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The Proof is in Your Pants
You may already have experienced multiple orgasms. Surprising as this may sound, many men are multi-orgasmic before they enter adolescence and begin to ejaculate. Kinsey's research suggested that more than half of all preadolescent boys were able to reach a second orgasm within a short period of time and nearly a third were able to achieve five or more orgasms one after the other. This led Kinsey to argue that "climax is clearly possible without ejaculation."
But multiple orgasms are not just limited to prepubescent boys. Kinsey continues: "There are older males, even in their thirties and older, who are able to equal this performance." InFundamentals of Human Sexuality, Dr. Herant Katchadourian adds: "Some men are able to inhibit the emission of semen while they experience the orgasmic contractions: in other words they have nonejaculatory orgasms. Such orgasms do not seem tobe followed by a refractory period [loss of erection], thereby allowing these men to have consecutive or multiple orgasms like women."
Why do most men lose their ability to be multi-orgasmic? It is possible that for many men the experience of ejaculating, when it happens, is so overwhelming that it eclipses the experience of orgasm and causes men to lose the ability to distinguish between the two. One multi-orgasmic man described the first time he ejaculated: "I still remember it clearly. There I was orgasming as usual, but this time a white liquid came spurting out. I thought I was dying. I swore to God that I would never masturbate again--which of course lasted about a day." Since orgasm and ejaculation generally occur withinseconds of one another, it is easy to confuse them.1 To become multi-orgasmic, you must learn (or possibly relearn) the ability to separate the different sensations of arousal and to revel in orgasm without cresting over into ejaculation. Understanding how orgasm and ejaculation are different will help you distinguish the two in your own body.
Orgasm is one of the most intense and satisfying human experiences, and if you have ever had an orgasm--and almost all men have--you will not need to have it defined. All orgasms, however, are not created equal. Orgasm is slightly different for each person and even different for the same person at different times. Nonetheless, men's orgasms share certain characteristics, including rhythmic body movements, increased heart rate, muscle tension, and then a sudden release of tension, including pelvic contractions. They feel good, too. After noting that "orgasm is the least understood of the sexual processes," the thirteenth edition of Smith's General Urology explains that orgasm includes "involuntary rhythmic contractions of the anal sphincter, hyperventilation [increased breathing rate], tachycardia [increased heart rate], and elevation of blood pressure."
These definitions include changes that occur throughout your entire body. However, for a long time orgasm was seen--and for many men is still seen--as strictly a genital affair. In the West, Wilhelm Reich, in his controversial book The Function of Orgasm, was the first to argue that orgasm involved the whole body and not just the genitals.2 In the East, the Taoists have long known that orgasm could be a whole-body experience and developed techniques for expanding orgasmic pleasure.
Many sex researchers are now arguing that orgasm really has more to do with our brain than our brawn. Brain-wave research is beginning to reveal that orgasm may occur primarily in the brain. That you can have an orgasm in your sleep--without any bodily touch--seems to confirm this theory. Further support comes from neurologist Robert J. Heath of Tulane University, who discovered that when certain parts of the brain are stimulated with electrodes they produce sexual pleasure identical to that produced by physical stimulation. Many sex therapists are fond of saying that sex takes place in the brain. There is some truth to this statement--especially when it comes to orgasm.
Unlike orgasm, which is a peak emotional and physical experience, ejaculation is simply a reflex that occurs at the base of the spine and results in the ejection of semen. Michael Winn, senior Healing Tao instructor and coauthor of Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy, explains: "A lot of men are freaked out by the very idea of nonejaculatory orgasm because they've been having ejaculatory sex for such a long time, often decades. So the first thing to do is demystify ejaculation, which is just an involuntary muscle spasm."
With practice, you can learn to experience the peak feeling of orgasm without triggering the reflex of ejaculation. In the next two chapters we will explain, step-by-step, exactly how to separate orgasm from ejaculation and how to expand your orgasms throughout your body. But first let's look at the evidence that men, like women, can have multiple orgasms.
Probably the most extensive laboratory investigation of male multiple orgasms was made by sex researchers William Hartman and Marilyn Fithian. They tested thirty-three men who claimed to be multi-orgasmic--that is, to be able to have two or more orgasms without losing their erection.
While these men had sex with their partners in the laboratory, Hartman and Fithian monitored their heart rates, which the researchers had chosen as the clearest method of identifying orgasms. At rest, the average heart rate is around 70 beats per minute; during orgasm it almost doubles, rising to about 120. After orgasm, the heart returns to its resting rate (see figure 1). They also measured pelvic contractions (most obvious in the involuntary squeezing of the anus), which coincided with the peaking of heart rate at orgasm. What they found was pretty surprising: the arousal charts for these men were identical to those of multi-orgasmic women.
Male and female sexuality may be more similar than is usually thought. Developmentally, this similarity makes sense, since male and female genitals come from the same fetal tissue. In their famous book The G Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality, Alice Ladas, Beverly Whipple, and John Perry argued that male and female sexuality were almost identical. In addition to their much-reported discovery of the female "G spot" (which we will discuss more in chapter 4), they also suggested that men can experience multiple orgasms just like women.
During Hartman and Fithian's research, the average number of orgasms a multi-orgasmic man had was four. Some men had the minimum of two, and one had as many as sixteen! In a study by Marion Dunn and Jan Trost, most men reported having from two to nine orgasms per session.3
It is important to mention here that Taoist sexuality is not about numbers and keeping score, it is about satisfaction and cultivation. You can feel satisfied with one orgasm, with three orgasms, or with sixteen orgasms. You cultivate your sexuality as you deepen your awareness of your body's pleasure and increase your ability for intimacy with your partner. Each person and each sexual experience will be different, and the "right" number of orgasms will depend on your and your partner's desires at the time. When you become multi-orgasmic, you will never have to worry about how long you can last or how many orgasms your partner has, because you will both be able to have all the orgasms you could ever want.
As doctors, the Taoist masters were interested in sexuality as part of a larger concern for the health of the entire body. They practiced Sexual Kung Fu because they discovered that ejaculation drains a man's energy. You have probably also noticed this loss of energy and general feeling of fatigue after ejaculating. Even though you would like to be attentive to your partner's sexual and emotional needs, all your body wants to do is sleep. As one multi-orgasmic man put it, "Once I ejaculate, the pillow looks better than my girlfriend does."
The image of the unsatisfied woman whose lover ejaculates, grunts, and collapses on top of her is so common that it has become a cultural joke, but the exhaustion that men feel after ejaculating is as old as the first coital groan. Peng-Tze, a sex adviser to the famed Yellow Emperor, reported almost five thousand years ago: "After ejaculating, a man is tired, his ears buzz, his eyes are heavy, and he longs for sleep. He is thirsty and his limbs feel weak and stiff. In ejaculating he enjoys a brief moment of sensation but then suffers long hours of exhaustion."
Western folk wisdom agrees with the Taoists regarding the importance of conserving sexual energy. Athletes have long known the weakness and lethargy that follow ejaculation, abstaining from sex the night before the "big game." Artists have also felt the lingering effects on their work. Jazz musician Miles Davis explained in a Playboy magazine interview:
Davis: You can't come, then fight or play. You can't do it. When I get ready to come, I come. But I do not come and play.
Playboy: Explain that in layman's terms.
Davis: Ask Muhammad Ali. If he comes, he can't fight two minutes. Shit, he couldn't even whip me.
Playboy: Would you fight Muhammad Ali under those conditions, to prove your point? The Multi-Orgasmic Man. Copyright © by Mantak Chia. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.