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Let's Talk Sex: Why Too Much and Too Little is Unhealthy!

By Robert Chu, Ph.D., L.Ac


Sex feels good. And the proper amount of sex can help maintain you physical and emotional health. But balance is the key. Both having too little or too much sex can lead to unhealthy conditions.

As a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, maintaining balance in all life's activities is what I strive for... in myself and in my patients. Let us look at the effects of too much sex, too little sex, and what the proper amounts should be, based on your age and condition.

How Much Sex is Too Much?

The theories of Chinese medicine warn of the dangers of having too much sex. A person could become what is called, in Chinese medicine, kidney jing deficient. Jing refers to the main essence fluids of the body, distilled from what we eat and drink. Jing is stored in the kidneys – the batteries of the body. It gives us energy and healthy internal systems. In fact, we are born with enough essence to ensure a lifespan of 120 years. Problem is, we exhaust it through our poor eating, poor rest, lack of exercise, unstable emotions, stress, disease and by having an unhealthy amount of sex!

Signs and symptoms of kidney jing deficiency include a weakening of the bones, loss of hair, a graying of the face, loosening or loss of teeth, low back soreness, weakness of the legs (particularly behind the knees), poor memory, loss of libido, impotence and a general lack of sexual desire. If you are suffering from any of these signs and symptoms, perhaps you should consider if too much sex is killing you, or at least weakening you.

With too much ejaculation, jing is depleted from the body. As a man ages past his middle years, the excessive loss of jing (semen) can have the disastrous effects described above. The young can engage in frequent copulation, but the middle aged and elderly should only release semen infrequently.

There is a classic text on Chinese medicine called Su Nu Jing. It was published almost 2,000 years ago and suggests that to maintain health, a man should have a certain amount of ejaculations according to his age and health. At the age of 20, if a person is in good health, it is suggested that two ejaculations a day is reasonable. Moreover, having one ejaculation every four days is the minimum necessary to maintain health.

The chart below suggests the guidelines from that classic text:

Age Good health Average Health Minimum
20 2x Day 1X Day Every 4 days
30 1x Day Every other day Every 8 days
40 Every 3 days Every 4 days Every 16 days
50 Every 5 days Every 10 days Every 21 days
60 Every 10 days Every 20 days Every 30 days

Of course, these are rough guidelines and should not be strictly adhered to. At least it gives you an idea of the frequency a man should have sex in order to maintain good health and balanced emotions. Of course, the converse is true, that no sex at all can cause resentment, depression and anxiety... which could possibly lead to long term disease.

Now, the average 20-year-old male who is engaging in masturbation three times a day in college is probably overdoing it. This could possibly affect his grades (poor memory) or affect his collegiate tennis match (with weak knees and sore low back).

The 40 year old executive thinking of having that affair with the nice 24 year old intern might want to consider if he is in good enough health to survive an extramarital affair. He could wind up suffering from hair loss, aging of the face, low back soreness, weak legs, poor memory, loss of libido, impotence, and lack of sexual desire that could cost him his career and his health... not to mention his marriage!

How Much Sex is Too Little?

Sex is important for relationships, not just emotionally, but for the organ systems as well. Ladies, when men tell you they feel like they are dying from lack of sex, it's only partially true. In reality, the choked up emotions and lack of connection can cause him to suffer the Chinese Medicine syndrome known as liver qi stagnation.

According to Chinese medicine theory, the liver functions to move the qi (life energy) freely in the body. Liver qi stagnation, then, is when there is a pathogenic flow of the correct qi manifesting in some of the following signs and symptoms: feeling of distension in the chest and hypochondrium, sighing, hiccup, melancholy, depression, moodiness, unhappiness and feeling of a lump in the throat. Often the etiology of this syndrome includes emotional problems, a state of anger, frustration or resentment.

If this condition persists, it can grow into what is called liver fire. The signs and symptoms associated live fire include irritability, anger, shouting, ringing in the ears, temporal headache, bitter taste in the mouth, dream disturbed sleep, a red face and red eyes. This is the result of long-standing emotional states of anger, resentment or frustration. This can cause problems like high blood pressure, tinnitis, insomnia, migraine headache and the like.

Good sexual relations are a part of good health. Overdoing it can be detrimental to health, and we have found that too little sex can also have an negative effect on health. My advice: Be happy and be wise in the ways of lovemaking.


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All material herein is provided for information only and may not be construed as personal medical advice. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The publisher is not a licensed medical care provider. The information is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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