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The Art of the Bedchamber


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Table of Contents

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION I. Motive and Focus II. The Ethos of Chinese Sexual Practices The Empirical Ground The Metaphysical Ground The Individual and the Imperial Ideals The Battle of the Sexes The Cult of Youth Sexual Practices and Ethics The Sexology Classics as Literature III. Sexual Practices and Medicine IV. Sexual Practices and Taoism The Position of Sexual Practices in Taoism The Vocabulary of Sexual Yoga Sexual Practices and Meditation V. Thematic Progressions The Pleasure Principle The Position of Women Ejaculation Frequency and Control Sexual Energy VI. The Development of Chinese Sexology Chinese Studies Western Studies VII. Conclusion PART TWO: THE CHINESE SEXUAL YOGA CLASSICS VIII. The Han Classics Rediscovered Introduction "Uniting Yin and Yang" "Discourse on the Highest Tao under Heaven" IX. The Sui-T'ang Classics Reconstructed Introduction The Classic of Su Nu Prescriptions of Su Nu Essentials of the Jade Chamber Secrets of the Jade Chamber Tung Hsuan tzu X. Medical Manuals and Handbooks for Householders Introduction "Health Benefits of the Bedchamber" "The Dangers and Benefits of Intercourse with Women" The Wondrous Discourse of Su Nu True Classic of Perfect Union Exposition of Cultivating the True Essence XI. The Elixir Literature of Sexual Alchemy Introduction Seeking Instruction on the Golden Elixir Ture Transmission of the Golden Elixir Summary of the Golden Elixir Secret Principles of Gathering the True Essence "The Rootless Tree" XII. Women's Practices Introduction Queen Mother of the West's Ten Percepts Essentials of the Golden Elixir Method for Women Master Li Ni-wan's Precious Raft for Women's Dual Practice Correct Methods for Women's Practice Notes Bibliography Appendix: Dates of the Dynasties Index

About the Author

Douglas Wile is Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at Brooklyn College.


"This is a comprehensive anthology and beautiful translation of over two millenia of Chinese treatises on the use and practice of sexual intercourse. The author has done a magnificent job of collecting materials. Because many of the texts have a quasi-legendary status, they must be reconstructed from citations in later authors. Furthermore, there have been a raft of Chinese sexologists in the last century who have scurrilously misquoted, abstracted, combined, and otherwise made a mishmash of materials. Wile has superbly sorted these things out to provide clear texts that make sense, and he has recorded the reasons for his decisions in notes. "The long introduction is the most beautifully written 'review of sources' I have ever read. The writer's humor as well as easy erudition help. Not only does he explain the background of the texts, he analyzes their continuities, and divergences, and applies a thoroughly historical understanding to the development of Chinese sexology. This introduction alone establishes Wile as a major voice in religious studies. Sexology is a branch of religious studies when it is treated as the Taoists do as a means to immortality and perfected relations with the cosmos." - Robert C. Neville, Boston University "I am very impressed with the author's scholarship and expertise as well as with his deep and true insights into the nature of Chinese culture. Far too long has Taoism been considered a bullwark of feminism in ancient China, an idea which proves erroneous as soon as one takes the trouble to really look at the texts. This book is fascinating and absolutely wonderful to read." - Livia Kohn, Boston University

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