THE MALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
The Generative Faculty or reproductive system in the male is closely intertwined with the urinary system, both functionally and anatomically. So close is this relationship that the male reproductive system is often referred to jointly as the genitourinary tract.
The male gonads, or testes are the principal organs of the reproductive system in the male. They produce the male reproductive seed, called semen, or sperm. The subsidiary organs and attendant vessels of the male reproductive system - the epididymus, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate, urethra and penis - all serve to channel and condition the sperm on its ejaculatory journey into the female womb.
Male reproductive health and optimal sexual functioning depend on the balanced, harmonious interworking of multiple faculties and organ systems. Because the male reproductive system is so closely linked with the urinary tract, urinary health is important for optimum sexual health in the male. But other organ systems also play a major role: the heart, circulation and Vital Faculty; and the Psychic Faculty, particularly the balanced, harmonious functioning of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system.
In short, a man is sexually healthy when his overall health is functioning optimally. With its holistic approach to integrating the health and functioning of the entire organism, Greek Medicine is eminently suited to helping the male achieve optimum sexual health and performance.
The Urinary System and Male Sexual Health
Since the urinary tract and reproductive systems are so closely intertwined in the male, the condition of the kidneys, Adrenals and urinary tract impacts greatly on male sexual function, and vice-versa. The two cannot be separated.
The overall level of sexual virility, stamina and performance in the male is only as good as the strength and resilience of the kidneys and Adrenal glands that sit on top of them. Actually, the bottom line is the strength and resilience of the Adrenals, which not only control the health and vitality of the kidneys and urinary function, but are also vital to the overall vitality, tone and balance of the heart and circulatory system, as well as that of the autonomic nervous system, which are both crucial to optimum sexual performance in the male. No man can enjoy optimum sexual performance and stamina if his Adrenal glands are weak and exhausted.
The Adrenal glands are involved in the adrenaline "fight, fright, flight" response to stress and physical challenge and exertion. Closely related to this is the stimulation of sexual arousal, and erectile function. How strongly and intensely a man can attain and maintain this state of arousal and erection, and how much pleasure and performance he can give his partner, all depend on the strength and vitality of his Adrenals.
Anatomically, the urinary and male reproductive tracts converge at the Prostate gland, and they are fully fused at the urethra, which serves as the channel for both urination and ejaculation. The condition of the bladder, which sits right on top of the Prostate, has a major impact on the health and functioning of the latter, and vice versa.
Psychosomatically, the issues and emotions that impact negatively on urinary function also tend to have a similar depressive or disruptive effect on male sexual function as well. Melancholically, the main ones are anxiety, insecurity, emotional inhibition and nervous stress. Cholerically, anger, frustration and resentment are the main issues. Phlegmatically, issues with excessive passivity, docility or resignation, as well as plain lethargy, can depress or dull the male sexual response, although these aren't as problematic.
Physically, the urinary, adrenal and male reproductive systems can all be depleted or exhausted by exertion beyond one's capacity or conditioning. Conditions of both adrenal/urinary and male sexual exhaustion share many signs and symptoms in common: pain and/or weakness in the knees, loins and lower back; tinnitus, or ringing in the ears; nocturia, or getting up at night to urinate; urinary dribbling and debility; cold hands and feet; and extreme fatigue, or prostration.
In short, any adverse condition, imbalance or dysfunction of the urinary tract will have an adverse effect on male sexual health and reproductive function. Because the kidneys, adrenals and urinary tract play such a central and important role in the physiology and metabolism of the entire organism, other faculties and organ systems are also bound to be affected. The main urinary conditions, or syndromes, and their impact on the male reproductive system, by temperament, are as follows:
Sanguine: Chronic or recurring urinary tract infections can rob both the urinary and male reproductive systems of the vitality and immunity they need for optimum functioning. Catarrh of the delicate genitourinary mucosa can lead to sexual irritability and hypersensitivity. Uremia and gout, caused by uric acid diathesis, or a buildup of uric acid in the body and the genitourinary tract, can cause or aggravate inflammation of the genitourinary mucosa, as uric acid is a caustic irritant. Diabetes, which weakens both the kidneys and adrenals as well as circulatory tone and vascular dynamics, is often associated with impotence and erectile dysfunction.
Choleric: Urethritis, or inflammation of the urethra, can produce irritability and hypersensitivity during the sexual act. Prostatitis can cause both painful and urgent urination as well as painful ejaculation on intercourse. These conditions are often caused or aggravated by sexual frustrations, anger or resentment towards one's mate or partner. Sexual erythrism is a condition in which the genitourinary mucosa become irritable and inflamed by excessive sexual activity, passion or desire.
