Western women never reach higher than the 5th level of orgasm,” my Chinese Medicine teacher told me. As he was both a Master Martial Artist and an MD as well as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, I thought I’d better pay attention. “In China, the ninth level would be considered minimal expectation. One thousand strokes would easily produce such an orgasm.”
“A thousand strokes?” I repeated, trying to wrap my head around the visual that provoked.
“Oh, yes,” he replied with Asian equanimity. “A man must train himself for sex, as an athlete would. When one hears of men lifting sledgehammers with their penises and women lifting lead weights with their vaginas, these feats are simply part of their training program.”
OK. There was another visual for me. Does one really hear a lot about men lifting sledgehammers with their penises? I must be attending the wrong dinner parties.
So, I told everyone the story over dinner that night.
“A thousand strokes,” said one man in disbelief, “could that be cumulative over a lifetime?”
“A physical impossibility,” stated the famous surgeon to my left. “No woman’s vagina could withstand such an assault.”
Which is how I began my odyssey to Chinatown in search of whatever else they might know that I didn’t. Sledgehammers? Seriously?
I began my research at the library and found that The Secrets of the Jade Bedroom and dozens of other classic textbooks of sexual how-to’s not only deemed 1000 strokes do-able, they trained men in the kind of strokes, the depth or shallowness, the positions to be used and the quantity/quality of the thrusts. It appeared that in China they took more pains about pleasure than Halliburton does about finding war zones.
I needed to talk to some experts.
Research in the Field
My Chinese Medicine guru who had started this whole inquiry was an M.D., Ph.D., Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Master of several rarefied Martial Arts and expert in the art of Taoist sex. He agreed to be interviewed.
“Yes, it is done,” he said thoughtfully, “by those who are trained… but I think perhaps you must understand the 5,000 year old philosophy about love-making that engenders such sexual feats.
“The Taoist view of the ultimate sexual experience is that of complete unity of man and woman… the object of such effort is to melt into each other’s being in such a way that you both become one. In so doing, your bodies supply each other with vital nourishment: mental, physical and spiritual.”
The 1000 strokes were sounding better and better.
“The ancient Chinese masters searched relentlessly for health and immortality,” he told me. “They found that the sex act itself had the capacity to replenish and strengthen the life force of both men and women. So they sought the means to prolong this sex act, in order to prolong life itself.
“Once the Ancients discovered that the sex act could generate this Qi Energy better than anything else, they spent the next 5,000 years perfecting their sexual skills. They created exercises to strengthen the body and the Energy system. Even the positions and types of strokes recommended are exercises of a sort.”
“How exactly does one prolong the sex act indefinitely?” I asked.
“To do this ,” said the good doctor, “a man must learn to separate ejaculation and orgasm, entirely. For a man, limiting the number of times he ejaculates conserves his Essence, his Qi, the primary energy of life.”
This didn’t sound to me like something the men I knew would be lining up to learn, especially when the good doctor told me the training program could take twelve years to complete.
“If you think of the act of love as an artform… a kind of cosmic dance of awareness, in which every nuance of your lover’s body is important… you will realize that it is not orgasm which provides fulfillment, but all that leads up to that moment. In China, all our training leads us toward awareness. Listening to nuances. Subtleties of smell, taste, touch. The sound of a sigh… In lovemaking we are looking for the purest melting of Yin and Yang. To reach that peak one must be able to go far beyond the ordinary Western concept of orgasm. If you are willing to train for golf or tennis, why not for love?” I began to wonder if this could really be the philosophy of an entire country – if so, why didn’t all those people on the streets of Beijing look happier?
I decided to get the straight scoop from a woman.
A Woman Doctor Speaks
Dr. L., who laughs liltingly as Cho Cho San, holds a degree in western Pharmacology, and is an accomplished herbalist, whose specialties include strengthening of the immune system and infertility.
“There are sexual exercises, but they are not spoken of openly,” she said, so she called in Dr. K., a man newly here from the East, and still uncertain of his English, to consult in our interview. “Men know more about these things,” she explained , with a woman-to-woman conspiratorial wink.
“There are exercises one should do,” he said, as she translated, “ and there is a spot in the perineum – acupuncturists call it CV 1 – this should be pressed upward many times. The man should also expose his naked penis to the sun.” That would certainly add some zest to the streets of Manhattan, I thought.
“Also, in making love,” he continued, “the man should practice 7 shallow counterclockwise strokes and one swift, strong, deep stroke, then withdraw slowly… repeating this act as often as he is able. Making love is therapeutic. Men and women exchange energy and fluid substances like estrogen and testosterone, each of which is capable of protecting the opposite gender from certain types of cancer.”
