Sexual Kung Fu

By Sishi Green; Photographs by Jake Versoza; Styling by GR Diaz; Make Up by Toto Bagamasbad; Model: Bianca Valerio, shot on location at Victoria Court

What a load of old nonsense. Yin and yang, feng shui, ch'i—all that stuff about life force and energy—it's best left to the kind of folk who wear beads round their necks and live in tee-pees, right? Easy, crouching tiger—don't be so quick to write off an ideology that's existed for several thousand years and is still popular. To misquote Kiefer Sutherland in the Lost Boys, 30million Chinese people can't all be wrong.

Tao means "the way" and began as a philosophy of life emphasizing pacifism. Taoism teaches its followers to cast aside worldly pleasures, honours and glories and to be content with their lot. Over time the way of life was adapted and became a religion—it ranks as the second major belief system in China, after Confucianism. The two essential ideals of Taoist religion are individual longevity and immortality, and social harmony and peace.

In order to assess the validity of this way of life we've put 10 Taoist principles under the scientific spotlight—asking urologists, oncologists, and sex therapists to give us their verdict on each one—and providing you with a easy, no-hassle method of using each maxim to your benefit. »

He who does not emit semen 10 times will be immortal

To maintain your yang, your masculine energy, you can emit semen only twice a day—and that's if you're strong and aged between 15 and 20. If you're thin you get to ejaculate once a day. Strong men of about 30-years-old can afford one explosion each day, as you get older you're allowed fewer ejaculations.

There are benefits to withholding your precious liquid cargo too: If you have sex without ejaculating, your vital essence will be strong; do it twice and your hearing and vision will improve. Three times and any diseases you might have will disappear… things continue to get better the more times you achieve sex without ejaculation until on the 10th occasion you become immortal.

Verdict: Shoot your load—it might save your life. According a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "high ejaculation frequency was related to a decreased risk of total prostate cancer."

But there is evidence that semen holds regenerative powers and properties—for women. A study at the State University of New York suggests that semen acts as an antidepressant. Females having sex without condoms had few signs of depression than those that abstained from sex or used condoms. A Dutch study also found that women who swallowed semen had a lower risk of preeclampsia, a dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy. Even so, being able to control ejaculation undoubtedly leads to a better performance—you can keep going until she's come—so there's some wisdom in the Taoist way.

Tao know-how: If you have trouble holding back, practice solo. During masturbation, try pulling down on your testicles to prevent ejaculation. "This is an effective way to slow the process down," says psychosexual therapist Vicki Ford, "and you can use the same method during sex too."

He who engages in solo cultivation will revitalise his body

Masturbation (solo cultivation) is an essential way to develop ejaculatory control and of learning to circulate sexual energy. According to Tao philosophy, the different parts of the penis correspond to different parts of the body so the entire penis, including the shaft and head, should be stimulated so as to avoid overstimulating one part of your body.

It is also important to take time to enjoy self-pleasuring. If you can last 15 minutes during masturbation, you will be able to last as long as you like during intercourse.

Verdict: "There are numerous advantages to masturbation," says Ford, "one being reduced risk of prostate cancer. But many men hurry the process—when doing it slowly, thinking about the sensations that they are experiencing, is the best way to do it." Doing so, says Ford, will improve the intensity of your orgasms and make you last longer, too.

Tao know-how: Take time to masturbate. Lock the doors, turn off your phone and spend time enjoying the build-up—relish every moment, getting yourself more and more aroused. Then, when you get really stimulated, hold back a little—savor the moment, explore the physical sensations you're experiencing and enjoy it—then start again. "The more you build up tension before you let it go, the more explosive the climax will be," says Phillip Hodson, a fellow of the British Association of Counseling and Psychotherapy.

He who copulates as often as possible will live long and well and be contented

Around 300 AD, the philosopher Ko Hung, the Master of Embracing Simplicity,wrote "the more a man copulates, the greater will be the benefit he derives from the act..."

Verdict: Anyone who's ever experienced a chafed penis knows that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. But aside from those once-in-a-lifetime sexathons, plentiful intercourse is definitely something that puts a smile on our faces.

