Ancient India 

Sacred prostitution in Ancient India 

In Ancient India ritual marriage of young girls to a deity or temple was common they work in the temple and function as spiritual guides, dancers, and prostitutes servicing male devotees in the temple

Ancient India Buddhism

In Tantric Buddhism, Yab-yum is the male deity in sexual union with his female consort. The symbolism is associated with Anuttarayoga tantra where the male figure is usually linked to compassion and skillful means , and the female partner to insight

Maithuna is a Sanskrit term used in Tantra most often translated as sexual union in a ritual context. It constitutes the main part of the Grand Ritual of Tantra known as Panchamakara, Panchatattva, and Tattva Chakra.

Maithuna refers to male-female couples and their union in the physical, sexual sense and is synonymous with kriya nishpatti (mature cleansing). Just as neither spirit nor matter by itself is effective, but both working together bring harmony, so is maithuna effective only when the union is consecrated. The couple becomes divine for the time being: she is Shakti and he is a Shakta. The scriptures warn that unless this spiritual transformation occurs, the union is carnal and sinful.

Candi Sukuh is a 15th-century Candi of Indonesia located on the western slope of Mount Lawu a sacred place for worshiping the ancestors, nature spirits and the sexual union of the fertility cults. Monuments include a standing lingga, now in the National Museum of Indonesia. The lingga statue has a dedicated inscription carved from top to bottom representing a vein followed by a chronogram date equivalent to 1440. The inscription translates “Consecration of the Holy Ganges sudhi in … the sign of masculinity is the essence of the world.

Ancient India Southern India

In Southern India, devadasi is the practice of hierodulic prostitution, with similar customary forms such as basavi, and involves dedicating pre-pubescent and young adolescent girls from villages in a ritual marriage to a deity or a temple, who then work in the temple and function as spiritual guides, dancers, and prostitutes servicing male devotees in the temple. Human Rights Watch reports claim that devadasis are forced into this service and, at least in some cases, to practice prostitution for upper-caste members.

Various state governments in India have enacted laws to ban this practice prior to India’s independence and since. They include Bombay Devdasi Act, 1934, Devdasi (Prevention of dedication) Madras Act, 1947, Karnataka Devdasi (Prohibition of dedication) Act, 1982, and Andhra Pradesh Devdasi (Prohibition of dedication) Act, 1988. However, the tradition continues in certain regions of India, particularly the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

A similar practice of Kāmamudrā often involved immature girls, and was criticized as only benefiting the tulkus.

In some parts of ancient India, Nagarvadhu “bride of the city” was a tradition where women competed to win the title. The most beautiful woman was chosen as the Nagarvadhu and was respected like a goddess. She served as a courtesan, and the price for a single night’s dance was very high, within reach only for the king, the princes and the lords.

Reference