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Art of the Bedchamber: The Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics Including Women's Solo Meditation Texts Paperback – Feb 13 1992

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr; Reprint edition (Feb. 13 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791408868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791408865
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 1.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 653 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #397,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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"

About the Author

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars For the Specialist only July 27 2016
By Timothy Denton - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very hard to follow. I think you would need to be a scholar with a back ground in this area and committed to a lot of work to get much value out of this.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding collection and translation April 10 2006
By wiredweird - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book collects nearly two dozen classical writings on the use of sexual energy in achieving health and long life. It's a distinctly non-Western tradition, but presents a unified, interlocking set of ideas.

The largest part of this lore corresponds to Western alchemy. It uses many of the same metaphors, such as mercury, lead, and the crucible, and much of the same elliptical language. In a few places, the metaphors or code-words are so obscure that translators disagree wildly on their meanings, and even on whether the meanings can be reconstructed correctly. Other parts of the writings draw on mystical Taoism, Buddhism, and the same vital energies that explain acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Not surprisingly, much of the tradition is aimed at male readers, with relatively little concern for the women. Despite the over-all male orientation, the last few selections do address women, with needs that sometimes match and sometimes differ from the men's. Even the men's writings address the importance of the woman's excitement, though, and describe the outwardly visible signs of its many stages.

However it is phrased or whoever it is addressed to, this set of practices is based on summoning and channeling sexual energy. Many of the authors use the "paired way" of coition to raise that power. Others use solo exercises in self-stimulation for the same purpose. This seems especially common in the women's texts, possibly because placing her needs before the man's would have been culturally unacceptable. The emphasis is on yogic self-discipline rather than exotic poses. Still, one author does offer a list of couplings with poetic names such Mandarin Ducks United (a pose I enjoy very much, because of range of additional caresses it makes possible). I recommend this book very highly to students of Asian thought and to anyone else who wants to see different perspectives on the practice and power of human sexuality.

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translations on sexual alchemy. Oct. 6 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a compendium of translations of over 20 classic Chinese texts on Taoist esoteric sexual practice. For those with this particular interest, I highly recommend it. There's no other book like it.
This is not a `new-age relationships' book, nor a `light-reading sex-tips' book; it's a scholarly and faithful set of translations of Taoist texts originating from the second century B.C. through the early 1700's.
These might be rather heady for the beginner, but if you've studied alchemical Taoism (especially the sexual aspect) from more modern sources - and would like to peruse some of the classics (from the 1000's of years that the Chinese have been studying this stuff), then this is THE book. It's extremely well written; the introduction alone is worth the price of the book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Fabulous! Oct. 19 2009
By HonestbyDefault - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not going to get into all the details, but for anyone seriously interested in the process of transformation of consciousness - through the reversal of the flow of physiological/reproductive substance and the normally outward flow of mental activity (attained through regular practice, hard work, study and discipline) this book is a highly recommended work of art. It is also written in such a way, that it does not feel like you have to 'huff and puff' to get your way through it. It is as pleasant to read as it is rich in its content. A very worthy book!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important reference work for the serious student Nov. 26 2004
By AlchemistGeorge - Published on
Format: Paperback
Here is the largest collection of historical Chinese texts on Taoist sexuality in English, excellently translated and footnoted. A must have reference work for the serious, advanced student.

This is not an introductory text, and I think a beginner would be hard pressed to understand and practice many of the techniques in the book.