And you're smiling for good reason: there's evidence that oxytocin, a chemical that surges before and during climax, helps heal wounds faster, regenerating cells. And according to a study by Professor Beverly Whipple, whose accolades include having coined the term G-spot, pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increased by 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent, respectively. There's no doubt it keeps you fit—a man's heart rate rises from about 70-80 beats per minute to 110-180 during orgasm itself—that's about the same intensity as vigorous aerobic exercise. It can also burn about 360 calories—equivalent to two pints of beer—if you give it your all.

Sex also boosts DHEA levels (dehy-droepiandrosterone), a hormone that improves your sense of emotional well-being, increases energy levels and reduces the risk of heart problems.

Tao know-how: If you lack the energy or desire for sex after a hard day's work, try visualising yourself doing it on the way home. "This is a great technique for preparing the body for sex," says Hodson, "It builds anticipation, which helps fire up energy reserves in preparation for sex."

He who drinks of a woman's juices will be impervious to sickness and disease

The Taoist master Wu-hsien described a woman's saliva as her "jade spring," flowing from two points under tongue and "greatly beneficial" when drunk. The flow of both her saliva and her vaginal secretions could be enhanced by drinking the "white snow" from her nipples.

Verdict: Somehow we doubt that there are many lactating mothers who are happy to breastfeed their partner as well as a baby. But, even taking breast milk out of the equation, the health benefits of drinking a woman's juices are questionable. You can contract HIV, herpes, syphilis, and hepatitis B through cunnilingus, so if you plan to be a heavy drinker, make sure she's STD-clear beforehand. »

Tao know-how: Rather than "drinking" her saliva, try exchanging some—kissing makes you produce more saliva and so, like chewing gum, helps prevent tooth decay. And when you do go down on her—if you're not sure if she's STD-clear or not —use clingfilm or a dental dam to protect yourself. "Apply a little bit of lube to her vaginal lips beforehand," recommends Ford. "This create increased sensation for her, making her climax more easily."

Technical skills in love making are important but also tenderness

Technique is important but it is not the real art. You must learn the technique well enough to be able to forget about it. Egotism is an expression of insecurity and some men get so involved with their technique that they lose touch with their partner and the spontaneous process of lovemaking.

Verdict: In a poll, about 55 percent of men rated their sexual technique as between seven and nine on a scale of 1-10, saying they have "special know-how," and an arrogant 18 percent rated themselves as a 10, describing themselves as "absolutely fantastic." A little bit of maths reveals that at least 7 percent of respondents must've been telling fibs, because 34 percent of women say they've ended a relationship because the sex was bad. "Men tend to view their bedroom performance in terms of how long they can last and whether or not they got their partner to climax," says Pam Spurr, psychologist and author of Sinful Sex. "But women view it differently – for many, the best sex they've ever had didn't even necessarily involve an orgasm. What made it great was the enthusiasm their partner showed and how fully he explored her body."

Tao know-how: Make a conscious effort to explore her body. An easy way to do this is to offer to moisturize for her after a bath or shower. "Having cream slathered over your body feels fantastic—even more so when your partner is doing it for you," says Spurr. "And it's an ideal way to be sure that you've touched her everywhere—watch her reactions and you'll probably discover a few new erogenous zones you didn't know she had."

He who enjoys many women will be strong

The man's yang force is described by Taoist philosophy as being like fire—volatile and quickly spent—while the yin of a woman is like the oceans, slow to move but inexhaustible. By absorbing the yang of as many women as possible, by arousing them to a state of orgasm, and stimulating the flow of saliva, milk and vaginal secretions, your yang will grow strong. Ko Hung recommends copulating with at least 10 women each night.

Verdict: "There's no evidence to suggest that sex with several different women enhances health, strength or emotional well-being," says Phillip Hodson. In fact, the opposite could be true: several studies have shown that married men live longer, are happier overall and suffer less illness.

Plus, unless you use condoms—even for oral sex—you're putting yourself at risk of getting a host of STDs: gonorroea, chlamyida and HIV to name a few. So if you are shopping around, at least do it in proper uniform, with a condom on.

Tao know-how: Spend time improving your relationship with your partner instead.

He who is aware of the interconnection of the Circular Muscles of the Body will gain more sexual strength

The muscles around the eyes, mouth, perineum and anus—all circular—are interlinked. The strength of your PC—pubococcygeus, the muscle that encircles the base of the penis—is increased if you squeeze your eye muscle at the same time as tensing your PC muscle.

