The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0455  Monday, 26 February 2001

From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 25 Feb 2001 04:58:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Chinese Medicine

I suppose I should preface this with a warning, a la Richard Burt, that
the following involves "adult content."

In a book on applications of traditional Chinese healing practices to
sex, I encountered the following:

"The [Chinese] ancients contended that a man could be weakened by
beginning intercourse before the woman is completely ready.  Said one:
'If the woman's secretions have not yet issued forth and her private
parts are dry, but the man forces his way, then the jade stalk simply
pierces in vain and it is a useless waste of spirit.' ....the man can't
fully receive chi from his woman, since she is not adequately primed for
giving.  He gives up sexual energy to his lover with his orgasm but does
not receive as much in return." (Felice Dumas, *Passion Play,* New York:
1997, p. 104)

Dumas, alas, does not provide the source for this quote (it's not really
that kind of book!).  If anyone recognizes where this might have come
from, I'd be interested.

The translation (if in fact it is a translation and Dumas didn't just
make it up) seems influenced by Sonnet 129 ("Th'expense of spirit in a
waste of shame / Is lust in action").  If the physiological concept
proposed above is at all true, perhaps Sonnet 129 might be read not so
much as a misogynistic condemnation of all heterosexual intercourse, but
rather as an expression of frustration at over-hasty heterosexual

Just a thought.

Karen E. Peterson

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