Art of the Bedchamber: The Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics Including Women's Solo Meditation Texts Paperback – Feb 13 1992
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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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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