Men aren't Yang, Women aren't Yin

I see this a lot in articles on men and masculinity:

Men are/should be Yang, women are/should be Yin.

I want to bust that particular myth. If you subcribe to it, it's not serving you or your relationship.

The theory of Yin and Yang is one of great subtlety and depth, and honestly most people don't really get it.

I’ll give you a quick crash course then we’ll go into how it really applies to understanding men and women - and how it can help you.

What are Yin and Yang?

The Yin Yang theory is one of the fundamental concepts of Chinese Daoist philosophy and is at the heart of QiGong, Chinese Medicine, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, etc..

Yang is characterised as fire, expansion, outside, upwards, heat, subtle, etc..

Yin is characterised as water, contraction, inside, downwards, cold, obvious, etc..

Many people state that Yang is masculine and Yin is feminine. There is a truth to this, but the problem is most people leap to Yang is man and Yin is woman.

It's NOT what it is.

If you’ve learnt about Yin and Yang before I want you to put aside any associations with masculine and feminine for a moment, as I find the Yang = man etc gets in the way of really understanding this for a lot of people.

Yin and Yang are relative concepts

yin yang

The image to your right is the classic Yin Yang image, and it's got an incredible - even mind-blowing - subtlety to it if you know how to look.

Key to understanding Yin and Yang is that they are relative concepts. One does not exist without the other. To say something is Yang is a relative statement.

So for example, an association with Yang is above. This means there MUST be a below, so in this case below is Yin.

So that means my head is Yang as compared to my feet. But my head is Yin compared to the clouds. It all depends on your point of reference as to what is Yin and what is Yang.

My hair is Yang compared to my chin, on that hear the tip is Yang compared to the root. This can go on pretty much infinitely. We can keep going pretty much indefinitely finding smaller and smaller divisions of Yin and Yang.

It's a bit of a relativity fractal kind of thing.

So, they are purely relative concepts. This idea might seem simple but it’s actually one that’s quite hard to think about properly for an English speaker as we’re so used to thinking in absolutes in english. It’s part of the reason I think most people keep getting tripped up by it.

So how is this concept useful?

It’s useful for understanding the flow of things. The relationship between things. It’s a powerful concept that can really enrich your life: we’ll get to application in a moment.

So Yin and Yang are always flowing around and into each other. Heat will travel from a hot (Yang) object to a cold (Yin) object.

However, as something gets really Yin, e.g. really cold and really dense, it begins to produce heat. An example is our Sun. The core of the Sun, while extremely hot, is also in one sense extremely Yin as it’s the intense condensation that’s causing the generation of the heat.

Yin Yang Man Woman & relationships

Any part of a man or women can be described as yin or yang depending on what it’s relative to.

Now quite often men are described as Yang and women as Yin. This can be true when compared to each other. But it depends on what you're comparing - and even when.

For example physical characteristics: height, strength, hardness, an outwards focus are all things we can ascribe as Yang and (generally) ascribe to man as compared to women.

Sexually, a man’s sexual organ is external and penetrates (Yang), a woman’s sexual organ is internal and takes in (Yin).

However, emotionally, who is more Yin and Yang?

I’d contend a women is more Yang emotionally than a man: dominant, outwards, forceful. Men tend to be a more inwards, hidden, passive emotionally.

There are times when the woman in your life takes the lead in a situation - with kids this happens regularly.

... and to sex

This can be seen in a deep loving flow of sexual energy in the body.

When the man and woman are deeply open to each other, the following happens:

A man’s sexual energy flows out his penis into the woman and up to her heart. From her heart, it flows out of her breasts (notice how they protrude in a very Yang like manner compared to the man’s comparatively flat chest?) and it’s his heart, which has become receptive to her emotional energy and flows down to his sexual organs.

The cycle continues.yin-yang- polarity

There is a flow. Yang is always transforming to Yin, and Yin is always transforming to Yang.

After an action there is rest. After rest there is action.

