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So You Want Great Sex...
Sex is on the minds of many people. According to Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, results of a sex survey conducted by Edward O. Laumann and fellow researchers at the University of Chicago of more than 3,400 adults show that 54 percent of men think about sex every day or several times a day; another 43 percent think about it a few times a month or a few times a week. Comparable numbers for women are 19 percent and 67 percent. People think about and have sex primarily because it feels good, because they care about or love their partner, and because they want to have children. Whatever the reason, it is natural to want the experience to be as intensely pleasurable as possible. One way to help ensure sexual satisfaction is to be sexually fit and healthy.
For our purposes, sexual fitness means being physically able to participate in sexual activity comfortably and pleasurably, regardless of the form that takes for you; and to attain and maintain a healthy reproductive system to help ensure that sexual encounters are as satisfying as possible and, if desired, that they result in conception. Sexual fitness also involves a degree of emotional and psychological wellness or "fitness." You may be physically capable of engaging in various sexual acts, but that does not mean you are emotionally willing or able to do so. Although this book focuses primarily on physiological fitness for sex, suggestions on how to deal with psychological issues are also provided.
To be sexually fit, there are two areas to consider: overall good health, including proper nutrition, routine exercise, adequate sleep, and other positive lifestylechoices; and situations that present a challenge to sexual activity, such as impotence, menopause, and heart conditions, and natural, safe ways to correct them or make them a positive part of your sexuality. This book helps you achieve sexual fitness and health in both areas. It offers you natural, safe ways to achieve and maintain overall good health and describes holistic approaches to treating conditions that may hinder sexual fitness.
Although this book does not teach sexual techniques, it does suggest ways to achieve and maintain optimal physical and mind-body sexual fitness through nutrition and supplementation, herbal medicine, homeopathy, special exercises designed for couples and individuals, and Eastern sexual practices. It is for everyone and anyone who wants to enhance their sexual relationship, improve their fitness level, and become more familiar with how their body and that of their partner can give them pleasure and satisfaction. Whether you or your partner has a sexual problem such as impotence or loss of sexual desire; or a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease; or simply want to improve your sexual relationship, this book can show you the natural remedies and formulas, the exercises and mind-body experiences, and the foods and supplements that can help you achieve that goal.
Let's begin, however, with a look at sex in America--how much pleasure men and women are getting from their sexual experiences and what types of sexual problems they are having--so you can see where you fit into the country's sexual scene.
Sex in America
You may have heard the expression "If it feels good, do it" ("as long as no one else is hurt in the process"). In days gone by, however, American society viewed sex primarily as a means of procreation and as something men enjoyed but "good girls" didn't. On top of that, sex was rarely discussed, which left many men and women in the dark about what was normal sexual behavior and feelings.
Along came Alfred Charles Kinsey, a sexologist who conducted the first large-scale study of sexual behavior. Kinsey interviewed more than 11,000 men for his study, and in his 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, he reported that most men masturbated, most had had premarital sex, and 40 percent of married men had had an extramarital affair. Although his study was criticized for the way the data were obtained, it was groundbreaking in that it burst the puritan view of sex in America. It appeared that people--at least men--were enjoying sex. His 1953 report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, revealed that women are as capable as men of enjoying sex.
The door to the sexual revolution had begun to open. Kinsey's studies were followed by many others, including those by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, Shere Hite, Edward Laumann, Cynthia and Samuel Janus, among others. Some of the latest findings show that the men and women who are least satisfied with their sex lives are those who are single, not living with anyone, and who have at least two sexual partners. Only 54 percent of them say they are happy with the physical part of their sexual relationship, and a mere 33 percent are pleased with the emotional side. Among married people, however, up to 88 percent say they are very pleased with the physical portion of their sex lives, while as many as 85 percent say they get great emotional satisfaction.
These last two figures may seem out of place with the next ones: Laumann's surveys showed that 75 percent of men and 29 percent of women say they always have an orgasm. This means a high percentage of women are not having orgasms or having them only some of the time. Laumann's group was surprised by the findings and concluded that despite the seeming emphasis on orgasm among Americans and the popular idea that frequent orgasms are necessary for a happy sex life, there is "not a strong relationship between having orgasms and having a satisfying sexual life."
Not having an orgasm is not the only sexual problem that women experience much more often than men.
- Thirty-three percent of women say they are not interested in sex, compared with 16 percent of men.
- Twenty-one percent of women say sex is not pleasurable, compared with only 10 percent of men.
- Twenty-four percent of women say they cannot orgasm, compared with 8 percent of men.
- Fifteen percent of women experience pain during intercourse compared with 5 percent of men. In addition, 20 percent of women say they have trouble lubricating, a problem that does not apply to men.
