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Sacred RightsThe Case for Contraception and Abortion in World Religions$
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Daniel C. Maguire

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195160017

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195160017.001.0001

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Heavenly Way and Humanly Doings

Heavenly Way and Humanly Doings

A Consideration of Chinese Man's Body Management During the Late Imperial Period

(p.199) 9 Heavenly Way and Humanly Doings
Sacred Rights


Oxford University Press

This chapter intends to show contrasting convictions and practices of male reproductive behavior in imperial China that will fend off over-generalization based on the modern thesis about men's sexual responsibility. Coming from a long tradition of Taoist notions concerning life nurturing and the Confucian concern for family reproduction, the special characteristics as well as the historical background of this late imperial literature on male medicine invites attention. Male reproductive culture in imperial China indicated that for reasons of health preservation and personal and social development, as well as concern for successful breeding of the next generation of wholesome, intelligent and surviving heirs, sexuality can be seen as too serious to be left to insensitive personal indulgence. The acceptance of the legitimacy of sexual pleasure and the acceptance of the lasting social obligations that sex implies is not a “modern” invention. Chinese Taoism actually identifies coital activities as a vehicle to arrive at a wide array of different purposes.

Keywords:   male reproductive behavior, sexual responsibility, China, sexuality, sex, Taoism

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