By Felice Dunas, PhD, LAc
Finally, that trip you have long awaited is almost here. In a magnificent spa, hidden away from time and urban life, you and your beloved will rediscover each other. Under the ancient arms of gently swaying trees, you will regenerate yourselves, and while all thought of budgets, children, and employment melt away, you may even have the best sex of your life.
Many couples notice that it takes a vacation away from daily stresses to relax the body, free the mind, and rediscover sexual desire. That’s because erotic love and bodily healing naturally blend together. When you recover from an illness or climb out from under that mountain of papers, your sex drive returns. It is overwork, worry, and physical strain that consume the juice needed to run your sexual batteries, but in case you had forgotten: sex, like health, is worthy of rediscovery.
Everything in life is easier if you are having great sex on a regular basis. Mountains turn into molehills and stresses become less irritating. You feel happier and more appreciative of the goodness life brings you. Your outlook brightens and your body feels more vital. If you think these statements aren’t true, you have never had great sex on a regular basis.
So why must it take a bungalow, a Jacuzzi, and your parents babysitting for weeks on end to revive the passion buried by the daily grind? It should be possible to maintain that healthy hunger for life and each other without depending upon that elusive weekend off. It is important to have a clear idea of how great sex, great health and optimal performance in life complement and create each other. You can intentionally use one to access the others and can create lifestyle habits that enhance achievement in all areas.
Sex Makes Us Healthy
We know that every part of the body must be used to remain vital. Medical literature has shown us that to keep the heart healthy it needs stimulation with aerobic exercise. Bones require weight-bearing exercise to maintain high calcium levels and avoid osteoporosis. Even octogenarians can revive a fading memory with a few simple mental exercises.
The sex organs are no exception. Women who breastfeed have lower breast cancer rates and celibate men turn up with higher percentages of prostate and penile cancers. A woman who enjoys regular sex may have fewer PMS symptoms. Actively sexual women going through menopause have fewer symptoms associated with the drop in reproductive hormone levels, which means that they get to feel wet and wild into their 90s.
Sex is a known antidepressant: it stimulates the production and circulation of many “feel good” chemicals created by the body, which changes your outlook. Have you ever noticed that depression just can’t exist in the middle of great sex? We benefit from using the body in all the ways in which it was designed to be used.
As an acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, I have had the opportunity to explore the body’s relationship between sex and health and performance from a medical perspective different from most. The ancient Chinese physicians were among history’s first sexologists. They spent thousands of years observing their patients to learn more about the nature of gender and the optimal ways to utilize sex for pleasure and healing. For my professional ancestors, sex was not just a pastime to be enjoyed for recreational and procreative purposes, but a highly valued and coveted tool: an anti-aging and peak performance strategy and the source of unlimited power to be tapped into at will. These great sages spent centuries formulating their ideas which, by the first century AD, were already quite advanced.
In this country, sex education is about how babies are made, but ancient Chinese scholars realized that a high level of sexual skill involved techniques that brought both pleasure and health. Multi-orgasmic experiences for both men and women were important aspects of lovemaking. This required men to develop the ability to separate orgasm from ejaculation. The first Kinsey report, produced in the 1950s, documented that male orgasm is not what puts a man to sleep within ten seconds of climax; rather, it is the ejaculatory process. A man could have many orgasms in one lovemaking session if he could control the release of semen.
The idea that sex is an anti-aging and peak performance cultivation tool is based upon the idea that you can make love with skills that actually generate more life-force. You can lower your biological age by bringing more stamina into your body through sexual play. The vitality that keeps us alive is intertwined with sexual strength. The more vitality generated in the bedroom, the more that is available to live your life. Likewise, if you waste your life-force in the bedroom with unskilled sex, the weaker you become generally. While sexual ecstasy inspires the body to function at its best, sexual frustration propels people into old age.
During your precious few days at a spa or retreat, your mind slows down and your sex drive reminds you that it still exists. An acupuncturist would tell you that this is because the pot of energy that governs the mind also governs sex drive. There is one battery to run both heads, so to speak. This is true for both genders. When your brain is cranking 24/7, there is not a whole lot of juice left over to keep your sexual engine running. It isn’t that your libido is gone; it’s that it’s being used to cut a path through that jungle of mental activity you muddle through every day. So why wait until you are off in some resort with hot springs and palm trees? Rejuvenate your sex drive now! If you follow the idea that quieting the mind lets your libido speak louder, you can allow for the heat of passion even on a Wednesday. You can create islands in time even during the most hectic schedule. And what else is there to do on an island? Listen to music, stroll through beautiful scenery, dine upon fine food in a relaxed atmosphere, regain your strength, and boogie your brains out.
