“A lot can be said – and a lot have been said about sexuality and Chinese medicine. Let us take an exploratory journey together through the different aspects that color our sexuality and intimate life. Let me provoke on some aspects and uncover aspects that might enlighten the topic. Of course it is possible to discuss some of this aspects, but first of all: Let us Enjoy!”
The human race survives thanks to our sexuality; 性感 xìnggǎn. If we do not make children or take good care of them the human race will die out. We enjoy having sex, and our genes have made it so for our survival. 进化 Jìnhuà, evolution, have made our congenital essence (the genes) evolve to become programmed to do great sacrifices in distinct topics as Xinggan (sexuality). Most important are aspect about finding a partner, get children and raise them. As we all know it is many ways to do this and often we face complications. Humans simply got different ways of handling situations like this depending on their personality and upbringing. When it starts to heat up we use something called Fang wei or Defense techniques to help us out. Fang wei work autonomous to protect and preserve us. They simply exist and we rarely know of their existence and activation. Here I will look closer into Xinggan through the eyes of redirecting and sublimation to unclose some interesting aspects.
重 定向 Chong ding xiang is simply a redirection of an impulse; a type of displacement. For example, if you are very upset with your boss, but you cannot be aggressive towards him, then you can be aggressive toward another person instead. This means that you simply start searching for a substitute person for your boss. In the end, instead of screaming at the boss, you simply scream at your husband. Of course, you first have to come up with some type of pretext to scream. For example, just remind him about some mistake he have done in the past, and then you scream (back) to him. Related to sexuality we might think about a situation where a couple is watching a pornographic film on TV for so having steaming sex; redirecting their sexual emotions from TV to their partner. One of the indications of unfaithfulness is an increased libido. If the wife suddenly has an abnormal interest in sexual relations, it might be a sign of her being unfaithful. The increased sexual interest might have two roots: 1. Increased testosterone levels increases the libido. 2. Using sexual interaction as a way to distract her husband to believe that everything is okay. Increased libido tends to happen in women but not in men; men usually want no matter situation. Chong ding xiang (redirecting) is one common of the yang techniques, connected to the mental aspect of Hun. Hun is impulsive and direct. It does not exist any deeper thinking about should or should not; only a cheap impulsive “let’s do it!”
When an activity in Hun increases we find that the Hun activity sooner or later reaches its tolerance, Duliang. When reaching Duliang the mind needs to come up with a solution. The activity in Hun will mirror itself in Po and it will elevated activity in Hun. This is the impulses coming out from our congenital essence, Li, the profound with deep roots planted in our ancestor’s prehistory. The expected reaction in Po will be as written in our Li; unchangeable. When in danger, under pressure, or simply with a general elevated activity in Hun we find Po activating many aspects. Most common to mention are a changed circulation of psychic qi in our divergent meridians, changes in the skin, stagnations in the tendino muscular meridians (TMM), problems in activated areas and a development of disturbed circulation of qi in our zang fu system. But, perhaps the most important aspect is the activation of Fang weis, defense mechanisms. Fang wei haven’t got the proper attention in the clinic or in Chinese medicine academia, but that does not pull down its importance.
Let us go back to the example above, here we find the mind detonate without thinking longer than the explosion. By using redirecting we find the mental detonation being moved to somebody else; to something less dangerous. Instead of losing the job by screaming to the boss, the husband get a hard time. Redirecting is one of the classical Hun mechanisms. You might say that Ching ding xiang is one of the main Fang weis of the Roun personality and in situations when the activity in Hun is increasing. Redirecting is one of the Fang wei techniques that we use almost uncritical in our daily life; ask anybody.