Verdict: "Exercising your PC muscle leads to stronger, harder erections as well as improved control over orgasm," says Beverly Whipple, who recommends PC workouts for men and women in her sex therapy sessions. "But squeezing your eye or mouth shut at the same time is unlikely to make much of a difference. If anything, it may make it more difficult to concentrate on fully flexing your PC."

Tao know-how: Stand at a urinal, and when you're about to pee stand up on your toes and the balls of your feet. Inhale deeply as you do so. Now exhale slowly and deliberately, forcing the urine out. Inhale and squeeze your PC muscle to halt the flow, exhale and urinate again. Repeat until you've finished peeing. If you already exercise your PC, try doing it front of a mirror—as you get stronger you should be able to see a very slight movement of your penis.

He who breathes like a fetus in the womb will be full of yang

Learning to control ejaculation and being a better lover as well as a stronger man begins with strengthening and deepening your breathing. Most of us breathe shallowly, into our chest and shoulders, which allows only a small amount of oxygen to be absorbed by our lungs. As babies we breathe deeply, from our bellies, this is the healthiest way.

Verdict: Deep breathing relaxes and de-stresses—it can also help improve circulation. This is because it gets more oxygen pumping around your body and your brain. Even more exciting, though, is that deep-breathing could be the key to becoming multi-orgasmic. Researchers at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in Pennsylvania found that »naturally multi-orgasmic men took deep belly breaths during the build up to climax, and when they hit the heights of arousal they maintained their breathing rate, and attained several, sometimes five or six, pleasure peaks without ejaculating. "Men who suffered from early ejaculation tended to pant as they became aroused, taking lots of small shallow breaths," says William Hartman, one of the study authors.

Tao know-how: When you masturbate focus on your breathing too—try to be aware of the point at which you begin to breathe faster and less deeply, then slow down, continuing to stimulate yourself. And stick with the PC exercises, too. "After a few weeks of exercise, you'll start to gain more control of the muscles around your penis," says Hartman. "You'll enjoy a higher level of orgasmic energy. And, if you maintain a slow breathing rate, you'll never shoot beyond that point of no return. Your potential is boundless."

He who accepts that the essence of foreplay is slowness will be a better lover

All aspects of touch are seen as part of the union between man and woman and therefore touching hands or lips is as important as intercourse. Attention should be given in equal parts to areas of a man and woman's body—otherwise sexual energy will prevented from flowing freely and blockages can occur, causing pain. Women and men have meridians, energy channels which are extremely sensitive to touch. These include the small of her back, and her inner arms and thighs.

Verdict: There's a small chance you may have heard that women enjoy lengthy foreplay—it's the mantra of sex therapists the world over—but did you know that it's also good for you? Testosterone is produced during and after sex, but levels are further increased if there's a long period of foreplay. And that's a good thing—testosterone helps strengthen bones and muscles, and also aids the function of your body's immune system.Meridians or energy channels are used in acupuncture—a process that's thought to trigger the release of endorphins in the brain. The World Health Organization recognizes more than 100 medical conditions, including asthma, digestive problems and high blood pressure, which can be helped by acupuncture.

Tao know-how: Begin with kissing, then move to her extremities next. Take her hands and kiss them, move on to her wrists, then her feet and ankles. Now you can explore her arms and legs to her abdomen. Mantak Chia, coauthor of The Multi-Orgasmic Man, describes the best way to approach her sensitive breast area: "Spiral around them in ever-narrower circles until you slowly reach the centre—this will draw sexual energy to her nipples making it even more pleasurable when you touch them."

He who controls his rhythm will be master of all things sexual

Tao know-how: Thrusting patterns, most of which involve varying between shallow thrusts and deep thrusts, are essential for good loving. Alternating your thrusts helps you last longer and pleases your partner, too. Nine shallow thrusts and one deep is the most common variation.

Verdict: This works, says Spurr, for a very simple reason: "The most sensitive part of a woman's vagina is the outer third," she says. "Deep thrusts stimulate a man far more than they do a woman because she has very little sensation deep inside her vagina—she will gain far more pleasure if you play in the shallows."

Tao know-how: Try alternating deeper thrusts with shallow ones, but don't get too caught up in mathematics: "It's more important to find a rhythm you can stick to without concentrating," says Hodson. "If you're too busy counting how many thrusts you've done, it won't feel natural and not only are you likely to lose your erection it will feel mechanical and less sensual to her."


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