Men’s Reproductive Health

CAUTION: This article discusses explicit topics related to men’s reproductive health and is generally intended for a male-bodied audience – however, all are welcome to explore!

Anyone interested in exploring these topics with me, click here:

As stated in the last articlemen are at a higher risk of developing jing deficiency through lifestyle than women.

Effects of jing deficiency:

  • Low back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Low-pitched tinnitus
  • Pronounced exhaustion after ejaculation
  • Hair loss, balding
  • Greying of hair
  • Vision loss
  • Cognitive decline
  • General weakness

In Chinese culture, it is considered harmful if a boy begins masturbating before puberty. This drains jing before the jing-boost that happens when a young man reaches sexual maturity. Also, many cultures have simply a more abstinent and sex-restrictive culture than those in the West. In both Vedic and Asian cultures, sex is traditionally something that is performed seldom but always with purpose. Sex strictly for the sake of “getting off” is largely a Western phenomenon. Sex is a sacred act and should be treated as such.

Men benefit greatly by learning the practice of retaining seminal fluid (often referred to as semen retention) and prolonging sex by being conscious of their level of stimulation.

I encourage all men that I engage with on this topic to abstain from excessive loss of semen for the purpose of maintaining a healthy storage of jing. The Huangdi Neijing Suwen (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) states that a man in his twenties should have sex no more frequently than once every four days. In his thirties, sex should be limited to once every 8 days; in this fourties, once every sixteen days; in his fifties, about once a month; and so on.

Seem like a tall order? Perhaps not if what the Neijing meant by “sex” was actually “ejaculation”. (I think they really did mean sex in general, but bear with me…)

I realize that here in the West, we like to have our cake and eat it too – and sex is one of life’s greatest joys, a euphoric cocktail of oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline. In light of this, one thing that a man can do is learn the art and science of non-ejaculatory orgasm, or semen retention. In Indian and East Asian cultures, this is not an alien concept. When a man works on this ability, he can achieve multiple male orgasm. Be forewarned, for many men this is an extremely challenging (but extremely rewarding) task and can take years before it is done correctly. Failure is easy and success largely depends on a man’s level of focus.

This practice is often considered inherent to the practice of Daoist Alchemy and some of the physiological understandings of it’s effects spring from that tradition. An integral part of this practice is partaking in qigong and breathwork. Kegel exercises are key. I sometimes make the hyperbolic remark when discussing kegels that “100 kegels per day just gets you in the club. 300 is bronze level membership.” Strong pubococcygeal muscles (the muscles used to stop oneself from urinating) are entirely necessary if you want to stop ejaculation from happening.

Want a tip? Try clenching your fist (only need one) or your jaw or even squeezing your eyes tightly while kegeling and see how long you can hold it. The sympathetic resonance between these contractory movements of multiple muscles at once will enhance your ability to focus on that activity. Kind of like how some weightlifters wear mouth-guards.

It is important that a man engages his mind and his body together in this process. Mindfulness meditation on the body can improve the coherence between one’s mind and body (especially along with Qigong). Practicing “edging”, either by oneself or with a partner, will greatly enhance one’s success with seminal retention by forcing one to be mindful of exactly what is meant by the term “climax”.

Just prior to climax the pubococcygeal muscles are tightened and strong breathing according to the Microcosmic Orbit is performed. The trick is in the timing. If the PC muscles are clenched too early or too late, the results can be undesirable (sometimes painful). If done correctly, seminal emissions will either be reduced or will be eliminated altogether (also called a dry orgasm), and the sexual, generative energy of the orgasm will be funneled into the Ren and Du channels of the Microcosmic Orbit and stored as a newly transformed form of jing rather than being lost. The man should notice more energy after a dry orgasm rather than the usual depletion of energy that happens after ejaculatory orgasm.

Be forewarned that this can also be dangerous. There exists such a thing called retrograde ejaculation where a man can accidentally ejaculate backwards into his bladder – and it is very painful (though it doesn’t cause long term damage).

I encourage any man who is interested in this kind of practice to research the work of Mantak Chia. The book I recommend the most is Multi-Orgasmic Man by Mantak Chia.

Please note, the key to performing these practices well is awareness. If a man, during the act of sex or masturbation, can learn to slow down and breathe rather than succumb to climax, then the very practice of semen retention can be rendered unnecessary by awareness alone. If a man can abstain from climax, either through simply avoiding going “over the edge” or through the brute force method of semen retention, then he can also keep the dopamine that would be spent and avoid the natural testosterone drop after ejaculation.

In summary:

  • Breathe. Practice micro-cosmic orbit breath.
  • Be mindful. Be present and embodied.
  • Slow down. Way down. It’s not a race.
  • Practice kegels and contracting the PC muscle.

Men in our time and culture are in dire need of more spiritual and physical consciousness (and the blending of the two) if we are going to respected and honored for what we are – spiritual beings who’s endowment springs from the same sacred source as that of woman.

