Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tao of Love And Sex: Male Sexual Tao

Lack of training and discipline can kill a warrior; lack of sexual restraint can bring on the permanent sleep of the hundred bones [death],
—Chinese proverb

WESTERN MEDICINE has a number of categories into which it classifies male sexual dysfunctions: lack of sexual desire, impotence (the inability to attain a complete or partial erection), and premature ejaculation, which the Kinsey Report defines as a man's inability to remain in vaginal contact with a woman for more than two minutes without ejaculating.

Western medicine explains male sexual dysfunctions either as psychological in origin—that is, the result of insufficient sexual motivation—or as a circulatory condition, in which impotence, retarded ejaculation, and premature ejaculation are the products of insufficient vasodilation. For Taoists, however, as we shall see, sexual dysfunctions are part of more general processes, what might be called "energy syndromes."

MALE SEXUAL DEFICIENCIES

IMPOTENCE
Impotence is defined in Western medicine as the inability to attain or sustain an erection satisfactory for normal coitus. In Taoist medicine, there are many causes of impotence and many ways of treating it.

When a man cannot attain or sustain an erection, it is usually not for lack of sexual desire. Men who are old and feeble, for example, have sexual desire but cannot satisfy it because their energy is too weak. The inability to attain an erection does not necessarily mean a lack of desire. A Chinese proverb summarizes the situation in this way: "The man's heart is full of desires, but his energy is too undernourished for him to realize them."

Western psychoanalysis would probably respond that the man in this case is suffering from unconscious blocks. Tao-ists, however, would say that whatever the initial cause— physical, atmospheric, or emotional—an energy deficiency or energy obstruction exists and needs to be addressed.

Taoist medicine distinguishes two categories of impotence: true impotence and energy-related impotence. True impotence means that a man cannot attain erection regardless of external conditions. Energy-related impotence is situational. It depends in large measure on external circumstances and can be the result of psychological blocks or a lack of yang (heat) in the kidneys. In such cases, the penis can become erect but during intercourse will become flaccid again. Some men, for instance, cannot achieve an erection with their spouse but have no such problems with other women.

Taoist medicine attributes impotence to four factors that can disrupt the proper harmony of a man's qi: Excessive sexual activity or masturbation during adolescence, which causes a deficiency of jing as well as chronic cold in the loins (mingmen); psychological shock, which can produce an imbalance between heart energy and kidney energy; liver deficiency and frustration (repressed anger), which can cause a loosening of the sinews In" the genital region; an excess of worldly cares (stress) and obsessional thoughts (grief, sadness, melancholy, remorse), which cause an imbalance between the heart and the spleen.

From the standpoint of the energies involved, impotence can be classified into two major categories: that originating in the kidneys and the liver (this type of impotence is treated with tonics for these two organs); and impotence of digestive origin, which is treatable with tonics for the kidneys and the stomach (the stomach-spleen). The herbs that are used to treat kidney-liver impotence can aggravate the second condition, since they can be hard to digest.

PREMATURE EJACULATION
The two-minute threshold that the Kinsey Report uses to define premature ejaculation would strike any Taoist master as much too low, for Taoists believe that ejaculatory control should be total, that the man should be able to ejaculate when he chooses to. The Kinsey definition is all the more inadequate in view of the fact that few women can achieve orgasm in so short a time. Taoist medicine does not adhere to rigid dogma in sexual matters; it prefers to leave people free to find their optimal energy capacities.

It is a further tenet of traditional Chinese medicine that premature ejaculation can lead to impotence if it is left untreated and nothing is done to remedy the energy and emotional factors associated with it.

Premature ejaculation represents, from the standpoint of the energies, an excess of yang in relation to yin. Sperm is yin in relation to sexual desire, which is yang. If yang is overly exuberant, it can no longer contain yin, which escapes prematurely in an involuntary way.

Premature ejaculation is caused by different factors that affect the internal organ's energy balance. These factors include: deficiency of yin (chronic fatigue); deficiency of qi (simple fatigue); excess of yang (tension, stress, digestive problems); and disharmony between the heart and the kidneys (as is seen, for example, in certain types of nervous depression). Men suffering from premature ejaculation must be careful to avoid protracted use of kidney yang tonics (see below).

Some women are endowed with a strong libido (yang energy) and weak internal and sexual secretions (deficiency of yin). They have in fact little female energy and consequently tend to weaken the yin of their male partner and provoke premature ejaculation.

MALE SEXUAL FATIGUES
A sexual problem rarely occurs in isolation. It takes form within a specific energy totality, a sort of syndrome or symptom complex. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes a number of these sexually related syndromes, some of which are described below. Fortunately, a single individual rarely manifests all the symptoms of a given symptom complex. Nonetheless, the presence of a few of these symptoms makes it possible to identify a syndrome, determine its pathological tendencies, and thus avert them.

Deficiency of kidney yin
Signs: Protracted illness, insomnia, night sweats, dry mouth, dry throat, aching in the heels and lumbar region. Sexual manifestation: Seminal emissions (nocturnal emissions or spermatorrhea).

Deficiency of kidney yang
Signs: Aversion to cold, pallor.
Sexual manifestation: Impotence, seminal emissions.

Deficiency of kidney yin and yang
Signs: Dizziness; ringing in the ears (tinnitus); aching and weakness in the lumbar region and the knee joints; profuse, dilute urine.
Sexual manifestation: Impotence, accompanied by seminal emissions.

Deficiency of qi and kidney blood
Signs: Hearing loss, ringing in the ears, dizziness, aching and weakness in the lumbar region and knee joints, frequent nighttime urination.
Sexual manifestation: Seminal emissions and premature ejaculation.

Deficiency of jing and kidney qi
Signs: Old age or lao-sun (fatigue with exhaustion); frequent micturation with pale, dilute urine that becomes more pronounced at night with each urination (sometimes accompanied by urinary incontinence); curvature and softness in the lumbar region and knees.
Sexual manifestation: Seminal emissions, premature ejaculation.

Depletion of kidney jing
Signs: Weak constitution, overtiredness, chronic illness/dizziness, ringing in the ears. Sexual manifestation: Impotence.

Deficiency of spleen and kidney yang
Signs: Cold limbs, pallor, weight loss, mental fatigue, cold and pain in the abdomen, diarrhea with pale stools, early-morning diarrhea, cold and aching in the lower back and knee joints, frequent micturation with dribbling and urgency, frequent nighttime urination, dysuria (difficulties in urinating).
Sexual manifestation: Impotence, seminal emissions.

Deficiency of lung and kidney yin
Signs: Unproductive cough, dry mouth, dry throat, hoarseness, aching and weakness in the lumbar region and knee joints, nervous agitation, disturbed sleep patterns, a feeling of heat emanating from the bones, intermittent fever, night sweats, flushed cheeks.
Sexual manifestation: Exacerbated and unrestrained sexual activity.

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