While most species of Earth use the sexual act for procreation, humankind may be the only one for which sex is a pleasure, sport, and obsession. Along with money, hunger, and desire for power, sex is a primary motivating force. It is a basic instinctual urge that all humans experience at some time, and the sexual/sensual component of a relationship is often necessary to keep it strong and healthy.
Many changes have occurred in our sexual focus in the last quarter century. It is no longer oriented just to erections, marathon sex, and multiple partners, though that might be the interest for some. We now have more responsibilities for our own and each other?s health. Safe sex?not transmitting diseases or creating unprepared-for pregnancies?is definitely both sensible and in vogue. Condoms are back, birth control is important, and knowing your partner is crucial to health. There have always been some built-in dangers with sexual activity, from syphilis to gonorrhea to herpes and now AIDS. As the dangers grow, often so do the mystique and adventure of sexuality.
Nowadays, people are more monogamous, attempting to focus on loving and supporting one another, looking more for growth and learning and less for control and dependency. Relationship vitality is important and often secondary to sexual vitality; love that binds us must reach many levels, emotional and spiritual as well as physical. Few relationships last over the long term that are based on good sex alone, just as few endure without a decent sexual relationship. Ultimately, love is the overriding principle, and with love, physical sharing and enjoyment are manifest.
Stress and nutrition are important factors in sexual vitality. Stress, particularly mental stress in the form of worry, overwork, and financial concerns, can interfere with sexual energy and expression. On the other hand, sexual problems themselves can be a source of anxiety and unhappiness. Resolving relationship problems often requires some psychological assistance. Guilt can be a big psychological block to adequate sexual energy. In many situations, there has not been a clear emotional separation from a parent or a previous loved one, and subconscious feelings of incest or adultery may be undermining the experience. Fears of certain fantasies becoming reality may also create anxiety interference. There are all kinds of potential sexual problems. In this section, however, we concentrate more on supporting a healthy sexual function rather than the wide range of sexual dysfunctions and infertility.
For normal function, we need both healthy organs and a balanced, working endocrine system, producing the necessary hormones. Low pituitary function may lead to decreased development of the sexual organs, early menopause in women, and impotence in men. Weak adrenals may reduce the desire and strength for sex and increase sensitivity to stress. Low thyroid may cause a lack of desire or capacity for sex. In men, low testicular function decreases sex drive and sperm production. In women, low estrogen slows sexual maturity, decreases breast size, and retards egg maturation. Estrogen-progesterone imbalance can create many menstrual cycle variations and symptoms.