especially, notice that there is a brief moment at the onset of orgasm when you are consciously aware that it is about to occur but it has not yet become inevitable.
That's where you will later spend your time. In the typical orgasm (both male and female) there are 8 to 25 muscular contractions. Women may have more than men; how many you have will vary at times. Get to know how many contractions you usually experience. (For instance, my usual number is 18-20; it's never fewer, but sometimes more, and that has not changed in 30 years).
Now, rather than "suppressing" an orgasm, try to let one or two contractions happen and then relax. If you can learn to let one or two waves of orgasmic contractions occur and then relax by breathing slowly, and being attentive, and letting your abdominal muscles go limp (NOT by trying to think of something else to "distract" yourself), then you can learn to repeat this over and over again.
Imagine yourself at the edge of a wave of pleasure, a wave which does not break over and run onto the shore. You can practice this with a partner or while masturbating. It's easier with a partner, because he or she can hold you at the wave-edge, gently changing position and thus slowing you from going into the stage of involuntary pelvic thrusts you have been trying to "suppress." While you are learning to ride the wave-edge, take turns with your partner.
As one of you rides the wave of bliss, the other acts as a "lookout," keeping the wave-rider from falling into the undertow of orgasm. When the wave-rider reaches saturation and relaxes, you trade roles. During the course of one sexual encounter, you may trade roles often, for an hour or more. You may also rest (in a semi-detumescent state), and begin again later if you like.
When you and your partner become attuned to one another, you will no longer think about who is riding the wave and who is guiding; the roles will blend and mesh and you will both simply "be" there. That is basically the "secret teaching" of tantra. Sometimes, while learning these techniques, the lookout partner becomes suffused with a feeling of personal power, knowing that he or she can cause the wave-riding partner to have an orgasm, simply by making a slight gesture at the point when the wave-rider is letting go and relaxing.
This experience of power should not be devalued. It is profoundly moving to realize that someone has given his or her sexuality into your control and it is a pleasure of high magnitude to watch the process of your partner's orgasm unfold -- but once you understand your power in the situation, don't force your partner over the edge, for mistrust may develop, and the partner who is continually forced into orgasm may lose the fine proprioceptive senses he or she should be developing. Occasionally, when one partner is sexually needy (for instance, a woman during the ovulation or pre-menstrual portion of her cycle), the gift of release into orgasm may be offered and accepted, but be prepared for the offer to be refused, too.
Remember, at all times your goal should be to share equally in the experience, not to second-guess what you think your partner wants. One recommended minimum length of time to spend exchanging off-and-on waves between partners is twenty minutes. It is believed by many who have practiced and studied this, including myself, that although less than forty minutes will be pleasant, it will not produce the sought-after spiritual experience. Remember, this time is shared between the two of you; typically, that does not even mean exactly ten minutes each at the edge-point, for it may take you a few seconds or a minute to get back to that place of wave-riding after you have had your turn being the lookout for your partner. As your experience increases, you may find that you can switch from lookout to wave-rider in less than a handful of seconds; when that happens, you have only to be careful that you do not become over-confident and "forget" to relax when your training tells you it is time to relax.
If, by reason of forgetfulness or over-excitement, either partner is drawn inexorably into orgasm, neither party should be alarmed, angry, or distressed. For one thing, if you have been very close to the edge for a long time and you see your partner slipping over, it's a simple matter to dive in and join the orgasmic experience. Or, if you prefer, you can watch, content in viewing from the vantage point of calm contemplation. It has been my experience that when one partner fails to maintain the wave-riding technique, he or she usually half-apologizes and is forgiven with tender kisses; there is no sense of disappointment or resentment, because both partners know that the supply of pleasure is not meted out stingily and that balance will be restored in due time.
If you get good at these techniques and enjoy them, you may find that you will have achieved the "satisfaction" of an orgasm (that is, your sex drive will be temporarily sated) after twenty or thirty minutes and you will not necessarily want an orgasm, or you may experience orgasmic sensations which are not accompanied by contractions. On the other hand, you may find that the moment you both decide you are sated and that neither of you wants a conventional orgasm, you both do, RIGHT NOW, and you may finish the sex act rather tumultuously. In non-religious tantric practices like karezza there is no premium placed on avoidance of the fully contractive orgasm -- that is, there is no theorizing about a man's kundalini energy shooting up from his testicles into his brain and being sucked back down and "wasted" if he ejaculates -- so choosing to have or not have orgasms may depend on your personalities, the time of month (for a woman), how the two of you feel about the benefits of "pure" (non-orgasmic) tantra, and how much each of you enjoy the sheer physical workout of the push toward orgasm.
For more on the techniques espoused in karezza that do not occur in the better-known discipline of tantra yoga, see my pages on Karezza Techniques and Male Control of Ejaculation. IS THIS SACRED SEX...OR JUST "GREAT SEX"? No amount of practicing "techniques" is going to guarantee a spiritual experience, and i would be loathe to promise anything of the kind to one who reads this. In fact, it might be said that the search for mastery over "techniques" is a blind alley of a sort, for studying methodology to the exclusion of developing heartfelt reverence for life and sexual union may not lead to anything beyond a certain measure of control over the sex act, without the sense of holy awe and spiritual bliss that is central to the tantra and karezza experience.
Still, in my opinion -- based on my personal experience and that of my friends -- these techniques are more than a recipe for great sex. I believe that if you engage in them with a reverent heart, you WILL experience spiritual feelings while doing them. These spiritual feelings have formed the basis for several sexually-oriented religions and magic cults, but it is up to you to place them into whatever metaphysical context best suits your own self.
Traditional Hindu tantric practices -- eating the five sacred foods, raising kundalini energy through your chakras, seeing the blue light, and so forth -- are of use to
you only insofar as you accept the allegorical, religious, alchemical, or symbolic premises that underlie them. If you perceive the heart-chakra as nothing more than the location of a muscle-pump, it would be meaningless for you to visualize kundalini energy in your heart.
But something will happen in your heart, nonetheless, and you will find a name for it. If you think that the god Shiva and the goddess Durga are remote and obscure from your daily experience or cultural conditioning, it would be a waste of your time to learn their names or their iconographic and gestural attributes.
But nameless or named, sitting lotus-fashion or not, you and your partner will enter a realm of divinity, so be prepared, for tantra will take you there. To allow sexually spiritual feelings to evolve without embedding them in a religious context, try the karezza technique of looking into your partner's eyes, thinking about the universality of sexual congress among all species, and then extending your awareness out beyond the pair of you to the world and to the cosmos.
You may find yourself in what is called by some "the magnetic ocean," a sensation that you are partaking of a universal, ongoing sexual experience that is life itself. This sensation of magnetism during meditation gave rise to another 19th century American name for karezza -- magnetation, a term coined by John William Lloyd.