Any man who takes this challenge upon himself will be rewarded. Good luck and contact me if I can be of assistance.

Jing: The Substance of Vitality

Jing – it’s what you’re made of.

CAUTION: Includes explicit topics related to reproductive health.

In Chinese physiology, there is a substance that each of us possesses called jing – it’s often translated into English as “essence” or “vitality”. Jing is said to be stored in the kidneys and is believed to decline with age. In fact, the definition of aging in Chinese medicine is the loss of jing. Brittle bones, thin skin, hair loss, and cognitive decline are all symptoms of jing deficiency. Your jing is your genetic integrity and it is inherited from your parents. In this sense, congenital birth defects are also considered a jing deficiency.  This substance is a very yin substance and is said to be related to the Water element through it’s association with the Kidney. This makes sense, as Water has a relationship to one’s ancestors and to the past. Adequate jing is necessary for healthy reproduction and for sexual function. It is also necessary for growth and development, particularly of the bones and bone marrow. Going through puberty is like receiving a shot of stored jing from our kidneys.

Overwork, overthinking, age, and chronic oxidative damage are all things that can detract from one’s jing. Kidney yin deficiency and Kidney yang deficiency, if both present and profound enough, can equate to jing deficiency. It is considered a precious substance and is given to you at birth in a finite amount, so it’s best not to waste it by “burning the candle at both ends”. Whenever you work beyond your means (i.e. spend all the qi you have to give in a day and continue working), you drain your jing. It is said that whenever you go to bed without using up all your qi for that day, some of that qi gets transformed into jing – like change in a piggy bank.

To get at the importance of having a healthy storage of jing, I often compare it to a similar concept from another traditional healing system – Ayurveda. In Ayurvedic medicine, there is a substance believed to be contained in the heart called ojas. Each individual is born with only eight drops of ojas – when those eight drops are used up, the person dies.

There are some gender differences when it comes to jing-metabolism.

It is said that 100 drops of Blood is worth 1 drop of jing. This is where it gets more interesting – it is also said that 30 drops of semen is worth 1 drop of jing.

There are a few different statements being made here. One is that, the more yin a substance, the closer it’s relationship with jing. Semen is more yin than blood. It is also making the important point that men are at a higher risk of developing jing deficiency through lifestyle than women are.

Granted, childbearing is a remarkably jing-intensive process. However if a woman is careful and has prepared her body before bearing a child (by nourishing her blood and jing), then her jing will not suffer and both her and the baby will be healthy. When a woman’s body is not prepared to give birth, the baby pulls on the mother’s essence and women often lose bone density or teeth as a result of bearing a child. The biggest challenge for women is the cyclical loss of blood, which can have quite a pernicious effect on a woman’s health if not regulated and kept in balance. However, for men, the frequent and unregulated loss of semen, from the Chinese medical perspective, can pose much greater health risks – theoretically shortening a man’s life.

It is believed that the only way to nourish jing in Chinese Medicine is through qigong. So do your qigong!

For more information on how jing works in men and what they can do to prevent the loss of essence, see this article. (CAUTION: Explicit topics.)

Be good to your body. Take care of the vitality you were given.

Three Treasures – Jing, Qi, & Shen

In Oriental Medicine (OM), the body is composed of three major parts – jing, qi, and shen. These are referred to as the Three Treasures (sanbao).

Jing is most often translated as essence or vitality. Jing is your genetic integrity and the ability of your cells to replicate. It is described as the blueprint your body uses to live and to grow, which you were given at birth from your parents – sounds a lot like DNA, right? I think the ancient Chinese were on to something.

Qi (sometimes written chi) is an increasingly common word in the English language. It is often translated into English as breath, but this does not encompass the entire concept implied by the word qi, as qi can also mean weather, mood, air, attitude, and other things. The translation agreed upon by most practitioners of OM is vital force or life force. As recently as the 20th century, the philosophy of vitalism, or the belief that there is an invisible energy that animates all life, was an accepted idea by medical professionals all over the world – an idea which has its roots in ancient natural philosophy. If you are looking for a similar concept, it is believed to be synonymous with the Vedic notion of prana. To learn more about qi, see this article.

Shen is translated as spirit. This entails both a person’s individual spirit and their access to the source spirit of the universe (call it what you will). We assess a person’s shen by the look in ones eyes. We believe that having a healthy shen is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy state of being and in a good prognosis in the case of illness. If one’s shen is strong, he or she has a much greater likelihood of faster healing and longer life. When the shen wanders, mental illness or depression can develop.

The strategies handed down in OM work to keep these Three Treasure optimized and in balance. We use herbs, acupuncture, moxibustion, magnets, and other therapies to supplement and harmonize these fundamental components of the human being.

To learn more about bodily substances and how they be brought back into balance, check out these articles: