Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tao of Love And Sex: Lovemaking Positions

THE SEX ACT

SHOULD EJACULATION BE HELD BACK?

A number of books have come out in the West that speak of the possibility of ejaculatory retention through various mental, energetic, or even physical means, such as blocking the seminal ducts with the application of pressure on the central point of the perineum. These methods are in no way sanctioned by all Taoist schools, and in those schools where they are practiced they are always carried out under the authority and supervision of an experienced master. These methods are dangerous and can bring considerable frustration at first and energy troubles later. Most of these practices have their origin in a misreading of an ancient Taoist text, the essentials of which we cite here:
When a man feels that he is going to ejaculate, he should close his mouth and open his eyes wide.

Above all he should try to harmonize his breathing and hold his breath if he can, but without forcing the air into his chest. By moving his hands up and down and by breathing only from the lower abdomen, he can control his breath and his semen. During this sexual practice he should keep his spine straight.

If necessary, he can press with the index finger and third finger of his left hand against acupuncture point Ping I (a thumb width above the nipple of the right breast) and then exhale through his nose, while pressing his jaws together.

This is the method for holding back the sperm so that it can rise unimpeded and nourish the brain. If the man lets his sperm escape outside of him, he will damage his spirit (shen).

This text does not seem to suggest that this method be practiced on a regular basis. Moreover, Taoists know that unreleased energy remains in the belly and stagnates there. There are ways, of course, to direct this energy toward the brain in order to rejuvenate it—the small-circulation method, the basics of which are described above, is one way—but even then, this energy can provoke congestions in the head. Sexual force, if restrained, is like dynamite! It can be used positively or negatively, and only a spiritual master can help you release yourself from the internal pressure of this energy. Taoists follow the natural course: ejaculation and orgasm are natural, whereas seminal retention is an artificial act that affects both the mind and the phys- ; ical energies. Taoists refer to unemitted sperm as "dead jing."

This dead jing, moreover, can accumulate in the prostate gland and produce congestion there. Practicing ejaculatory retention too long without emitting sperm or having orgasm is not only useless, it will also harm both partners (sperm nourishes the woman; to withhold it from her is in a sense to deprive her of food).

A more interesting and useful way of approaching the sex act is to study the opposition of energies. For if one's goal is sexual intensity, seminal retention is not the way to achieve it. Ultimately it leads to greater fatigue, in spite of the fact that no sperm has been emitted. As already explained, releasing sperm or vaginal fluids is not the only ways of losing jing.

It should also be pointed out that unleashing one's fantasies is not the same thing as achieving true sexual vitality, as the great Taiwanese Taoist master Huai-Chin Nan has noted. "Sexual manifestations are good signs of vitality," he says, "as long as one's daily meditations are not connected with sexual fantasies."

Meditation is a good way to maintain physical vigor and freedom of mind. Detachment from worldly conditions is indispensable for natural sexuality. Wild desires and erotic passions are never the signs of a healthy sexuality but are the beginning of physical and mental decay. Taoists believe that the ardors of the heart must be tempered by clarity of mind. "The fire of the heart," they say, in their symbolic language, "must be calmed by the water of the kidneys."
Huai-Chin Nan has also stressed the risks associated with obstructing ejaculation, especially through pressure on the huiyin point, at the perineum:

Some people are teaching how to apply pressure on certain acupuncture points to stop the emission of sperm. Those who learn these methods often become impotent. .. .

Those who contaminate their blood by blocking ejaculation lose weight and acquire a yellow complexion. Ekiken, from Japan, citing ancient Chinese sources, warns against seminal retention as well, from the standpoint of longevity:

If, after the appearance of sexual desire and the excitation of the kidneys, one prevents oneself from ejaculating and does not discharge the energy, this same energy will cause obstruction in the lower abdomen, producing boils or tumors. These problems can be avoided by taking a hot bath and massaging the abdomen.

These remarks should not obscure the fact that there does exist a genuine science in this domain, but it is not accessible to everyone and necessarily requires the help of a master. Moreover, for Taoists it is not the principal path.

SUN SI-MIAO'S ADVICE ON MAKING LOVE
Here are a few general indications from the treatises of Sun Si-miao concerning the correct way to carry out the sex act:
Before going to sleep, the partners should indulge in erotic play designed to excite their desire, so that they end up tenderly intertwined; otherwise, they will not find joy and harmony.
While you are having sex, massage yourself so that qi will circulate, pay attention to your breathing, swallow your saliva (liquid of jade), focus your mind on your dantian, and breathe deeply into the abdomen.

When you ejaculate, close your mouth, hold your breath, clench your fists, breathe through your nose, and then let your teeth clatter. All of these gestures are intended to reconstitute the sperm, revivify vital essence (jing), and nourish and rest the brain.

METHOD FOR PROLONGING SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
Ejaculation just after penetration or before the woman reaches orgasm is called premature ejaculation. Complex Taoist qigong exercises address this problem through visualization techniques. These techniques bring into play considerable energies, and anyone wishing to use them must already be well versed in the practice of meditation. There is nothing erotic about these visualizations; on the contrary, their goal is to cool the flames of desire by working on the body's most subtle energies. They are therefore not for everyone, and here again only a qualified master can lead someone safely down this path.

And so, for informational purposes only, here is a description of one of these methods for controlling ejaculation, to be practiced only under expert guidance:
The man should imagine a luminous red drop in his dantian, just below the navel, golden within and red with white stripes on the outside. He should imagine this essence divided into two halves, a sun and a moon, which move apart from each other within this region and rise up to a point at the base of his brain where the two halves reunite.

