Sex is the source and the starting point of all human life on earth. In addition to its role in reproduction, it also has the potential to create tremendous joy–especially if it is practised in a way that creates trust and intimacy. Since the early Han Dynasty, circa 200 BCE, Taoists have known that sexual energy has tremendous creative and rejuvenating powers. It is the basis of all human life and the well-spring of creative genius and drive.
In our modern world, however, sex has ceased to be a celebration of life. Instead, it is a place of deep wounding, casual meaningless trysts and in some cases, even a private arena for abuse, violence and reckless risk-taking.
At some point in our lives, we will all wrestle with our deepest and most heartfelt desires as well as our most dangerous and destructive tendencies. Sex can create, but it can also destroy. It can be a basic and fundamental human need or it can be a moral quagmire of hidden repressions and obsessions.
Whenever we see animals mate out in the open, we are taken aback, surprised and even baffled. Animals display no shame regarding their rampant outdoor lovemaking, even as we stand by and take photographs. We claim that we as humans are ‘better’ and ‘superior’.
But are we?
One look at all the pornography and filth on the internet will lead you to conclude that we can’t claim to have evolved past our animal instincts. We demean sex workers, while at the same time, it is through them that we find an outlet for desires that we cannot express.
We no longer see sex as a fundamental human need, but rather as a yearning and desire that is so separate, so taboo and so divorced from our spiritual, emotional and physical development.
And yet, sex sells. It permeates through the marketing and advertising industry–which forces us to look. To turn our gaze clockwise and look. And what do we see when we look?
Our unmet yearnings and desires.
Man and Woman
A healthy adult male can release between 40 million and 1.2 billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation. In contrast, women are born with an average of 2 million egg follicles, the reproductive structures that give rise to eggs. By puberty, a majority of those follicles close up and only about 450 will ever release mature eggs for fertilisation in the course of a lifespan.
Despite the human body’s abundant reserves of reproductive energy, it is rare for a monogamous man and woman to produce more than a dozen offspring throughout the course of their lifetime.
In Taoism, it is believed that men lose energy through ejaculation. In the world of competitive sports, coaches are known to caution their athletes to refrain from sexual activities before an important game or competition. Athletes have long perpetuated the theory that sex before competition zaps energy.
There is no biological basis for the repression of sexual desire. We need to be honest with ourselves regarding what our body was designed to do. The human body is designed to enjoy sex. However, what I do vehemently disagree with is the view that sex is a purely recreational or reproductive activity.
While men and women both release energy at the point of climax, men lose far more energy than women through the sexual act. Women lose little sexual energy through orgasm; but instead, lose it through menstruation and childbearing. And yet, modern society paradoxically celebrates men who play the field and demean women who are brave enough to express their innermost longings and desires.
Sexual energy expands and intensifies our emotions. It is why the feeling of falling in love or being in love is so giddying. It is also why lovers quarrels are so intense–inspiring fear, frustration, anger, worry and even depression regarding either sexual performance or the ability to bear children. In extreme cases, it can even lead to crimes or transgressions such as: rape, infidelity and violence.
Sexual energy is one of our most powerful energies. Unfortunately, most of us never learn how to harness it. When we are taught about it in school, it has either a religious or scientific fervour that leaves a huge gap regarding our understanding of the body that we inhabit. Parents may or may not be able to fill that gap in our sexual education. If our parents did not display healthy behaviours regarding their own sexuality, the likelihood that we even have a model to work with when discovering our own is quite low.
Sometime earlier this year, I had the good fortune to meet a woman who inspired and aroused places within me that I had never known existed. I went through what people call a sexual awakening. I had never fallen so hard for anyone in my life. I craved her. I developed feelings I didn’t even know I was capable of. With her, I discovered the deepest and most wildest parts of myself. What I felt was true trust and intimacy. I revealed places inside of me to her that I had never revealed to anyone else.
At some point, something changed and I started to resent the power she had over me. When a woman is truly in charge of her sexuality, she can easily overpower a man. I did what many men do in that situation. I started to pull away. It was not a conscious choice. My behaviour caused her pain and grief. I spent sometime meditating to discover the root cause and the source of my subconscious behaviour. The answer that finally came astounded me.
It is hard to stay grounded when the full force of the ocean is crashing into you. You can no longer be like that unmoving mountain that is too proud to care what happens around it. I could no longer be as aloof or as clinical as I had been my whole life.
I was changing. I didn’t want to change. The Universe, God, Supreme Being–whatever you would like to call it–had sent me to her for a reason. I am a sickeningly stubborn person. I am unyielding to my very core. She had neither forced or coerced me. I had walked into the whole situation out of my own free will and volition.
No, she was not some sort of sex kitten. I would not even describe her as ‘a sexual person’. She had not had many partners before me and those that she did, she had been with for several years. With her, I found something deeper than pleasures of the flesh. It is one thing to gaze at (please don’t gawk) at an attractive woman who walks by. It is different experience to be with a woman who intrigues you.
I wanted that connection. I was seeking someone that had eternally eluded me. Someone who could challenge me to think outside the box. Someone who would be honest with me without trying to ever hurt me. Someone who could inspire me to feel. Someone who could unfreeze the frozen rivers of my lonesome heart.
If we humans were designed to live alone and be alone, we would live alone and be alone. If humans were meant to reproduce asexually, we would; but we can’t. Even if we decide to have children through surrogacy, we still need gametes to meet and collide.
Through her, I finally experienced the true power of love. It is a force of nature and the universal energy from which all life springs forth.
In the private domain of our bedroom, I was impossibly in love. But when we emerged to greet the world, we did not get the welcome I had expected.
I am a Chinese man. While it is common to see Chinese women with non-Chinese men, the reverse is far less probable.
While my father was surprised when he first met her, he was supportive of my decision. He was fond of her, respected her a great deal, and that was it. Our relationship, however, was not accepted by people whom I once considered my ‘friends’.
There was no logic to what my peers had to say about my wife’s cultural background. There was only prejudice and misinformation. There was no factual basis for their assessment of her or our relationship. There was only bigotry fuelled by incomprehensible ignorance. I am no stranger to such a worldview, and in my younger years, I may have even considered some of it to be true.
But when it confronted me in such an intimate way, I was utterly shattered. I couldn’t bear the thought of her having to contend with such comments–and that, too, on my behalf.
I felt ashamed of the people whom I had once considered my friends. They thought that I should be ashamed of ‘the poor choice’ I had made regarding the woman I wanted to spend my life with; and I felt ashamed that I was surrounded by people who would no longer embrace me because of the woman I had chosen for myself. They were such shallow, superficial and toxic people. Despite their paper qualifications, their brains were as tiny as peas.
I promptly discarded my old friends like a lousy pair of old shoes that were full of holes. I was becoming a new person and I had no time in my life for such small-minded folk anymore.
I was proud of the woman I had chosen for myself. I didn’t care what anyone had to say. I didn’t even care what I had believed about Indians before I met her. She and her family had let me into her life with arms wide open. Where else on my end, she had to contend with stupidity all around.
I was starting a new life. And although I had my share of naysayers and lousy soothsayers, my heart knew who it wanted. In the early days, when we were friends and not yet lovers, I made a move on her. She rebuffed me at the time. In hindsight, I don’t blame her. She seemed to know what we would be up against and wanted to know that I would be strong enough to handle it.
Well, a lot has happened since then. I am now the proud husband of an incredibly elegant, intelligent, ambitious and mature Indian woman. She is everything I have ever wanted and so much more.
I have, at long last, found something that can only be described as pure bliss.