An integral part of human existence, sex is the most powerful primordial energy that drives all humanity. It is a biological as well as emotional need. Far too many taboos cloud this beautiful energy exchange between two human beings.
Let us understand (albeit partially and briefly) the philosophy along with the physiology of this.
Human beings are born with five senses. When we eat three senses come to play – our tongue, nose, and eyes. When we watch a movie, our eyes and ears come to operate dominantly. When we smell a rose, it is an interplay of nose, touch, and eyes. When we listen to a piece of music with our eyes closed, only one sense is largely involved – our hearing. Sex is the only human activity that involves all the five senses – seeing, listening, tasting, smelling, and touching. Here the mind is both the doer and the witness.
As an energy exchange, sex entails all the human dimensions – physiological, intellectual, and emotional. Some maintain that it involves the spiritual dimension.
An important lesson that nature teaches us all is the concept of interdependence. It takes two to have sex. There is an inherent human need to find completeness. When two beings come together to make love, they are essentially seeking union, harmony, and oneness.
SEX SEEN THROUGH THE AYURVEDA LENS
According to Yoga and Ayurveda, when one enjoys sex with awareness, proper understanding, and love, it does become a yogic process. Yoga is nothing but uniting with something – which can be with oneself or with another being.
In various schools of Tantra, it is believed that the Shivlinga is a graphic expression of the union of the female and male sex organs. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped in the form of the Shivlinga.
The concept of Ardhnarishwar outlines that state where the male and female energies of the cosmos exist in harmony and union. To give creation and expression to the world, the Purush (male energy) and the Prakriti (female energy) first divide into two from their united state; then they come together anew to procreate.
When two beings of the opposite sex from the same species join to have sex and give pleasure to each other, the same activity enables the birth of new life. When two people from the opposite sex get attracted towards each other, the heart sends a message to the brain. The mind in auto-mode sends a signal to the sex-regulating center of the brain. The sex-regulating center further sends signals to the urogenital organs. Shukragni further stimulates the Shukra Dhatu, Shukragni is the system of energy responsible for stimulating the sexual hormones, they further trigger sexual fluids, and the fluids further give stimulation to the sexual organs. And thus, the entire body and its sensory mechanisms become active.
LACK OF LIBIDO IN RELATION TO CHALLENGES FACED BY OLD AND YOUNG MEN
Natural sexual desire in men normally doesn’t reduce with age; however, the ability to perform reduces with age – especially in men over forty. This situation is often exacerbated if a forty-plus man has diabetes, high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol, auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, depression, heart problems, etc.
In modern times, lower libido (reduced sexual drive) as well as decreased ability to perform well is being observed in younger men too.
Recently a friend approached me for medical advice. His son, aged 29, was unable to satiate his newlywed wife. The son worked in a high-stress job in Gurugram and came home exhausted each night post 9 pm. This had led to reduced emotional engagement, physical desire, and performance. The young wife, on the other hand, was keen to have sex several times a day. Before the friend’s son could come over to take my medical advice, the marriage was over. Lack of libido led to a lack of sexual desire and potency.
Recently a young couple ran into marital discord after 2 years of marriage. There was the usual rant from both sides. Both the partners are in their very early thirties. Finally, the girl privately shared with me, in 24 months of marriage that they have not made love more than 15 times.
Two years back a man in his early fifties approached me to help his wife with counseling and medicine, as the wife was generally leading a sad existence. After few sittings with the woman, it was found that there were no major reasons for her being sad. Her husband was a decent person. Of course, they had interpersonal communication issues. The woman privately shared with me, the nonexistent sexual relationship between them. When I shared this with the man, he didn’t like it one bit, as it somewhere disturbed his own idea of his manliness.
I can share with the reader hundreds or thousands of such examples. The purpose of this article is to help men understand that if they are having a lack of libido, there is no need to worry. There are millions like you. Just be honest. Like you have a toothache, you go to a Dentist, similarly if you have lack of sexual desire and performance. Go and meet a Doctor or an Ayurvedic Vaidya.
I do not have the knowledge about Allopathic medicines, however, Ayurveda certainly has efficacious medicines to resolve this minor problem.
Reasons for low sex drive in men could be physiological, intellectual, or emotional. At times it merely comes from low self-esteem emanating from weak or bad performance in bed during the first few times.
Modern medicine categorizes sexual problems or dysfunction into four groups.
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1) Desire related problems: Lack of desire can be on account of physiological and psychological reasons or both. A man suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure or any other medical condition may have no desire on account of physiological reasons. However, a well-built man who is physically fit and yet doesn’t have desire could be suffering sexual disorders for psychological and emotional reasons.
2) Excitement and arousal related sexual disorders: Sometimes people just do not get excited or aroused because of physiological and psychological reasons and hormonal issues.
3) Orgasm related problems: most women have confessed that they do not really understand what vaginal orgasm is? This problem is generally found more in women than men.
4) Pain during intercourse : Pain is often felt during the first few times, especially among younger women.
