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Ancient Chinese sex secrets (3)

(Global Times)

15:11, June 05, 2013

Hold your fire

Having sex without protection may sound foolhardy but not if done in accordance with Taoist teachings that champion restraint during intercourse. Taoist doctrine urges men to resist reaching orgasm during sex in order to economize on qi or energy. Sperm was thought to be a transformation of the blood that contained within it a man's essence or spirit. Building sperm count therefore was said to strengthen a man's qi and enrich his essence to ensure a longer, healthier life.

Withholding orgasm is not only a method for not getting a partner pregnant, but also for ensuring pregnancy. Some men will try to build up their qi before trying to have a child.

Mrs Zhou, a woman in her 40s, recalls that at the time she and her husband were attempting to conceive, "We heard it was better for a couple to hold off on sex for at least a month before trying for a baby. This means the husband must resist the urge to orgasm. His qi would therefore accumulate, and with it, his spirit will enrich the semen for when the time comes," says Mrs Zhou.

Not the qi all and end all

Professor Peng told Metropolitan that this is foolish. He said much of Taoist sex wisdom draws sensible conclusions, especially about the role of sex in maintaining harmony within the family. However, Peng does not agree with Taoist sexual health practices, saying that modern scientific knowledge discredits many of their founding ideas.

"Science tells us full well that sperm is not qi or essence. The idea that men should try not to release sperm is absurd. If sperm is not released regularly, it can lead to discomfort, or inflammation of the prostate gland," he says.

Peng says the advice to refrain from orgasm derives from ancient times, when men had multiple wives and would spare the energy to sleep with multiple partners to avoid jealousy among a harem.

"The role of qi is contrived here. Ancient Chinese sex wisdom even speaks of a man's strength increasing the more women he sleeps with. This was probably suspect even in ancient times to be honest," he says.

Harmonious union

Even though the idea of qi might be bogus, the ability to hold your fire can still be beneficial to a satisfying sex life.

Dr Han Meiling, 41, a psychologist and sex therapist who works at Beijing Meiling Psychological Counseling Centre, says, "The most common problem I've noticed among my younger patients is an anxiety and confusion about sex. Many male patients find themselves reaching an orgasm too quickly, and feel ashamed when their female partners do not experience the same," she says.

Han says she believes modern science can benefit patients with practical tips and explanations of how to perform and enjoy sexual acts. However, she says ancient Chinese sex wisdom still has value in modern society, and science often only goes so far as to explain sex as a physical process. The roles of yin and yang still form the crucial concept of sex as a communicative act, one which tries to achieve unity and fulfills an emotional need.

"Qi is a cosmic vital energy that ensures our survival and links the universe together as a whole. Death disperses life, and qi is an accumulation of all life on Earth," she says.

Han says every person is born with their core qi potential, and has the job throughout life of sustaining it over time. Sex is just one way of doing so. Because sex is a unity of two individuals, she says, retaining the male qi can benefit both people. However, Han says male qi is not the only aspect of good sex that requires nurturing.

"Some of my clients say they experience problems where one partner reaches their climax, leaving the other feeling empty or inclined to fake orgasm. Yin and yang are co-dependant. They don't make sense on their own. Only when the two become a unity can they achieve harmony and experience endless joy and energy," she says.

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