In Western medicine, sex is not considered to be an integral part of health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine though, sexual practices are considered to have a huge impact on health by affecting levels of ‘jing’, a substance that determines your basic constitutional strength and vitality. Jing is supposed be carefully managed but there are lots of things that we do that can contribute to its decline, and consequently an earlier death, and excessive ejaculation in men is one of these.
In my work as a therapist, I have noted that many men use ejaculation either to control a high sex drive or to deal with stress. In terms of the latter, in the contemporary workplace we are expected to perform high-pressure jobs at a frantic pace and stress levels are rising astronomically. Once stress reaches a certain level it is no longer beneficial. It causes the energy flow in your body to stagnate so your temper quickens, your shoulder muscles tighten, your head tilts forward and your breathing becomes shallow and many people feel on the verge of ‘losing it’. Sexual activity instigates an energy flow and under sexual stimulus, physical and mental symptoms immediately ease. This is why, if you are highly stressed and then masturbate, the symptoms almost completely disappear. At the point of ejaculation, the external world and all its problems vanish. I have had patients who ejaculated two or three times a day to manage stress.
The system does work but in the physical act of ejaculation a certain amount of jing is lost and if you repeatedly ejaculate, without allowing time to recover in between, it can become detrimental to your health. In the West this is an alien concept. We think that sex is recreational and we should do it as often as we can. But if you don’t apply intelligence to your sex life, after a while imbalances will arise. The time it takes for you to notice these depends on your constitutional type. I once had a classic ‘yang type’ patient who had strong kidney yang, high levels of jing and the associated high sex drive. He was used to ejaculating several times a day and when he found work as a male escort, he thought it was the ultimate job. He got to have sex every day, sometimes several times a day, and he got paid for it. Eventually he moved into porn films. He did quite well as he could ejaculate repeatedly and project sperm up to two metres (the amount of sperm produced and the distance it can be projected is connected to kidney yang and jing). After a few years in the business though, he started to develop symptoms. An early indicator was a sort of popping or ringing sound in the ears as he ejaculated then fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, weak knees, frequent urination and lower backache followed. His ejaculation lost power and this ended his career.
In TCM it is recommended that the weekly ejaculation rate be controlled and there is actually an ejaculation-rate table for men, based on age and state of health. For example if you are in your early 40s and in relatively good health, ejaculation once every three days is recommended. If you are younger the rate is higher and if you are older it is lower. Nowhere on the chart does it recommend ejaculation three times a day! When I mention this to male patients, though, I always meet resistance. It was the same for me when I was introduced to the idea. I had just taken up tai-chi and the instructor, a strong and energetic man whom I respected, said that in order to properly understand tai-chi, the men in the group would have to stop ejaculating for a while. Then ejaculate maybe only once or twice a week at the most. He then added that his tai-chi master only ejaculated twice a year! Everyone stared at him in total disbelief. A lot of the students were real yang types and the frequency of their ejaculation, amount of sperm produced and distance it could be projected were all fundamental components of their personas. I myself nearly walked out thinking, “If that’s what tai-chi is about, I’m out of here”.
I ignored the suggestion for a while but eventually my studies in Traditional Chinese medicine and my ongoing Chi training made me start to understand the connection between ejaculation rates, health and jing. I became curious and began reading books which suggested that transcending the desire to ejaculate not only conserved jing but also enabled you to access deeper and more profound sexual experiences. Theoretically this sounded great and it inspired me to try it out; in practice though it was much more difficult. Sexual energies are always of a yang nature, as they associate with action rather than passivity. As men are already primarily yang in nature, sexual arousal for them is ‘yang on yang’ – a ‘double yang’ state in which ‘advance and act’ dictates behaviour. This is why, when sexually aroused, there is such a powerful primal urge to complete that stimulus through ejaculation. Transcending that desire, which is achieved by feeling the yang rising in the kidneys but then focusing on ‘not doing it’, a yin quality, is initially mental and physical torture. But, if you persist, you eventually develop ‘retreat and wait’ skills that nourish the yin. This means you develop a more balanced sexual desire and, accordingly, will experience orgasms that continually become deeper, longer and more powerful. This is more beneficial sex too, because ‘double yang’ sex consumes more jing than sex that climaxes with a deep and fulfilling orgasm, and ‘double yang’ sex prepares the ground for future sexual problems and dysfunction.
