Today is Valentine’s day. While I sometimes feel like this holiday is more about selling cards, flowers, and chocolate than it is about love, I still think it’s a good time to talk to you about qi and sexual energy.
But first, I should mention that I’m terrible at talking about sex. Just ask my students. The other day, during an advanced class, I turned beet red while talking about the sexual vitality that we cultivate through the qigong exercise called The Small Universe.
Hey! You try getting in front of 25 adults and talking about sex without sounding like a jerk! It’s not easy.
I’m American. And the truth is that Americans are conflicted when it comes to sex. On the one hand, we expect to see sex everywhere — on TV, the Internet, in magazines and books, and in movies.
On the other hand — we’re super puritanical. When I was in Europe years ago, I couldn’t help but notice that women on the beaches walked around topless. Meanwhile, in the good ol’ U.S. of A., we freak out when a woman dares to show a bit of side-boob while breastfeeding in public.
In other words, we’re prudes.
My premise in this article is that there’s an imbalance in the way Americans manage their sexual energy. As a culture, we’re repressed. Our sexual energy is stifled. It is not flowing as smoothly as it could.
Answer the following questions:
- Do you get easily frustrated, even by small things?
- Do you lack motivation and drive?
- Do you have difficulty making decisions, even minor ones?
- Do you lack creativity?
- Do you have a growing sense of disconnectedness?
- Do you experience a background static of anxiety?
- Men — do you have low back pain or prostate problems?
- Women — do you suffer from severe PMS, fibroids, or endometriosis?
These are some of the symptoms that can arise from stifled sexual energy. Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?
It gets worse.
If a person’s sexual energy gets stifled badly enough, then it can lead to major distortions not only in their health, but their psyche.
And that’s when the really awful stuff happens. For example, in schools, churches, and organizations all around the country, the result of extremely distorted sexual energy can be seen in behavior like sexual abuse and/or rape.
Perhaps now you can understand why I think that this topic is so important.
So here we go. Let’s talk about sex. I’ll be brave, and face my “talking about sex” fears. And you’ll need to be brave too, because it’s a difficult topic. But we can do this. We’re adults, and we can find a way to talk about sex in a productive manner.
East Vs. West
The ancient Eastern masters, especially the Taoist masters, viewed sexual union as a way to harmonize the body’s energy (qi). Basically, they viewed sex as a form of qigong — a way to cultivate energy for health, vitality, and even spirituality.
In other words — pretty much exactly the opposite of what Western culture teaches. We live in a culture that, not so long ago, told pubescent boys that they would go blind if they masturbated. Or worse, that they’d go to hell!
Of course, that didn’t stop them from doing it. It just made them feel ashamed, which in turn distorted their sexual energy.
Teenage boys are full of hormones and sexual energy. Where do we expect that energy to go? Into sports? Video games? Homework?
Young boys need to be taught to manage their sexual energy, not stifle it. And by “manage”, I don’t necessarily mean orgasm. If you think that orgasm is the only way to manage sexual energy — well, then you’re probably a product of Western culture!
Our culture is terrible at managing sexual energy. And it’s not just teenage boys. The same is true of young women. It’s also true of older women. And older men. And middle-aged men. And middle-aged women.
In other words — everyone.
As a culture, we have a lot to learn about how to manage our sexual energy.
When The Energy Gets Distorted
Ask yourself this question: Why are there so many cases of child sexual abuse among priests?
The ancient Eastern philosophers would say that this is happening because the sexual energy not just of the priests, but of the organization, is distorted. To solve the problem, we need to harmonize that energy.
Let me be clear that I’m not suggesting that priests or nuns should give up their celibacy. I honestly don’t think that that’s the root of the problem. Monks and nuns in the ancient Shaolin Temple were celibate, similar to modern-day Christian priests and nuns.
But here’s the difference — the Shaolin monks and nuns practiced qigong and meditation in order to manage their sexual energy. As a result, they were able to channel that energy in healthy ways, like into their spiritual cultivation, and also in to the practice of Shaolin Kung Fu.
A lot of my students are older, and some of them have told me that they are sexually inactive. But being sexually inactive doesn’t mean that you can skip the sex conversation, just like you can’t skip it if you’re a priest.
The same goes for those who would prefer not to be celibate, but currently don’t have a sexual partner. You can’t just stick your head in the ground and pretend that you’re not a sexual being.
One way or another, your sexual energy will express itself. It will either express itself in a healthy way, or in an unhealthy way.
How To Harmonize Sexual Energy
If you practice qigong, tai chi, meditation, or yoga, then you’re already working on your sexual energy. That’s a great start.
But there are Taoist qigong techniques that are specifically designed to harmonize sexual energy. If you’re interested, I’ll write a sequel to this article and talk more about how these techniques can help us to cultivate and harmonize sexual energy. Want more on this topic? Then let me know in the comments below.