Modern Man: Taoist energy practices

Science Museum/Wellcome Collection
Science Museum/Wellcome Collection

Pelvic floor guru Uta Demontis, famed for her work with women, talks to Rude’s William Wood about Taoist energy practices and what they can do for the modern man.

Science Museum/Wellcome Collection

Science Museum/Wellcome Collection

You are known for your work with jade eggs and women’s pelvic floor muscles, but should men also be exercising and looking after their pelvic floors? 

Of course – men should be looking after their pelvic floor muscles every bit as much as women.  I think it is really important that they learn the value of pelvic floor contractions as these exercises keep blood flowing in this all-important male area. It’s good for the prostate, too, as contracting these muscles gives it a bit of a massage.  

Men could think about setting a target of three sets of twenty pelvic squeezes each day. And there are two types to do. The one most men think about is the one that they use to stop themselves when they urinate. It feels a bit like lifting up their testicles. But they should not do these contractions and stop the urine flow as an on-going practice, it’s not healthy. Men should only do it once so that they can memorise what it feels like to contract this muscle group. The other exercise is different. It’s when they squeeze hard, deep within their pelvic floor, so they can feel their sitting bones move closer together. If they are not sure about this exercise, they may find it easiest to lie down and place their hands on their buttocks to feel this movement.  They will hopefully soon get the hang of it.

I would suggest that men try three sets of 20 of each pelvic floor exercises a day. They could factor it into any gym work, or even when they are shaving or brushing their teeth in the morning. Taoist teachers have traditionally said 300 pelvic contractions is the ideal daily total.  And, if they can really build up these muscles they are half way to that most amazing of Taoist experiences: the Big Draw. More of that later.

Are there any other sexual or genital exercises that men should do on a regular basis?

Absolutely!  There are a range of Taoist exercises they could consider. There is penis stretching, where you hold the base of the penis and pull to the left, the right, then up and down. The idea of this is to loosen any tight tendons in the area and improve blood flow. Testicle massaging and tapping will help stimulate sexual energy. And there is prostate massaging. Doing this externally using a finger to rub the perineum in a circular motion is the easiest method. A more advanced technique is carrying out a prostate massage via the anus using a finger or a prostate massager, and this also improves blood supply.

You are a great advocate of the benefits of self-pleasuring. How would you suggest the modern man goes about this?

In one word: slowly! So many men tend to have a single focus and that is to come as quickly as they can. I would urge men to slow down a little and to broaden their whole approach.  Stimulating the penis is, of course, a central part of self-pleasuring. But there is also so much more to enjoy. Men could explore spreading their pleasure to other parts of their body – their belly, their chest, their thighs. They could experiment with different types of touch, too. If their whole body becomes more sensitive they will find self-pleasuring is, to put is simply, so much more pleasurable.  

And a word about porn. It is fine to use it, but it can lead to a focus on the visual. Men could consider taking a moment to break away from it, even if only for a minute or two. And instead close their eyes and look inwards and so move away from pure visual stimulation and to focus on their body, not the bodies on screen.

Carved ivory statue of a copulating man and woman Far Eastern, Science Museum London.

Carved ivory statue of a copulating man and woman Far Eastern, Science Museum London.

Controlling ejaculation is the holy grail of Taoist work. Can men really control their ejaculation and is it a goal worth aiming for?

There are two answers: yes and yes!  Orgasm actually starts before ejaculation, it is just that most men are not aware of this. It is not discussed and orgasm and ejaculation are seen – and experienced – as one and the same. But they are different. If a man can retrain his body to separate the two, to hold back from ejaculation and enjoy a full body orgasm he will experience something wonderful, energetic and deeply satisfying. It will take a fair bit of time and perseverance to get there, but the effort really is worth it. Each man might experience it slightly differently, but essentially it is a shaking, and fantastically pleasurable electric pulse that works through the whole body and is especially focused on the spine. There is more about this in the Big Draw. 

And to control their ejaculation men really will need to do a lot of practice. This will involve a fair bit of masturbation, where they bring themselves to the brink of ejaculation, but then hold back. Then they need to push themselves a touch further each time, get even closer to ejaculating, but holding back on every occasion. And so on. It is inevitable that they are going to go that bit too far every now and then, but an investment in a few tissues is going to be worthwhile in the long run if they can learn to control their ejaculation.

