The subject of sexual alchemy in Taoist Neidan (内丹) practice not only attracts the attention of people who are interested in esoteric subjects, but also drew the attention of our PhD candidates. Professor Clarke Hudson of the University of Virgina did his PhD (in Indiana University) on sexual alchemy of Taoist master Chen ZhiXu of Yuen Dynasty, whereas Dr.Huo KeGong 霍克功, a senior editor of Chinese Government Bureau on religious studies, did his PhD thesis (in Xichuan Univeristy of China) on sexual alchemy of prominent West sect (西派) grandmaster Li XiYue 李西月. By sexual alchemy, both authors meant both corporeal and non-corporeal/"spiritual only" dual practice. Before I proceed with the analysis, a number of points need to be noted:
1. The sublimation of sexual energy is practiced in all Neidan practice, and being called "internal copulation" (内交搆).
2. The practice of sexual chi-kung (chamber techniques 房中朮) had been within the repertoire of traditional "magicians" (方士: literally meaning learned people with magical formula). The issue facing a Neidan master became: should he use/adapt this practice in this Taoist Neidan practice?
3. Most Neidan masters claimed that corporeal sex wouldn't work in Taoist spiritual practice, and many condemned such as evil cult practice giving a bad name to more spiritual Taoists.
4. According to some contemporary lineage practitioners of the West sect (西派), they didn't learn nor practice corporeal dual practice (of course, it should mean this was what they said only).
First, let us look at the practice of non-corporeal dual practice. The subject matter was analyzed in a previous post here: Sexual Dual practice for real?, interested readers can refer therein. The question is: why some Taoist Neidan practitioners find it useful to do such non-corporeal dual practice?
Taoist Neidan is a form of chi-kung (but of course not limited by it). As a chi-kung practice, chi must be aroused and then managed or channeled to flow along certain routes. In Neidan practice, chi is made to flow up the spinal cord and passes through the inner brain before flows back to the abdomen. Like other chi-kung practice, some practitioners find it easier and quicker to generate enough chi to achieve this objective whereas some find it more difficult.
What can done if chi thus generated is not enough to do the circle (called microcosmic circulation: 小周天)? One way of course is to some additional zhan zhaung exercise whereby the muscles in the legs can help to generate more and stronger chi. The problem is however that some Neidan practitioners may not like the sweating-all-over heavy-duty practice of intensive zhan zhuang (rather they prefer the more "relaxed" exercise of folded leg meditation). What can be done for these relaxation-preferred folks? They are "clever", they make use of (conscious and unconscious) sexual energy! But how?
A practitioner of spiritual dual cultivation will meditate (folded leg meditation) together, face to face, with a (younger and better looking!) partner of the opposite sex. It is interesting to note that in such dual practice, the male practitioner is called "spiritual father" (靈父), and his meditation partner is called "spiritual mother" (靈母), and a (spiritual) embryo is to be metaphorically born inside a practitioner's body. If you still don't understand the internal mechanism of such practice, please kindly read a previous post of mine: Ulysses and sexual chi kung.
If non-corporeal dual practice does have some gem of truth (beneficial to the more relaxed or lazy practitioners), corporeal sexual practice boggles everybody's mind. As the Masters mentioned in our academicians' thesis, an important requirement of such corporeal dual practice is "to have real sex but without any erotic thought!" Not too attractive to any lazy practitioner even if it can work! And I rest my case here.