Category: Health Yourself Written by Sofia Falcone
Today I would like to expand on a subject which affects thousands of men yet is seldom talked about openly. Although we consider ourselves a modern society, we fail to approach the subject with openness, respect and a desire for pure enjoyment and connection.
I hope today, to help dissipate some of the most common concerns regarding Erectile Dysfunction, in hopes men learn to see, treat and appreciate their bodies with the love it deserves.
Along with premature ejaculation (a common concern mostly expressed by young men and older ones); erectile dysfunction (commonly called “sexual impotence”) is the most common complaint from men who seek body therapy.
Sexology states an erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex. Tantra has a similar yet different way of expressing it; Tantra says, an erectile dysfunction is the feeling of impossibility of having or maintaining an erect penis long enough to perform penetration or achieve an orgasm. To maintain neutrality, it is important to recognize both descriptions are correct, as the causes for it could be physical or emotional–with the second being the most common cause in the west. However, the mind is a powerful thing, and it can help us heal or destroy our own bodies. As such, it is important not to get fixated on blaming the body for the dysfunction.
Many men are likely to suffer from some form of erecting dysfunction during their lives. Even though the absence of a hard full erection may understandably seem like a tragic ordeal at first, there are many ways to deal positively and constructively with the issue at hand….
If you are a man who struggles with this issue, before anything, make sure you stop blaming yourself–self-punishment is a waste of time and will only compound the issue. It is important to feel the lingam (penis) from the heart and be in loving contact with it. If it didn’t rise up, the most important thing is to accept that fact without judgement–in this way, you can free yourself from the tension and unnecessary pressure of performance, which in the first place is the main cause for the issue. Remember that even with a semi- erect penis, you still can stimulate the vulva and even perform penetration. If you find it hard to get an erection, you can still find other ways to stimulate your senses and achieve an orgasm.
An erection cannot be forced – on the contrary, every man knows any attempt to force or even willpower desire, will only end up in disaster. Those who are conditioned to solve problems, are task oriented or simply push through by willpower when dealing with goals or tasks at hand, will quickly learn that none of that works when it comes to making our genitals obey. The more you look at your penis like a toy or tool, the more you try to force it, the more flaccid your penis will become. Fear and an Eros (loving, sensual, sexual, passionate love) just don’t match.
A healthy erection requires external stimulation and internal receptivity. A powerful erection requires soul connection (pure desire), internal receptivity and external stimulation. It is only when a man is relaxed and feeling safe, comfortable, experiencing desire and feeling desired, that he may begin to feel sexually stimulated by touch, smell, vision, massage or caress–these sensations, stimulate the nervous system and erotic centers, causing the brain to release the hormones that the parasympathetic nervous system needs to become active.
The parasympathetic nervous system decreases breathing and heartbeat and becomes active as we calm down, amplifying our state of relaxation. When we are relaxed, the “incoming arteries” of the penis are able to open up, releasing blood into the erectile tissue. This increase in blood flow also puts pressure on the veins, practically closing them so that the blood does not flow. This increases the volume of erectile tissues by three to four times–the result? a nicely erect penis.
Until about thirty years ago, people thought that the problems of the reaction were exclusively the result of psychological causes, and they usually were. However, as our society became more dependent on technology and less active, research has shown that in 55 to 85 percent of cases, physical factors play a role in chronic erectile dysfunction. These factors include:
- Arteriosclerosis: Certain lifestyle choices can worsen arteriosclerosis, including stress, lack of movement, excessive salt use and a diet high in trans fats.
- High blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, you can reduce it by reducing your stress levels, changing your diet and increasing your exercise. Medication will regulate blood pressure but can also have side effects influencing your ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
- Smoking: Excessive smoking not only leads to clogging of the penile arteries, but also damages the sealing mechanism of the veins.
- Obesity. For some people putting weight on does not affect their ability to be aroused and maintained an erection. However, there is a difference between putting weight on and not being able to function in a day-to-day basis or enjoy activities due to weight–when the body gets to that point, it is difficult to maintain an erection, as the body is more concerned with maintaining heart and brain function than with maintaining a penis erect.
- Too much exercise, overuse of protein and steroids. Having a well-built figure does not necessarily mean “Potency”. Many people who are too focused on the above, do not realize that instead of nurturing their bodies, they are abusing their bodies, and the cellular memory recognizes this; as such, it is not uncommon for people who over exercise or use too many proteins to be the ones seeking body therapy due to an inability to maintain an erection. As per steroids, the price to pay for using them usually results in permanent impotence…the inability to get an erection.
- Alcohol abuse: Excessive alcohol use can cause circulation problems as well as a degeneration of the body’s temporal lobes located in the brain; these are responsible for our sexual behavior. It is well known that small amounts of alcohol can cause relaxation and reduce inhibitions, but balance is key.
- Blood flow problems in the perineum: Blood flow to the perineum can be negatively affected by stress, certain sports (such as cycling) or specific occupations. Sitting too much can also affect the circulation to the penis, as well as tight underwear or tight pants.
- Nervous system problems: The nervous system transmits sexual stimuli and ensures that certain enzymes are directed to the genital region. Surgery (especially in the prostate), lesions, neurological diseases, Parkinson’s disease and back problems (especially in the sacrum area) can interfere with erectile function, as well as nervous tension.
- Problems with metabolism and diabetes: More than 50% of men suffering from diabetes will become powerless throughout their lives; Diabetes not only blocks the walls of blood vessels, but also damages the nerves, preventing the important nerve impulses for an an ereso from being transmitted.