Another important Fang wei when searching for the devils and angels are 升华 Shang hua or sublimation. This defense technique is intimately connected to Chong ding xiang (redirecting/ displacement), and are possible the most important of the invisible defenses in daily life. Shang hua works like this: You take something emotionally and use the energy from the emotion on another more constructive activity. For example, instead of sitting depressed over a broken relationship, you start running marathon or – writing a book about lost love. If you have stored aggression inside, you might consider starting with a heavy exercise like the Crossfit or MMA. When your wife does not want to have sex with you, instead of insisting her to the point of madness, you start watching a film on Discovery channel about Boats or start painting a wall. Sheng hua is a way to get things out of the system. Sublimation was regarded by Sigmund Freud to be one of the cornerstones of the civilized life. This because we have to acknowledge that it is not possible to live without problems, and when they come, we should have a defense that do not create bigger, deeper and longer problems. Sheng hua cuts the problem and Freud saw this as one of the best ways to survive as a civilized race. Chinese psychology regards Sheng hua (sublimation) to be a normal Fang wei with yin quantities. Meaning that it is Nei (internal) and Yin (passive) in nature. The execution of the sublimation in itself might not be yin, but the deeper aspects are highly yin in nature. Normally we activate Sheng hua in two ways: 1. Quick, when we are conscious about the situation. Shen activated makes it Yang in nature. 1. Slowly, when we wait for your unconscious to activate it. Po activated makes it Yin in nature.
Sublimation need be analyzed together with displacement. Displacement is in negative nature, but sublimation is positive. We tend to use Fu mian (negativity) as radar to explore and protect when we feel that our psychic qi is drained; Psychic qi xu. Then Fu mian tend to use displacement as one of it’s a weapons. Even though we know that displacement really only create new problems on other arenas. Because this Fang wei is not actually a friendly technique; find a victim and project a punishment onto him for whatever you feel about something else. Emptying yourself on somebody innocent is not constructive. Sublimation is a more positive and constructive way to channel the negative energy. Here you find a technique that will drain your mind without directly hurting anybody else. Running off some steam in the gym does never hurt anybody.
Sublimation can be seen as the antagonist to displacement; Yin-Yang relation. Displacement is the classical Hun technique, and the antagonist to Hun is Po. Po is intimately connected to sublimation. Po is often regarded as more physical – and Hun as a more mentally connected. Making us start thinking that Sublimation is Yang and Displacement is Yin. Po plans ahead, into the future; here we find sublimation. One of the guiding elements in sublimation is the wish for continuing living in peace and harmony also in the future. It is not good to scream at the boss, but beyond doubt it is not good to ventilate on the poor husband neither. A good practitioner of Chong ding xiang (displacement) ventilates on arenas where he can get away with it; normally toward the mistakes of others. Often displacement it is regarded as a stigmatizing way of ventilating emotions and frustrations. You might be seen as an impolite neurotic screamer at home and in the traffic, but you keep quiet at work. The projected irritability might create a stigma as frustrated, irritable, angry, impolite and intolerable.
Sheng hua (sublimation) are of a more delicate nature than displacement. Nobody knows or has ever been bothered by a person blowing out some steam with a little exercise when it is no sex at home. This technique is directed forward, and will not create problems after as displacement will do. Sublimation is both planned and calculated; making Sheng hua a typical Po technique.
Sigmund Freud postulated that sublimated sexuality was THE reason for the majority of problems created by the society. Freud was (as we all know) very into erotic energies just as Chinese philosophy categorizes everything as Qi and the Taoist focus on sexuality. Freud postulated that erotic energy is not freely expressed in our society. Since the society limits expression of sexuality, we find most people making constraints on this sexual energy. This is why sexual energy search for other places to circulate or to express itself. If sexual energy does not circulate another place it will accumulate in the mind and create a mental imbalance. Chinese medicine simply calls this an accumulation of activity in Hun. Depending on the amount of the accumulated activity in Hun we might get a mirroring of Hun in Po.
For Freud sublimation become a way to transform erotic energy (libido) into more social acceptable activities. Freud postulated that a person probably would use more or less the same type of sublimation during his life time. In the beginning sublimations had a more sadistic nature, but slowly they would develop into a more human – and beneficial nature. Chinese psychology states something similar to Freud. The inner aspect, Nei go from Yin to Yang as it move to the external, Wai. Qi will never stop existing; qi only changes shape and place as it transforms through time. Sheng hua (sublimation) is a way to change something into something perceived as more correct among others. A person that changes behavior doesn’t do this of his choice, but because he has to adapt. Sheng hua is not what a person want or search for, but it is a way to survive tomorrow. If a person is filled with sexuality (erotic energy as Freud called this sexuality) we find Sheng hua as a healthy way to transform his sexual impulses into something more acceptable. He might stop observing random women as sexual objects, and start with a physical activity instead. Sheng hua will reduce the sexual urge.
