Yab-Yum

Yab-Yum is the fundamental position of Tantric sex. The male partner, representing the God Shiva, sits cross-legged while the female partner, representing the Goddess Shakti, lowers her yoni (vulva) onto his erect lingam (penis) and commences to ride him for an extended session of gentle, face-to-face sexual intercourse. This symbolism is derived from Hindu Tantra, in which the female deity is seen as spiritually and physically superior to the male.

The Yab-Yum position of sexual intercourse (Buddhist version)In Buddhism the situation is rather different. As shown on the left, the female partner, referred to as a “consort”, is physically much smaller than the Buddha. While artistic representations of this type are also called “Yab-Yum”, they are not meant as a practical sexual technique but as an aid to meditation. The male figure signifies wisdom and the female compassion, while the act of copulation represents the mystical union of these two fundamental principles.

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