Taoist Sexual Practices | Sexual Practices of Daoists

Sexual Rituals of Taists | Taoist Sex Rituals


The Taoist world-view, and its associated yoga/qigong practices, is based largely upon an understanding of the flow of energy, within and outside of the human body, and includes an understanding of sexual energy which is far more sophisticated than anything produced by western culture. Integral to this understanding are what are known as “The Three Treasures.” These Three Treasures represent three types (or vibratory frequencies) of energy found in the human body: (1) Jing, or generative energy, (2) Qi, or life-force energy, and (3) Shen, or spiritual energy. Fundamental to all qigong/Taoist yoga practice, including sexual/consort practices, is the waking up of Jing/generative energy and its subsequent transformation into Qi/life-force energy and Shen/spiritual energy. And then, conversely, the transformation of Shen into Qi into Jing. In other words, the Taoist practitioner cultivates the capacity to circulate energy freely between its various forms/frequencies: from the most primal/mundane to the most refined/ephemeral … and back again!

How exactly this happens is the subject of a vast field of enquiry & practice called Internal Alchemy. If you’re interested in reading about internal alchemy via classical Taoist texts, please see Eva Wong’s translations (from the Chinese into English): “Harmonizing Yin and Yang,” and “Holding Yin, Embracing Yang.” For a wonderful presentation of a sequence of qigong practices (which include sexual practices), please check out Eric Yudelove’s book “Taoist Yoga and Sexual Energy.”

Here’s a simple practice that you can try: sit at the very edge of a firm straight-backed chair (a wooden kitchen chair is ideal), with your feet on the floor and your knees directly above your heels. Your sitting bones should be firmly planted on the chair, at the same time as most of the length of your thighs extends out in front of it. Place your hands, palms down, on the front of your thighs, in a way that allows your shoulders to be relaxed, and let your belly be soft. Take a couple of deep breaths, letting go of any tension you find in your face, jaw, or neck/throat. Smile gently. Then, as you exhale, hinge forward at your hips, bringing your head down toward the space between your knees. With the very next inhale, reverse the process so you’re once again sitting up-right. And repeat: exhale~down, inhale~up (like a crane, taking sips of water from a lake) … Do your best, with each forward rotation, to rest the entire front-side of your torso onto the front of your thighs. Continue for a minute or two, then pause again in the upright position, and notice how you feel.

The second part of the practice is done entirely from the upright position (still sitting right at the edge of the chair, with your feet planted firmly on the ground). It involves coordinating the movement of your breath with the movement of your attention. As you inhale, feel your sitting bones becoming heavier, releasing more completely into the chair. (You can imagine that your sitting bones are two heavy diamonds, which you’re going to return to their home in the center of the earth.) As you exhale, feel a spaciousness, expansion & gentle effervescence at the center of your heart-space (that place behind the sternum/breastbone and in front of the thoracic spine). And repeat: inhale~sitting-bones heavy, exhale~heart-center spacious … Continue for a minute or two, then pause, and notice how you feel now.

This simple practice, if done regularly, has the power to wake up fields of sensation which are quite interesting, and enjoyable … And can serve as a ground for the continuing cultivation of Jing, Qi & Shen: the Three Treasures which ~ from the point of view of Taoism ~ are the key ingredients of a healthy sexuality, among many other thing.

In “The Classic Of The Arcane Maid”, an ancient Taoist text, describes several secret sex positions guaranteed to improve sexual pleasure and health.

9 Taoist Sex Positions

1. Somersaulting Dragons: –

The woman reclines on her back, while the man lies over her. She then presses her thighs into the bed squeezing her vulva, while the man enters into her. With calculated strokes (eight shallow and two deep), the man penetrates her as she continues to squeeze down on his penis.

2. Stepping Tigers:-

The woman places herself in a crawling position, pointing her buttocks upward while her head lies on a pillow or over a flat surface. As her lover enters into her from behind, they take turns thrusting into each other (eight thrusts, five times), with a brief pause after each set.

3. Wrestling Apes:-

As the woman lies on her back with her knees bent toward her head, the man supports her thighs, pushing them into her chest, while raising her buttocks. As he penetrates her deeply, she can rock and rotate her thighs and hips, stopping when she climaxes.

4. Cleaving Cicadas:-

The woman lies on her stomach while her partner reclines on her back, penetrating her deeply. He can lift her buttocks slightly by placing a pillow underneath her and thrusting (9 thrusts, 6 times), until she reaches orgasm.

5. Soaring Phoenix:-

The woman lies down and raises her legs while the man places himself in between her thighs while holding onto the bed. This sex position allows for deep penetration.

6. Bunny Licking It’s Fur:-

The man stretches out on the bed on his back as the woman straddles his body, facing his legs. She lowers her head, while holding onto his feet. This is a shallow penetration position.

7. Cranes Entwining Necks:-

The man squats while the woman sits on his thighs, holding onto his neck and wrapping her legs around his hips. Both partners can move in this position.

8. Fish Linking Scales:-

In this position, the man lies flat on his back with the woman straddling his body on top. He does not penetrate her deeply, but rather focuses on tantalizing her breasts with his hands and mouth.

9. Mounting Tortoises:-

While the woman lies on her back with her knees bent, the man presses them into her breasts. This position allows the man to alternate between deep and shallow thrusts. It is said that if there is no loss of semen during sex, in this position, a man’s vigor will multiply a hundredfold.


According to Taoist philosophy there can be no joy in yin without yang. Often, a man will desire sex, while the woman is unhappy, or the woman desires copulation when the man lacks desire. In other words, when hearts are out of tune, there is no arousal of the essences. By merging mind and desire, both man and woman can delight in each other’s hearts.

Chi is the energy that is part of everything that exists. Another related concept is “jing,” an energetic substance in the human body. When you lose all your jing, you will die. The Taoists believed that jing could be lost through bodily fluids, including semen, and so Taoist men would avoid ejaculation in order to conserve their jing.

There are different ways that a man can conserve his jing, or life essence. One way is to pull out just before orgasm when having intercourse. A second way is to press the perineum (the area between the scrotum and anus) in order to send the ejaculate back into the bladder. (Don’t try this at home!) Another way is for a man to learn how to separate the events of ejaculation and orgasm. By stopping the pelvic floor from contracting, a man could keep himself from ejaculating and still have an orgasm.

Fortunately, jing can also be created through sexual union between a man and a woman. Lots of sex was considered to be good for a man’s health and longevity. (So go for it!) Unfortunately, as might be expected from ancient Chinese practices, women were sometimes seen as a means for a man to retain his jing. On the other hand, because women did not give up any fluids, they were seen as being strong.

Taoist sex manuals also include information on when and where to have sex. For example, lovers were to avoid making love during storms, eclipses, earthquakes, and other events, which could cause ill health or offspring that were defective in some way. Taoist lovers were also to avoid having sex by the light of the sun, moon, or stars, near a temple, in a well (!) or near a grave or coffin (!)

If you want to adapt these ideas for your own Olympic sex marathon, one good thing to do would be to think of sex as creating jing, or energy. Many people complain of being “too tired for sex.” Can you imagine how tired you would be if you were a Chinese person living 1500 years ago? If you looked at sex as creating energy instead of taking it, you might have more desire!

Another idea to quickly and easily put into practice is chi. When you have sex, think of you and your partner raising and exchanging energy. Energy is a sacred substance, and so when you are making love you are doing something special and sacred. Slow down, look into each other’s eyes, and breathe together to honor and create chi.