What is the only thing left out of the holistic paradigm?
It’s called S-E-X.
Holistic health professionals will talk about everything from gut health & nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, and neti pots…but they tip toe around sex. Why is that? It is still a taboo topic. It’s an area of life that brings up discomfort and uncertainty for the majority of people in our society. Another reason is the lack of training and education. It is simply left out of professional trainings—even those who deal directly with the human reproductive system, such as gynecologists and urologists—don’t receive adequate training on sexuality. The average reproductive system specialist spends 7-8 years getting medical training, and out of those years, spends roughly 3 hours learning about sexuality! This is analogous to the training most allopathic medicine doctors get in nutrition—about 3 hours. See a parallel here?
Fortunately, the landscape is changing. The future of integrative medicine includes sexuality. How do I know this? Holistic health guru Dr. Andrew Weil is editing a series of books on Integrative Medicine, and one of those books is on Integrative Sexuality. This is the next hot topic! For those holistic health practitioners who want to stay relevant, they must start paying attention to the salient topic of sex. And for those of us who are passionate about health & wellness, it’s time to evolve the context for sex beyond just the bedroom and into the domain of health at large. After all, sexuality is the root of all our biological systems. It’s how we got here, for goodness sake!
That’s why I gathered the best in the industry to talk about this charged subject during the Sex & Medicine Summit, so we could start creating a new narrative for this important topic. What I learned from doing that series of interviews was just how vast this topic is, how it touches every area of life, and how much this conversation is needed in medical schools, board rooms, grand rounds, and health coaching trainings (well… pretty much every helping profession training). The time to start this conversation is now. Why wait until someone else initiates it?
So many questions linger in the back of people’s minds, and they wonder if they’re crazy, if they’re the only ones who struggle with issues like erectile dysfunction, strange-smelling vaginal discharge, HPV, lack of desire, body image issues (including concern about the shape and size of genitals), sexual “aberrations,” extreme hormonal swings, and much more. Once we reach a critical mass of willingness to show up and talk about our sexuality in a safe and open way, the taboo will start dropping away. The shame will dissolve. The alienation and passivity will shift into vibrancy, a pleasure-positive lifestyle, and freedom of expression. And all this leads to greater health and well-being. Healthy sexuality, to me, is the foundation of true health. Even if you are physically fit, eat well, sleep 8 hours a night, but don’t aren’t having regular, nourishing sex, (either with self or another) then you are cut off from your essential expression—you are cut off from the very source of life.
My vision for the future of integrative health is that naturopaths, health coaches, and other healing arts professionals will include sexual healing modalities in their prescriptive process. They will refer their patients and clients to the appropriate sexual health professionals in their network. They will address sexuality openly and respectfully with their clients, so that they feel safe and empowered to take charge of this delicate and incredibly powerful aspect of their life. I envision more leaders in the health field initiating discussions on the topic of sex and medicine, instead of leaving this area of life to the purview of the porn and entertainment industry, where it has languished long enough. Taking charge of your health & your health must include sexual mastery on ever-increasing levels. And it can be a most pleasurable journey!