Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Learning Tantra: Yab-Yum

After you have done the introductory ritual a few times, pick a day when you have a bit of time, and begin to experiment with adding yab-yum after or instead of your standing embrace.  The first thing you need to do is find a comfortable position.

The classic position is for the man to sit cross-legged on a cushion, and for the woman to sit straddling his lap with her feet behind his butt.  This works for me and my partner, but there are all kinds of reasons why it might not work for other couples, starting with the fact that a lot of Western men can’t sit cross-legged comfortably for any length of time.  If you want to maintain the “sitting on his lap” element, the simplest alternative is for the man to sit on the side of the bed.  The woman sits on his lap with her feet on the bed behind him.

You can also wander around the house and try out different pillows, cushions, stools, benches, and armless chairs, but whatever you choose should be stable, not tippy.  The problem with most normal cushions and pillows is that they are thickest in the center and don’t have firm edges, so you wobble, especially with two people’s weight on them.

Consider buying a really thick, comfortable zafu, or meditation cushion, if you want to go that route and don’t have anything available.  Many zafus are filled with buckwheat hulls.  These allow you to mold the surface to conform to your shape, but they aren’t squishy or compressible, like foam pellets.  This means that zafus filled with buckwheat hulls (or similar items) don’t feel as soft or comfortable when you first sit down on them, but by providing firm, even support, they are usually more comfortable in the long run.

If you decide to go with a stool, bench, or chair that is normal sitting height, you will probably need to find a footstool or something for the female partner’s feet to rest on.  Most people find that for the closest connection, the woman’s feet should be at least as high as the man’s butt, as in the “sitting on the side of the bed” position.

However, sitting is not always the best solution.  Some people have heavily muscled or padded legs, butts, or waists that make it very hard to bring the genitals into close contact in this position.  Some men simply can’t support their partner’s weight for that long because of injury, joint problems, or some other reason.

If you fit either of these categories, or just don’t find the sitting position comfortable or appealing, try lying down in either inverted missionary or a side-by-side position.  Inverted missionary works well for lighter women.  The man lies on his back, the woman lies down on top of him, so they are chest to chest.  When they are ready to join together, she can easily sit up, apply lube, slide herself onto his penis, and then lie down again.

Side-by-side can start out with both of you just lying on your sides facing each other until you are ready for insertion.  However, getting comfortably linked together takes a little bit of practice if you haven’t done it before.  It’s probably best to start off in missionary position toward one edge of the bed or mat.  The woman raises her knees and straddles the man’s waist with her thighs, and then they roll toward the middle of the bed or mat.  He ends up lying across her lower thigh, so a judicious use of pillows to support his weight may help prevent too much pressure at that point.

One of our couples had trouble finding a comfortable position and hit on another alternative:  half standing, half sitting.  She sits on a small pillow on a bureau that happens to be the right height, with a large cushion behind her back.  He stands in front of her, and she hooks her arms and legs around him and locks her ankles behind him.  When they’re ready, he’s perfectly positioned to enter her.

Intimate Embrace

As you can see, you have many options.  Find one that is comfortable and that lets you embrace each other and make a close genital connection.  Many of these positions do not allow for much motion.  That’s intentional.  You want to be locked together, moving just the minimum amount to allow you to become aroused very slowly.

Once you have found a good position, allow at least 10-15 minutes for couple meditation in this position before you move to your regular activities.  At the beginning, you may find it easier to do that if you don’t link together physically for at least the first five minutes.  Just spend that time cuddling, embracing each other, nuzzling each other’s necks, rubbing each other’s backs, and murmuring sweet nothings as you did with the standing hug.

Above all, don’t push ahead of either partner.  If his erection gets intrusive before she’s ready, just cuddle it between the two of you until she is.  If this intense cuddle just doesn’t get her warmed up enough, either wait until you move to the bed or mat or take a break and reposition yourselves for some oral or manual stimulation and then get back into your version of yab-yum when she’s really ready for him to enter her.

Using vibrators is controversial in Tantra, but using one here is also an option.  Rather than get out of yab-yum, several of our couples prefer to slide a vibrator between them, so the tip of the vibrator is between her clit and his pubic bone.  She can then vary the pressure as she needs it just by rocking forward and back. 

This works best with a fairly skinny vibrator.  You can use a small 'bullet' or 'lipstick' vibrator  but many of them are fairly weak.  For more power and control, your best option is the Eroscillator 2 Plus with the "soft finger" tip.  It’s a bit more expensive, but a lot of my interviewee’s swear by it.

Once you have figured out a system that works best for you, experiment with extending your meditation time and connection time as long as you can.  In spite of your relative immobility, you may find that this leads to an early orgasm if the extended closeness is just too stimulating for the male partner.  If that happens, shorten your next session a bit, or remain even more motionless.

You may be surprised to find that the opposite also happens.  A woman may find that just the internal pressure of her partner’s erect penis for 10 minutes or more, with barely any movement, becomes intensely erotic, and at some point she may find that she simply can’t resist squirming around to enhance contact and starting to bounce up and down.  If that happens, play it by ear.  There’s no need to shift positions if the one you’re in works for you both!

The key point is to use the closeness and relative immobility of the yab-yum phase to let you build a strong feeling of connection that lasts much longer than the normal prelude to sex, and also to create a much longer, slower total period of connection, counting both the immobile phase and the mobile phase.  You want to extend the arousal phase and delay the orgasm as much as you can, so that it will be that much longer and more intense when it happens.

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