“A man may attain health and longevity if he practices an ejaculation frequency of twice monthly or 24 times a year. If at the same time he pays careful attention to proper diet and exercise he will have a long healthy life.”
This did not limit the frequency of intercourse or orgasm. Rather Daoists learned to control their ejaculation and were able to reach orgasm without ejaculating. As with everything, there is a too little and too much. Modern interpretations can get us into trouble, as our society seems to gravitate towards extremes. For example, men who are too zealous with limiting ejaculation will overheat and develop mental and emotional disturbances.
Ejaculation frequency becomes important when vitality (as seen in immunity, fertility, or energy levels) is low or after the age of 40, when men’s Jing starts to decline. Often this means limiting ejaculation to once every 7-14 days. Men will know they need to limit ejaculation when they do not feel revived or feel disconnected from their lover after sex.
Modern Research Appears to Support These Practices
Testosterone levels in men can be seen as a physical indicator of the health of Yang Qi, as the health of the sperm can be used to assess the state of the Jing. This gives us a way of translating ancient Daoist practices into modern scientific understanding, even though the concepts of Yang Qi and Jing encompass more than just testosterone levels and the health of the sperm respectively. Daoist (and TCM) theory states that aging occurs when the Jing declines. (Our Jing includes both our Yin and Yang Qi, however men usually require more Yang tonification and women more Yin tonification.)
A 2003 study recorded that abstinence for 7 days raised the subjects’ serum testosterone levels to 154.7% of baseline. The study also noted minimal fluctuations in serum testosterone levels from the 2nd to 5th day of abstinence. Studies support a direct correlation with testosterone levels in men and signs of vitality such a 2013 study suggesting a link between low testosterone levels and dementia in older men.
The Consciousness Part
This information is not new, and there are many resources on the mechanics of ejaculation control in both the Daoist and Tantric traditions. What is too often missing is the ethics part; how you increase your vitality and what you do with it. I believe that men not only have to develop themselves physically in regards to sex, but also need to work to raise the consciousness of their sexuality.
Much of male sexual conditioning is predatory and unconscious in nature. There is a consciousness raising process that must occur prior to developing sexual techniques whereby we become aware of our connection and social responsibility. When men are exposed to these principles without this awareness it is easy for them to develop sophisticated tools in the same old context; as a means to gaining power, only they now have the power to do more harm.
The pitfall is in increasing Yang in the body in an unbalanced way. Our Kidney Yang provides our determination and drive. Our Kidney Yin gives us our sense of oneness and spiritual connection to the world around us. When the two are balanced and strong, we naturally become instruments of great service. If our Kidney Yang becomes excessive it leads to tyranny. We become self-centered, arrogant, ruthless. We live by the motto “the strong eat the weak.” Ultimately this leads to self-destruction, but only after incurring a great deal of negative karma.
An example of misguided sexual cultivation is sexual vampirism, whereby individuals are not content to conserve their own energy and steal the sexual energy from others. This was acceptable, and still is in certain circles. Short-term this can increase energy, as well as ego. Long-term you get a heap of bad karma and a big step backwards in your spiritual evolution.
Conscious ejaculation greatly surpasses the benefits of ejaculation control. Limiting ejaculation increases short-term physical vitality. Conscious sexual cultivation has the ability to transform a man’s life and that of the people around him.
Ways to Infuse Consciousness into Sexual Cultivation:
- Practice in the context of a spiritual goal.
- Hold the intention of giving and receiving fully during sexual interactions.
- Always honor your lover.
- During ejaculation, imagine you are giving healing, empowering energy to your lover or to a particular goal.
- When abstaining from ejaculation, imagine giving heart energy to your lover or to a particular goal. Use it as an opportunity to increase connection.