Last Updated: April 10, 2016

Definition - What does Maithuna mean?

Maithuna is a Sanskrit term for sexual union. However, it is not just limited to the act of sex for pleasure. It is considered as the union of male and female energies.

Maithuna is also referred to as ritual sex or sacred sex. It is the fifth part of pancha makara, or the "Five Ms" as it is referred to in the Tantric process.

Yogapedia explains Maithuna

The Five Ms are as follows:

  1. Madya - Wine
  2. Matsya - Fish
  3. Mamsa - Meat
  4. Mudra - Parched grain
  5. Maithuna - Sexual intercourse

Considered a ritual of transformation, the man and woman performing maithuna do so as deities: the man is considered Shiva and the woman as Shakti. The energy generated while performing maithuna with breath control techniques awakens kundalini shakti in the man.

It is thought that when the creative energy of the man and woman is released, they are led to a state of higher consciousness. Tantra practice is unique as it suggests this use of sex to achieve enlightenment while many practices advocate celibacy.

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