by Dr. Hilary Costello – Nature Cures Clinic physician
The sexuality of a woman is one of the great mysteries of life. As natural as the sunrise, sensuality dawns and sets, ebbs and flows through our various stages in life. From conception we as a species constantly experience a multitude of sensual input. The scent of a rose, the sound of thunder, hearing your favorite song, or the touch of a loved one all stimulate the nervous system and signal the brain to react accordingly.
Our personalities and experiences help to define our perception of our external and internal environments. Sexual stimulus, which for women often originates in the mind, is the topic of this brief commentary on the importance of embracing all aspects of one’s self, including the sexual body and soul connection that many of us seek.
To closely study and appreciate the complexity within female sexuality is to truly enter the sphere of the feminine. I begin with a few facts about the female anatomy. A fully engorged clitoral system, which is common during arousal and orgasm, is thirty times as large as the external clitoral glans and shaft. This is at least as large and functioning as the male penis. The clitoris (female glans) contains between six and eight thousand sensory nerve endings. This is the most neurologically dense tissue in the human body, male or female. The neurological strength and power of the female orgasm is unmatched.
As a naturopathic physician and gynecology specialist, I have the great honor of sharing the experiences of women by acting as a guide to achieve optimal health. Each woman with her distinct anatomy embodies the fullness of what female can be. All sizes, shapes, colors, moods, personalities, styles, and hormonal states are in our world to experience, witness, appreciate, and love. Our collective female bodies are the reflections of our lives, our children, our choices, and the familial ancestries and genetics that have created us.
Each woman has her individual experience, essence, and story about the sexuality that defines her history. What is shared amongst men and women is the desire to be healthy and happy, but beneath the humility of having one’s basic needs met is the deep desire to have a life filled with the irreplaceable richness of wonderful lovemaking.
Last year, I co-taught a women’s sexuality class with a sex therapist colleague and was pleasantly surprised at the spunk and pure fun involved within the sex life of the women age 40 and over in the class. The ages of the women ranged from 32 to 73. Just when you think or assume things may be slowing down, think again. The joy of lovemaking is a lifelong activity, although it is a part of life that requires attention and cultivation. Many new mothers or mothers of young children report to me that there is no time or energy for lovemaking, but I assure them that the time will pass and that the interest, energy, and desire will return.
All too often lovemaking is the part of life that becomes neglected or abandoned, forgotten about or devalued. The curious activities of busy making such as house chores, errands, parental duties, life responsibilities like a job or two or three, too much time spent in the tantalizing world of electronics and computers, or the simple rebound fatigue effect from these activities can put a massive damper on the libido. The good life, as we each define it, often has many worthy requirements for success. Unfortunately, the price is often the time you may have spent making love.
Other reasons behind not living the dream of a great sex life may include physical issues related to illness, or mental emotional issues rooted in past experiences or psychological trauma. Some individuals simply have not yet found a partner. Sexual dysfunction is a common complaint for men and women. Hormonal issues may play a major role. Fortunately, hormonal lab tests are easy and relatively inexpensive for both men and women.
Within the realm of naturopathic medicine, there are many options for hormonal treatment that do not necessarily include taking hormone supplements. Herbal medicine, homeopathy, cleanse and detoxification programs, nutritional support, and bio-identical hormone replacement therapies may benefit an individual with hormonal imbalance.
The psychology of relationships is one of the greatest obstacles in the sexuality of adults. We are complex beings created out of complicated overlapping histories, family backgrounds, religions, and distinct values, yet we miraculously manage to find the one person who is so attractive and special. For some it may be a life long partner, for others it may be a new person all the time, which ultimately turns into a series of sexual experiences with various people. Sexual attraction and body chemistry do not lie. Define it as love or animal magnetism. It can be intoxicating and cause people to do all kinds of seemingly crazy things.
Money and power have historically been driving forces to bring men and women together in relationship. Obvious reasons such as the creation of offspring and family ties have dictated love relationships and marriages throughout all cultures and history.
It is the life of a woman, young or old, that tells the stories of our shared histories. Our sexuality links us in the experience of being female. The development of our bodies, the monthly cycle of menstruation, our sexual awakening as young women, motherhood, adult maturity in the midlife, and the transition into the wise empowered elder, are experienced as different stages, each of us in our unique time.
We continually redefine what it is to be feminine, adjusting to our needs and desires as products of a modern world. All the while our bodies continue to pulse and we experience the instincts and pleasure centers that have been passed down through the ages and generations of our great grandmothers. Not until recent years have women had the freedoms and choices that many of us experience now, especially in the western world.
Sexuality is an essential part of a well balanced healthy life. In its many shapes and forms, the human body is the utopia of sensual bliss and satisfaction. It is the simple pleasures in life that allow for all else to fall away and bring perspective to what we do, who we are, and the lives we lead. There is not anything in the world that can compare to the shared experience of love and pure joy created between two lovers.
If you are interested in learning more about the world of female sexuality and the the art and science involved, please register for my upcoming class “Light My Fire” February 9th at 7pm at Nature Cures Clinic. It will be a fun evening and a great time to discuss women’s health, the historical cross cultural art of sexuality, science, and naturopathic wellness.
Thank you for your time!
Image courtesy x_meshari, flickr