- Hormonal dysfunctions: Male sex hormones are formed in cells of the testicles, as well as in the adrenal glands. If there are not enough hormones to sustain an erection, many men resort to aphrodisiacs or take PDE-5 inhibitors, such as Viagra, which offer only temporary relief.
Many think that the magic formula for arousal is very simple: more testosterone = more excitement, but it is not true. There is a prohormone called hydroepiandrosterone (or DHEA) that contributes to sexual desire. DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands and is a precursor to other sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.
- Excessive stimulation: The adrenal glands deal with stress and arousal. Prolonged excessive stress in the adrenal glands – due to overwork or excessive porn use, leads to problems with erections. The result from overuse of porn is the need to increase the stimulus to maintain an erection–this means going from soft porn to hard core porn, even this eventually won’t work as the more one uses porn to get an erection, the more we kill certain neurological connections responsible for healthy sexuality.
- Stress: Under the influence of stress hormones, the testicles reduce testosterone production. In both men and women, stress also leads to reduced DHEA production. Stress is therefore counterproductive for both love and the ability to get excited.
So, what can one do to help with the promoting of a healthy erection?…
To promote good erections, we have to promote the flow of energy to the penis. Anyone, regardless of age, can promote oxygen supply and maintain elasticity through certain exercises. The following is a list of practices that improve health in general but mostly to our genitals.
- Breathing practices: Always abdominal, relaxed on the pelvic floor, testicles and penis.
- Sports and dance: skiing (stimulates circulation in the pelvis), tennis (stimulates the ability to react to stimuli), dances that promote loosening of the hips, such as Latin ones (salsa, zouk, bachata, samba, etc…), endurance sports–so long as you are not pushing the body too hard–I recommend these.
- Strengthening of the pelvic floor: increases circulation in the pelvic region. Pelvic exercises like lifting, swinging the pelvis, among other movements.
- Aerobics: exercise programs are very good for promoting circulation in the pelvic region. Classes are offered in many gyms.
- Chi Kung: ten minutes a day promotes the free flow of energy throughout the body.
- Feldenkrais exercises: promote deep relaxation and resolve stress at the cellular level. The exercise of the “pelvic clock” is particularly useful for penile health–I highly recommend these.
- Warm and warm baths: stimulate circulation.
- Bodybuilding: leg press, abdominal training and others.
- Skating: stimulates circulation in the pelvis.
- Trampoline: about 15 minutes to strengthen the walls of blood vessels–I recommend these.
- Tantric Yoga and meditation: Asanas like the snake not only promote circulation, but also improve the elasticity of the body in general–I highly recommend these.
What else can you do?…
Within the emotional spectrum, it is important to recognize that often behind an “I can’t” is an unconscious “I don’t want”. Honoring and welcoming this “not wanting” allows you to ask yourself what you really want. Here is a magickal question that could help: “If I woke up tomorrow and my sexual problem was magically solved, what feeling would you perceive from it, what would you have learned and how would you really live?”
Other emotional issues may also be involved: ask yourself if you accept your partner as it is, not necessarily as you think he or she should be. Is there anything else you two can do to help each other leave behind old roles and expectations of performance? Are you able to recognize the depth of your natural sexual desires as well as those of your partnership? Embark on a quest together – sexuality can only work on the basis of equality and complicity. However, it is also important to recognize deeper issues at hand–perhaps you and your partner have lost their way to each other, or like many cases, both of you are in different paths and no longer fit within each other’s lives–this requires the help of a professional third party and pure honesty from both sides, as well as the maturity, love and humanity to honor each other’s wishes and paths.
Because stress and fear increase activity within the sympathetic nervous system and trigger the release of adrenaline – and blood gets distributed to other parts of the body. Relaxation is an essential factor for a strong and lasting erection.
Relaxation is something that seems very strange to many of us (men and women). Since childhood, we have received signs that we must perform on many levels; such expectations only make us more demanding–the more we demand of our body when it comes to our sexuality, the more this will resist–quickly teaching us, that it too has something to say back to us.
Many men attend therapy complaining of erectile dysfunction, yet right in the first session, after breathing exercises to improve the state of presence and an extensive relaxing and loving conversation and visualization, they start to feel their body just relax and comfortable and confident at the idea of being intimate. Why? because they feel safe, relaxed and accepting of their body, despite any outcome. Our sexuality is more than just body; in therapy they quickly recognize this and feel a sense of liberation…freedom.
Any sexual problem can cause insecurity in men, but nothing makes a man panic more than the loss of his or her virility. Impotence is exactly that, lack of potency–and this can be increased…one can get back one’s potency and vibrancy, so long as one is willing to be open and honest with self. It is important to recognize the strength and vulnerability which will be needed when diving into the why dysfunctional erections are taking place.
When a man understands the power of the union between his own flesh, his mind, his soul, he starts to feel that he can be himself and be accepted for who he is. With such newfound attitude, it is likely that psychological problems related to his erectile dysfunction will resolve. Open conversation is always the greatest step towards deeper intimacy.
Finally, it is important to stay playful; no in a superficial or childish way, but in the way our spirit and mind approaches the issue at hand. It is not about perfect performance or points per effort. A person’s sexuality is as unique as their fingerprints–dive within and it will express on the outside.
“Unexpected events give couples the opportunity to turn a burden into desire, frustration into pleasure, and fear into openness. Where ancient traumas block the path, love, genuine desire and respect offer comfort and a way out. In this way, impotence can be overcome, for “love when genuine heals all wounds”. Jungen Berger
I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges and hopes, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Sofia Falcone.
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