Sex Week: How's Now with the Tao?
What are your impressions of the Chinese Tao of sex? Claims are that by withholding ejaculation the body is strengthened, the mind is clearer, vision and hearing improved, and that the man feels closer to and more love for his mate. As reluctant as I may be to accept the concept completely, my limited experience with the Taoist approach seems to indicate more truth than fiction. Any comments?
It is a widespread folk belief, especially in east Asia, that withholding semen improves mental and physical health. In ancient Chinese sexology, reserving semen was believed to prolong life and potentially lead to immortality. Something of the same belief is part of the mythology of modern sports, too. ("Don't have sex before the big game.") I don't know that there's any evidence to support the idea that infrequent ejaculation preserves health, however, or if anyone has ever done research to find out.
In thinking about the Tao of love, I think it's best not to become preoccupied with ejaculation. Over the years, the ancient Chinese theories about sex have become distorted to the point where they make sex seem like a war between men and women, in which men may seriously harm themselves by sacrificing their semen. Semen becomes a symbol of male power and life force that females covet, like vampires who suck the blood of their prey.
That's not what the Tao of love should be about. If a man can let go of the desire to ejaculate, he can relax and enjoy the peaks and valleys of lovemaking longer. Instead of thinking in terms of reaching a goal, he can concentrate on the ecstasy of touching his lover, and his lover's responses. There is time to savor one another's texture, scent, and movements. For women, it's the same. Instead of striving toward orgasm, it's better to enjoy the pleasures of touching, caressing, and kissing. The techniques of Taoist sex reflect one underlying purpose: Rather than letting sexual energy control you, men and women should learn to control it with conscious intent. Since an ejaculation necessitates a temporary end to lovemaking, if a man can learn to enjoy himself in other ways, the night can be very long, and very pleasurable.