A high frequency of sexuality or sexual energy is known to often transform into some kind of higher spiritual thinking. This form of sexual transformation is regarded as completely natural in the framework of Chinese psychology. Deep thinkers and philosophers tend to use their Fang wei Sheng hua to transform their sexual urges into higher thinking. Physical sexuality is largely connected to kidney Zang, and within Chinese psychology we find sexuality related to the Teche personality; the deep thinker. A Teche personality is associated with kidney zang. Making sexual Sheng hua intimately related to kidney zang and the Teche personality. The irony of the sexual Sheng hua and the Teche personality are their creativity that is connected to their amount of coitus. Sexual Sheng hua will convert sexual energy into creativity; the frequency of coitus will adjust the creativity.
Sheng hua have two origins: First we have the conscious Sheng hua thought to us as children by our parents and stored in Zhi. This sublimation is situational and directly guided by the habitat and culture where we live. To use it we need to think. The second type of sublimation is connected to a congenital origin that is stored in the congenital essence, our Jing, and managed by Po. The congenital Sheng hua is hidden from our consciousness and out of our control; it simply exists in our daily life as an instinct and not as a conscious act. Sheng hua might be both unconscious and conscious at the same time according to Chinese psychology. Sigmund Freud meant that sublimation were a conscious act, but his student Carl Jung thought it were subconscious. Chinese psychology acknowledge both options; Yin and Yang, but think that it also might be unconscious due to the connection to Jing. The most common view today is the subconscious sublimation as a response to shame and fear as postulated by Jung. Interesting enough we find the emotion fear intimately related to the zang organ kidney in Chinese medicine. Sublimation, fear, sexuality and kidney zang have close relations.
Literature teaches us that we got two central drives sex and aggression. Aggression might be considered to be a Fang wei just as sex might be considered to be one. Normally, sexuality is an aspect that is suppressed as a way of acting freely. Central in sexuality are our actual sexual desire and the sublimation of our sexual desire. Remember repression hides elements in the subconscious and sublimation transforms this energy into something else. When transforming, the person will sense a type of satisfaction. This sensation tells us that we are good behaving and please repeat this behavior. When hiding or repressing sexual desires we are basically create a ticking sexual desire; sooner or later it might explode. Something we might associate with the celibate vow of priests. We might speculate in priests being sexually repressed and not sexually sublimated. This might be the reason to the sexual abuse conducted by priests, because (for sure) not all of these sexually abusive priests are real pedophiles. Never forget it will always be Yin in Yang, and Yang in Yin; it is and is not at the same time.
Channeling or subliming sexual desires into something else are to both hide sexual desire (for yourself and others) and to get it out of the system at the same time. Most civilizations and societies are not compatible with a free flow of sexual desires, and people do not practice instant sexual satisfaction. It is not permitted by law to have sex at public places; nobody have sex at McDonalds. The urge for sex are connected to Zhi and thereby the zang organ kidney. Love are connected to Shen and thereby the zang organ heart. A lot can be written about love, but it is thought that love is related to cognition. We might question this since love makes blind! Our primitive sex drive are basically related to Zhi and Jing; our congenital essence.
Sex is (sadly enough) only a way to pass on genes; just as love between a man and a woman is present to ensure their bounding, motivate their effort, creates safety and their dedication to their offspring. Making love, sex drive and sex is genetically conditioned. The pleasure of having coitus and a close partner make our hormones dance and we feel good. What makes us feel good we tend to protect and repeat. The root to this is in the congenital essence and thereby our Li. Our kidney zang is in charge of the aspects, but love… Love need to be divided into two parts, Yin/ yang. The Yin love are the physical love for another person; the chemical love. The chemical stimulation the sensation of another person indirectly gives us AND the interchange of chemicals in pheromones, sputum, sperm and other liquid interchange. The Yang love is more the mental conscious emotion for another person; partly colored by chemical stimulation, but anyhow. Making us have two love energies flowing out of the congenital essence one Yin charged and unpredictable, and another Yang charged only predictable to a certain degree.
