Sexual Selves

by Vicki McKenna, BA Lic Ac

Sexual Alchemy

Many of us who experience the combined effects of aging and disability may often have very little interest in sex - experiencing pain, fatigue and weakness affects our sexual drive. Furthermore sometimes, because doctors have treated us as a body part –a spinal injury, a good leg or a bad leg, we come to think of ourselves in this way rather than as sexual selves.

Daoism considers sexual energy to be the most powerful form of Chi (life force) in the human body and regards female orgasm as a most effective means of balancing the endocrine system and cultivating general good health. Furthermore, whereas western spiritual practise tends to shy away from or neglect sexuality seeing it as a “lower” center to be suppressed, Daoists see sexuality as our most powerful drive. In Daoist theory to cut ourselves off from our lower centre is to cut our ties with a source of powerful and healing energy. Furthermore even though, due to spinal injury, you may have no physical sensation below the waist, your life force continues to flow constantly in every particle and atom of your being until you take your last breath. You can affect its flow by connecting mentally and emotionally with your lower center and in this way cultivate health and longevity --the aim of Daoist medicine.

In Chinese philosophy the lower center of our being represents our Kidney essence -- the source of our primal and constitutional energy whereas the upper center represents the Heart-the source of our spiritual and emotional energy. Traditionally Daoist practises involve a kind of sexual alchemy where the purpose and aim of human life is seen to be the coming together of spirit and matter – the upper and lower centers. Thus the blending of male and female essences during intercourse becomes energizing as we balance the essence of the Kidneys with the spirit of the Heart. (The power of this energy field is reflected in the fact that it can create new human beings!)

Furthermore, for Daoists, sex is not simply about stimulation of the genitals but is about creating connection between both the physical and the spiritual parts of our beings-- opening ourselves not just physically but also emotionally to each other. As you open up physically and emotionally so the life force --the Chi flows freely and our genitals can be warmed along with our hearts. And if, due to spinal injury, you are not be able to experience genital sensation, you can nevertheless feel sexually alive and improve your health and well being by engaging in mind, body and spirit with the process of opening to the flow of the life force.

Opening to the Life Force

Daoists would say that feeling and being sexy starts long before intercourse and does not depend on having sensation below the waist. The Daoist approach to life and sexuality is all about feeling open -- emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically freed up and surrendered to whatever life presents to you. This means allowing yourself to feel vulnerable--open to both the pleasure and pain of life. Being open in this way is to feel fully engaged with life, fully present and therefore truly sexy. Once we relate to sex in the Daoist way by opening to the flow of life we will experience ourselves more fully as sexual beings, see a lessening of pain, fatigue and weakness and an increase in health and well being.

To feel sexy and open to the Life Force means engaging fully with life -- whatever your limitations or disability. Get involved with life -- whether it’s a cause or a hobby immerse yourself in it, feel fired up and enthused by it. Let this energy warm your heart, your soul, your upper and lower centers, your entire being. Along with this attitude of engagement practise these three exercises every day to balance your upper and lower centres and circulate the Chi throughout your system so that you feel fully sexy, fully alive! And for those of you who do not experience physical sensation below the waist, visualize the breath as a stream of white light, a healing energy circulating through your body.

Opening the Heart

Picture yourself in the middle of a protective egg. Feel the trembling of your heart as the egg crumbles into dust around you. Be aware that there is a golden star of light just above your head that is there to guide and protect you. The light from this star enters your heart from the crown of your head filling it with strength and courage. Feel now the courage and strength of your heart as you let go of your safety zone and step out into the unknown to engage fully with your life.

Breathing into the Genitals

Visualize a channel running from the sole of each foot, up the inside of each leg to your perineum (between your anus and vulva) and up into your uterus. From here the channel goes back down to the perineum, divides down the outside of each leg and travels back to the soles of the feet. Inhale feeling your breath (or seeing it as white healing light) entering the channel through the soles of your feet up to your perineum and upwards filling your genitals. Exhale feeling the breath leaving the uterus and dropping down to the soles of your feet. Complete 9 cycles always ending with the breath in your genitals.

The Yin Yang Orbit

Picture a loop that runs from your perineum up your backbone to the top of your head and down the front of your body, through your open heart centre to your perineum. Inhale and feel the breath (or seeing it as white healing light) travelling from your perineum up your backbone to the crown of your head where it connects with the golden star. Exhale as the breath drops down from crown to genitals. Complete 9 rounds of the Yin Yang Orbit.

After completing these three exercises sit quietly and feel your connection with all of Creation. Practise them daily to feel energized and sexy. Practise them alone or with your lover before making love to feel truly connected physically and emotionally. Assert to yourself on completion of these exercises; "I feel sexy and alive."


Barefoot Doctor; Handbook for the Urban Warrior; Piatkus Hill, Sandra; Reclaiming the Wisdom of the Body; Constable Teeguarden, Iona; The Joy of Feeling; Japan Publications.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vicki Mckenna trained at The College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in Leamington Spa with Professor Worsley from 1981 gaining her Lic Ac. in 1984 and has been practicing acupuncture in Scotland since then. She is author of “A Balanced Way of Living”. You can contact her at

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