Truly Making Love: Sex and Intimacy as a Healing ForceJan 31, 2022 08:30AM ● By Marlaina Donato
Intimately connecting with a loved one is one of life’s most precious gifts, but it’s easy to lose sight of our innate sensual energy in the maze of the mundane. Through lovemaking, we can harness our life force, and according to abundant research, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, manage pain and improve brain health. A significant correlation also exists between higher ejaculation frequency and a reduced risk for prostate cancer later in life, Boston University researchers report in European Urology.
Making love is also good for boosting our natural immunity. College students that engaged in amorous activity once or twice a week—especially with long-term partners—had 30 percent higher levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A in their saliva, concluded research by Wilkes University, in Pennsylvania.
Stripping Down to Basics
A few lifestyle adjustments can do wonders for worn-out romance. Quality sleep itself can be a potent aphrodisiac. Women are more likely to be “in the mood” after a good night’s sleep, even with just an extra hour of shut-eye, according to a 2015 pilot study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Therapist Kurt Smith, clinical director of Guy Stuff Counseling and Coaching, in Roseville, California, advocates limiting phone use and engaging in non-technological activities. “Phones have moved from being used as a communication device to becoming many people’s connection to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, when used as such, they pose a threat to the emotional connection with our partners,” he says. “With all distractions removed, sit on the sofa, face each other and talk. This suggestion can make many people very uncomfortable, because they have no idea what they’d say to their partner. Actually, talking to your partner without a purpose other than to just listen and connect with each other has become rare.”
An element of fun can go a long way in the quest to stay connected. “Approach your sex life like a science experiment or an art project instead of a math problem,” says Jamie Elizabeth Thompson, a holistic intimacy expert in Austin. “It’s an exploration with no one right answer. Attitude is important when it comes to sex because people can take it so seriously and place crippling pressure on having this fantasy Hollywood sex life.”
Feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin all contribute to the pleasure response, and sharing luscious food with a lover can be sensuous, as well as endorphin-friendly. Nutritious foods such as almonds, walnuts, asparagus and avocados support reproductive health, and a dessert of dark chocolate and honey-drizzled fruits like berries, figs and cherries can support libido in both women and men. Nixing excessive alcohol and sugar is also a good romantic investment.
Partnership as Sacred
Deep relationship is only possible when we are willing to be vulnerable. “Porn is a drug that people unknowingly use to self-medicate and manage uncomfortable thoughts and emotions,” explains Smith. “Many men have no idea what they’re missing because they’ve never had an emotionally intimate relationship without the negative influence of porn. Porn makes sex self-focused, rather than what it’s supposed to be, which is the intimate connection of two people. Porn is selfish, rather than loving, giving and sharing with a partner.”
Thompson attests that lovemaking can help us align with the divine, especially “when people have reverence for the power of their erotic life force. When people open their view of what sex is, it can become an act of worship.”
Love prompts us to become more ourselves. “When erotic life force is flowing freely, the body is vital and the system is turned on. When channeled properly, this energy is highly creative,” muses Thompson. “It’s the fuel of your vehicle, the charge of your battery, and when you are full on life force, it organically overflows into service.”
Marlaina Donato is an author and composer.
Fun Homework for Couples
From Kurt Smith: Remain connected by having “no-tech nights”. Try turning all devices off for an evening and find something to do together that doesn’t require them. This could be watching a movie, playing board games (yes, they still exist), going out for dessert, etc. It can be fun to brainstorm creative, low-cost ideas.
From Jamie Elizabeth Thompson: Journal about why sex and intimacy are important to you, how it serves the rest of your life and what you see available through having a consistent, potent, deep, hot erotic life. Share this vision with your partner and keep it somewhere you see it often. Knowing why something is a priority makes you far more likely to follow through.
Flirt with each other. Couples who flirt their way through their communication fight much less. Flirting creates a playful, fun flow of energy between you. It’s a way of keeping the fire stoked so you’re not completely restarting from cold coals every time you want to heat up the house.