The Yin love might be seen as a sexual drive and thereby kidney zang and Zhi related. The Yang love might be seen associated with a conscious thinking and decision based, and thereby heart zang and Shen related. Both is genetically based and a result of some type of thinking. To help the understanding we might say that Love is Shen related and Sex drive Jing related. We also need to add that the touch of a loved one, a tactile stimulation, is associated with heart zang. Hugging and sexually touching each other stimulating the heart zang and Shen. Depending on the Duliang (tolerance) in heart zang and Shen we find the fourth yin yang law became activated. The tactile stimulation will move our psychic qi related to sexuality in Shen. First we have the Yin related qi that just makes us more present and close. If the tactile stimulation continues we will observe that the increase of psychic Yin qi in Shen will transform into an excess of psychic Yang qi in Shen. This inter-transformation will change the person from mentally present and calm to sexually aroused and mentally in a sexually trance.
Our life’s or even stronger, our human race depends on the sexual attraction to pass on our genetics to future generations. Beauty is a way to signal “I am proper for you”. It is correct to say that genetically beauty has a purpose, but culturally not. A world depending on a genetic transmission will necessarily need to have a system of genetic signaling system. We find this system to be beauty. Beauty will cause both sexual attraction and the rice of civilizations. Having beauty is not the same as being sexually attractive or sexually available. The key to beauty is not being slim or thick; this is culturally conditioned aspects. Most important for us is symmetry. Research has found that women are not more attracted to handsome men than normal men. Women are attracted to his ability to protect and preserve her offspring. This ability is normally connected to his social status and material abilities. Men on the other side of the table are attracted to distinct physical features of the woman. Normally this is demographic defined, but in short, wide hips, flat stomach and full breasts. In a way, women want men with nice car, clothes and good job, and men want a woman with nice figure. Having a nice personality, being intelligent and caring for others are interestingly enough secondary in this process. Do not forget that our Li is not programmed on an individual level. The key in Li are the survival of the race. You will search for parameters that go beyond your personal existence.
Beauty might be described as something that occurs in an individual, is perceived by others, and decoded as a signal of strong genetics, the individual congenital essence; Li. As we know beauty are strongly correlated with both facial symmetry and symmetry in general. We observe beauty, feel attracted to the beauty, and perhaps here is the place sexual attraction start to develop as an interest in mixing genes. In many regards beauty is the root to the creation of Sheng hua (sublimation).
Let us look on the mechanism of first love to better understand the connection love and partner. We have two different types of connections Yang and Yin; Yang is the emotional – and Yin the chemical connection. This mechanism is founded in our congenital essence, our Li, and rises from our Yin towards Yang. First we get a chemical activation that gradually transforms to an emotional connection; Yin transform to Yang. Most of the process with sensing and searching is unconscious. We have our three steps of falling in love: 1. Lust. 2. Attraction. 3. Bounding. In the lust face we analyze symmetry, economy, social status and body figure of people. If we find appealing factors we will automatically start to secrete testosterone and estrogen. When this happens you are experiencing your nature, your congenital essence, Li, searching for a partner without you being aware of it. Women search for four factors: High socio economical level, symmetry, alpha male and a good person. Men search for five factors: Physical factors like breast, hips and long hair, good heart, not abusive, strong character and fidelity. To conquer a woman men try to impress the women. To conquer a man women try to look better than the other women present. Men are considered to be Yang in nature and they use Yang to catch Yin the woman. Women are considered to be Yin in nature and they use Yin to catch Yang the man. In a way the woman are waiting for the best man to pass. It is two main factors make lust come the socio economic factor and symmetry. Women initially tend to focus more on socio economic factors, and men focus more on symmetry. When a woman’s Li say that this man will provide your future child with healthy genes, take care of you during pregnancy, and protect and provide for you and your future offspring after, her move to the next level attraction. When a man’s Li say that this woman got good genes for his future offspring he will move to the next level attraction. Li is related to the congenital essence that is one of the two components of the kidney essence. Making lust intimately related to kidney zang. Some might argue that lust should be associated with liver zang due to its impulsive nature. It is almost NO impulsivity in lust; everything is deeply rooted in our genetics and you influence close to nothing.
When we enter the second level, attraction, our brain stops thinking on anything else than the future partner; we go blind! Attraction stimulates three hormones to circulate in our veins; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin. Adrenaline makes the heart start pounding a little extra. Dopamine makes the person develop a strong wish and get an increased pleasure; makes him think this person is perfect. Serotonin makes the person only think about their partner. In a way the person become totally drugged in the love chemicals. In Chinese medicine it is possible to call the attraction period for the Yang Damp period. The person is active, but only around the chosen one. Beside that not much happens. When a person enters attraction, we find his mind to be permanently reprogrammed. The chemical marinade of the brain will create implications for later. This marks the change for the third level Bounding.
