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Taoist art of cultivating male sexual energy.

Since ancient times, Taoists have sought to tap the power of sexuality to heal the body, deepen love relationships, and achieve elevated states of enlightenment. The Chinese texts on sexology are the oldest in the world.

There are two kinds of Taoist "external" sexual cultivation (waidan gong). One branch is medical sexology methods focused on improving bodily health: qigong (chi kung) movements or self-massage, herbs or massage, acupuncture, or moxibustion for sexual dysfunction. These medical sexology practices focus on balancing the kidney and liver qi-functions. The kidney spirit or intelligence (which rules the prostate, testicles, bladder, blood, and bone marrow) is responsible for generating sexual vitality, and the liver spirit regulates the genitals and expresses sexual qi. These are "single cultivation" practices, done alone.

The second branch is the "arts of the bedchamber" (fangzhong shu). These involve "dual cultivation," the exchange of physical fluids and subtle essences with a sexual partner. These practices focus more on the kidney-heart relationship as the axis of sexual volatility between two lovers. This outer alchemical water-fire relationship needs to be understood and brought into balance before one proceeds to alchemy meditation practice, the union of the inner male and female.

Sperm is the male storehouse of sexual energy or jingqi, which according to Chinese theory is lost through excessive sex and ejaculation. Modern science offers some confirming evidence: a single ejaculation may cost a male between 300 to 500 million spermatozoa, which could be used for rejuvenation using Taoist methods. A scientific study showed that male nematode worms lived twice as long when they were biologically altered to prevent sperm loss. The conclusion: constant production of sperm taxes the male biologically. (Angier 1992). Men are on a much shorter twenty four hour sexual cycle than women's menstrual cycle, the main source of female energy loss. Once a man has ejaculated, on this short cycle he may want to release it again the next day.

The Taoist definition of "excessive" ejaculation varies according to body type, age, and climate. Ejaculation has less immediate impact on a healthy young male because of his abundance of jing, or sexual essence. But all men must be especially careful during the winter, when kidney-qi moves inwards rather than out. In spring, it is healthy to ejaculate more. The core Taoist method is to slow down ejaculation during sex, so that men can draw out the essence from their sperm and recycle it around the body to nourish other energy centers and their partner. These practices include "Testicle Breathing" and "Drawing Up the Golden Nectar," a method of internally sucking sexual jingqi up the spine as if it were liquid in a straw.

This technique, also known as "reverting sexual energy to nourish the brain," has been known in Taoist literature for the past two thousand years. This meditation likely began as a sexual practice to rejuvenate the brain and evolved to become a spiritual practice as the qi was observed to spiral up the spine and down the chest, blending the fire and water qi of the body and eventually causing the Original Spirit to crystallize in the lower elixir field of the belly. Today the practice of circulating qi around the body is a famous Taoist meditation known as the Microcosmic Orbit. It creates a transitional pathway for qi flow between our inner male (yang) and inner female (yin) body channels.

It is not necessary to become celibate to gain the benefits of recycling sexual energy. Taoist sexual energy cultivation with a partner (or solo, through masturbation) allows one to satisfy the need for sexual pleasure without sacrificing, male life energy to the demands of constant sperm production. The Taoist methods of conserving seed essences simultaneously transmute that essence into internal spiritual processes.

The goal of the external sexual alchemy accordingly is to shift from a limited genital orgasm to a whole body orgasm. Slowing or stopping ejaculation does not prevent a man from having orgasm or being multi-orgasmic. Ejaculation is the physical release of sexual fluid caused by a mini-orgasm in the prostate gland, which pumps the semen so it has enough momentum to enter deep into the female uterus.

From the viewpoint of Taoist sexology, orgasm is defined by the pulsation of sexual energy and is not to be confused with ejaculation, which releases seed essence out the "ancestral muscle" or "jade stalk" (penis). Intensification and circulation of sexual qi can cause the rest of the meridians and organs to pulsate in unison. But men must stay relaxed, and not get obsessed with stopping ejaculation. The danger for beginners holding their seed is they may also stop the qi-pulsation that creates orgasm. What works best is to focus on opening up the qi-channels and redirecting and recycling sexual qi before, during, and after orgasm. This is best accomplished through solo qigong training prior to attempting dual sexual energy recycling with a partner.

In this way, ejaculation is delayed while the circulating sexual, energy is being absorbed by other energy centers, vital organs, and meridians. If the qi has already largely been extracted from the semen, physical ejaculation at the end of a love-making session does not cause major loss of qi. Delaying ejaculation also allows the man to slow down his fire to stay in closer harmony with the woman's slower water cycle of arousal.

It is a practical way for men to solve the common problem of premature ejaculation. A combination of continuous "Testicle Breathing" and sexual foreplay to "warm the woman's stove" allow the male to match the longer female love-making cycle.

The short-lived genital orgasm transitions into a blissful, steady whole-body orgasm that pulses all organs and meridians. When this faster vibrating pulsation becomes conscious in the deeper Eight Extraordinary Vessels and the three elixir fields (dantian) in the belly, heart, and head, the practitioner experiences what can be described as a spiritual orgasm.

Success in this method requires training to do it properly and safely, otherwise the qi can be accidentally driven into the wrong energy channel and cause unpleasant side effects. Men who practice qigong first seem to have much faster success with sexual energy recycling, because their energy channels are open. Taoist medical sexology posits that poor diet, shallow breathing, negative emotions, and bad mental attitudes exhaust male sexual vitality as quickly as semen loss. Improving these with a regular meditation and qigong practice for least twenty minutes a day is key to preventing low sexual energy and many associated dysfunctions.

Excerpted with permission from article by Michael Winn (2002). "The Quest for Spiritual Orgasm: Taoist and Tantric Sexuality in the West"

Angler, Natalie. 1992. "In Worm, Making Sperm is Found to Shorten a Male's Life" N.Y. Times, 12-3,1992

Michael Winn is director of the Asheville Healing Tao Center and is co-author with Mantak Chia of Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy and a DVD entitled "Sexual Vitality Qigong (Chi Kung)". His Asheville courses and home study audio-video courses are on Summer retreats are on Or call 888-999-0555.

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Author:Winn, Michael
Publication:New Life Journal
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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