Dr. L. smiled a little mischievously, as if she couldn’t quite decide if she should voice the next thought.
“Seven shallow, one deep,” I mused, as I exited the office. The first doctor had suggested nine shallow, one deep, then eight shallow, two deep, etc… that plus the 1000 strokes and I would need to notch my night table to keep track of all this math. Maybe this is why so many people in the East used to carry an abacus.
I decided I needed to find out if non-Asians ever mastered these arts and proceeded to my next interview. John M., a stocky, very male-looking American man in a beret, was next on my list. He looked like a prosperous doctor or lawyer, not a candidate for Oriental-Sexpert.
“Years ago I became involved with Eastern philosophy, not Eastern sexuality,” John said with an immensely likable grin. He seemed serious and full of good humor simultaneously and I felt an immediate comfort in his presence. “I’ve studied martial arts for many years, as well as Chinese language and philosophy. Through all of these explorations – and a good deal of my own sexual investigating, as well – I began to feel that the Eastern way of perceiving life was an infinitely better one.”
I’d been told by my doctor interviewees that this non-Asian man was a practitioner of the sexual athletics I’d been pursuing, so I asked him to describe the elusive sledgehammer technique.
John smiled in a particularly inscrutable way, that I took to mean “Americans want quick how-to’s for a process that demands a lifetime of philosophical commitment…” but I sensed he would try to explain all this, so I could understand. I thought it would be fun to hug him, too.
“In the beginning,” he said, “you know nothing… but soon you learn that it is not so much the lifting of the weights you are after – it is a true understanding of the Energy. You must disassociate yourself from the feeling of your physical body. You must not struggle against the bulk of the weight, but rather, you must let it fall, and you must go the other way. You do not want to engage the physical body, and that’s the essence of the exercise: because if you are using the Energy correctly, you can accomplish it, but if you bring the physical body into it, you’ll be injured. So this becomes a great test for your focus and concentration. It takes many years of practice. Of course, once you have accomplished this there will be great changes in your physical body…”
“Well, duh!” I thought, imagining an overworked penis in a sling at the sports clinic.
“You learn these abilities,” he continued, “by exploring orgasm in infinite detail. You must be willing to move yourself into the smallest corners, the most intricate little areas of the orgasm. You must be fully aware not only of what is going on in your genitals, which is really just one small area of your body, but you must be able to spread this sensation evenly throughout the rest of yourself. Then you will find passages in your body… areas to expand and expand into, and there will always be room to have filled up. If you study your Energy, you will find the passageways. Then it will expand until the whole body is going to explode… and then you will find another gateway. Then there are explosions for each gateway that you go through. They’re infinite. Only as much as you can stand, of course. They will lead you to a sensation you cannot imagine.”
“I’m not saying you must go and live alone in the woods to achieve this. You have a real life to live. But let’s say, you’re going to be married to somebody, you’re going to spend time with her. So what are you going to do nights? Watch TV? See a movie? Why not spend two evenings a week exploring each other? You have to make choices about what’s important. I mean, which would you rather do? Experience the Universe and the most wonderful sexuality imaginable, or do the Times crossword puzzle? The choice is yours.”
I told you I liked this man from the start.
The Most Important Oriental Sexual Secret
Sooo – I bought a set of funny looking weights, started training with the same fervor that had earned me my Black Belt and began looking with renewed respect at every Asian man I passed on the street. Then I asked myself, what to do with all this newfound knowledge. Did it mean that everyone should run right down to Chinatown for a fling? Maybe not, even though one American woman I interviewed, who was married to a Chinese practitioner of these arts, told me she’d be on the first bus to Chinatown if anything happened to her husband. I think the lessons of my research were bigger than that, for maybe what all these adepts were saying was this:
- That a lover who is truly careful of your body, mind and spirit, is the one you’ll remember forever.
- That great sex takes time… and it should not be placed on your priority list just below “buy dog food” and “get my suit from the cleaners.”
- That there’s validity in exercising the muscles you’ll need for any inordinately important area of life… and that some of those muscles are in the loins, some in the head and some in the heart.
- That really paying attention to your partner’s need is the most elusive and most erotic act of all.
- That learning how to love is a lifetime schoolroom.
- That sexual skill and a thousand strokes and all the herbs in China only matter if you truly care about whom you share them with.
As I was departing Dr. L.’s office, Dr. K. followed me to the waiting room. His English was new, but amazingly eloquent at the last.
“I want to tell you something very important,” he said earnestly, searching for the correct words. “The best sexual secret… for man… for woman. Better than anything…” I awaited the Ultimate Taoist Secret.
“True love,” he said smiling like Dr. Max on Hawaii 5-0, “True love makes all the difference!”
© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2014