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The Yin & Yang Within Human Sexuality

An introduction of how yin & yang theory applies to having the best orgasm of your life

“The essence of Daoist sexuality is the idea that the sexual act is an exchange of Yin and Yang essences, from feminine and masculine, which is beneficial to each partner: it represents the harmonious interaction and mutual nourishment of Yin and Yang.”

It’s only natural for humans to seek sexual relationships with each other — but how deep does this exchange really go?

As the excerpt above puts it best, sex is more than just a physical interaction that leaves us feeling all tingly inside and out. In the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the concept of Yin and Yang is fundamental to our relationship to sex, to ourselves, and to each other. At the heart of this ideology is balance: warm and cool, sun and moon, dark and light. But when it comes to sex, Yin and Yang boils down to the acts of giving and receiving. Yin is what makes us want to receive sexual energy, and Yang drives us to provide or initiate it.

To better understand the way Yin and Yang intertwine with our own sexuality and the world around us, we’ll explore a bit of the history and physiology of this vital part of life.

A Brief History of Sex

Let’s take it back to the Han dynasty, between the years 206 BCE – 220 CE. During this time, sexual arts flourished with upper class folks. Men would typically have a wife and several concubines, or mistresses, to practice sexual art.

The Yellow Emperor, a Chinese deity who lived from 2711 BC to 2599, was even documented to have about 1,2000 mistresses.

This culture of fun, exploratory sexuality carried on into the Tang dynasty (618-907), where sex rituals continued to thrive. Some evidence even points out that Daoist sexual practices traveled to India and helped revolutionize Tantric sexual practices in the 6th and 7th centuries.

During the Song dynasty (960 – 1260), a new understanding of sexuality began to emerge: Through the harmonious combination of Yin and Yang, sexual essences could be transformed into Qi (life energy) and Jing (sexual energy).

As time progressed, sexual arts continued to prosper and transform for centuries to come. The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) saw extensive writing about partner practice, and sex toys even made an appearance after that — in fact, when the Forbidden City — the former Chinese imperial palace built sometime between 1406 and 1420 — was taken over in 1911, over 1,000 sex toys were discovered.

Fast forward to the 1970’s, and a new dawn of sexuality was born in the West, when Daoist sexual practices were introduced during the rise of the free love movement. This widespread acceptance encouraged Westerners to be open to understanding and interpreting Daoist Yin-Yang theory, and is still quite popular in the Western world today.

Chinese Medicine Physiology

Human sexuality is closely linked to three important vessels: Du, Ren, and Chong Mai.

Du Mai is the vessel responsible for governing the Qi for all of our Yang meridians. (Meridians are the internal channels that carry our Qi from organ to organ and system to system, keeping our bodies in balance.) In women, the Du Mai vessel helps blood exit the body during menstruation.

Opposite to Du Mai, Ren Mai is the vessel responsible for the receiving and bearing of Qi through our Yin meridians. In female bodies, this meridian originates in the uterus where the fetus is nourished. This vessel controls Qi and can be used to tonify and nourish that energy.

At the crux of these vessels is Chong Mai. This is the place for our 12 regular meridians to converge, influencing the supply and proper movement of blood in the uterus for female bodies. Closely related to menstruation, Chong Mai works to move Qi and blood and remove obstructions.

This is where we see Yin-Yang balance come into play -- Du Mai, which embodies fire, and Ren Mai, which embodies water, are essentially two branches of the same vessel, intersecting as one Yang and one Yin within us.

So how do these vessels play a role in our sexual activity? During sexual intercourse, a link between Du Mai and Ren Mai, creating an exchange of Yin and Yang sexual essences between them. And when we kiss simultaneously, communication between Du Mai and Ren Mai is established both below and above, as Du Mai ends on the upper gum and Ren Mai flows to the mouth. This, beautifully enough, completes a circle (also known as the microcosmic orbit), a fitting metaphor for this flowing, balanced exchange. We see this beyond just two bodies; all life forms and beings exist due to procreation, and Yin-Yang serves as an eternal multi-orgasmic movement that breathes life into everything we know.

