It would seem that a book about the body’s energies should have a chapter on sex.
I don’t have as much to say as some people might. I am 70, haven’t had a partner in some years and am not likely to acquire one anytime soon, since I am increasingly committed to my own journey and anyway, I never did know how to flirt.
But I’ve thought a lot about the things Dr. Sun has said about sex and wished I’d heard and thought about them long ago, so here we go.
Dr. Sun taught a seminar titled “Emotional Well-being of the Reproductive System” on Saturday, Feb. 11, followed by a teacher training session called “Refinement and Transformation of the Reproductive System” on Sunday, Feb. 12. These sessions were part of a series, and it did not occur to me until a few days later, nor was it mentioned, that they took place right before Valentine’s Day. In their way, however, they proved to be quite a lovely qigong valentine.
Dr. Sun said that there is no such thing as casual sex. Every sexual encounter, every partner, is recorded in the body, and particularly in the reproductive system. The energies from sex past remain in the body pretty much forever and can interfere with building a new relationship.
I’ve always thought of memories, including conscious and unconscious sexual memories, as being in my head. I don’t know why thinking of them as being elsewhere in my body should be any different—except that somehow it is. Perhaps I am simply accustomed to having painful thoughts and feelings in my head. (In the head they are, after all, disembodied and contained.) To think that memories of sex tainted by negative energy might live on in other parts of my body somehow makes them seem more harmful.
And yes, there’s qigong for removing negative sexual memories from the body, but prevention is always better than cure. Before connecting with someone sexually, Dr. Sun said, you should ask yourself, “Does this person’s energy nourish me or does it make me miserable?”
“Your body,” he said, “is your house. Some guests come and try to take everything, even kill you; some bring you honor, support, joy. What do you want to bring into your house?”
As well, if your normally loving partner is angry and wants to have sex with you to feel better, Dr. Sun said you should ask yourself whether you are willing to let your body be used as a dumping ground for that anger. If the partner says, “If you loved me, you’d have sex with me,” you might want to say, “Honey, you need to take a shower or do something else to deal with your anger instead of giving it to me.”
Dr. Sun said many other things about the reproductive system and how it interacts with the rest of the energetic body to create health and happiness, or the opposite, but I think I fastened upon this one thing because I was so surprised to hear a man say it. My pop-culture belief is that men are more likely than women to want to use sex to deal with their anger, and I was certain that in Dr. Sun’s mind, the “if you love me” line was spoken by a man. Later Dr. Sun said that “women have bodies that can suck in from other people, can clean up for other people. Once you realize this, you can retrain the uterus, you can begin to use the uterus as a mirror.”
I don’t recall being used sexually as a dump for a man’s anger, but I’m sensitive to the issue because I had a partner who liked to rant about work. He’d tell me how he’d set people straight with so much passion that I’d think, “He can’t really have said those things—he’d have been fired,” which of course was true. He was just venting, and I was the stand-in for the people he really wanted to make feel his ire.
I thought that a loving partner would listen while her mate vented, so I did. But I always felt assaulted. Perhaps if I’d been stronger, I could have let his anger wash over me without letting any of the negative energy in. But I wasn’t. And in the end, his rants were harmful to us both because they colored how I viewed him. The energy lingered—and it wasn’t even energy poured into the sexual heart of my body; it was just words spoken when I was fully clothed.
Prior to the reproductive system seminar, I’d read that male qigong practitioners past middle age are generally advised to limit how frequently they ejaculate so that they don’t lose the energy their semen contains.
However, Dr. Sun doesn’t think ejaculation is the critical factor in sex past middle age. At the seminar, he said that sex is OK for men and women who are past 40 or 45 if it’s an expression of love, a mutually beneficial exchange of positive energies. But to have sex just for momentary pleasure or because you think you should—well, you’re better off saving your sexual energy and using it to energize your body as a whole.
Frankly, I don’t know if my not having a sex life is giving me more energy for qigong practice and helping me stave off the ills of old age.
I do know that it would take a lot of all kinds of energy to go on a man-hunt and then try to build and sustain a sexual relationship. I’d definitely have less time for qigong.
However—and this was the valentine Dr. Sun’s seminar gave me—it it was nice to hear someone say, at a time when advertisers and the media were exalting romantic love, that there just might be advantages to buying one’s own chocolate and sleeping alone.