Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tao of Love And Sex: Great Taoist Principles Of Natural Sex


Sun Si-miao, the physician of the Tang dynasty period known for both his medical expertise and his great virtue, lived for over a hundred years. A specialist in sexology, he devoted a chapter of his book, Precious Prescriptions for Emergency Cases, to this subject. In this treatise he emphasized two critical periods in a man's sexual life: A man of forty years needs to be particularly aware of the relation between energy and sexual activity. Practicing the pleasures of the flesh as he did in his youth will have grave consequences for his physical and mental health. For this reason, a man should retain his sperm during the sex act; in other words, he should be careful not to emit his sperm too frequently. If he does not observe these precautions, he will weaken physically or age prematurely; he can even drop dead when all his sperm has been depleted. As for young men, even if they enjoy an iron constitution, they should not indulge in sexual pleasures too early in life or indulge in masturbation, for these things will make them lose their jing prematurely.

The Xuan Nu Jing speaks to this same subject:
If a man tries to have orgasm too often, he will gravely damage his health. He must adhere to the following frequencies of ejaculation [this advice concerns only ejaculatory frequency, not the frequency of sexual relations]:
A young man of fifteen years in perfect health can ejaculate twice a day; if he is tired, only once a day.
A twenty-year-old man can ejaculate twice a day.
A thirty-year-old man can ejaculate once a day; once every two days if he is tired.
A forty-year-old man can ejaculate once every three days.
A fifty-year-old man can ejaculate once every five days; if he is sick, once every ten days.
A sixty-year-old man can ejaculate once every ten days; once every twenty days if he is sick.
A seventy-year-old man can ejaculate once a month, but if he is sick, he should refrain from ejaculating altogether.

On the subject of moderation, the Xuan Nu Jing states:
Lack of moderation in sexual relations can provoke abcesses in men and gynecological ailments in women; through immoderation, both men and women risk diminishing their longevity. Those who know how to husband their energies are happy and robust and will live to be old.

On the subject of conjugal harmony, the Xuan Nu Jing states:
At the moment of the sex act, if the woman has no desire and does not secrete vaginal fluids, can the man have a stiff and potent penis?
Xuan Nu answered: "A happy and harmonious sex life depends on conjugal harmony. If one of the partners lacks desire, the sexual hormones will not elicit secretions from either partner. In that case, it is useless to talk of pleasure."

The woman of Glory asked, "Isn't the goal of sexual intercourse to obtain pleasure through ejaculation? If one refrains from ejaculating, what point is there in having sex?" The Taoist master answered: "Usually, after ejaculation, the man feels tired and sleepy; sometimes he is thirsty and his ears ring. Although he recovers rather quickly from these conditions, they can hardly be called agreeable. By avoiding ejaculation from time to time, the man will increase his energy, improve his eyesight, and sharpen his hearing. Additionally, by refraining from ejaculating he will increase his sexual energy and be able to have sex more often, which is a better reward than momentary ejaculatory pleasure."

Sexual relations should be avoided during extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, severe cold, storms, eclipses, floods, and thunderstorms; at such times, the yin and yang magnetic energies of the earth are in a state of upheaval, and human energy is sensitive to these atmospheric conditions.

Avoid sexual relations during periods of emotional upset— rage, grief, after a great fright, if you are intoxicated with drugs or alcohol, or after overeating. Sexual intercourse, as we have seen, sets into play energies of the profoundest sort. Since violent emotional conditions are extremely disruptive of internal yang qi energy, these conditions can increase the sexual energies and even make them permanent. The ancient texts warn against having sexual relations under such conditions, which can "produce illness in men and women or cause a stillbirth, if the union happens to be fruitful and leads to conception."

Avoid having sexual relations if one of the two partners has a serious chronic illness. Sexual union under such conditions will tire both partners. Sexual intercourse during or immediately after a "hot" illness (especially fevers) can cause serious complications and hinder recovery. The seriously ill should abstain from sex in order to conserve their jing and strengthen their body's immune system. Some may find this hard, but it is sometimes the only way to recovery.

Having sexual relations on the first day of the lunar cycle (on the new moon) is unfavorable, particularly for the energies of the mind. The reason for this rule has to do with principles of Taoist bio energetics, which are too involved to enter into here.

Avoid having sexual relations via the anal orifice. The Taoist texts are explicit on this point and maintain that anal sex (including anal sex in a homosexual relationship) seriously inverts the yin and yang energies and is at the root of many exogenous disorders.

Having sexual relations during menstruation "brings illness to both women and men."

Masturbation entails a great loss of energy (seminal essence) if practiced too frequently. Moreover, Taoists consider it dangerous to "make love with phantoms." Masturbating hinders the attainment of the emptiness of mind that facilitates meditation and mental relaxation. From adolescence until age twenty, it is not good to rush headlong into sexual adventures or masturbation. At this age, a person's jing, or sexual essence, is still somewhat weak, and self-abuse during this period will have disastrous results later in life and will ultimately diminish the strength of the organism's immune system.

When vital energy is excited, it reaches the liver, and the penis, now aroused, becomes erect; when vital energy reaches the heart, the swollen penis feels some of this heat; when vital energy arrives at the kidneys, the penis becomes rigid and powerful.

As for the woman, she should have five reactions: when qi reaches her heart, her face reddens; when it reaches her liver, she looks everywhere around her—a sign of love; when qi reaches her lungs, she says not another word and her nose becomes moist; when it reaches her spleen, she nestles her neck against her partner's; when it reaches her kidneys, her vagina opens and lubricates.

The classic medical texts also advise against sexual relations at specific times that correspond to moments of shift in yin and yang energies: at noon, at midnight, during a solar eclipse, during a lunar eclipse, when there is a rainbow, at the summer and winter solstices, at full moon, and on a full stomach.
Since the energy of the human body is a microcosm contained within a vast macrocosm that surrounds it, such periods of high polarization can engender an energy-imbalance in the physical and mental constitution of a child who is conceived at such times. Chinese medicine, like Chinese culture in general, is based on principles of moderation. All extremes are considered potentially dangerous. For example, a child conceived during one of these periods will tend to be special and "not like other children."

Conceiving a child during times of grief is ill-advised because of the energy relation between shen and jing (kidney essence), the source of the sexual energies and body fluids. Severe mental depression can also affect the quality of pro-creative energy.

There is no getting around the fact that in the past many Taoist masters have counseled and preached sexual abstinence. Now that you have grasped the importance of jing in the process of spiritual development, you also understand that any loss of jing represents a diminishment not only of vitality but also of intellectual faculties and concentration. Other masters have gone even further, maintaining that sexual thoughts of any sort, in men and women alike, also constitute a loss of jing. It is clear, however, that the restraint they advocate is impossible for most human beings. Therefore, most Taoists take a more moderate position.

After the age of twenty, the wisest thing to do, Taoists believe, is have sex about once a week. Certain teachings maintain that only those sex acts in which sperm is emitted should count; we believe that this is false, however, since any sexual stimulation represents a loss of jing. It makes no difference whether this stimulation involves sexual intercourse, masturbation, or mere arousal without ejaculation or orgasm: sexuality constitutes a deployment of the body's deepest energies. As Sun Si-miao has shown, as one advances in years and one's capacities decline, one's sex life should taper off as well; people over seventy-five, he advised, should not have sex at all, so that they can preserve their energies.

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