Men do surpass women in having anxiety about performance (18 percent of men versus 11 percent of women) and in climaxing too soon (29 percent of men compared with 10 percent of women).
Why Sexual Fitness Is Important
Sex is a basic human function and need. Frustrations, anxiety, fears, or other concerns about their sexuality can adversely affect all other parts of people's lives. A man who has trouble maintaining an erection may feel inadequate, "less than a man," and become withdrawn in his relationship. If he has a tendency to be aggressive, he may take out his frustrations on his partner. His low self-esteem will likely affect his work as well as his relationships with other people. A woman who has no sex drive may feel there is nothing she can do and may shut down her feelings about sex altogether. Couples who are having trouble conceiving a child are often under a great deal of stress, which can have tremendous negative impact on their relationship as well as on their work and social lives.
Some people have health issues that adversely affect their sexual fitness. Diabetes, for example, is a very common disease that can cause impotence in men and loss of sex drive in women. Women and men with heart disease are sometimes afraid (and often unnecessarily so) to engage in sexual activity for fear they will risk further heart damage or even death. Obesity, a growing problem in the United States, is also a hindrance to sexual fitness in that it can make sexual activity difficult or uncomfortable as well as lower self-esteem.
But people with these and other issues about sexual functioning can do many things to ameliorate their problems. When it comes to sex, American men and women may be talking about it more than they used to, but there is still very much they do not fully know or understand about it. Once armed with basic information about how the sex organs function and how the mind-body connection is an integral part of sexuality, you can make simple changes in your life that can add more physical, emotional, and spiritual vigor, excitement, and satisfaction to your sexual relationship. This book helps you get that basic knowledge and then shows you how to achieve peak sexual performance, optimal sexual fitness, and new heights of sexual pleasure using natural, nondrug methods.
The Healing Power of Sex
Being as sexually fit as possible not only helps you better enjoy your sexual encounters; it also can improve your overall fitness and health. It's been said that sexual experiences have "a healing power that transcends medicine." The nurturing and healing power of touch has been recognized since ancient times, but only recently has it come under scientific scrutiny. Now experts tell us what people have known intuitively for thousands of years: Touch can heal. Sexual contact is the ultimate touch and so has the highest ability to transform when given with love and tenderness.
Sexual intimacy during and after illness can be an integral part of the recovery process. A person who is recovering from surgery or a heart condition, for example, or individuals who have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis, can greatly benefit physically, emotionally, and spiritually from intimacy with their partner. Such intimacy does not need to include sexual intercourse. Many other forms of intimate sexual contact can heal, such as a back rub, a foot massage, mutual masturbation, showering together, or simply cuddling together.
People who are physically challenged may not be able to make love in the conventional sense, but that does not mean they do not enjoy sex. In fact, some disabled people who have lost certain sensations and functions, such as someone who is paralyzed from the waist down, say that other body parts have become more highly sensitized to compensate for the loss of feeling in their genitals.
Sexual activity can help you heal from everyday "hurts." A satisfying sexual experience can help resolve stress and tension, lift your spirits, boost your energy level, and rejuvenate your relationship with your partner. All of these positive benefits, and more, contribute to overall improved sexual fitness and health. It is an empowering state of health to be in, and this book can help you get there.
How This Book Can Help You Achieve Peak Performance
Maintaining sexual fitness is like taking care of your car: You need to perform routine tasks to keep it running at its best. In addition to fueling/feeding your car properly, you need to keep the fluid levels up, change the oil, fill the tires, tune the engine, and dozens of other jobs to keep it running right.
Your body likewise needs maintenance. First you need to know your body's parts and how they work, which is explained in Chapter 2. There are also various lifestyle choices and medical conditions that impact sexual fitness, and these are addressed in Chapter 3. Among the list of "to dos" designed to help maintain the body and keep it operating at an optimal level is proper nutrition, which is discussed in Chapter 4. The power of natural substances from the realms of herbal medicine and homeopathy are explored in Chapter 5, while in Chapter 6 you and your partner can learn how to improve your sexual fitness and performance by doing exercises for couples. Chapter 7 shares some of the sexual secrets from Eastern traditions that are perfect for couples in love, and Chapter 8 reveals how you and your mate can utilize your most important sex organ--your mind--to achieve peak sexual performance and fitness.
Sexual fitness begins with understanding your body--and that of your partner--so you can best experience and enjoy the sexual times you share and know what to do when something doesn't seem right. For many men and women, such knowledge requires a look at an "owner's manual" for the human body. Chapter 2 offers you that look--an overview of a man's and woman's sexual organs and how they operate--or may fail to operate--in the art of lovemaking.