I have always suggested a once-a-week date night to my patients, even if they are single. Sexy self-care is important for health, longevity, and achievement. If that is not suitable for you, come up with your own variation, but taking the time for your sexual self will change everything for the better. Your stamina, outlook, health, athletic abilities, and love affair will improve. The rules are that kids, business, money, and in-laws are not permitted topics for discussion and that each date night is consistently planned for.
The Perfect Date for Sex and Healing
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and… zzzzz. I don’t know who invented the romantic ideal of wining and dining followed by passionate lovemaking, but whoever it was did not understand the human body and probably had mediocre sex. To feel desire and make love well, your body needs certain conditions, just as it does if you’re competing in an athletic event or taking an exam. No matter how sublime the meal or elegant the setting, no matter how thrilling the show and romantic the moonlit stroll, if you’re stuffed, fatigued and tipsy, your sex won’t match the standards set by the rest of the evening. Your bodies will simply not respond with their maximum potential. If you are hoping to get those juices flowing and have only so many hours away from the office, kids, and other concerns and demands, keep the following in mind.
- The shared pleasure of a sumptuous meal is a lovely way to unite two loving souls, but if you also want to unite sexually, give your body plenty of time to digest. Dine at the beginning of your date and allow at least two hours between the last bite of food and the first nibble of your lover’s lips. This means getting started early. Also, eat foods that are low in fat and animal protein, as they take less time to digest. Limit or eliminate the meat portion of your meal. If you are eating Italian, try pasta primavera or a marinara sauce; if you are going for Asian food, favor noodle or rice dishes with vegetables.
- Try having an early dinner before you go out, and make your date a dessert date. A light dessert as opposed to something large and sinfully rich is a fun way to enjoy each other’s company and share something sensuous without overtaking your system or using up a big portion of the evening. It leaves plenty of time for a long, relaxing chat or a stroll as you digest your food before making love. If you know you are going to have a rich dessert, make sure to eat protein at dinner, as it will help keep your strength more stable for lovemaking by keeping your blood sugar on a more even keel.
- Or, make love before dinner. Instead of using the intimacy of a meal to bring you together, why not work up an appetite with a delicious intimate encounter? Extend the warmth and closeness generated by your time in bed with a later meal. Eating a frozen dinner in the kitchen can feel like a gourmet feast in Paris when you gaze at each other with satisfied eyes.
- If you drink alcohol on your date, keep it moderate. Since it lowers inhibition, alcohol can be a sexual asset if either of you is nervous or shy, but drinking ultimately inhibits sexual function by sedating your nervous system, making you less sensitive and responsive. For some people, a small drink shortly before sex provides the relaxing benefits of alcohol without the detriments. For others, even that will backfire.
- Be careful about your after-dinner coffee. If you feel you need caffeine to have the energy to make love, you probably should ship off to dreamland immediately. The energy you appear to get from caffeine is actually taken from tomorrow afternoon. At about 4pm, you are going to miss it and will compensate by having more coffee.
- The room you make love in should be cozy and warm. If your skin is cold, your body must use energy to warm it. Believe it or not, this leaves just a little less for intense sexual sensation. Pay special attention to your feet. If your tootsies are chilled, it may take more stimulation of your genitals to warm them up.
- If you have been looking forward to a wild night of passionate abandon but you are exhausted or stressed out when you get to the bedroom, don’t push it. Do not make your date about getting to orgasm come hell or high water. Be honest about your fatigue and take the pressure off yourselves. Use the sexual energy you do have to create a calmer, gentler intimacy, or get some sleep and get ready for a passionate morning.
- Drink something hot after making love. Red hot passion uses the body’s energy reserves. It helps to put some heat back in once you have cooled off. Herb or green tea or hot cider are ideal. Coffee and black tea are not the best choices, since it is best not to stimulate the body with caffeine after lovemaking. Hard liquor should be avoided; because the body perceives it as a toxin and works to get rid of it, alcohol can tire you more.
Healing through pleasure is one of the great gifts of life. By supporting your body with erotic skill and attention, you reap tremendous rewards and make the world a happier place to be. Go at it!
Felice Dunas, PhD, LAc, began her studies in 1970, before acupuncture colleges or a profession in the United States existed outside Asian communities, then devoted 25 years to building the profession in the U.S. through legislation, curriculum, and college development. AAAOM recognized Dunas as Acupuncturist of the Year in 2001 for introducing the ancient subject of “sexuality as medicine” to the American acupuncture profession and for introducing classical Chinese medicine to thousands of corporate CEOs. Dunas has appeared on many television and radio shows, lectured globally, and serves as a consultant to corporations and hospitals on lowering healthcare costs with acupuncture and alternative medicine. She is the author of Passion Play: Ancient Secrets for a Lifetime of Health and Happiness Through Sensational Sex and has contributed to publications including Acupuncture Today, Prevention, Glamour, and Marie Claire.