Why Sex is Always More Than Just Sex

21/10/2011 11:30 BST | Updated 21/12/2011 10:12 GMT

I've been thinking about how we inhabit our sexual energy. When we think of sex, we usually focus on the external experience - the activity between the people involved. But each of us also has a relationship with our own sexual energy. I'm going to offer a bold suggestion: how we manage our sexual energy impacts how we manage all other aspects of our lives.

Because sex is private we don't think of it as impacting the rest of our lives. While dividing our lives into public and private may be useful for social convention, it doesn't reflect our somatic experience. We are embodied beings and our bodies live through all aspects of our life, both 'public' and 'private'. If we consider our lives from our body's perspective we open the possibility of different understandings.

Taoist experts Chia and Carlton Abrams explain that cultivating sexual energy will not only increase your pleasure in the bedroom but 'will give you a great deal more energy out of the bedroom as you live your life in the world.' Sexual energy in Taoist practice is called jin chi - it's a localised aspect of chi - the energy that resides throughout the entire body. Yogic and tantric practices are predicated on the understanding that the prana (energy) that lives in the pelvic girdle is a potent concentration of the individual's life force that is also present throughout the body. This prana can be awakened in a number of ways, of which sex is one. If this sounds theoretical think about what happens to the body during sex. There isn't another activity that has quite the same effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as the cardiac and respiratory systems. Sex engages the whole body in a full and deep way.

Far from being separate from the rest of our life force, our sexual energy is a powerful concentration of the same energy that enlivens the rest of the body (chi, prana).

By managing this precious energy well you are managing the same energy you use to make money, to create a home, to build relationships, to play sport, to make a future - everything.

There are many aspects to managing sexual energy and here I'm just introducing the idea. So, by way of introduction my suggestion is: be discerning about who you go to bed with. We take all of ourselves to bed - and so does our partner. The whole of our life is present in bed. This is why, for example, stress in other parts of our life can play out as 'bad performance' in sex.

When you have sex with someone your energy merges with theirs. Bodies fit together like lock and key (this applies to both hetero and homosexual interactions). But it's not just a physical locking in.

Back to prana/chi - you momentarily merge your precious life force with another person's and open yourself to theirs. Incidentally, our brainwave state also changes during sex - moving towards or into alpha and theta states. Alpha and theta states are more receptive than the everyday beta state. Your awareness becomes more imprintable and susceptible to external impressions. Your partner and all they have brought in to bed with them momentarily imprint you and vice versa.

Just to be clear, this is not a moral stance. It's a question of discernment and of choice. And discernment doesn't necessarily espouse having fewer partners. That misses the point. It's not about quantity. Quantity of partners is an external measure. Managing sexual energy is an internal matter and quantity of partners is irrelevant. It's not about quality either - in the sense of the quality of sex you are having. That's a separate matter.

It's about how you choose to expend your precious energy and with whom you choose to share that experience. Choosing partner(s) with discernment is important because when you go to bed with someone you go to bed with every aspect of their life.

Your sexual expression is the most precious expression of yourself in the world. Craft it wisely.