Introduction- the nature
of male and female
"The Chinese have always held the Taoist
view that sexual relations between male and female are the primary earthly manifestation
of the universal principles of Yin & Yang.
As such, the Chinese regard sex to be as
natural and indispensable to human health and longevity as rain falling on the fields is
to plant life.
The intense sense of guilt attached to sexual
matters in Judeo-Christian tradition is, in Chinese eyes, one of the most unpleasant and
incomprehensible aspects of Western culture.
Traditional Western hypocrisy towards sex has
prevented serious study of human sexuality in the Western world until only a few decades
ago. Like everything else in Western philosophy, sex is viewed through the lens of
dualism; it is seen as either sacred (in matrimony) or profane (out of wedlock), with no
room for anything in between.
The Chinese, however, do not draw distinctions
between sacred and profane sex. As far as the Taoist are concerned, the only important
distinctions regarding sexual activities are those between healthy and unhealthy habits.
The Chinese approach the subject of human
sexuality with a blend of curiosity and reverence, just as they do all natural phenomena.
Since sexual relations are as fundamental to
human life as eating and sleeping, Taoist adepts devoted a lot of time and thought to
researching its every aspect and implication for human health and longevity. In a society
happily free of sexual repression, Taoist physicians took a long and careful look at human
sexual behavior, and they candidly recorded their findings in journals and books, couched
in the usual florid Taoist terminology.
Consequently, the Chinese have been able to
approach and study sexual relations between man and women, with open eyes and open minds,
and they have, over three millennia, become the world's most astute observers of human
sexuality, as well as the most inventive lovers.
The Nature of
Man and Woman
The essential difference between the sexual nature of man
and woman lies in the different nature of male and female orgasm.
When a man ejaculates, he ejects his semen-essence from his
When a woman reaches orgasm, she too 'ejaculates' all sorts
of sexual secretions internally, but these are retained within her body.
For both men and women, sexual essence is an important
storage battery for vital energy and a major source of resistance and immunity.
In conventional sexual relations, a man ejaculates every
time he has intercourse, regardless of his own age or condition. This habit gradually robs
him of his primary source of vitality and immunity, leaving him weak and vulnerable to
disease and shortening his life span. Meanwhile, the women gets stronger and stronger, both from
her own orgasmic secretions and from her assimilation of potent male semen-essence.
"Sweetie, stop and reread that paragraph
again. You've got to understand this point.
I know it sounds strange to you, but you've got to try and open to the idea.
Once you start to seriously practice it, it will make a lot more sense to
you... you'll feel the difference in your health and well-being."
The different nature of male and female orgasm is reflected
in the various slang terms to describe that magic moment in both
the Chinese and Western languages.
The most common Chinese term for female orgasm is gao-chao,
literally 'high tide', a graphic and poetic image drawn from nature.
But when man ejaculates, the Chinese say that he has 'lost
his essence, 'thrown it away', 'leaked semen', or 'surrendered'. If a man ejaculates
before his partner reaches orgasm, the Chinese say that she has 'killed' him. The French
refer to ejaculation as 'petite mort', or 'little death'.
By patterning their sexual relations on the models of
Heaven and Earth and conforming to the nature of Yin & Yang, men may derive
life-giving benefits from the sexual forces, rather than being forever at their mercy.
Instead of depleting precious stores of essence and energy,
sex may be used to replenish them.
Classically, appropriate analogies were drawn between human
nature and Mother Nature, which illuminated the basic qualities of man and woman.
Appropriate principles drawn from those analogies were then applied to regulate human
sexual relations. As the Han Dynasty adept Wu Hsien put it:
"The male belongs to Yang. Yang's
nature is such that the male is easily aroused but also quick to retreat.
The female belongs to Yin. Yin's nature is such that the female is slow to be aroused and
also slow to be satiated."
Throughout the animal and insect world, nature
has fashioned the female as a superior specimen uniquely equipped for the survival and
propagation of the species.
According to the 'law of the jungle', the male
exists only to provide the seed for future generations and to protect the nest while the
female nurses the young to maturity. Sexual intercourse occurs seasonally, and while all
females 'in heat' get fertilized, only a small fraction the strongest males perform the
task. Even among primates, only the strong, dominant males are permitted to fertilize the
females, while weaker male specimens are either discarded or kept at a distance from the
Among many orders of insect, such as black
widow and praying mantis, nature gives the male even shorter shrift: the moment he
deposits his seed in the female, she promptly kills and devours him as a post-coital
Only humans (and a few higher primates such as
orangutans) engage in sexual intercourse all year long, day and night, in any season or
weather, and only humans do it primarily for pleasure rather than procreation. Yet the
human male, despite his inflated ego, is subject to the same inherent limitations that
nature has imposed on his gender in all species.