Melancholic: Excessive nervous tension, stress and anxiety can interfere with proper urinary and male sexual function. Aesthenic, burned-out states caused by chronic physical exertion, overwork, or excessive sexual activity can deplete both the vital function and Radical Moisture of the kidneys, adrenals and male genitourinary tract.
Phlegmatic: A cold, weak deficient urinary metabolism will allow excess phlegm and dampness to accumulate in the pelvic organs and urinary tract, making the tone of the sexual organs and their musculature too lax and weak, impairing sexual stamina and ejaculation control. Mucous cystitis, or congestion of the bladder mucosa with excess phlegm, can make the bladder too sensitive and irritable, interfering with sexual performance.
The Male Gonads, or Testes
The principal generative organs in the male are the male gonads, or testes. They produce the sperm or semen, which is the procreative seed of the male. In the sperm, or semen, is the essence of the male parent, all his genetic traits and information.
Being the distilled essence of the male parent, the sperm is so refined and potent as to be capable of activating and catalyzing the germination of a new life. In Greek Medicine, the sperm is seen as being a further distillation or refinement of the Radical Moisture, which is in itself the concentrated essence of the Natural Faculty and its Four Humors.
Thus, the fertility of the male, and the reproductive viability of his sperm, are ultimately dependent on the quality and quantity of his Radical Moisture. Whatever nourishes, replenishes, enhances, protects or conserves this Radical Moisture benefits male fertility.
For spermatogenesis or sperm production to happen, the testes must be kept at a temperature that is slightly lower than body temperature. This is because the male sperm is slightly colder in temperament than the female ovum, or egg, which is generated inside the body. And so, slightly before birth, the testicles of the male offspring, which originally occupied a position analogous to those of the ovaries, descend into the scrotum, which is a pouch outside the body, in the groin.
In the ejaculation of semen, or the spreading of his seed in the procreative process, the male is, by Nature, very prolific and generous. Although only one spermatocyte gets to fertilize the female egg, enough spermatozoa are released in the average ejaculation to create millions of new lives, if each one were to find and fertilize its own egg.
In Greco-Roman mythology, this incredibly prolific generosity of the male procreative principle is symbolized by Zeus or Jupiter, the father of the gods. His amorous liaisons, and the offspring that issued from them, were many and legion.
Taking biology as natural philosophy, it could be argued that the prolific generosity of the male in procreation, which is there to ensure the propagation and continuation of the species, naturally inclines him towards promiscuity and polygamy. The female principle, on the other hand, is more naturally inclined towards fidelity and exclusivity, since she produces her ova one by one and must nurture and grow the fertilized egg in her womb, and nurse and raise the resulting offspring. But this is a matter of philosophical speculation, and is heavily influenced by one's personal conscience and religious creed.
Sexual Moderation and the Radical Moisture
Since the sperm is made from the Radical Moisture, and millions of sperm are released with each ejaculation, it follows that ejaculation depletes a considerable portion of a man's Radical Moisture. A man loses the most Radical Moisture in ejaculation, whereas the woman loses it not in the sexual act, but in gestation, nursing and childbirth.
To prevent the undue wasting of a man's seed, most of the world's traditional cultures and religions have created moral and ethical codes of conduct that favor the stability, exclusivity and commitment of family life. This wasting of a man's seed includes not only excessive or indiscriminate sexual relations, but masturbation as well.
Moral, ethical and religious codes aside, each man must arrive at a sensible sexual economy that takes into account his personal constitutional nature and temperament, as well as his character and personality. The goal is to lead a happy, healthy, productive and fulfilling life. To achieve moderation, each man must listen to his own body.
Due to individual constitutional differences, some men are endowed with a much greater sexual capacity and quantity of the Radical Moisture than others. So, what may be excessive sexual activity for some may be within the bounds of moderation for others.
Since the Radical Moisture tends to dwindle in middle age and beyond, most men need to be more judicious about their sexual relations as they age, and cut back on their ejaculatory sexual activity to conserve their Radical Moisture in the interests of maintaining their health and longevity. Sexual relations may still be enjoyed while conserving the Radical Moisture by learning Tantric sexual techniques of ejaculation control.
Sexual virility and fertility are basically warm, moist and Sanguine in nature. It therefore follows that the net effect of ejaculation, which drains or depletes the male of a considerable portion of this procreative endowment or potential, must be of the contrary Melancholic temperament, which is Cold and Dry.
After the climax of ejaculation, the male loses energy and goes off to sleep; this energy loss shows a cooling influence. Energetically, the semen contains a considerable portion of the Innate Heat and Vital Force. And because ejaculation also depletes a considerable portion of a man's Radical Moisture, it is also drying.
