The Taoist sexual practices – also called Fangzhongshu or the “Arts of the Bedchamber” – are ancient Chinese Taoist directives on practicing sexual activity. Historically, the roots of Taoism can be traced back to the 4th century BC and the techniques concerning sexual practices evolved gradually in the next 1500 years, spanning various Chinese imperial dynasties.
Fangzhongshu techniques deal for the most part with sexual skills, methods and techniques with regard to intercourse between men and women. The basic concepts cover sexual harmony and how to reach it, attention for flirting and foreplay before sex, and artistic ability in sexual behavior. In fact, the Fangzhongshu has a lot in common with the well-known ancient Indian Kama Sutra texts.
It also contains many directives and techniques for treatments that cure erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, anejaculation, and other kinds of sexual dysfunction or problems. That is, the Fangzhongshu describes a large number of special sexual positions that serve to cure or prevent illnesses and discomforts.
The Fangzhongshu practices are also known as “Joining Energy” or “Joining the Essences,” and this is important because it’s claimed by several sources that the real meaning of the Fangzhongshu is not so much the sexual arts itself but using sexual activity to stay in good health, retain and produce Jing (a nutritive essence and one of the so-called Three Treasures Jing, Qi and Shen), promote Life Energy (Qi essence) and longevity, and grow in Spiritual Wisdom (Shen essence).
For instance, many Taoist practitioners connect the loss of ejaculatory fluids to the loss of vital life force and energy, resulting in premature aging, illnesses, and general fatigue. Thus, it’s believed that decreasing the frequency of – or even totally avoiding – ejaculation is essential to preserve life essence. Yet, female orgasms, on the other hand, are claimed to be spiritually energizing, and not draining.
Over time, Taoists developed different methods to control ejaculation such as pulling out immediately before an orgasm, certain breathing and focusing techniques, or applying pressure on the perineum and thereby retaining the sperm.
Another important idea is that the union of a man and a woman (i.e. lovemaking) can result in the creation of sexual energy and Jing essence, which in its turn can be transformed into Qi to replenish Life Force. This process is called Sexual Alchemy. Now, by having as much sex as possible one has the opportunity to transform more Jing and experience many health benefits.
The Fangzhongshu is certainly not only for men. Women should be stimulated and pleased also in order to be able to benefit from the sexual act. If sex is performed in this manner, women can create more Jing, benefitting both men and women.