There are two main challenges men face physiologically (especially men over forty). Firstly, not getting sufficient erection (hardness); or getting an erection and then not being able to hold that erection for a reasonable period of time. The second challenge is that of early or premature ejaculation.
According to modern medicine low libido or decreased interest in sex can happen to any man at any stage of life. Lower testosterone level is generally the reason given by doctors for decreased libido. Testosterone is responsible for sperm production, lower sperm production leads to decreased sexual desire.
With age, testosterone levels gradually decline – however in some cases the drop can be abnormally sudden. Testosterone levels are directly proportional to sexual desire or libido. Lower testosterone means lower libido, adequate testosterone levels lead to a healthy libido.
Lower testosterone can be caused by various diseases and modern medicines. Diabetes, hypertension, depression, obesity, high cholesterol levels, stress, insomnia, aging, higher alcohol intake, smoking and tobacco abuse, lack of confidence & self esteem are some factors. Regular intake of medicines for the above conditions, is also a major reason for lower libido – both the disease and the medicine affect men’s sexual wellness.
LACK OF LIBIDO ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA
According to Ayurveda, lack of libido is caused by an imbalance of Shukragni – either over-active or inactive. Lack of libido is also caused by a depressed state of mind.
According to Ayurveda, the body is made of the seven types of Dhatus, namely, plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and reproductive fluid. In Ayurvedic terminology, these are the Sapta Dhatus – Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja and Sukhra respectively.
Rasa processes Rakt, Rakt makes Mansa, Mamnsa leads to Meda, Meda gives form to Asthi, Asthi makes Majja and Majja makes Shukra.
Understanding these Sapta (Seven) Dhatus: The essence of digested food is converted by Rasagni into Ras Dhatu. Raktagni further transforms Ras Dhatu into Rakta Dhatu. Further Mansagni converts Rakta Dhatu into Mansa. Medagni energy turns Mansa into Meda. Meda then metamorphoses into Asthi Dhatu by way of Asthayagni. Majjagni further transforms Asthi Dhatu into Majja Dhatu. Finally, Shukragni converts Majja Dhatu into Shukra Dhatu.
Ras Dhatu gets its functionality from Jal (Water element). It is enabled by Vata to circulate essential nutrients absorbed from the food absorption, proteins, and Hormones.
Agni(fire) is the primary element driving Rakta Dhatu. Pitta system gives Red color to its formation. Rakta is the life-giving force responsible for transporting such as oxygen and other nutrients.
Mamsa Dhatu is composed of both Earth and Water, it is essential to tissue covering the entire body.
Medha Dhatu is also made up of Earth & Water elements. All the body’s fat is processed and stored by Medha Dhatu.
Asthi is the muscular & Bone structure of the body, responsible for giving shape, structure, and stability to the body. Properly absorbed nutritious food nourishes the Asthi Dhatu. The body’s strength also comes from the Asthi Dhatu.
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Majja Dhatu supports the nervous system. It helps in regulating and managing the metabolic function of the brain and the spinal cord.
Shukra Dhatu is the life giving Dhatu. It provides human body with life energy & vitality. Shukra Dhatu is responsible for the libido, healthy sexual life and overall sexual wellness of a man.
According to Ayurveda, a perfect balance of all Sapta Dhatus ensures sexual well-being. Ayurvedic principles see the human system as a holistic and harmonious system, where both matter and energy work in tandem to create a healthy life.
A well-nourished and balanced Sapta Dhatus leads to creation of Ojus! Ojus is a Sanskrit word, it means “vigor.” Sapta Dhatus in a state of perfect balance create a state of an energetic & confident body and mind. Ojus provides tissues strength and endurance, it gives good health and ensures vitality at the cellular level. Thereby positively impacting all bodily functions and physiological processes.
Ojus powers all the energy systems of the body – physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual energy of the body. It is also responsible for a Healthy Immune System. Ojus is the enabler of overall well-being and vitality.
In a balanced and productive state, all the Sapta Dhatus ensure a healthy system of energy leading to the next healthy system of energy. When all the Sapta Dhatus are in equilibrium, the mind and body are in a state of balance and harmony. Like a car with a good engine, but a bad suspension and tyres will not run properly, similarly, for a healthy sexual life, all the systems and organs of the body have to work in tandem and harmony with each other.
A positive mind and healthy habits will ensure a healthy body. Therefore healthy body and a healthy mind are prerequisites for a good sexual life.
If as a young, or not so young man in his 40s, 50s, or 60s, you are witnessing lower libido levels as compared to the other men in your age group; the first thing you should do is understand your mind and body, bring in awareness about your thoughts, actions, and habits.
This author has prescribed yoga and pranayam to innumerable people with lower libido and overall compromised health because a proper yoga regimen that includes pranayam and wholesome eating is the first and best step towards improving one’s sexual health.
Human beings are at their productive best, when the body, mind, breath (prana), and soul all are aligned with each other. It is the mind that runs and manages the body – not the other way around.
