Sexuality

There is much weirdness in sexual matters in all cultures and I have met or heard of more than one bagua teacher (sometimes Chinese, more often not) who wraps his classes in pseudo-taoism as a way to get young sexual partners. To be fair, though, there is certainly a legitimate aspect to the theories behind Taoist sexual activity from a traditional viewpoint, but—caveat emptor (translation: "let the horny beware!")—I also think that the old Chinese approach to preventing or limiting male ejaculation to preserve vital fluids and energies may often have had something to do with elderly rich men trying to satisfy the needs of a household with several wives, concubines, and attractive female maids!

Anatomically, using any method to stop ejaculation is more likely to simply cause retrograde emission, in which the sperm is released, but forced backwards into the bladder instead of being ejected immediately in the normal manner. So, someone who actually tries to use one of the recommended Taoist practices for preventing ejaculation is liable to only end up thinking he hasn't ejaculated, as he is still "losing Qi" when he urinates after having engaged in retrograde emission.

Abstinence as a way of purifying the monk or the warrior is an age-old tradition in both Eastern and Western cultures. The Knights Templar, the Knights of St. John are examples of mediaeval attempts to unite the two concepts. This agenda also often gets carried to ridiculous extremes by those with a sexual/emotional axe to grind. In fact, many famous, and not so famous, masters have been fond of female company, and have continued to demonstrate that interest into old age. The spirit and Qi are still vital although the body grows old.

It is also relevant to point out that many of the best Chinese masters I have met were skirt chasers, heavy drinkers, heavy smokers, ate whatever food was put in front of them—in other words, ordinary human beings, warts and all. Too many Western students of the Chinese internal arts are looking for the archetypal master, as I noted in an earlier chapter, from having watched too many episodes of the old kung-fu television series as children.

Oh, and by the way, there are many stories about Tung Hai Ch'uan having been a eunuch, and while I don't want to prick anyone's sensibilities on the subject of eunuchs, the history of this kind of mutilation is quite fascinating. Many cultures, both Western (Italian castrati opera singers as recently as the 20th century) and Oriental (eunuchs of harem fame), have used castration in different forms for different cultural ends.

Suffice it to say that there were different forms of castration used to produce different kinds of eunuchs. One method involved removing the penis surgically (a straw was inserted into the stump during the surgical process to keep the urethra from closing during the healing process). If the person survived the surgery, his hormones and physical appearance would remain intact. The other methods involved crushing the testicles or removing them surgically, and this would affect hormonal production and physique.

All methods had a high death rate, and it should tell you something about human nature and desperation that made parents take their sons to have the procedure done, so they could get the employment that required castration. And there were still adult volunteers, as being fixed was the only way to ensure attaining some positions in Chinese government service.

I have no idea what, if anything, was done to Tung Hai Ch'uan and, if half the stories are true about his martial abilities, even if it was possible, I wouldn't want to stick my hand down in his pants to investigate the state of his genitalia.

It is also always a good idea to introduce common sense when faced with extreme views on human sexuality, especially when taken out of the social and historical context in which they first arose.

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