In this sexual example, a woman can take the man’s sexual creative energy and transform it into emotional love energy, then man can absorb it in and transform it back to sexual energy enhanced by the love transmutation and give back to the woman his sexual creative energy that has been imbued with her love energy and so on.

Energy builds, love is made, and the couple can experience a deep and powerful sense of connection and depth to themselves and each other.

So how does this help you relate to your woman?

Don’t define yourself as Yang or as masculine. It’s a trap. Look for the flow. Look for where you can step into Yang when there’s room for it, and where you can step into Yin when it’s called for.

For example, if you were always Yang you’d be always talking and expressing yourself and never listening, taking in (being Yin) which I can tell you would wear thin very quickly.

Listening to and mastering this balance makes life a lot more interesting when you master both Yin and Yang. `

The tiger waits in the grass (Yin) for the perfect time to strike (Yang).

The martial artist is relaxed and adaptive in his movement, listening to his opponent (Yin) so his strike is powerful (Yang).

The lover is deeply receptive to his woman (Yin) so he can take her at just the right moment (Yang).

Making this work requires some pretty deep presence. If you want to build that skill, take a look at my Mastering Presence: Foundations course.

Don't let concepts define you. Look for the most effective way to be - and act from there.

  • love your work jared, a cool way to introduce a hot topic 🙂

    i remember discussing an aspect of this in one of our classes (it may have been the summer term 2012).

    it can be understood that at the core of yang is yin and at the core of yin is yang. This was a fascinating topic when we looked at the yin yang harmony of power and sensitivity.

    valuable realisations seemed abundant when we studied the eb and flow of these dynamics, in and out of balance within ourselves and in our relationships.

    i felt really empowered after, as a group, discussing this concept and how it can feel to be a man, relating to women and other men.

    gratitude, respect.

    p.s. agreed it is hard not be absolute in english but i dont have a reference point as it is my only language :)... guess i better learn another one!

  • Thanks Alex, yeah this is a bit of a favourite topic of mine, glad you got so much from it.

  • I like this explanation. I've always had issues with the whole men are yang and women are yin thing. I have always been a yang woman from my childhood onwards. It's where I feel comfortable. I work on the yin side of things to balance myself. But yeah I'm definitely attracted to men who are relatively more yin to me. There's something about that inner stillness that's present more in yin people which is so nice. And the fact that they came be more easy going and flow worth life. I think we need to embrace who we are and just roll with that and understand that people who like is for is will find us.

    • Thanks! The first thing is being who we are, and ideas about what that is or means second.

  • I had a feeling this was the case with some of what I had been reading, thanks for the great article.

    There is something I am curious about that maybe you'll be able to answer; what effects would be being born under multiple yin signs; during yule/darkest nights of winter, of the earth element, and of the snake?

    I wonder if that has more weight than gender when it comes to which energy a person generates more of when it comes to yin or yang.

    I am curious about the motivations for attraction to particular genders and some of the people that believe men are yang and women are female seem to be more rigid in producing a understanding of balance; stating that sexual attraction to the same gender is creates imbalance.

    I feel its deeper than that, that we seek out those whos we feel compliment our own energy; either by adding/subtracting to create a prefered balance, or that they share very similiar energy generation.

    Its like on one hand, opposites attract, but at the same time it doesn't hurt to have a lot in common.

    • Great to hear from you Ronnie. This I resonate with:

      "we seek out those whos we feel compliment our own energy; either by adding/subtracting to create a prefered balance, or that they share very similiar energy generation."

      Too mach attention is paid to just polarity, or to trying to define who we are into box A and B. We are who we are, and we have various models that help us to explain and understand and express that.

      re the signs, there are many influences on us, gender is one, a very powerful one. What sign you're born under can help you understand how and who you are. They are just helpful sign posts.

      Re who we seek out, we seek out various levels of complementarity, from opposite to the same. Some people like more opposite, some the same.

      Hope this helps, would love to hear any more thoughts you have.

