The highest excellence
is like that of water. The excellence of water appears in
its benefiting all things, and in its occupying, without striving
the low place which all men dislike. Hence its way is near
to that of the Tao.
The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 8.1
Above all the ancient Taoists were scientists. Taoists
believed that wisdom came from accumulated knowledge subjected to
scrutiny and deeper and deeper questioning. The Taoists had a purpose
and a morality to their questioning and search for wisdom. They
sought immortality and immunity from disease of all kinds. Very
early in the ancient writings they realized that one of the keys
to immortality was to hold themselves to higher ethical and moral
standards. Only in the path of righteousness would it be possible
to realize their goals. Unlike western religions, the Taoists were
not inclined to lead a righteous life because they feared retribution
from a vengeful god, but because it was the best way to achieve
what they wanted to achieve. The choice is always presented in a
way that acknowledges the full responsibility of the individual
for what he does in the world. All aspects of life and living came
under their scrutiny so it is not surprising that at some point
they would turn their attention to sex.
We in 20th century North America have much to learn
from these ancient scientists, not the least of which is that science
needs a morality and a purpose. Science for Science's sake is a
very convenient way to absolve oneself of personal responsibility
for what you create and unleash upon the world.
In a day when, according to some statistics, 80% of
the internet is given over to 'porn sites', when pornographic material
is available at the local 7-11, and allegations of all kinds of
sexual misconduct ruin lives and break up families every day. It
is hardly worth stating that North America, and the United States
in particular is very much disoriented about sex.
The ancient Taoists, probably would not bother to
render a judgment on this situation. Any human activity is legitimate
and to be learned from. There is no right way or wrong way to
do sex. But there is a purposeful way that brings wealth, prosperity,
healing and a life well lived and other ways that often bring
guilt, anger, fear, disease, dissipation, and hardship. There
is always the choice.
It will take many more pages to even begin to appreciate
the Taoist views of sexual magic and alchemy, but I will begin
with a few observations.
At the core of Taoist sexual practice is the desire
to achieve practical immortality and immunity from disease. Intense
pleasure and spiritualization of the body came as interesting
side effects. The Taoists, were alchemists, seeking the secrets
of transmutation. Like their western counterparts, they saw the
epitome of transmutation in transforming lead into gold, and transforming
living flesh into immortal essence. By many accounts some were
successful, and records exist that attest to this. Of their many
secrets, sexual magic and alchemy is one that aims directly at
the spiritualization and ultimate immortality of the body. Sexual
practice is one that allows one to experience directly the frequency
of creation. A frequency most believe is the exclusive preserve
of the Divine.
To achieve immortality, it makes perfect sense to
associate as closely with it as possible. Sexual energy aims at
fortifying the body to such a degree that it is invulnerable to
invasion of any kind of disease, or the development of any kind
of internal disharmony that would lead to disease.
This means that the Taoist diligently maintains
internal balance and harmony, at all levels.
The Taoists also approached sex on different levels.
At the physical level, sexual activity can have an intense healing
effect if one is having difficulties. At the emotional level,
sexual praying can calm the emotions and the mind and create a
peaceful state within which to solve problems and create better
circumstances. At the spiritual level, it is thought that certain
sexual rituals can even 'spiritualize' the body, which is a body
unbound by time and space.
The point of sexual practice is to preserve and enhance
Qi in the physical body, particularly Yuan or Original Qi, which
is the store of Qi one is born with. Yuan Qi is the specific essence
that links our Ethereal Soul with the Universal soul. Yuan Qi is
said to reside in the Kidney organ system, of which the genitalia
are a part.
Specific practices include the man withholding ejaculation.
It is thought that semen contains a man's physical essence. Semen
is pure Yin in nature. This means it is purely nourishing at all
levels. Depletion of Kidney Qi is the Taoist definition of death.
Taoist exercises aim at strengthening prostate and
other muscles of the anus and genitalia so that a man can separate
orgasm from ejaculation.
Women also do similar exercises to strengthen vaginal
and anal muscles. Since it is thought that women lose their essence
through menstruation and childbirth, these exercises ultimately
result in the cessation of menstruation altogether.
Sexually, women are encouraged to orgasm as much as
they desire. In Taoist sexual magic, the theory is that there is
an exchange of Qi between the partners, but since it is the woman
who is energized, the man is able to draw on that Yin energy for
health and other benefits.
It is therefore in the man's best interest to be
at service to the woman's orgasmic pleasure. This requires a great
deal of information exchange between partners. The woman's orgasm
consists of 9 separate stages, while the man's is only 4. In fact,
orgasm in the woman is the 4th stage, same as the man's. After
orgasm, the woman goes through 5 more stages of higher and higher
These are important stages in the orgasm experience
as they take the sex act from one focused only in the body into
higher realms of frequency. This takes sexual activity out of
the realm of animal urges and release into the human search for
For partners, this takes them into a state of bliss
which some call 'true love'. In practice, this is a state of being
far beyond the hormone induced state of temporary
insanity that passes for romantic love in present day society.
As well, Taoist approach sex as a highly effective
healing activity. Modern science has identified hormones like
Pheromones, and Endorphins, which not only have healing properties
hundreds of times more effective than any drug or herb, in an
otherwise healthy body these hormones provoke intense pleasure,
and fortify and energize. See the next page for the stages of
Below are the 9 general healing positions of sexual
intercourse recommended for everyone as a general practice. In
the Taoist way, these are to be done in sets of 6 to promote Yin
and sets of 9 to promote Yang, or alternating to promote balance.
As well, in thrusting and rocking maneuvers, these
are to be done in sets of 6 or 9 for full effect. But don't worry
if you lose count, with practice this becomes second nature. In
Typical Chinese fashion, sexual positions are drawn from observing
nature. Not only are the positions visually reminiscent of their
natural namesakes, but adopting the character of each is encouraged.
For example, in the Turtle position, it is helpful to pretend you
are actually a Turtle. This is not only fun, it helps one to understand
the the diversity of nature and the possibilities of being Human.
When doing the Dragon, try to remember that Chinese Dragons are
much more compassionate than their western cousins.
So, here they are.
* Recommended Reading; Tao of Sexology by Dr. Stephen