Matriarchy is a social acknowledgment of
female superiority and is therefore a natural pattern for the human species to follow.
China's prehistoric matriarchy is still reflected in Chinese language and thought. The
single most common word in the Chinese language is hao, which means 'good' in all its
The ideogram for 'good' consists of the symbol
for 'women' placed next to that for 'child', indicating that the highest good is the
generative relationship between mother (not father) and child. The ideogram that denotes
the word 'surname' in Chinese consists of the symbols for 'woman' and 'birth' clearly
indicating that family decent in prehistoric China was traced through the mother's line,
just as it was in ancient Hebrew tradition prior to patriarchy.
In all the ancient Chinese sex manuals, woman
is always depicted as the guardian of sexual arcana and the supreme source of
life-sustaining essence and energy. In these texts the woman plays the role of the great
initiator and teacher of sex, while the man is described as a sexually ignorant bumbler.
Because of her sexual potency, woman was
regarded as possessor of great stores of Teh (power). The contemporary Taoist Jolan Chang,
in his book The Tao of the Loving Couple, quotes some conclusions by Mary Jane Sherfey
regarding the power of female sexuality:
"All relevant data from the 12000 to
8000 BC period indicate that precivilized woman enjoyed full sexual freedom and was often
totally incapable of controlling her sexual drive. Therefore, I propose that one of the
reasons for the long delay between the earliest development of agriculture (c. 12000 BC)
and the rise of urban life and the beginning of recorded knowledge (c. 8000-5000 BC) was
the ungovernable cyclic sexual drive of women. Not until these drives were gradually
brought under control by rigidly enforced social codes could family life become the
stabilizing and creative crucible from which modern civilized man could emerge."
Although man took control of the family,
village, economy, religion and state, he still found himself at woman's mercy in bed. No
amount of human artifice can mask or alter the fundamental facts of Tao. Hence, there
arose a deep contradiction between man's artificial social superiority and his genuine
sexual inferiority is-a-is woman, and this gave rise to the battle of the sexes that still
rages in most boudoirs today.
It also explains the deep fear and resentment
that many men harbor toward women, despite women's supposed 'inferiority'.
'Macho' men simply cannot face the fact that
women are sexually superior, nor do they dare admit the realities of their own inherent
This sad state of affairs is due primarily to
sexual ignorance. Any man open-minded enough to take a serious look at the Tao of Yin and
Yang- and self disciplined enough to practice it- will find that the Tao completely
eliminates the fundamental inequity between male and female sexual potency.
The Tao enables the male member to become an
all-weather instrument of equal competence to that of its female counterpart and permits
man and woman to 'make love not war', while at the same time protecting the health and
prolonging the lives of both partners.
"Although man took control of the
family, village, economy, religion and state, he still found himself at woman's mercy in
No amount of human artifice can mask or
alter the fundamental facts of Tao. Hence, there arose a deep contradiction between man's
artificial social superiority and his genuine sexual inferiority is-a-is woman, and this
gave rise to the battle of the sexes that still rages in most boudoirs today.
It also explains the deep fear and
resentment that many men harbor toward women, despite women's supposed 'inferiority'.
'Macho' men simply cannot face the fact that
women are sexually superior, nor do they dare admit the realities of their own inherent
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In the Western world, artists and athletes
have so far been the only people who truly realize the debilitating nature of male
ejaculation. In his autobiography, Charlie Chaplin wrote, 'Like Balzac, who believed that
a night of sex meant the loss of a good page of his novel, so I believed that it meant the
loss of a good day's work at the studio.'
On a more contemporary note, let's listen in
on an interview with jazz musician Miles Davis which appeared in the April 1975 issue of
Davis: You can't come, then fight or play. You
can't do it. When I get ready to come, I come. But I do not come and play.
Interviewer: Explain that in layman's terms.
Davis: Ask Muhammad Ali. If he comes, he can't
fight two minutes. Shit, he couldn't even whip me.
Interviewer: Would you fight Muhammad Ali
under those conditions, to prove your point?
Davis: You're goddam right I'd fight him. But
he's got to promise to fuck first. If he ain't going to fuck, I ain't going to fight. You
give up all your energy when you come. I mean, you give up all of it! So, if you're going
to fuck before a gig, how are you going to give something when it's time to hit?
What neither Davis nor Ali realize is that
sexual intercourse without ejaculation prior to a fight or gig would improve their
performances even more than if they abstained altogether.
