Hieros Gamos is a Greek term meaning “sacred union”. It refers to the ritual performance of sexual intercourse for religious or symbolic purposes. The idea is that the participants are enacting the roles of a God and Goddess, and in some instances may actually be considered to become the God and Goddess during the sacred act of copulation.
The actual term ‘Hieros Gamos’ comes from the pagan mystery religions of ancient Greece and Rome, but similar rituals are or were performed in other traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Wicca and even the more esoteric forms of Christianity and Judaism. The sexual act symbolizes different things in different religions, such as the creative spirit, the unification of Heaven and Earth or the harmonization of opposites.
In the modern world, Hieros Gamos is primarily associated with Goddess-focused traditions such as Wicca and Shaktism, and as such is usually performed with the female participant riding on top of a submissive make partner.