Bounding is the third level, and indicates that a couple feels ready to bring their relation to another level. They start speaking about getting children and might be considered a stable couple. Hormonal we find a key indicator in the increased secretion of oxytocin and vasopressin (ADH). These two hormones are secreted in relation to coitus. Oxytocin is secreted in an increased amount during orgasm; creating a deep bounding between the couple. Vasopressin is secreted in an increased amount after coitus; creating a sensation of protection and maintaining a stronger relation with their partner. During the bounding period we find communication becoming more important and we also observe that the gender differences increases. The chemical blindness from the attraction period gradually fades away and leaves the person capable to see who their partner is. The closeness and intimacy the bounding period offers are supposed to help the couple to stay together.
Our congenital essence has all this planned out to the smallest detail. We just have to follow our lust. Then we just stay fascinated sensing that we cannot come up with a mistake in our couple. Just to wake up to a person that we feel strongly bounded to hearing children crying in the background. Nature wins! It is no specific organ involved in this process beside the kidney and its congenital essence, but we might state that distinct personalities will shine through in some parts of this process. Roun personality is most active in the lust period. He runs to the three steps with the speed of light just to discover that he did not bound. Chen personality goes totally blind in the attraction period and bounds just partially well; depending on his education. I personality have difficulties starting the lust period, but when he starts he is the most dedicated of them all; of course suffering under all the new information following an establishing of a relation. Pro personalities will not lose focus under the attraction period. You might observe that he have control, and do not have the black out that a Chen personality will have. Teche personalities decide to enter this system, and do it of the greatest pleasure and enjoyment. All five personalities follow the same three steps and all of them with the guidance of the congenital essence.
The tree steps to children should be read in the context of an actual sexual desire and sexual thinking might be associated with kidney zang, or more specific Kidney Yang. Zhi is the mental aspect of Kidney zang, and is normally considered to be Yang; making Zhi intimately related to Kidney Yang. We have two different modalities: First the unconscious desire (animalistic libido) that are related to our Ben (roots) and our Jing. Perhaps we should locate it in our kidney essence. Secondly: Conscious thinking about having children or enjoying planned physical intimacy are closely related with our Shen and Yi. Desire is Yin in relation to thinking that is Yang. Our unconscious desire is Yin and our conscious thinking Yang. The unconscious desire is Yin Zhi related and a conscious sexual thinking Yang Zhi related.
The classical sex analysis within Chinese medicine connects a kidney yin xu to an increased interest for sexual interaction, and a kidney yang xu to impotence. Here we reason that organ is Yin and mental are Yang. Making physical aspects like impotence Yin – and the Libido Yang connected. To understand the essence we need to see the difference between activities connected to the conscious mind and sub-conscious mind in Shen. Normally, we say that the conscious mind is Yang and the sub-conscious mind is Yin. Further on the conscious mind are closely connected to the short time memory and Yi; the mental aspect of the spleen zang. The sub-conscious mind is close to Zhi and the long term memory; the mental aspect of kidney zang. A problem related to the conscious mind is normally a Yi problem with a Yang nature, and the sub-conscious mind is a Zhi problem with a Yin nature. A pathogenic factor that is Yang charged it will afflict Yi, and the Yin charged will afflict Zhi. Giving us the understanding that sublimation are of a Yin Zhi nature and thinking of a Yang Yi nature. A Yin Zhi nature implies that the vulnerable aspect is Yin. Changes in Yin will create disturbances that complicate the activities in our Zhi. Making elements that enhances Yin factors in Zhi might afflict our animalistic libido or the inborn sexual desire. Examples of Yin factors that would afflict the sexual part of Zhi is tiredness (Yin state: Qi xu), Diarrhea (Yin state: Tai yin syndrome: Yin shi) and Frequent urination (Yin state: Kidney yang xu: Yang xu). A decreased interest in sexual relations and decreased libido are directly related to Jing xu and Zhi qi xu states. A decrease in Jing or a developing Yin state in Zhi will create a state of nonexistence libido in the mind. The person feels no interest in copulation, no attraction, and has no sexual arousal whatever; even if presented a good opportunity. On the other side, we have the conscious thinking about having children, ovulation-planning or simply a wish to enjoy the pleasures of sexual stimulation with another person. This is related to Shen and Yang Yi. A Yang Yi nature implies that the vulnerable aspect is Yang. Changes in Yang will create disturbances that complicate the activities in our Yi. Elements that enhance Yang factors in Yi will potentially afflict conscious sexuality; our planning of having children or planning to enjoy sexual stimulation. Examples of Yang factors that would afflict the sexual part of Yi are over-thinking (Yang state), problems in daily life and Stress (Yang state: elevated activity in Hun: Yang shi). The main indicator for a lack of conscious sexual planning related to Yi are simply not finding any reason for sexual interaction; the person simply do not feel for it.
