Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tao of Love And Sex: The Sexual Union

THE TREATISE of the Yellow Emperor sheds yet more light on the dyadic nature of sexual practice:
The Yellow Emperor said to Su Nu: "I have understood the general concept of the interplay of yin and yang. Can you give me more details?"
Su Nu answered: "All earthly creations depend on yin and yang. Birth is brought about by the union of yin and yang. Thus it is that when a man's penis is in contact with a woman, it becomes erect. When the woman is stimulated, her lips open. Thus yin and yang enter into contact. The sperm and the female fluids blend together."


THE NUMBERS SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE, AND TEN: TRADITIONAL TAOIST COUNSELS

THE SEVEN DANGERS

A book written on bamboo tablets was discovered in Ma-wangdui in 1974. In this book, titled Tian Xia Zhi Dao Tan (The Tao of the world), the Taoist author describes difficulties that can arise during sex and explains several methods for achieving balance within it.

The "Seven Dangers" and "Eight Methods" constitute the main part of the book. The former are things that a person must avoid to remain sexually potent, while the eight methods represent steps that can be taken to counter those threats and strengthen sexuality. This text is the first attempt in the history of Chinese medicine to treat the theme of human sexuality.

The seven dangers are:
1. Internal closure. During sex, the man feels a sudden pain in his penis, or his seminal duct closes, blocking the flow of sperm.
2. Outward emanation of alcohol. This condition, which manifests itself in profuse sweating during sexual relations, signals an excessive consumption of alcohol.
3. Exhaustion. Sexual intemperance diminishes the sperm (creating internal dryness) and weakens vital energy {qi).
4. Impotence. This condition is a sign of profound fatigue that needs to be corrected with yang tonics, blood tonics, or qi tonics.
5. Indifference. A lack of interest during sex can bring on shortness of breath and vertigo. It also tends to make sex a purely mechanical affair.
6. Female impasse. The penis penetrates too quickly and cannot satisfy the woman if she wants to achieve orgasm.
7. Flight of energy. The rapid loss of energy shortens the sex act.

These seven dangers are harmful for sexual harmony not only on the level of physical energies but also on the spiritual level. These dangers are taken up in somewhat different form in the Su Nu Jing, the classic work attributed to the Yellow Emperor, in which they are described as follows:
1. The drying up of secretions due to overstimulation.
2. Overly frequent ejaculation resulting in loss of jing.
3. Irregular pulse caused by sexual excitement that exceeds one's internal forces.
4. The loss of qi resulting from having sex while in a state of fatigue.
5. Internal dysfunction aggravated by having sex before one has completely recovered from an illness affecting one of the five internal organs.
6. The hundred difficulties that arise when the woman becomes so ravenous for sex that her hunger cannot be satisfied.
7. Hematuria, which occurs when a man who is already tired from his ordinary activities exhausts himself further by having sex without taking his reserves into account. He can seriously weaken his kidneys and begin to urinate blood.

THE EIGHT METHODS
The eight methods are internal exercises that are to be practiced along with breathing exercises. Through a process of relaxation and harmonization, these methods make it possible to achieve true sexual harmony. They are as follows:
1. Good breath circulation (qi). Sit with your legs folded, back straight, buttocks relaxed, and anus slightly contracted upward; then direct your qi toward the lower abdomen, until it reaches your sexual organs.
2. Releasing the first secretions. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, bend your legs at the knee, as in the mounted archer's pose described earlier. Breathe deeply into the abdominal region, move your tongue around in your mouth, then swallow your saliva and relax your buttock muscles. Direct your qi downward to the sex organs, holding your back straight and keeping your anus gently contracted so that the sexual organs release the first lubricating secretions.
3. Seizing the moment. The partners caress each other's body and engage in sexual foreplay. Then they relax physically and mentally before having sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse begins only when the desire for it appears.
4. Accumulating qi. At the moment the sex act begins, with your back relaxed and anus slightly contracted, make your qi descend so that it concentrates in your sexual organs.
5. Stimulating the release of the sweet secretion. The penis penetrates gently, slowly, and harmoniously to encourage the release of secretions from the genital organs.
6. Conserving qi. Draw out the penis while it is still rigid, before ejaculation occurs.
7. Conserving qi until climax. As sexual intercourse is about to reach conclusion, stop moving and circulate your qi up and down the spinal column, then make it descend so that you accumulate as much energy as possible in the dantian.
8. Pouring out the waters of jing. This means that ejaculation takes place outside the vagina.
In the Mawangdui treatise, the eight methods are said to be good for the energies of both partners and thus promote conjugal harmony. According to this text,
Whoever practices the eight methods and avoids the seven dangers will have keen hearing, sharp vision, and a svelte and supple body; he will enjoy good health and will live to a ripe old age.

THE NINE ENERGIES
The Su Nu Jing also describes the nine energies or principles that can help prevent a sexual relationship from becoming a source of illness and keep pleasure from turning into pain. In some ways, these principles recall the Western concept of the golden mean:
During the sex act, human beings are subject to the nine energies.
If these energies are not heeded, the man's body will be afflicted with ulcers, inflammations, and edema, and the woman will suffer from irregular periods and other maladies.

Total disregard of these rules can even cause death, but if the man and the woman obey the principles of yin and yang, they will enjoy good health, joy, and long life. This then is the principle of the sex act. It is a principle of mental stability, emotional balance, harmonious energy, and physical and mental fitness.
One should avoid extremes in life: One should expose oneself neither to extreme cold nor to extreme heat; one should neither fast nor gorge. One should maintain a perfect moral and physical code of ethics and always seek peace both within oneself and with others.

THE TEN PRECIOUS RECOMMENDATIONS
Zhang Jiebin, author of another classic Chinese treatise, set down these ten counsels:
1. Choose the right moment for conception. There are biorhythms that make it possible to have sex when the conditions that favor conception come together.
2. The partners' search for simultaneous orgasm can allow both the man and the woman to achieve complete satisfaction through the interaction of their yin and yang energies.
3. The sexuality of spouses will differ according to their respective physical constitutions. If the man is in better health than his wife, he should do all he can to surround her with care and attention before they make love. If, on the other hand, the woman is in better health than the man, she should be patient and wait until his penis is hard.
4. Insufficient accumulation of qi is at the origin of erectile dysfunction; therefore, qi must be nourished by every means possible.
5. The daily accumulation of sperm is just as important as its emission. If the man neglects either one, he risks ruining his health.
6. Moderation must be practiced in sexual relations: a person must be well rested before having sex and not make love when very tired; one must exercise restraint in sexual relations and not have sex too often.
7. Good humor is an important condition for ensuring a happy and lasting sex life.
8. Having sex during the last months of pregnancy is inadvisable because of the risk of provoking a spontaneous abortion.
9. Old persons and the infirm should absolutely avoid conception.
10. Sexual desire results from natural drives and originates in the body's internal organs, in other words, when jing and qi of the kidneys are strong. Any desire that springs purely from fantasies will harm the quality of sexual relations.

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