The chief signs and symptoms of excessive sexual activity and ejaculation in the male are: listlessness, fatigue, prostration; pain and/or weakness in the low back, loins and knees; urinary weakness and debility; tinnitus, or ringing in the ears; and nervous agitation and insomnia. Since the brain and nervous tissue are heavily dependent on an adequate supply of the Radical Moisture, extreme or persistent sexual excesses are traditionally said to result in nervous disorders like mental disturbances, depravity or imbecility. The unbalancing, Melancholic effect of ejaculation is increased or aggravated in masturbation, because the man deprives himself of the subtle moistening, grounding, Yin influence of a female partner.
Greek Medicine also warns against the dangers of excessive sexual denial and total abstinence, for both men and women. The denial of the natural urge for sexual expression, release and discharge allows morbid, prurient warm, moist Sanguine vapors to build up in the reproductive organs and pelvic area, which can then even rise to agitate and disturb the mind. This stagnation and congestion of Sanguine life essence is damaging to body, mind and spirit.
Before committing to a celibate lifestyle, one should look within and ask oneself if one is truly suited, both psychically and physically, by one's constitutional nature and temperament, to such a life. Generally speaking, those of a Melancholic temperament are most suited to a celibate lifestyle, but simply being Melancholic by nature is no guarantee of success. Although sexual abstinence may be useful or even necessary at certain times in one's life, most notably childhood, very few people are truly suited to total, permanent celibacy. Most of us have something within us that needs to be complemented or fulfilled by a mate or life partner.
After the testes, the Prostate is the most noble organ of the male reproductive system, because it secretes the prostatic fluid. The prostatic fluid gives spermatic fluid the right consistency and vitalizes the sperm as they are ejaculated, enhancing their ability to swim up the female womb to fertilize the egg. Overall, you could say that prostatic fluid has an Expulsive virtue and function.
The Prostate gland is soft and moist. Its blood supply is poor, and its overall level of metabolic activity is low. These factors, plus the lubricating, Expulsive virtue and function of its main product, prostatic fluid, gives the Prostate gland a Phlegmatic temperament.
The Prostate gland is also sensitively placed at the critical junction of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system, where the seminal tubules enter into the urethra, right below the bladder. This makes the health and condition of the Prostate important for optimal urinary and sexual function in the male. The Prostate gland acts as a kind of switching valve to close off the urinary flow and allow the semen to pass in the ejaculatory climax of orgasm.
Given its great functional importance in the male sexual response, plus its watery Phlegmatic nature and temperament, it's not surprising that the Prostate is a sensitive receptacle for sexual feelings in the male. Psychosomatically, emotional scars from traumatic, difficult or painful sexual relations and encounters are stored here, and can even eventually manifest as physical wounding and dysfunction.
Prostatitis is an infection or inflammation of the Prostate. Its chief symptom is difficult or painful ejaculation. Infections and inflammatory conditions from adjacent urinary organs like the bladder or urethra can also spread to the Prostate.
Prostate enlargement or Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) is a common genitourinary disorder in mature or elderly males. Its key signs and symptoms are urinary - excessively frequent, urgent urination; urinary dribbling and debility; nocturia, or getting up at night to urinate; slow, difficult urination; and retention and incomplete voiding of urine. Paradoxically, the cause is Sanguine in nature - excessive growth or enlargement of the Prostate caused by a localized buildup of heat and dampness - but the effect on the urinary passages is a Melancholic one of constriction, narrowing and stenosis. The cause of BPH is usually dietary - too many fatty, rich foods, and not enough fiber.
Fortunately, there are many fine herbal medicines and remedies that will shrink the Prostate if it is enlarged. These are superior to conventional pharmaceutical drugs, which produce many debilitating side effects, often sexual. Also, many diuretic remedies to cleanse and soothe the urinary passages in urinary tract infections will also have a beneficial, remedial effect in prostatitis.
Since the male has a much longer urethra than the female, it's quite vulnerable to infection and inflammation, which is urethritis. Besides being vulnerable to exogenous pathogenic microbial infections, the male urethra is psychosomatically vulnerable to chronic irritation and inflammation from sexual anger, rage, resentment or frustration with one's mate or partner. This is because the urethra and the surrounding penis is where the male plugs into the female.
The penis is the main erectile organ of the male, which allows for penetration into the female during the sexual act. The corpus cavernosum, or cavernous body, lies inside the shaft of the penis. It is like an expanding sponge honeycombed with numerous capillaries, which fill or engorge with blood during male arousal, enlarging the penis and stiffening the male member.
