Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sex and Functionality

Here is my final post on the series SEX AND SPIRITUALITY. I hope my posts have proven useful and informative so far, and it is my wish to continue bringing informative posts from time to time, to help others in finding health, happiness, and wellness in God.

In my profession of Physical Therapy, one of the functions of life that seems to diminish with ill health is sexual function. When people are sick and laid up in the hospital, sex is usually the last thing on the minds of patients and Physicians, unless of course the illness is sexually related. Illnesses however, that result in physical impairments/disablities, can have a devastating effect on sexual function, regardless of the health of the sexual organs. People who suffer from stroke, Parkinsons disease, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and severe arthritic conditions, may find themselves with decreased sexual function, or none at all in some cases. That is because there is a direct relationship between sexual function and physical function.

The sexual act is an activity that requires physical action on the part of the participants. Persons with disabilties, whose physical abilities have been decreased, may find the physical aspects of sex challenging to say the least, due to physical weaknesses and impairments. Sexual performance is a whole body exercise,which involves ALL body systems. For optimal performance, one needs flexibilty in joints and muscles for optimal positioning. One needs strength in muscles to provide movement and intensity. A good working nervous system is needed to provide feedback about quality of movement, and to send correct messages to the brain to register pain or pleasure. One needs to have a good cardipulmonary and circulatory system for optimal function as well. The heart provides blood to all the vital organs for proper functioning, as well as to muscles, joints, bones, and nervous system. Persons with strong, healthy hearts will have the endurance needed to perform, and will be able to 'work' harder and longer. Persons with weak hearts will quickly run out of steam and may even become short of breath during performance, and run the risk of having a heart attack! I am sure many of you have heard of persons who had died from a heart attack during the act (think Anna Nicole's late husband according to gossip)!

Proper lungs are essential to provide the increased oxygen uptake needed for sexual physical activity, and the cirulatory system is essential for the distribution of of oxygen to all body systems, including the brain. They say the brain is the greatest sexual organ, and this may be true, because while the other body systems are involved in the physical aspects, it is only the brain that registers whether sexual activity is pleasurable or not. Before we enter the act, it is our minds that determine our desire for sex or not. If we desire sex, then our bodies will seek it out; but if we do not desire sex, then our bodies will not seek it out. The difficulty that many of us have in controlling our sexual appetites is therefore a condition of the mind and not the body. Once sex is controlled at the mind level, then we will have control of the sexual destiny of our bodies.

Sex is a gift of God meant for our enjoyment. He has given us the faculties and physical strength needed to enjoy this gift, but it is up to us to keep our bodies in good physical health for us to continue enjoying this gift from God. We must also keep our minds in good spiritual health as well, so we can develop a healthy and wholesome attitude towards sex, that creates pleasure for us, and that pleases God.

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