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How Much Sex is Healthy?



Not a frequently addressed subject in western medicine, most likely mostly because they don’t have a strong point of view, possibly also due to society’s repression on the matter. Is sex healthy, and if so, how often?

Generally, the answer is yes, sex is healthy, although most of us have heard stories of people—usually men—going into cardiac arrest and dying in the act. Much more common is the experience, also predominantly for men, of feeling exhausted or depleted immediately following. The French nickname the orgasm, le petit morte, or “little death.” The Chinese believe our “jing,” or fundamental physiological essence is stored within ejaculatory fluids, especially those of men. Supposedly women’s jing is stored more in placental fluids and lost through pregnancy and childbirth. Yet I have never heard a medical professional, beyond my own colleagues and teachers, discuss the issue.

Supposedly, up until our mid-20’s we have a relatively unlimited reserve of “jing,” and afterwards, we should be more mindful of how much we expend. I can’t relay a one-size-fits-all rule, but based on what I’ve read, in our thirties a few times a week is considered healthy, in our forties and fifties about once a week, and a maximum of a few times per month in our sixties and beyond. Any more would expend too much—any less could create stasis in the urogenital microbiome, which could send inflammatory heat upwards to the central nervous system. In other words, extended dry spells create stress. Overindulgence creates weakness.

Supposedly, sex is healthier than masturbation, first because of how supportive it is for the psyche, and how the “fire element” of the mind and heart balances the “water element” of our kidneys, or adrenal health. In theory, depletion of the latter might explain why overexcitement of the former can be the final straw to cardiac arrest. Secondly, although in the process men lose jing no matter what, it is hypothesized that by absorbing their partner’s genital fluids, jing is supplemented. There are ancient Taoist practices of men withholding their ejaculation or ejaculating “internally” to conserve, though this is not advisable in my opinion, without proper guidance and instruction.

According to the circadian clock of Chinese medicine, the optimum time to have sex is in the window of the pericardium, from 7-9pm, which would make the least healthy time between 7-9am, which is generally not a problem for people with small children. Besides the “ministerial fire of the pericardium” being weaker in the morning, most of us would have to still pursue our day’s activities sans the healthy physiological fluids we are intended to transform into cellular energy. In moderation, it’s probably fine. To mitigate the “side effects” of morning sex we might recommend taking it as easy as possible, consuming eggs and animal protein, and staying hydrated. Another potentially ideal time could be between 5-7pm, which corresponds to the kidneys, whose qi is largely responsible for our sexual health. Any time in the evening offers the virtue of rest following the act.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe we are meant to have much jing left when we die—in fact its complete desertion is considered the cause of death when biomedicine cites: “natural causes.” I believe in “leaving it all,” as they say in sports, as jing is expended not only through sexual activity, but through all our worldly pursuits and great effort in life. However, signs of premature “jing deficiency” usually pertain to the brain and bones, or any manifestation of looking older than one’s age. Neurological diseases, osteoporosis, loss of hair or its color in our twenties might all point to jing vacuity. I hope this provided some interesting insight in a realm where almost no clinicians do.



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