This tantric sex position takes intimacy to a whole new level.
December 08, 2020
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Human beings have sex for many reasons. While general desire and horniness are on the menu, of course, sometimes you want something more than instant gratification. As Karen Gurney, a clinical psychologist and certified psychosexologist, points out in her book, Mind The Gap, intimacy is often what people crave when they engage in sex with a partner. It’s natural to want to cultivate a feeling of closeness.
If this is your goal, there’s no sex position quite as intimate at the lotus. In this position, you’re essentially wrapped around your partner’s body like a snake. It doesn’t get much closer than that.
The lotus’s true name is “Yab Yum” and is rooted in Tantra, an ancient spiritual belief system that originated in India and has been around for thousands of years; in this belief system, anything can be part of your spiritual path, whether that’s eating, meditation, exercising, and yes, sex. While sex is just a small part of tantra, it’s the part people tend to focus on, Layla Martin, a highly-regarded tantra teacher and host of the YouTube series Epic Sex & Legendary Longing previously told Shape.
Taylor Sparks, an erotic educator and founder of sexual wellness shop Organic Loven says that Yab Yum received a new name “because it was easier on the Western ears.” The good news: Whether you choose to call this position the lotus or Yab Yum, it certainly belongs in your go-to sexual rotation.
How to Do the Lotus Sex Position
To move into the lotus position, the penetrating partner should sit cross-legged on a bed, chair, or couch. This is called “half lotus.” You get a “full lotus” when you add another person.
The person being penetrated then “sits on top of them and can wrap legs around them and basically koala them, like they’re a tree,” says Kenneth Play, a sex expert and educator. Instead of bouncing up and down, the person on top moves their hips back and forth in a rocking position.
Credit: Emma Darvick
It’s important to note that while this position traditionally includes penetration, it is not necessary. Instead, you can easily enjoy this position by “grinding and rubbing against each other instead of the usual bouncing up and down, which also allows you to stimulate the clitoris,” says Sparks.
A small bullet or finger vibrator — such as the Hot Octopuss DiGit (Buy It, $104, ellaparadis.com) — can be used for “direct clitoral stimulation without interrupting your connection as it fits right over the fingers,” she says. That said, hands, dildos, vibrators, strap-ons, and penises are all great options for the lotus sex position.
The Emotional and Physical Perks of the Lotus
As mentioned above, the main appeal of this position is intimacy. It’s not to say that it’s off-limits for a casual sex encounter, but keep in mind that there is a lot of face-to-face interaction while in this position. (More here: How to Build Intimacy with Your Partner)
While you can definitely put your chin on your partner’s shoulder to avoid staring at each other, eye contact is one of the reasons this position is so popular. So, if you don’t enjoy eye-contact during sex, you might not be a huge fan of the lotus sex position.
Physically speaking, this position is optimal for clitoral stimulation. Since you’re not bobbing up and down and are, instead, rocking back and forth, the penetrated partner can rock against the bottom’s pubic bone, hand, or toy. Plus, you get to avoid the dreaded thigh burn that so often companies the Cowgirl or Rider position.
Play says that a penis-owner can also get a lot out of the lotus, especially if they have trouble maintaining an erection or experience ejaculation too quickly. “This position can provide more mild, prolonged sensation, so you can really draw out the experience,” he explains.
How to Make the Lotus Sex Position Work for You
While Yab Yum certainly makes the list of the most straight forward sex positions, it may not be the best choice for everyone. If you have poor hip flexibility, for example, this position may cause discomfort. Or, maybe you don’t love moving slowly during sex. Luckily, there are some expert-approved adjustments to fit all your lotus position needs.
No matter which lotus sex position variation you try, make sure to listen to your body and to get in and out of the position slowly (think: as with a yoga pose) to avoid pain or discomfort.
The Straight-Legged Lotus
If your hips are tight, one or both partners can extend the legs out straight in front of them, says Lucy Rowett, a certified sex coach and clinical sexologist. If you’re on a couch or chair, the bottom partner can also place their feet on the floor instead of crossed. (Also consider trying these yoga poses to release tight hips.)
Sparks suggests utilizing a sex pillow if you need extra support. “If your hip flexors are tight, using a wedge pillow can assist with the lack of flexibility,” she says. Try the Liberator Jaz (Buy It, $100, lovehoney.com). “Leaning back or forward into the position or having your legs be straight out may also feel more comfortable for the person on top.”
Credit: Emma Darvick
To place less weight on the bottom partner or to give the top partner’s hips a break, the person on top can also opt to kneel on the bottom partner’s lap, rather than wrap their legs around their waist, says Charyn Pfeuffer, sex writer and author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating.
The Active Lotus
“If you’re the type that wants more of an athletic position, you can modify this position by leaning back and supporting yourself with your arms,” says Play, for those who aren’t into slowness during sex. “By doing this you increase the angle between your pelvises, which can be a better way to stimulate the G-spot, and also get increased leverage to make this position a little more active.”