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This chapter discusses the relationship between two opposing trends—the loss of jing (seminal essence) and the revival of yangsheng (the cultivation of life). Having been discouraged in the Maoist period, yangsheng regained legitimacy in post-Mao China. In a countertendency to the rise of sexual desire, many men chose to regulate that desire by preserving seminal essence and adopting a moderate attitude toward sex. Instead of repressing sexual desire, then, yangsheng can be seen as a practice of its ethical regulation. It is therefore a technique of self-mastery, a way to form an ethical self.

This chapter deals with the repositioning...

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