What Does Ayurveda Have to Say About Sex?
#LetsTalkSex is our attempt to make conversations around sex and sexual health accessible. While most of the focus has been on modern medicine when it comes to sexual health questions, what do the ancient knowledge systems like Ayurveda have to offer?
Actor Sonakshi Sinha's film Khaandani Shafakhana has her running an Ayurvedic sexual health shop. We spoke with experts to understand how effective these treatments are.
Ayurveda and Sex
Sex occupies a prominent position in Ayurveda. It is one of the seven tissues (dhatus) that the tradition recognizes (plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow / nerve and reproductive tissue). While sex has been discussed more in the context of reproduction, the importance of maintaining a healthy sexual life still remains.
FIT spoke with Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda, who explained that Ayurveda differs from modern science in its more holistic (instead of a purely physiological) approach to sex.
It’s all about balance, he says. Just like we regulate and use our other senses in a balanced way, the same applies to sexual energies. They should be used neither in excess, nor less than what is required.
The Ayurvedic Way to a Healthy Sexual Life
Fortunately, Ayurveda offers ways to maintain the balance that it advocates. Diet and lifestyle could make all the difference. Here are a few diet recommendations, as mentioned by Dr Chauhan.
- Excessive salty, sour and spicy food
- Junk food
- Sauces like vinegar and chilli
- Fried food
- Refined sugar
- Excessive amounts of citrus fruits
- Pure milk everyday
- Cow ghee
- Nourishing nuts like walnuts, almonds and cashews in appropriate quantities
- Fresh fruits, particularly sweet ones like bananas
- Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Following a healthy diet could help restore, rejuvenate and develop sexual dhatu, especially by ensuring that an ideal weight is maintained. Obesity, lethargy and lack of stamina could all create troubles. Desk jobs could be harming the spine, leading to disc problems and lower back pain.
These recommendations are mostly general. In cases of sexual problems or disorders like erectile dysfunction and lack of libido, a proper Ayurvedic consultation would be required to understand the cause of the issue. In these cases, there is no universal formula, Dr Chauhan explains.
The importance given to diet and lifestyle becomes clear when it is understood that reproductive tissue occupies the seventh position in the order of dhatus. Since it is the last of the tissues, it takes longer for the nourishment to reach it. He explains, “What you consume today may take around 30 days to nourish your seventh tissue. It takes time to build it, so it shouldn’t be wasted. The right food and exercise could ensure all tissues are developed properly. You can’t skip the first six and reach the last.”
Sexual Energy and Seasons
The relevance of seasons in Ayurveda is an interesting insight for sexual health. As Dr Chauhan explains, “The frequency of sexual activity may differ depending on the temperature outside. In summers, once in 15 days maybe. On relatively cooler days, the number may increase. The logic is pretty simple.”
“When it’s hot outside, the body becomes cool from inside, the metabolism is slow, and consequently, energy and strength is also not up to an optimum level. Wasting your reproductive tissues is not advisable as it will take longer to restore. In winters, it’s the opposite. Body’s energy level and metabolism is high.”
Winter is also a time when we eat more dry fruits and work out for a longer duration (again, because of more strength).
But we live in conditioned environments now, with our ACs and heaters. Does this still apply? It does, he says. “External atmosphere does have a lot of effect on the body. So respect the nature and weather.”
Overall Health is Priority
To put it simply, Dr Partap Chauhan advises us to not take or consume anything blindly in order to solely enhance sexual power. That’s not how it works. If you are unhealthy physically or mentally, an active sexual life will seem too far-fetched. That is why lifestyle and diet is important.
“There is no one-stop solution. Patients come to us after using medicines and tools like viagra or stimulants that may have impacted their health negatively. It can’t work like that. You need to nourish your body and mind to develop all your dhatus. Sexual pleasure and happiness will just follow.”Dr Partap Chauhan
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