  • Jared, I just read your article on relative definitions of yin and yang as regards man and woman. I have only studied the concept lightly, and your retail analysis provides more depth to understanding and power to living. However, I think most of the association of yang to masculinity, and yin to femininity is wholesale from a comprehensive point of view, but you have taken it to retail level which is where consumption takes place. Also the term 'helpmeet' from the Bible implicitly suggests that the woman could step into the yang sphere to purvey help. Good work, good read!

    • Thanks Steven not completely clear on what you mean by wholesale and retail level here, I'm taking it as a compliment though :). Wrapped you got a lot out of it.

  • not-political-correct says:

    A fertile men is always yang (regular disposition). If, for whatever reasons, nature decides against your individual evolution, a man becomes yin (physically & psychologically!) and the same goes for women in reverse. There are tons of shades (moustache & horse voice, whip & strap-ons for yangish women or being more or less a sub with more or less male boobs & balding for yinish men) between being infertile & homosexual.

    You can beat sober reason with artificial morals, but not even medicine will beat nature/biology in the long run.

    • Thanks for the comment. In describing a fertile man as Yang, you're describing a general relative condition. As such it's true, a man would be more Yang than Yin. However too much Yang and he can also be infertile. It's about balance. As men our balance is more Yang than Yin but we need that Yin just as much as women do.

  • I think you might right with a whole lot of things, but to my understanding and knowlegde, all Life exist Ying and Yang Male and Femal (or) oposites from each other, wheater it may be Humans, Trees or Animals that crawl fly or swim the Oceans. All animals produce male and female..all trees produce male and female..all humans produce male and female..

    you your self said it but is in denial with your self why you wouldnt see clear... where i see clear that Yang is male and Ying is Female

    Yang is characterised as fire, expansion, outside, upwards, heat, subtle, etc..

    Yin is characterised as water, contraction, inside, downwards, cold, obvious, etc.

    What you should know is there is Ying yang -+ + Ying female- Yang male+ +

    And ying yang -+ - ying female- yang male+ -

    Ying Yang -+ + they are both 100% Natrual
    100%- 100%+ + both Equal in there oposites and both 100% Natrual Good Righteous Organic Real Pure Fundamental And Original in Both There Forms. Man Woman King Queen God Devil up down hot cold Alpha and Omega Ying and Yang

    Now for instance you do good your Mother rewards you.. you do bad your Father punishs you..Ying And Yang are well balance, so One would never punish nor reward if was unecessary. To much of any thing is bad no mather what it is to much of any is never good so there should always be balance. So i cannot reward someone that does deserve it, and i cannot punnish someone that doesnt deserve it.

    Now on the other hand you have the other ying yang. ying female- yang male + - they punnish when not needed yang and reward when not needed ying
    They are unnatural evil unrighteous unorganic fake not pure and look sinmular to ying and yang ass you and i know it, they can do almost everything besides One thing and that is to Create. For instance god made things to be all natrual so if a lion wants to breeds a tijger in the wild to create a new breed liger so be it, or oposites tijger lion tygon so be it natrual, if a bee colects a male mango tree fertalize sperm what ever you call it and and fly to a female apple tree and create a mapple tree so be it . Wind could be another factor for plant interbreeding and cross breeding creating new breeds and so shall all new things come to life and this is all good and natrual.. but if you have to take a gene or dna from a lion and incert it into a tijger to get something that looks simular to a liger but is not. And they would do this with all cind of animals fruit vegitable and humand and they wil look act talk do everything the Natural can but its not and would never be. then is this unatural and evil. Where when both parents breed child gets 100% of both world and where dna wqs incerted it only recieve a certain particular dna

    So Ying Yang postive is always good and is always natrual

    Ying yang oposite is always evil and wil always be evil and wil always try to decieve

    So becarefull in wich ying and ying you choose

  • Forgot to mention within female there is a bit male.. and within male there's a bit of female

    estrogens are thought of as female sex hormones and androgens are considered male hormones

  • Thanks a lot , this resonated with me , and seems to make sense compared to other points of view.

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