Book Review: The Tao of Intimacy and Ecstasy: Realizing the Promise of the Spiritual Union

Solala Towler
The Tao of Intimacy and Ecstasy: Realizing the Promise of the Spiritual Union

2014, Sounds True, Boulder, Colorado

Our idea of intimate partnership is steeped in emotion, and sexual relationships, in particular, often carry a lot of psychological baggage. In The Tao of Intimacy and Ecstasy Solala Towler reveals how experiencing sexual connection through the lens of the ancient Chinese Taoists makes for a much smoother relationship between partners and makes the experience of sex more energetically healthy and fun!

Understanding our energetic system, and that of our partner, we can travel the "watercourse way," letting things ebb and flow without getting caught in what sometimes becomes habitual drama. Couples are encouraged to explore what makes each partner feel safe, relaxed and beloved. Exercises include ways for both men and women to balance and tone organs, increase sexual strength and balance subtle energies. For singles or anyone suffering from a wounded heart, The Tao of Intimacy and Ecstasy recognizes sometimes love can leave us sad and fearful and afraid to reach out again. Using exercises for healing and opening a heart that may be closed, hurt or scared is a path to new relationships. 

In Chinese medicine sexual energy is located in the kidneys, the seat of willpower. A man can satisfy himself and his partner and master this energy through practicing optional orgasms. When this vital energy is built up and stored without releasing during sexual intercourse, there is lots of healthy, potent energy available for other things. This expansive juicy energy remains accessible for later sexual relations, but it can also be used in business, in spiritual pursuits, or in any area that benefits from heightened creativity. Interestingly, since a woman does not release outwardly during sex in the way a man does, there's no need for her to withhold (in Taoist terms) her rejoicing. 

How does this translate for same-gender partners? The Tao has no judgment about sexual partners from a moral standpoint; the concern here is one of potential imbalances. Non-heterosexual couples need to make sure both partners are getting enough of yin energy — receptivity, water, rest — and yang essence — outward, expansive, fiery — to achieve a proper yin/yang balance within the relationship. Close friendship with persons of the opposite gender and taking certain yin or yang strengthening herbs are two balancing practices same-sex couples may want to consider.

Gail Lord is a freelance writer living in Massachusetts. Please send book review copies to 51 North Street, Grafton, MA 01519 or email