Artists and athletes rely on optimum levels of
physical and mental vitality in order to perform, which is why they are more sensitive to
the loss of semen and vital energy through ejaculation. However, other men suffer just as
severely from such loss, albeit they remain fairly unconscious of it. For example, the
male tendency to fall sound asleep after ejaculation is a prime indicator of complete
exhaustion. If orgasm itself were so exhausting, then women would feel the same effects
from it, but they don't. It is the physical ejection of semen from the body- not orgasm
per se- that harms man.
The depressing phenomenon of 'post-coital
blues' that follows conventional intercourse does not occur at all when men retain semen.
Taoist sex is a barter arrangement between Yin and Yang: the man sacrifices a small
measure of short-term pleasure in return for the long-term benefits of
health and longevity, while the woman enjoys complete unrestricted
sexual pleasure in exchange for a measure of her abundant supplies of life-prolonging
essence and energy.
The contrasting nature of male and female
orgasm has important implications for two types of sexual activity that have aroused a lot
of controversy over the ages and appear to be gaining in popularity today: masturbation
Viewed from the angle of Yin and Yang, the
results of these two activities are very different indeed for men and women.
For men, masturbation represents an
irretrievable and uncompensated loss of Yang semen-essence. While healthy males between
the ages of 16 and 21 are veritable 'fountains of semen' for whom masturbation is
relatively harmless, by the time they reach 25 or so, all the old shibboleths regarding
males masturbation come true: weakness in thighs and knees, numbness in lumbar region,
loss of vitality, depression, etc.
By the time they reach 30, men should entirely
give up this self-defeating habit and start conserving semen exclusively for intercourse
with women. Men who continue masturbating habitually into their 30's, 40's and 50's rob
themselves of the very essence and energy that fuels their lives and protects their
A woman, by contrast, may masturbate to her
heart's content without damaging her stores of essence and energy. In the polygamous
households of ancient China, female masturbation and sapphism served important social and
psychological functions in the harems of sexually beleaguered gentlemen. And since women
do not reach their peak of sexual potency until their mid-30's (unlike men who 'peak out'
after 18), masturbation is likely to become even more important as they grow older since
so many men begin losing their potency just as women 'hit stride' around age 35.
The same point applies to homosexual
relations: they are harmless for women but highly detrimental to men, both physiologically
Nature has made Yin passive and yielding, and
two passive forces do not conflict. The Chinese refer to sapphic love as 'polishing
mirrors', a term that reflects the fact that female homosexual practices are largely
limited to the rubbing together of similar parts, rather than actual penetration of the
body. And even when the body is penetrated with a surrogate phallus, it is done through
the orifice intended for that purpose. Like masturbation, sapphism was a common practice
in the household harems of wealthy Chinese families, where up to a dozen women might find
themselves completely cut off from male company for months at a time when the man of the
house was off on official business.
Taoist physicians regarded homosexuality among
men, on the other hand as a dangerous practice- for several reasons. First of all, Yang is
by nature an active, aggressive force, and, when two aggressive forces meet, a fundamental
conflict of energies and intentions result. Male homosexuality requires that one partner
yield to the other by adopting the female role, both physically and psychologically, and
when this practice becomes a habit it completely undermines the fundamental role of Yang
in the order of nature. Looking at this situation of Yang conflict at a microscopic
scientific level, when sperm from two different men are mixed together and observed under
magnification, they may clearly be observed fighting one another in a desperate struggle
Psychology aside, the greatest threat posed to
men by homosexual practices are physiological.
Anal penetration, the mutual exchange of Yang
sexual fluids, and frequent uncontrolled ejaculations are the culprits. Ancient Taoist
physicians noted a pathological condition called 'Dragon Yang Syndrome' which occurred
exclusively among promiscuous male homosexuals. 'Dragon Yang' (lung-yang) is a common
Chinese euphemism for male homosexuality, equivalent to the English word 'gay'. Symptoms
of this ailment included weakness and fatigue, skin ulcers and boils, low immunity, and
The foregoing observations on the nature of
Yin & Yang make it clear that man and woman are not created equal.
Yin is abundant and enduring, while Yang is
limited and vulnerable, and this is reflected in the fact that throughout the world women
tend to outlive men by a factor of five to ten years.
The key to redressing this inequity is
properly regulated relations between 'fire' and 'water'. As the Taoist alchemist Ko Hung
wrote in the fourth century AD:
"Both fire and water can kill,
yet both may also bestow life.
It depends entirely on whether one knows Tao.
If a man knows Tao, then the more he makes love,
the better becomes his health.
If he ignorant of Tao, just one woman
is sufficient to hasten his journey to the grave."
"Lest male readers further hasten their
journeys to the grave due to ignorance of Tao, let us now get down to the crux of the
matter- the Way of Yin and Yang- a way that shows us how to use sex to pave a path to
health and longevity rather than to perdition."
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