Afflicted with premature ejaculation I turned to ancient Daoist texts and started experimenting with the techniques described.
For several years I found myself afflicted by premature ejaculation. I was never the longest-lasting lover throughout my 20s. However, as I got older and found myself in unfulfilling relationships premature ejaculation became more and more of a problem – for both parties involved. Premature ejaculation (PE) is said to be a problem for 21-31% of Australian males, although that may be higher due to the supposed number of unreported cases (Chung, 2015).
Exploring the possible solutions, I was confronted with only medical options: anti-depressant drugs (SSRIs) and the cascade of side-effects associated with them, Viagra, or anaesthetic topical sprays which numbed all sensation (SHA, 2015). These were just not going to work for me. I had to find other ways.
Being a TCM and qi gong practitioner, I was aware of the importance of ‘ jing (essence) retention for continued good health. The idea that I couldn’t choose when I ejaculated during sex or masturbation started to preoccupy my attention and detract from any amount of pleasure I may have been experiencing.
So, I ventured into the territory of tantric yoga. At about the same time I began to find translations of sex manuals and ‘nourishing life’ texts from as far back as the 3rd Century BCE (Damone, 2008). With my TCM background and my education in pranayama yoga, I began to find parallels in the two traditions and began the process of interpreting these enigmatic texts and experimenting with the techniques described.
What I soon discovered was that my problems with premature ejaculation began to shift. I was lasting longer during sex, and for the most part continued to choose to ejaculate, and separate it from orgasm.
The following are some of the most profound lessons I learned from the ancient ‘nourishing life’ texts.
“It is important to be calm, yet sexually aroused.”
The common thread amongst these texts, all of which were written between around the 3rd Century BCE to the 16th Century CE was the importance of exciting the sexual energy whilst at the same time remaining calm.
The southern sect of the Complete Reality School advocated for ‘dual cultivation’ practices (that is, practising sexual alchemy as a couple), especially for those who came to the work later in life.
This method was only effective for aiding longevity and spiritual enlightenment if the couple released their attachment to desire and lust throughout the process. Once this level of non-attachment was achieved, excitation of the sexual energy would lead to the level of mindfulness which these Daoist practitioners were ultimately seeking.
What I developed through this practice was a level of presence that allowed me to be aware of my own internal levels of excitement whilst remaining calm (thus, not tense either emotionally or physically).
“You can tell what is best by how the woman sighs in response.”
Presence also brought me to be totally responsive to my lover’s movements, needs, and her own level of excitation. I learned to match her, thus holding her long enough to open into her own waves of orgasmic pleasure.
As it states in the ‘Talk on Supreme Guidance for the World’ (Cleary, 2003: 442):
The technique: “Take deep breaths…breathing through the mouth and taking energy into the heart, so that it fills the limbs”
By applying the principles of Daoist breathing techniques, I could use my breath to control my nervous system and regulate the level of excitement and blood flow to the penis. One of the main issues in premature ejaculation is that the penis is hypersensitive. A tell-tale sign of this is a red-purplish tinge to the glans of the penis (should just be a pink-red colour) – a sign that blood is not flowing to and from as it would otherwise be.
When practiced correctly, the sexual energy will rise from the genitals into the heart/upper thoracic area, and then follow through with a tingling sensation down the arms, hands, and fingers. It is completely normal for there to be a softening of the erection with this – but don’t worry, it will return.
Daoist breathing is expanding the diaphragm on the in-breath, with a contraction on the out-breath. When done properly, the lower abdominal area will fill out with no visible expansion of the chest or lifting of the shoulders.
Whereupon pure saliva is produced. Swallow this…making sure the taste is sweet, directing it to the internal organs, and the body will quickly become passive.”
There is a technique taught in several medical qi gong schools of gathering saliva during practice, then swallowing it and guiding it downwards. In restorative practices the saliva is the condensation of the qi that is cultivated, which is then returned to the l ower dantian, which is the interface between the physical and energetic bodies.
By directing the ‘spiritual dew’ (a metaphor used to describe this gathered saliva) into the lower dantian, it restores jing. This is the fundamental substance which helps form s ource-qi, which in turn powers all physiological functions performed by the internal organs.
“Drive the energy into your flesh and skin, even to the tips of your hairs, and your pores and circulatory channels will open.”
When the organs function harmoniously, general qi flow through the channel system creates a perpetual low-grade orgasmic state. Tension is released from the muscles, and a physical calmness ensues.
Another problem with PE is that tension and tightness usually exacerbate the hyper-sensitivity, and the mistake many men make is to clench tighter to prevent semen flow. Not only is this potentially dangerous (can lead to problem with the prostate later), it also doesn’t help with remaining calm.
With the breathing technique described above, the orgasmic qi flows upwards, and a tingling, buzz-like sensation is experienced throughout the body. Many men describe the sensation of ‘hairs standing on end’. Some even feel the need to extend and flex their hands and finger or shake them due to the sensations.
A matter of choice
From the perspective of healing from premature ejaculation, the purpose of this practice is to choose if or when I want to ejaculate. When you suffer from premature ejaculation, this choice is not available.
As a practitioner of Daoist alchemy and medicine, the choice to separate orgasm from ejaculation is a choice for good health and a long, prosperous life.
By preventing the leakage of sexual energy, the channels are uncongested, and the qi flows freely, leading to emotional stability. This has been the biggest shift in my relating to lovers and being able to engage sexually and sensually with confidence and presence.
Chung, Eric, Brent Gilbert, Marlon Perera, & Matthew J Roberts, (2015), “Premature ejaculation: A clinical review for the general physician”, Australian Family Physician, Vol. 44, No. 10, RACGP, http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2015/october/premature-ejaculation-a-clinical-review-for-the-general-physician, sourced 28/07/2017.
Cleary, Thomas (trans.), (2003), The Taoist Classics, Vol. I, Shambhala Publications, Boston MA, USA.
Damone, Bob, (2008), Principles of Chinese Medical Andrology: an Integrated Approach to Male Reproductive and Urological Health, Blue Poppy Press, Boulder CO, USA.
SHA (Sexual Health Australia), (2015), “Treatment for Premature Ejaculation”, http://www.sexualhealthaustralia.com.au/treatment_options1.html, sourced 28/07/2017
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