NATURAL and AYURVEDA WAYS FOR MEN TO REGAIN SEXUAL WELLNESS
A short list!
1) Holistic lifestyle
. 2) Waking, sleeping, and eating a wholesome diet – on time.
3) Eat the last meal of the day not later than 8 pm – in fact, the earlier the better.
4) Live in harmony with the bio-rhythm of nature – wake up with the sunrise and sleep not later than 10 pm.
5) Slowly and gradually become aware of who you are and discipline both mind and body, with the help of Yoga, Pranayam, and other breathing exercises
6) Cultivate a realistic, practical, and positive framework through a way of realistic goal setting. Do not over desire or over stretch yourself. Do the possible well and efficiently on time, with practice someday the impossible will also happen.
7) Focus on immediate action rather than living in the past or worrying about the future.
Excercise, Yogasanas & Pranayam help men’s sexual life: Adopt a fitness regime that best suits your personality – like walking, running, gyming, playing games, dancing, etc. Doing 20 to 30 minutes of Pranayam every day will immensely help you to control your mind and your thoughts. This also helps sexual wellness. Anulom-Vilom, Kapal Bhatti, and Brahmri are good to start with. Commence with yogasanas on alternate days (Bhujangasana, Makarasana, Sarvangasana, Kumbhakasana, Dhanurasana, Uttanapadasana, Paschimottanasana, Naukasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Pavanamuktasana and Shavasana). In fact, all yogasanas are good for overall health – and what is good for overall health is good for sex.
Foods that will strengthen men’s sexual wellness: Regular intake of fresh seasonal fruit ensures good proper minerals and vitamins. Avocados, watermelons, peaches, beetroot, berries, grapes, apples, and citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids. Pomegranates, pineapples, bananas, cucumbers, raw garlic, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas, tulsi, rajma(kidney beans), dry fruit (especially walnuts) improve the quality of sperm. Especially beneficial in this regard are almonds, pine nuts, natural tree resins, saffron, gir cow milk, butter, and ghee.
Ayurveda as a system of wellness has scientifically over thousands of years of research has found herbs, minerals, and compounds which can provide nourishment to the Dhatus. This process is called Dhatu Pushti. Dhatu nourishment along with a balanced lifestyle aided with Yoga Asanas and Pranayam and with the practice of mindfulness can lead to the state of Sapta Dhatu balance and creation of Ojus.
In fact Maharishi Acharya Caraka, in Caraka Samhita – defines in detail the therapeutics are of two kinds 1) Rasayana – that which promotes strength and Immunity 2) Abhesaja Medicine – that which alleviates disorders. Abhesaja disorders are also of two types; a) Badhana(acute) and b) Sanubadhana(Chronic)
That branch of Ayurveda which promotes strength and Immunity is mostly included in Vrsya(aphrodisiac and Rasayana(promotive treatment) while the Abhesaja therapy is mostly used for alleviation of disorders.
Acharaya Caraka explains that from the Rasayana- that is promotive treatment, one attains longevity, memory, intelligence, freedom from disorders, youthful age, complexion, the strength of physique & sense organs, success, respectability, and brilliance.
According to Maharishi Caraka, Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac treatment) is that which produces lineage of progeny, quick sexual stimulation, enables one to perform sexual acts with a woman uninterruptedly, makes one charming for the women, and ensures indestructible semen even in old age.
Caraka Samhita – Volume 2 (the discourse on therapeutics), the first two chapters are on Rasayana- promotive and Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac treatment). After these two topics, the book then moves on to the treatment for other diseases. Such is the importance given by Caraka on these two subjects.
According to the concepts of Caraka Samhita, if the person is on a good natural existence aided with proper intake of Rasayana and Aphrodisiacs, her or his health would remain largely good.
In the chapter of Vajikarana, he further explains – A conscious person should partake in fresh nutritious food and the appropriate supplements to improve sexual wellbeing.
Herbs and spices that help build stamina & sex drive in men: Ayurveda advocates the consumption of Bidarkand, Shwet Musli, Kaunch Ke Beej, Green Cardamom Seed, Tulsi Seed, Dalchinni, Shatawar, Ashwagandha, Kesar, Khus Khus, Gokharu, Amla, Rumi Mastangi, Akarkara, Safed Chandan, Panja Musli, Shuddha Shilajit
Various Ayurvedic medicines infused with gold, mineral, and natural herbs are efficacious in helping to revive sexual wellness in men.
One small suggestion – If you have lack of libido or have performance issues please do not stress yourself. Men usually do not share about this aspect, neither with their spouse nor with family & friends. We all have too many inhibitions talking about sex, it just remains in the closet of our mind.
Compromised Sexual performance and lack of libido has got to do with your physiology and emotional framework. Like any other body’s problem, this too has a cure.
Talk to a specialist today!
Sanjeev Sarna, The Author is the Co-founder of Teachers Grace Scientific Ayurveda. A student and researcher of the Science of Ayurveda.