In the West there are no guidelines for managing high sex drives. I have had many male patients who had high yang levels and the associated high sex-drive and they over-ejaculated to manage this, particularly in their 20s and 30s. Many then experienced sexual dysfunction such as impotence in their 40s and 50s. There is, of course, impotence medication but this usually generates erections by flooding the penis with blood. It artificially creates a yang state of ‘advance and act’ again but this is just what the body had been trying to avoid. Impotence can be viewed as strategy implemented by the body to protect more important organ functions (such as that of the heart). The extra yang required for the erection, is forced to draw from a weak yin, making the underlying imbalance worse and this can have serious repercussions. Because the impotence medication creates an artificial yang state, the man’s heart rate increases. This means that muscle contractions increase – an action requiring lubrication which is a yin quality. However, because the man is already yin depleted, which is why he is taking the medication in the first place, he will not have the yin available to support the increased action of the heart. The muscles are then unable to keep up with the stimulus and heart attack can be the result.
In TCM, impotence is avoided by monitoring ejaculation and focussing on building yin, chi and jing. A program to maintain a healthy yin level includes acupuncture or bodywork to reduce pathological or excessive yang, and nutritional supplements or Chinese herbs to help build yin. Taking up a daily chi-building practice such as tai-chi, is also beneficial. It allows you to build yang in the presence of yin, but it also allows you to become sensitive to Chi and to the yin and yang interactions that occur during sexual arousal and interaction. If you build yin, you will not be driven purely by the physical intent to ejaculate, so you will be able to enter into a more refined state of sensual interaction. You will be able to surrender more deeply and be guided by the interplay of male and female, or yin and yang. This enables you to respond to your partner in a more sensitive manner, thus increasing the pleasure but also creating a deeper sexual bond.
Another reason it is important to understand and control sexual energies is that there is more to sex than just having a good time. According to some energy therapies, it is thought that there are energy sites throughout the body. These are known as chakras and they are considered to be like turbines that suck in cosmic energies from the universal energy field. They then transport these energies to the meridians which, in turn, circulate it around the body and into the organs. These chakras constantly spin at a certain speed. In sexual union, due to arousal, the chakras spin faster and, at the point of orgasm, they increase dramatically in speed. As this cycling accelerates, the chakras draw in more of the universal energy field so, in an orgasm, the whole system is flushed with fresh cosmic energies and all the old energies are dispersed. During orgasm the energy fields of the participants also interact and merge, so the new energies are not only drawn from the UEF, but also from the sexual partner. The conscious mind is not aware of this but it still takes place. There is creative potential inherent in this metaphysical exchange of information. If the sex is allied to a relationship or other defined goals, the energetic exchange can have a positive, nurturing effect that contributes to bonding and collective growth.
I have had many patients who were yang types with a very high sex drive but this was not matched in their partners. Accordingly, they would find their sexual desire constantly triggered by other people, and some followed through and had affairs. Affairs are not considered beneficial from a therapeutic perspective though, because during orgasm your chakras spin, pathways open up and specific energies are set free to exchange metaphysically with each other. As a result, new information will be stored in your energy field. So, the next time you engage sexually with your partner, you won’t just be exchanging your own stuff, but also be passing on energies that you took on from the affair. This introduces an unknown entity into your relationship, and your partner, even if they know nothing of the affair, will experience some level of emotional confusion. The ramifications of this can come between you like an invisible wall and create an environment that defeats the goals of your relationship.
It is normal to be attracted to other people whether you have a high sex drive or not. You can be in love with your partner but still constantly experience this kind of attraction. The people that attract you represent what I call free-flow stimulants. Psychologically, you associate the feelings they trigger in you with something promising such as happiness or pleasure, but I think it is something much deeper. I believe that we are primarily energetic or spiritual beings who get too easily trapped in material concerns or business, political or family dramas. This takes us away from our spiritual side and the further we move away from it, the more we develop the urge to feel it. From the perspective of energy medicine, a free-flowing human energy field is the best state a human being can experience. It allows us to glimpse our potential for deep and meaningful spiritual experiences. This is why so many of our actions aim at achieving free-flow. An orgasm is the perfect way to feel this. When I am in this state of painlessness, of love, of inner peace or happiness, I am aware of my true identity, I feel complete and I feel real. However, to be beneficial, sex requires discipline and control. This includes every aspect of sex from a healthy ejaculation rate right up to being committed to the one partner. Then it can contribute to personal development and a happy, healthy, long and fulfilling life.
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