Harmonizing sexual energy is paramount for paramours. Taoists see men's sexual energy as fire, quick to ignite and extinguish (hence the post-coital grunt-and-roll phenomenon), while women's energy is water, slower to boil but longer lasting. Further, in this view a woman's sexual energy starts in her head and "trickles down" over her heart to her genitals, while a man's energy ignites in the genitals and flares up past his heart to his mind.
The early Taoists were physicians as well as sexologists, and their centuries-old teachings encourage sex not only for pleasure and intimacy, but for lifelong health, creativity, and longevity. Orgasm is something to cultivate and pursue weekly if not daily, although men learn to separate ejaculation from orgasm and often forgo the former. Coauthored by four longtime practitioners of Taoist sexuality, this book does what The Joy of Sex did for millions of readers: it shines a clear light into foggy areas of sex that have been shrouded, overly mystified, or misunderstood. The 50-odd drawings here, in fact, were created by the same illustrator. Thai author Mantak Chia has done an admirable job with his coauthors of making the mystifying concepts of sexual energy so vivid.
Taoist sexuality is, above all, rooted in nature and in the physical. The authors first teach basic exercises like belly breathing and PC-muscle toning (Kegels aren't just for women anymore), as well as pulling energy down from the head to the genitals, circulating sexual energy in the mind, and sharing life-giving energy with a partner. Taoist sex is all about energy flow. "Your genitals and spine are like a water wheel that draws the energy up your spine and then pours it into your head to replenish your brain. From there it flows down like a waterfall into your abdomen, where it can be stored in a life-giving reservoir of energy." The 28 exercises here all teach a deeper energetic sensitivity within oneself before cultivating the flow of sexual energy with a partner. This is an excellent distillation of Taoist sexuality, an antidote for Westerners living "in their heads," and an inspiration for those wanting to "sex the spirit" while they make love. --Rebecca Taylor