Sexual health is another important component for anyone living a holistic lifestyle because it plays a vital role in our overall health. It should be of great interest to anyone living with a chronic illness or health condition because of the vast amount of benefits it can bring to us both psychologically and physiologically.
Sexuality is intricately tied to our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Just take a look at some of the many ways that sex is good for us.
Physical Benefits of Sex
Hormones that are released during orgasm and the physical activity of sex offer the following physical benefits.
- alleviates joint and muscle pain
- strengthens the heart
- lengthens the life span
- a great stress reliever
- boosts our energy
- releases the bodies natural opiates that are an extremely effective pain reliever
- stimulates the immune system
- lowers blood pressure
- improves circulation and flexibility
- oils released are good for your skin and hair
- strengthens muscles and bones
- lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol
- strengthens pelvic muscles
- improves quality of sleep
- lowers the risk of prostate cancer
- burns calories and aids in weight loss
- keeps you physically fit
Psychological/Emotional Benefits of Sex
Now if the physical benefits alone are not enough to make you pay attention to your sexual health the psychological certainly will. The same hormones that enhance us physiologically have a powerful impact on our mental health. They may assist with the following:
- relieves depression
- improves our mood
- we feel closer and more connected to our partner
- a more satisfying and fulfilling relationship
- good sexual energy between couples helps them develop a stronger relationship
- it strengthens their bond on all levels and makes them less vulnerable to infidelity
- instills inner peace and harmony
- enhances overall well being
- releases chemicals that make you feel relaxed and happy
- promotes positive feelings about yourself, your partner and your life
- instills a sense of contentment
- reduces stress
- enhances ability to cope
- boosts self-esteem and self-concept
Spiritual Benefits Related to Sexual Health
Last but certainly not least, our sexual health can be an amazing tool for spiritual evolution. Through sexual pleasure, connection, and energy we can experience one of the most profound spiritual experiences available to us.
It promotes feelings of wholeness, harmony, and balance.
We feel deeply connected to not only our lover but ourselves and the origin of the universe as well.
Sexual energy can be used to achieve higher levels of awareness and states of consciousness, thus providing a gateway to finding our true selves and deepening that relationship. It becomes a medium for spiritual growth, healing, and transformation.
We can transcend everyday reality and have a brief rendezvous with Nirvana.
Sexual pleasure, energy, and connection enhance the overall quality of our life.
Sexual Health and Being Single
What if you’re single? If you’re single without a partner that doesn’t mean you can’t reap many of these benefits as well.
Masturbation will achieve most of the same results. However, you will be missing some of the benefits that are derived from intimacy with another human being and the benefits that require the real physical activities such as weight loss. However, if you’re really creative you can still come up with some masturbation activities that can give you a physical workout.
Develop a strong and intimate relationship with nature and yourself and you can have some very satisfying and rewarding masturbation experiences
The hormones released during orgasm that boost our physical and emotional health are released whether it is through masturbation or sex with another person.
Why so Many Sexual Disorders?
A very alarming issue in regard to sexual health is the rise in sexual disorders that we see in both men and women.
Why is it that so many men and women are riddled with sexual health problems these days? Conditions such as erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, infertility, decreased sperm counts, endometriosis, prostatitis, genital abnormalities, prostate cancer, hormonal imbalances continue to increase at terrifying rates.
Some contributing factors can be linked to work-related stress, anxiety, marital discord, past sexual trauma, concerns about sexual performance, alcoholism, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, lack of experience and confidence, or side effects from medications.
However, many people continue to suffer from a variety of sexual disorders that have nothing to do with these factors and instead are directly linked to the presence of the high level of environmental toxins that we are all exposed to on a daily basis.
These toxins are called hormone disruptors or endocrine disruptors and we are all exposed to them on a daily basis through our food, air, and water. Everything from your apples to your toothpaste contains endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals. They are commonly found in pesticides, dioxins, phthalates, PCBs, common household cleaning products, and plastics.
Endocrine disruptors interfere in the normal healthy functioning of the endocrine system, which can result in severe malfunctioning of the reproductive system and deterioration of sexual health.
The hormones released by the endocrine system rule our reproductive and sexual development and functioning. When environmental toxins like endocrine/hormone disrupters enter our body they wreak havoc in a variety of ways. In some cases, they may mimic our hormones like estrogen for the female and androgen for the males, which results in hormone levels that are too high. In other cases, it blocks hormones from producing or functioning properly.
The balance of the endocrine system is very delicate and it takes only very low levels of these toxins to upset this balance and result in a variety of serious and detrimental health effects that may include damage to the nervous, immune, and reproductive systems.
Everyone knows the powerful role of hormones in relation to sexuality. When hormone functioning is disrupted by environmental toxins it can lead to all kinds of sexual health issues that won’t respond to the best marriage counseling in the world or the newest most powerful drug therapy for erectile dysfunction or low sex drive.
What is even more terrifying about these toxic chemicals is that the human body is not capable of breaking them down. Therefore, once they enter the body they are very hard if not impossible to excrete. Instead, they get stored indefinitely in our fat cells and recirculate through our body continually causing even more damage.
One of the most important steps you can take to protect your sexual health is to try and limit your exposure to hormone/endocrine disruptors. Unfortunately, these environmental toxins are found everywhere we go, so it’s literally impossible to escape them completely.
You can however reduce their presence in your life, by making a variety of lifestyle changes that include eliminating the use of pesticides or herbicides, switching your household cleaning supplies and personal care products over to natural and non-toxic products like those found with Seventh Generation, moving to a location that has cleaner air quality and eating organic food. Living a green lifestyle is the wisest and most beneficial activity we can take to safeguard not only our sexual health but our entire life.
Sexual Health and Chronic Illness
Good sexual health is a complex combination of psycho-physiological factors and what is considered healthy sexual functioning is relative to each individual’s unique situation. What works for one couple or individual may not work for another.
Chronic Illness can have a profound effect on a sexual relationship. Some illnesses or conditions may inhibit energy levels, decrease desire for sex, or interfere in physical abilities to engage in intercourse. They may feel less interested in sex or not physically capable of enjoying it in the same manner they are used to. Some people feel too tired, too sick, or do not have the time. There may also be fears of aggravating symptoms.
In these cases, there are always many ways to work around these issues and find satisfying solutions. It can be challenging to negotiate this difficult terrain, but with communication, compromise, and the willingness to find alternatives a satisfying level of sexual health can still be achieved and maintained.
For some extreme cases, non-intercourse methods of sexual pleasure can be adopted. If you happen to be struggling with some of these issues, you may find the information on the Sex and Chronic Illness page to be helpful.
On the other hand, many people with chronic conditions have no change in their sexual functioning. It can continue to be an important contributor to their quality of life and the relationship.
It can be one area of life that still feels normal and comforting when everything else is in chaos. A strong sexual bond can help the couple to weather the storms that chronic illness has on their life more effectively as a team. They will be more resistant to the possible deterioration that can occur in relationships under high stress.
They can use their sexual energy to work off their frustrations, stress and cope better with the situation.