How Much Bacon Should You Be Makin'? Chinese Medicine's View of Sexual Frequency
It’s Valentine’s month, which most likely means that you have the opposite sex (or the same) on your mind. Ask most Americans how often they should be having sex at their age and the answer is usually somewhere around 10 to the third power of, well...as much as is physically possible.
Before we delve into the actual recommended frequencies, let’s talk about the act itself – from an energetic standpoint.
Sexual activity requires an energetic exchange between the consenting parties. This is true whether we believe it or not. Not only is the physical act of intercourse a robust cardiovascular activity (hopefully), but also with each orgasm, there is a physical release. For men this is far more important than it is for women as the release is something concrete and tangible.
To elaborate, we first need to understand two types of energy – “Jing” and “Qi.”
TCM calls the energy with which we enter the world our “Jing”. Think of this as your energetic inheritance from your parents, the savings account or endowment that follows you into the world.
In our day-to-day living, we use “Qi” to get from A to B, to make our breakfasts, and plan our day. It fuels our thoughts and our actions from the moment we get up until the moment we fall asleep at night.
If we overextend ourselves, either through over working, trauma, or poor living, we then tap into our savings account, or Jing, to carry out these same functions. The monetary analogy works well here. If you wake up with $50 in your checking account every morning, but spend $60, you’ve just tapped into your savings and will have a little bit less to work with in the coming days.
Jing is also the high-density energetic substance we use to create life. In men it is highly potent in our semen and in women in their eggs. Every time a man ejaculates, he loses some Jing in the form of millions of sperm. Every time a woman ovulates, she also loses some Jing in the form of a single egg - not nearly as much as her male counterpart during sex.
About two thousand years ago, the famous TCM classic the Su Nei Jing was published. In it the following guidelines were recommended for healthy sexual activity:
Now obviously these are just guidelines. However, if you are getting any of the symptomology accompanying the loss of Jing – back pain, weakness in the knees, fatigue, poor memory, hair loss, feeling cold or getting hot at night, and/or a decrease in libido – it may be time to give yourself a few days off. This excludes masturbation as well.
Tom Boldt L.Ac, a brilliant acupuncturist specializing in male sexuality, had this to add on the subject:
A loss of Jing is a serious issue that will not resolve all by itself. Certainly, rest and limiting ejaculatory experiences will help, but one must also take active good care through Chinese Herbs, acupuncture and proper nutrition. Most men fall prey to the easy fix of Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. These medications provide temporary relief – allowing one to throw the proverbial football through the tire swing yet again. However, this practice is the equivalent of beating a tired horse. It will work for a while, but just as that horse will eventually collapse from exhaustion, so will you, and then no drug will help. At that point, even with herbal remedies and the care of a good acupuncturist, your road to recovery may be a long one.
Modern, blue pharmaceuticals aside, your body will react more or less to sexual stimulation given your overall level of fitness and health. Taking care of all of your entire system by eating well, working out, and minimizing your daily stress will go far in keeping your drive alive and your equipment in good working order.
Be sure to check in next week when we talk about Chinese Medicine’s ancient libido enhancing secrets!