What other essential Taoist practices that men might consider adopting?

There are several and they are all basically about creating, circulating and experiencing sexual energy. The three key ones are the Cool Draw, the Microcosmic Orbit and the Big Draw. And the last one relates especially to controlling ejaculation.

The Cool Draw is about inhaling unaroused sexual energy (that means there is no erection) from the testicles and into the perineum. Here men concentrate on the testicles and imagine they can inhale and exhale through them. Doing this they become aware of the sexual energy within them. Through focus and meditation, they nurture this energy and then they inhale it into the perineum. From there the energy is circulated through the Microcosmic Orbit up the spine, to the crown of the head and then down through the front of the body. This is rather like body-focused meditation – concentrating on where the energy is in the body at a single moment and then consciously moving this energy around the spine, crown, etc. 

So, basically the Cool Draw generates sexual energy and the Microcosmic Orbit circulates it. I guess it is like a form of meditation, where the focus is on energy flow around the body.  Learning how to circulate cool sexual energy through the Microcosmic Orbit is also a stepping stone towards learning the Big Draw when men draw aroused or orgasmic energy up the spine and through the Orbit.

The Big Draw takes all this a step further. This time an erection is needed. Men need to bring themselves close to ejaculation, then using those newly-strengthened pelvic floor muscles and all that practice work when masturbating, they need to hold back from coming and – just as with the Cool Draw – inhale the sexual energy and use the Microcosmic Orbit to circulate it up the spine, to the crown of the head and down through the front of the body.  

This is considerably more powerful – and more difficult – than the Cool Draw. But the results can be quite amazing. With the Big Draw men can experience what many refer to as a ‘full body’ orgasm. This is a deeper, longer and altogether different orgasm than one associated with ejaculation. And – most importantly – it can be repeated time after time.

All of this may sound daunting and a touch complicated. But there are plenty of books to read, such as those by Mantak Chia, or practitioners to consult. It is likely to take several months to master, but with perseverance it really can be achieved by most men.

How might men bring some of these practices into their sex lives with their partner?

The basic idea is to share sexual energy and pleasure with a partner. This might be touching each other in different ways to enjoy new sensations, and to widen the focus beyond the genitals. It might mean more physical contact such as lying belly to belly or heart to heart. And with the Big Draw it can mean sharing longer, deeper and very intense full body orgasms rather than a shorter ejaculation-based orgasm.

Science Museum London & Wellcome Collection

Science Museum London & Wellcome Collection

If you could give men three key tips for improving their sex lives what would they be?

Connect with your partner – make eye contact during lovemaking.

Spread the pleasure beyond the genitals by sensitive, sensual caressing and touching of other parts of the body.

Increase verbal communication and talk about personal sexual things you like (and don’t forget to listen, too – this is probably the most important tip!).

Are there any essential tools men need for all this (is there a jade egg equivalent for men)?

No. They just need an open mind, a bit of time and some perseverance.  

Isn’t all this for younger men? Can men over 50 benefit from any of these practices?

The exercises and practices are beneficial for men of all ages – young and the not so young.  And as people age, their style of lovemaking will also change and there are lots of ideas here that can make sex come alive for older people just as much for younger ones, perhaps even more so.

In your work with men and couples over the years, can you recall any times when your work has really changed someone’s life for the better?  Have there been any moments when the earth has really moved for someone, or the penny suddenly drops and they can experience something totally deeper and different?

There is usually a moment when what I would call a big shift happens. This is when people experience something that they did not think could possibly happen. Like the Big Draw. They simple cannot believe what they are experiencing and this totally shifts their view of reality and what people can experience in their own body. They can literally be in awe of what they have experienced. And then the whole, wonderful Taoist world opens up for them. I have heard men say that in the past they felt that they had been having sex in black and white, and suddenly after a Taoist experience, they say that they can now enjoy sex in glorious technicolour.

If you have any health issues please consult a medical professional before trying out any of these practices. 

Learn the Tao of Love with Uta Demontis at Coco de Mer on 24th October. 

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