Sex has been a subject of obsession throughout human history. It has often inspired heated conflicts and extreme behaviors. From repressive societies to promiscuous indulgence, sex, or its powers, through many evolutions continues to intrigue us. In the midst of these extremes, there is a distinct lack of knowledge and understanding among the majority of people about the nature and health consequences from the act of sex.
The ancient Chinese had the benefit of a tradition that emphasized achieving health, wellness and longevity as well as personal spiritual attainment through special, often well guarded methods. This tradition comes from the Chinese Taoists, and healthy sexual practices were integral to enhance one’s well being. Ancient Taoists, most of whom were physicians, adhered to the philosophy that the universe is governed by natural laws which when orderly, bestow prosperity on earth but when violated, bring about catastrophe. They believed that human life is also governed by these same laws, and when wisdom is applied, one is able to avoid illness and take advantage of the abundant offerings from nature.
Before we get on the subject of sex, let’s turn to nature for a moment. The two polar energies of nature are that of Yin and Yang. Yin is characterized by the feminine, nurturing, gentle, life giving like that of water while Yang is masculine, possessive, rough and destructive like that of fire. These are opposite yet complementary forces. In women and men, these energies are reflected in the different nature of each. By necessity, one depends on the other for definition, growth and completion. The intercourse of these energies produces a dance of water and fire, the dance of ecstasy. Making love, therefore, is a powerful act that can have enormous consequences, both negative and positive.
What then constitutes a healthy sex life?
There are three principles regarding the art of making love.
First, be aware of your body. Do not force, or use artificial means to arouse oneself if one’s energy is low or if the conditions are not safe or conducive.
Second, follow the seasons. Watch animals in nature, sex is most plentiful during spring and summer and less so during autumn and winter. Frequency is dependent on the individual’s state of health.
Third, be considerate. Your partner’s mood, vitality and preference will impact both of your enjoyment and the therapeutic benefit.
When the Yin and Yang energies come together and harmonize one another, the result is a beautiful dance of ecstasy, fulfillment, and enhanced vitality. Further, the sexual energy which is rooted in what we call Jing, or sexual essence in Traditional Chinese Medicine, provides for the potential for creating new life forms. Through special practices, the Jing is transformed into infinite possibilities. The benefits include health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and enlightenment. Most importantly, it allows the opening of the energy channels for spiritual union and upliftment between two souls.
There are five prerequisites to the healthy act of lovemaking:
The generous giving of oneself to fulfill the other before seeking fulfillment for oneself
Approach sex only with mutual desire and consent without force
Love, respect and care must accompany any act of sex
One can be counted on to perform satisfactorily
Knowledge of each other, comfort and at ease with one another
In men, the loss of semen or Jing represents a great loss of energy potential. Though highly regenerative, it takes energy from the body and over time, the regenerative ability diminishes and the body weakens. The emphasis is for men to practice semen retention so that the Jing or sexual essence is preserved. In women, the loss of blood through menstruation and childbearing activities drains the vital energy, thereby weakens the body. The focus for women is to lessen the blood loss and rejuvenate the Jing from pregnancy. Both types of weakness as well as many sexual disorders can be averted or repaired through special sexual practices, acupuncture, herbal medicine and energy enhancement exercises. This is the Tao of Wellness approach where all aspects of one’s life need to be attended and balanced.
When sex is perceived as a natural gift, an opportunity for harmonizing energies, a channel for communication, an act of love and healing, a movement that strengthens and elevates the spirit, a dance of ecstasy—the world may become a more peaceful place. When Yin and Yang learn to dance the dance of ecstasy, the power that emanates can open the door to a more profound realization of human spirituality.