Speaking of orgasms, sexual balance can be found at the core of this physical release. During orgasm, Qi and Jing Qi (sexual energy) flow together in rhythm and harmony. Even in nature, we’re continuously witnessing Yin-Yang orgasmic exchanges within natural cycles. The passing of seasons, the reproduction of flowers, the birth of animals -- all of this is a reflection of the cosmic balance of energy. As Mantak Chia explains it:

“Essentially, nature is having sex, continuously – a perpetual, nonstop orgasm. That is why stars, planets, humans, insects, plants, and everything is bursting with this reproductive vitality.”

Sexual Essence & Qi

We’ve mentioned Jing Qi specifically a few times so far -- but what role does this sexual energy play in the Yin and Yang of sex? Jing Qi is different from other types of Qi. As a sexual form of Qi, Jing Qi has a sticky quality that acts as a stabilizing or bonding energy between Yin-Yang forces. Have you ever found it impossibly difficult to be away from a lover, even for just a few hours? This intense, addicting feeling can be attributed to Jing Qi and its uncanny ability to create attachment with sexual partners. Everything from our emotions, to our thoughts, and our perceptions of identity become affected by Jing Qi and its strong energetic force. Within ourselves, Jing Qi also works as a bonding agent between our different layers of energy: Jing, Qi, and Shen. It cycles through the body’s five main organs as they move along a productive cycle.

“Jing is understood in western terms as prime energy, the raw fuel that drives the pulsating rhythm of the body’s moment-to-moment cellular division and reproduction of itself."

“As for the way we engage in sexual intercourse, calmness makes for strength. Make the mind as calm as water, conserve the spiritual dew within. Knock at the jade gate with the jade stalk, the mind neither too tense nor too loose. You can tell what is best by how the person sighs in response. Collect the spiritual mist, drink the celestial broth, sending them to internal organs in order to store them deeply.”

- Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic

Yin Yang & You

There’s no denying that Yin and Yang play a beautifully intrinsic role in our relationship to sex. As our own history shows us, we’ve proven that sex can not only be fun, but meaningful in ways the deepest parts of our bodies understand.

Using pleasure, you can learn and enjoy a new type of euphoria during sex and heal your body or your partner's body.


To explore Yin and Yang in sex more deeply, try the following exercises:

*Both exercises can be done independently through self-pleasuring.*

Yin Exercise


- While making love, inhale for 3 seconds, hold your breath for 3 seconds, then exhale for 3 seconds.

- Observe the space at the end of exhalation – that is, take a moment for a couple of seconds after your exhale.

- If counting isn't sexy or feels too complicated, simply match your partner's inhale with your inhale; their exhale with your exhale.

- Your bodies will then be synced.

- Listen and play with the pace, depth, rhythm, eye gazing (staring into each other's eyes), etc.

Yang Exercise

Edging Into Orbit

- As you make love and feel yourself or your partner coming close to orgasm, immediately slow your breathing down and/or abstain from movement until you can connect to your own breath again.

- Ride the sensations—your breathing directly influences your sexual energy.

- You and your partner can control the sexual energy with breath. Normally when you’re close to orgasm, your breathing becomes faster and shorter. You might even begin to hold your breath. Resist the habit!

- The secret to this practice, called edging, is being able to realize when this is happening and cue yourself and/or your partner to slow down and breathe slower.

- Breathe that sexual energy into your own microcosmic orbit or your own, then into your partner’s, and imagine how it creates an infinity symbol.

- This alone will delay your orgasm; the result is a full-body, euphoric play of sexual energy that can eventually lead to an orgasm at each other's choosing.




Written by Sarah Judsen


Maciocia, Giovanni. (2014. December). Sexuality In Chinese Medicine.

Bruce DeBlanc. (2015. July). Orientation and Sexual Dimensions of Yin and Yan. http:// _The_Orientation_and_Sexual_Dimensions_of_Yin_and_Yang

Some Images from: Mantak Chia. Healing Love Through the Tao. 2005.

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