Yab-Yum | Tantric Sex Position

Published: Aug 12, 2022 | Updated: Aug 18, 2022

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Yab-Yum | Tantric Sex Position

Perhaps the most famous position associated with Tantric Sex for couples is the Yab-Yum pose. Yab-Yum, which is Tibetan language by the way, literally means Father-Mother.

In any case, it’s the sex position where one partner sits with their legs crossed (which is typically the man in the case of a male-female couple), and the other (the woman) sits on the partner’s lap (both facing each other), wrapping the legs around the waist of her partner.

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The partners then embrace, maybe engage in synchronizing their breaths aka carrying out Tantric Breathwork, or practice Tantric Eye-Gazing. They can have penetrative intercourse in that position or not, just kiss and caress, or it can be a prelude to having sexual intercourse, whatever they please.

The Yab-Yum position, often seen in Hindu art, such as in paintings, murals, and sculptures in various temples, symbolizes the sacred union of the deities Shiva and Shakti, which represents the union of opposing universal forces, male and female, that is, duality that achieves union in non-duality.

However, in Tibetan Tantra, the Yab-Yum image is rather about the interplay and exchange of the feminine wisdom and masculine compassion principles that reach their union in the embrace and entanglement of these opposing, albeit complementary universal forces.

It’s interesting to note here that in the Indian Kaula Tantric Shiva-Shakti representation, Shiva is rather the passive part (eternal, unknown facilitator) and Shakti the active part (dynamic, creative energy), as opposed to the Tibetan Buddhist Tantric stance, where the female part (wisdom and insight) is the passive side, and the male part (compassion and capacity) the active side.

Nevertheless, even in Hinduism, Shiva and Shakti can take up different characteristics, sometimes being part of or “split” into a “set of deities” each with specific properties, then again being the only, absolute God that contains all power and properties, and so on. To be honest, it’s not always easy to have a clear-cut understanding of the very vast plethora of interpretations.


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