Since the corpus cavernosum is honeycombed with numerous capillaries, the power and efficacy of a man's erection, which is basically a Sanguine process of blood engorgement, is dependent on the overall health and vitality of the man's peripheral and capillary circulation. The peripheral circulation diverts blood towards the periphery, chiefly the five main limbs: the head, the two arms, and the two legs. The male has an extra, albeit smaller, limb - his penis.
The shunting of blood towards the periphery, including the penis, during the heat of sexual excitation and arousal, is mediated by the Adrenal glands and the adrenaline response. Besides its circulatory component, the adrenal mediated male sexual response has its Psychic or nervous dimension of arousal and stimulation of the Sympathetic nervous system. This Sympathetic arousal can become too brief and constricting if not accompanied by a complementary toned and balanced arousal of the Parasympathetic nervous system, which allows for sustained arousal and capillary dilation, and continued Sanguine engorgement of the penis with blood. Sustained arousal and erection depend on a healthy tone and balance of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic halves of the autonomic nervous system.
In men of an overly Phlegmatic condition, or in those with a tendency towards diabetes, the delicate mucosa of the glans penis can become too moist, soft and tender, leading to mucosal erosion or rupture during the sexual act. This condition is called balanitis. Besides taking the appropriate dietary measures of reducing one's intake of sweets and phlegm-forming foods, bathing the glans penis in a concentrated infusion of Camomile once or twice daily is an effective remedy for this condition; lubricants can also solve the problem.
The Psychic Dimension of the Male Sexual Response
For men, the sexual response is just as much psychological as it is physical. The male sexual response will often be dulled or weakened if boredom or lack of sexual interest or inspiration with one's partner set in. Something is needed to rekindle the erotic interest.
In diagnosing impotence, the physician must distinguish between primary impotence, which is due to physical or organic disorder or dysfunction, and secondary impotence, which is mainly psychological or psychosomatic in origin. Primary and secondary impotence need not be mutually exclusive, as minor physical defects, dysfunctions or shortcomings can be complicated or aggravated by secondary psychological or psychosomatic factors, making the problem much worse than it actually needs to be.
The main psychological factors that can depress or disrupt normal healthy male sexual response are fears, anxieties, nervous tension and stress, insecurities and inhibitions. These are often connected with the sexual act itself, as in performance anxiety. Sometimes a man may, for various reasons and complexes, find his mate or partner threatening or intimidating.
While the physical aspect of the man's sexual function and response can often be strengthened or enhanced as well, the main focus or mode of treatment for secondary impotence must be spiritual and psychological. Getting the man to relax and unwind, through things like a massage or a warm bath, is always beneficial. So is exploring one's senses and sensuality through long, leisurely, extended foreplay; get out of your head and reconnect with your body. In short, whatever gets the man to relax and drop or go beyond his fears, anxieties and inhibitions will bring relief.
Energetically, fears and inhibitions, stresses and anxieties, will impede the free flow of the Vital Force, and with it the circulation of blood, to the lower Root and Generative centers, or chakras. The simplest remedial measure when you find this happening is to breathe deeply, way down into the abdomen, pelvis and groin; this has an immediate calming effect, and is often sufficient to restore normal sexual function and response. Yogic breathing, meditation and visualization practices are often very helpful in cultivating male sexual energy and potency, and in overcoming psychological obstacles to healthy, happy, fulfilling sexual relations.
Conclusion: Sex and the Whole Man
It's undeniable that a passionate, fulfilling sex life is vitally important to a man's overall health, happiness and zest for life. But still, it's only a part of the whole picture, as disorder and dysfunction in other areas of a man's health can be a source of just as much pain and suffering. Health and happiness are incomplete if any part of the picture is dysfunctional or defective.
Traditional holistic healing systems like Greek Medicine excel at restoring normal, healthy sexual function and response to a man's body through natural means of treatment, and have a well-deserved reputation for doing so. Herbal tonics like Ginseng have a legendary fame and mystique for their remarkable ability to restore and enhance a man's sexual potency. Although there is nothing wrong with specialization, there are some practitioners who exploit this reputation, giving herbal tonics to treat male impotence and sexual dysfunction only, while resorting to conventional allopathic treatments for all other maladies and afflictions. This one-sided exploitation not only cheapens the intrinsic value and worth of Greek Medicine, but also betrays a lack of faith and conviction in the natural holistic healing principles upon which the traditional medical system was founded. Even herbal sexual tonics need to be administered according to the traditional constitutional precepts of Greek Medicine, and not hawked to all and sundry like online Viagra.