You come home from work one day to find candles lit throughout the house, some sexy beats flowing out of the stereo and your lovely partner lying on the bed in a suggestive position, barely dressed, and waiting for you. How do you react? Hopefully, you’re able to spontaneously “get jiggy with it”. Unfortunately, a stressful day at work has left you exhausted, and you genuinely do have a headache! Or maybe you jump at the opportunity and discover that even though you really want to participate, your body is not cooperating. In your busy life and relationship, it has been a while since spontaneous sex has seemed possible. Sensuality and intimacy have fallen low on the agenda. Add in some challenging physical and emotional experiences, leading to less than satisfactory sex, and an unfortunate and familiar angst arises. Your sex life peters out. You are not alone. Last year, 3,675 people per month googled “sexless relationships”.
The question is how can we change that?
The latest research shows sexual activity has a greater impact on happiness than money (Blanchflower and Oswald 2004). A number of health benefits come from a roll between the sheets such as increasing your immune system, decreasing your blood pressure and stress, improving your sleep, decreasing pain, AND actually increasing your libido. Sex begets sex. And of course, sex is fun, feels good, and helps us feel connected to our partners. Hopefully we don’t need studies to tell us that!
The good news is that there are ample solutions. Any one of us can take the situation we are in into our own hands and turn our sexual lives around. Sexuality is a charged and intimate, albeit taboo, topic. I believe it is time to bring this subject out of the dark.
Nowadays, most of us are at least somewhat familiar with acupuncture and maybe even herbal medicine; many of us have even heard about the efficacy of acupuncture for fertility treatments. However, many of us are not fully aware that Chinese medicine is particularly valuable for sexual health in both men and women. As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I have found that acupuncture and herbal therapy can have a profound impact on a number of different pivotal areas that affect our sexual health: libido, hormonal balance, pain, blood flow, passion, and stress, to name a few.
Because of the delicate nature of sexuality, I’d like to share a bit about who I am and how I have come to this topic. I always approach sexuality from a place of respect and reverence, with the awareness that all of us came to this world through the creativity of sex. I am a husband and a father, and revel daily in the beauty of the new life that has come into this world through my wife and me, my daughter, Hazel. I also thrive on the joy, fun, and closeness my wife and I are able to experience through sex. Sex and the intimacy associated with it, in a healthy relationship, can be a beautiful place to experience not just our partner’s beauty, but also our own.
I also understand that as a white male growing up in a nation of privilege, my experience with sex may be different from those experiencing traumas, pain, or discrimination. My perspective may be different, but my compassion is profound.
Finally, I come to this topic as a practitioner of Chinese medicine. In Chinese medicine and philosophy our sexual energy is rooted in our deepest essence, in the imprint of who we are. Sexual expression is a way of opening up our desires, bringing them to the surface and sharing our deepest love with the world. The understanding is that the passionate driving force behind the ecstasy of loving sexual encounters is an expression of the same part of us that drives us to create positive change in the world. We all deserve to live fulfilling lives and to embody our innate power and strength. While this understanding of sex is beautiful, we all face obstacles that prevent us from fulfilling the abundant joy of a healthy sex life from time to time. Fortunately, we as humans do have resources and tools to overcome these challenges. My central goal as a practitioner is to help people experience increased vitality and potency, and to live a better brighter life by providing relief from pain and stress and improving inner balance using a medicine that marries ancient wisdom with modern science.
In working with imbalances affecting sexual function and satisfaction, Chinese medicine has effective tools that have an impact on both physiology (blood flow, hormones, and pain) and also work on more subtle, emotional levels. There are many cases where additional interventions are appropriate and recommended, such as psychotherapy to explore and resolve psycho-emotional beliefs or traumas, and Western medical referrals for evaluation and treatment. As integrative practitioners we work with you to help you discover what gives you full sexual freedom, and the ability to love and experience intimacy the way you want.
Fortunately, many acupuncture points used for sexual balance and fertility are located below a patient’s elbows and knees. We can help bring balance and restore vitality while working within a patient’s physical comfort zones. This is a wonderful aspect of acupuncture and herbal medicine.
We live in a unique time in human history where we’re able to embrace multiple perspectives and apply more information and awareness to our lives than ever before. Yet, the power of inherited guilt and shame sometimes holds us back from seeking the help we need to access the pleasure and intimacy we deserve from our relationships. I believe it is time to treat our sexual health just as we do our diets and exercise regimens. We can enhance our community by embracing our vibrant potency and embodying our fullest selves in the world.
Have the life you want. It starts today.
by Noah Goldstein, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.