All the while, his penis should be at rest in the woman's body, as he drinks his saliva and absorbs his sexual secretions. The moment that he feels his sperm moving and he is ready to ejaculate, he must withdraw his penis. Only expert Taoists can accomplish this. The dantian is located just below the navel, and the center of the head is located at the back of the skull at the level of the eyes.

He must imagine the shape of a sun (the dantian) and of a moon (the center of the head), about three thumb widths in diameter, joined together into a single shape. It is what is called the sun and the moon joined in a tight bond. Concentrating on this image during sex can be very beneficial.

THE NUMBER NINE
The ancient Taoist masters described a method that allows prolonged sexual intercourse without relying on ejaculatory obstruction. This technique, or "Great Yang" method, is based on energy laws and on the I Ching. These principles are the same ones that guide traditional acupuncturists, who tone qi by turning or moving the needle nine times. In the method described below, the principle is the same, but here the penis is the "needle."
The "Jade Wand" can be moved in nine different ways:

First, to the right and to the left, as a warrior uses a beam to break apart enemy forces;
then up and down, like a wild horse jumping across a mountain stream;
then like a flock of seagulls playing above the waves, darting in and out;
then with light pecks and deep thrusts in alternation, like a bird searching for grains of rice among grains of earth;
then with light thrusts interspersed with deep but slow penetrations, like stones thrown into the sea, sinking slowly;
then penetrating slowly, like a serpent slinking into his nest as winter approaches;
then penetrating quickly, quivering all the while, like a frightened rat scurrying into his burrow;
then penetrating gently, the way one might drag one's feet or as an eagle holds a rabbit in its talons;
and finally, lifting back your head and diving down, like the sail of a boat beneath the gale.

THE DRAGON POSITIONS
Apart from its erotic aspects, the art of Japanese and Chinese prints serves pedagogical purposes; its goal is not so much to arouse the imaginations of the sexual partners— which rarely require stimulation—as to provide the lovers with necessary technical details. In the past these drawings have formed an integral part of Taoist sexological treatises. There are many methods and systems of lovemaking positions, all of which have aspects that are at the same time hygienic, therapeutic, spiritual, and erotic.

The positions presented here derive from the treatise of the Woman of Purity. The positions correspond to the eight trigrams of the I Ching. Each of its four yang and four yin trigrams corresponds to a beneficial lovemaking position. Each of these therapeutic lovemaking positions corresponds to a different energy channel, reflecting the Taoists' observation that by stimulating these channels one can These positions are not for everyone. People's sexual organs fit together in different ways, and this, combined with a lack of flexibility in the partners' bodies, can make certain movements impossible.

We will now explain in detail the major positions; some are useful in improving the energies of men, while others are tonics for women. It cannot be overemphasized that these positions are an integral part of the sexual Tao and are not to be practiced for the sake of mere sensual diversion.

Position 1
Lying on her side, the woman spreads her thighs as wide as she can. While she is in this position, the man practices the nine methods (see above) for ten to fifteen minutes.

This position is particularly effective for toning sexual energy and remedying certain sexual deficiencies, such as partial impotence in the man or inhibited orgasm in the woman.

The Dragon turns over lovemaking position
The Dragon turns over.

Position 2
This is a simple position. The woman lies across a large pillow so that her lower back is curved and her sexual organ is tilted slightly upward. The man practices the nine methods over a period of fifteen days.

This position is a complete qi energy tonic for both partners. It is also considered a stimulant for the five zang organs, or viscera—the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys—particularly for the woman.

Position 3
This position is very well known. The woman is in a kneeling position and remains nearly still. The man has the active role, as he moves his pelvis up and down. As with the previous position, this position should be practiced over the course of a fifteen-day period to really activate the energy process.

This exercise is beneficial in cases of deficiency of blood, anemia, poor blood circulation, and low blood pressure. Chinese medicine would say that this position eliminates the blood stases that are at the source of many health problems.

Position 4
This position is particularly good for women. The woman lies down and wraps her legs around the man. Note that her legs encircle his thighs, not his waist. The man should not penetrate deeply in this position; he should not create intense pressure.
This position stimulates primarily the woman's digestive organs—the liver, gall bladder, and spleen. It also improvescorrect the imbalances—changes in the muscles, breathing, energy and blood circulation, glandular secretions—associated with them.

This art of lovemaking can also be regarded as a kind of sexual yoga. The Indian tantric tradition is a famous example. In these positions, the woman takes the role of natural and placid initiator; while the man concentrates on restraining his orgasm, she lets herself go, and as she gives her energies to him, she also receives the cosmic forces. The strength that one derives from these therapeutic positions is proportional to the degree of the man's concentration and the free circulation of the woman's curative energies.

Taoist texts and treatises mention many sexual positions: one of these ancient treatises contains more than 120. It is not the sheer number of these positions or even their ac-robatism that makes them interesting; nor is it their aesthetic or sensual aims. The important thing about these exercises is their profound effect on the qi of their practitioners.

These positions act on certain zones of the penis and the vagina, which can be described as energy zones. These reflexology zones, which few people know about, are indicated in the figures below. Just as with the ear or the hand, in the sexual organs every part is linked to one of the body's major internal organs. the distribution of energy in the joints and relieves aches and pains.



ONE DEEP AND NINE LIGHT
Some aspects of this Taoist technique are already known in the West. This method uses the penis as an acupuncture needle, that is, to tone qi.
It consists of a sort of rhythmic massage that is done during sex. In one of the positions listed below, the man begins with nine light, superficial penetrations followed by one deeper penetration. Then he makes eight light penetrations followed by two deep penetrations, and so on, according to the following sequence:





















































Order

Shallow Yang Thrusts

Deep Yin Thrusts

1

9

1

2

8

2

3

7

3

4

6

4

5

5

5

6

4

6

7

3

7

8

2

8

9

1

9

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