Sexual sublimation or sexual Sheng hua might constitute a type of solution in a difficult moment or – situation in a person’s life. We need to be aware of that suppression or repression is not an eradication of the sexual desire or urge. Remember, you will never become free of what you suppress. It is neither any explanation of the influence of normal hormonal changes on the sexual desires. The lust will live on in the un-conscious and create sub-conscious flear ups of sexually related elements like wet dreams, frustrations and sexual confusion. When lust changes to attraction exclusivity in the relation develops and with that a couple starts developing deeper bounds. Some place along this line of congenital essence guided process we might have some minor problems. Sublimation and repression might be ways to avoid problems with our partner.
Interestingly enough when something repressed return it will return much stronger than when it were on the point of repression. If you hold back Yang, you will find your Yang grow stronger until you unleash it; Yang become Yang Yang. Sublimation is an instant transformation of sexual energy into another type of energy. We should regard sublimation as an intelligent form for mastering difficult sexual energies. In many regards sexual transformation from a Yin state to a Yang state, from material to spiritual, would never happen without a properly functioning Shen. If the person suffers from a Shen qi xu we might find the healthy sublimation turn into a potential harmful repression.
Our congenital essence deeply rooted in Li stored by our Kidney zang conserves our human race through our sexuality; 性感 xìnggǎn. We need children to continuing here on earth. Nature have programmed our congenital essence trough pleasure related features and hormonal addictions to copulate and responsible raise our offspring. 进化 Jìnhuà, evolution, have slowly changed and refined our congenital essence (the genes) to become what we find today. Everything from lust, attraction to bounding is basically out of our control. Xinggan (sexuality) might be the key, but the maker of the key in Jinhua and the keeper of the key are the congenital essence. Life might be complicated from time to time, and Li have given us Fang wei, defense techniques, to guide us. In Xinggan we have two main Fang weis Chong ding xiang (redirecting) and Sheng hua (sublimation).
We cannot write about Chinese sexuality without mentioning the tradition of binding the feet of women. This was a tradition that started around 800-900 A.D. in China. The tradition was connected to four factors: Marriage, Sex, Beauty and Duty. In this time period we find the woman’s place to be in the home only. She was supposed to take care of the feeding the husband and – the family and produce children. As today, sons were the preferred gender on the offspring. The rich men practiced polygamy. It is thought that a Song Dynasty emperor was fascinated by his concubines with unusually small feet. Many regard this as the beginning of the foot binding tradition; that spread from the emperor, nobility, landowners, officials, and finally to the common people. The ideal were the three inch long golden lily.
A girl had to start binding her feet at the age of five to get the perfect shape. Normally the initiation of the foot binding was a huge social event for the family. To complete the process of foot binding we estimate about two years; but the binding were a life long process. The feet were seen as a female erogenous zone, and when a father searched for a wife for his son he looked at the feet of the women. It went so far that they thought that foot binding even gave a tighter vagina; the Jade gate. Women started to hide their bounded feet and gradually they become a secret; only prostitutes showed their feet to others.
With the years we find even competitions where the women show their feet in public. Showing feet might be compared with showing breasts today; gradually from a private – to public sphere. A lot of sexually perverse traditions developed from the feet bounding, and even the shoes become objects of worship. In the 1800s we find about 50% of the women with bound feet, and 100% among the upper classes. Women that did not have their feet bounded started to use high heels to give an impression of having their feet bounded. Foot binding become illegal when the communists came to power in 1949.
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