Taoist sexology: Is sex good or bad for the human body?

In today’s post, I will go back to Taoist philosophy and explore ancient Taoist sexology which, in many aspects, is quite different from modern sexological theories.

Taoists believe that a sexual intercourse can greatly benefit the human body. However, they also believe that a sexual intercourse should be performed with control and discretion, especially for men. According to Taoist sexology, when one wallows in excessive sexual activities, it could harm the body, since it leads to the loss of a vital life force in the body. To better understand this theory, let’s first go over the Taoist concept of the three treasures, which are Shen, Qi, and Jing.

The three treasures of the human body 

According to Taoism, the human body has three treasures that are essential for human life. These three treasures are Shen (Shin in Korean), Qi (Ki in Korean) and Jing (Jeong in Korean).



According to Taoism, Shen is the spirit and divinity in us. Shen can be cultivated by meditation and self-introspect. Fundamentally spiritual in nature, Shen may be the most important aspect of human existence. Shen constitutes a link to the Universe and a path to intuition. Strong Shen enables us to remain healthy and balanced. Debilitating Shen often leads to depression, anxiety and other forms of psychological disorder. In fact, most of mental illnesses are closely associated with problems with Shen, according to traditional Eastern medicine. It is possible that speech problems, such as lisping and stammering, could be caused by problems with Shen. Introspective exercises, such as meditation, taichi, qigong or yoga, help to strengthen Shen.


QiQi, which is commonly known as Qi energy or Chi energy, is the force that charges us with buoyant life. It is the energy that activates the body. In the human body, Qi energy constantly circulates through energy channels called meridians, reaching every cell and organ. In fact, Qi affects our emotional state, and our emotions, in turn, affect our Qi energy. For example, when we feel peaceful and harmonious, Qi energy flows in a balanced and harmonious manner. To the contrary, when we are gripped by strong emotions such as anger, jealousy, hatred or shock, our emotional state blocks the flow of Qi. Even an emotion we consider to be positive, such as joy, can hinder the harmonious flow of Qi when it is excessive.


taoist sexologyJing is the third component of the three human treasures, and Taoists believe that the most concentrated Jing is carried in semen. Think of Jing this way: If the human body is a car, Jing is the battery that enables the car to function. If the human body is a house, Jing is the furnace of the house. Jing is an essential element for our development and reproduction. Qi is comparable to fuel, and Jing is akin to an automobile. When Jing is depleted, it is indicated by premature aging, such as premature graying or thinning hair, wrinkles, poor concentration, low libido and senility. The depletion of Jing could lead to the deficiency of semen, impotence and infertility for men, and menopause and infertility for women.

Jing is the central element that constitutes our very physical being. It is the essence of life and is commonly associated with reproductive sources. Our original Jing is inherited from our parents. Then during our lifetimes, we develop and nourish original Jing through the consumption of water, food and air.

The quality and quantity of Jing reach the maximum in the mid-20s and continue to erode thereafter. Excessive work, excessive sexual activities, the exhaustion of emotions, the lack of sleep, or poor diet could cause the depletion of Jing. When Jing is deficient in the body, our aging process accelerates.

Taoist sexology

Jing, sex, and men’s health

Now, let’s go back to Taoist sexology. Taoists believe that when a man releases ejaculatory fluids, he loses some of his Jing. That is why Taoists recommend men to abstain from ejaculation whenever possible. According to Taoist sexology, if a man manages to retain his Jing by refraining from ejaculation and simultaneously absorbs Yin energy from his partner, he can receive enormous benefits from sex. Besides, a man’s Yang increases and his overall energy flow is stimulated during an intercourse. With his increased energy and prowess, his sexual performance will become more intense and he can provide more pleasure to his partner as well.

Given that semen contains Jing, it is advised for a man to refrain from frequent masturbation as well, according to Taoist sexology. When a man masturbates, he releases his Jing without receiving the benefit of energy exchange that occurs during an intercourse. When Jing deficiency is caused by excessive sexual activities, your mind becomes dull and you suffer from the lack of energy, enthusiasm and spark.

However, since everybody has a different reservoir of Jing, it would be misleading to say that abstention from the release of bodily fluids would benefit all men. Also, modern scientists do encourage a regular release of semen to keep men’s reproductive organs, especially the prostate, healthy.

Nevertheless, according to Taoist sexology, men should be careful about releasing their ejaculatory fluids, and especially, for those who are deficient in Jing, frequent ejaculation could lead to the depletion of Jing.

The depletion of Jing can be detected by symptoms, such as osteoporosis, gray hair, the loss of memory and a weakening immune system. The first clue of Jing deficiency is premature aging.

Women and Jing

As for women, they do not release their bodily fluids the way men do, and therefore, they may not need to worry about losing their Jing from a sexual activity, like men do. For women, it is usually childbirth that really causes the loss of Jing.

Nevertheless, excessive sexual activities still lead to the loss of Jing for women as well. Sexual trade workers or adult movie actresses tend to age fast and based on Taoist sexology, we can deduce that this is largely because of the exhaustion of their Jing.

Benefits of sex

While excessive sexual activities could lead to the depletion of Jing,  sex can be of great benefit to us when practiced sensibly, according to Taoist sexology. According to Taoist sexology, during a sexual act between a man and a woman, an interchange of Yin and Yang occurs at the energy level. During a sexual intercourse, a man and a woman mutually nourish each other’s energy, and both parties benefit from the interchange of Yin and Yang, given that a man represents Yang and a woman represents Yin.

Also, foreplay is an effective way to open up meridians, the energy channels through which Qi energy circulates in our bodies. Foreplay helps open up the meridians, thereby providing a smoother circulation of Qi energy in our bodies.

Tao Universe

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