"LOVE ON FIRE"

"Sex is pancakes; add love and itís crepes suzette!"

"The Chinese characters for  brain and heart together mean  think. Conceivably, these two characters could have been used together to spell " love.

NOHA member Walter A. Heiby has written Love on FireóMore Joy and Sexual Science: Love/Sex and the Reverse-Effect Phenomenon,* from which the above observations were taken. His book covers a vast amount of the medical literature on sexual intercourse and on biochemicals, drugs, and nutrients that can enhance or interfere with sexuality.


"our very existence may hinge on the fact that love (rather than just sex) has existed for thousands of generations."


Throughout his book Heiby emphasizes the vital importance of communication with the loved one and with oneís self. We need to care and enhance our own vitality and that of others. In the dedication to his own parents, he has a beautiful quotation from Theodor Reik:

The love of the parents goes to their children; the love of these children goes to their children; mothers and fathers, long dead, and perhaps never great pedagogues, become educators. Like light which reaches us from stars that have perished many decades ago, affection once given shines forth in our own lives and in that of future generations. . . . There is no call coming from those living as insistent, permanent and penetrating as the silent voice of our parents from the country of the dead.

Heiby points out that "our very existence may hinge on the fact that love (rather than just sex) has existed for thousands of generations." He quotes an authority, who speculates that love developed during Plio-Pleistocene times:

The primordial copulatory drive could have guaranteed plenty of pregnancies, and many of these would have been carried through in due course to a successful birth; but if males and females had not been attached to each other in parental roles during a period of several years thereafteróby love, in the absence of any other adequate forceó the exceptionally helpless and vulnerable young would have had poor chances of surviving until adolescence. From a demographic standpoint the rates of infant and child mortality would have risen . . . to levels insupportably high. This is why most of us today have strong tendencies to love as well as to make love.

Quoting another authority:

It is most pleasant to realize that the selection for intelligence and plasticity in humans make the selection for love so necessary; weíre smart because we love and love because weíre smart. Both love and intelligence are necessary for humans to be the kind of beings we are. Without love, intelligence would make for the never-ending oppression of the dull by the bright. We only have to recall the twisted genius of Hitler to realize the tyranny of intelligence unleavened by love. Love without intelligence would be less a concern, but intelligence allows us to guide our love in ways that better the lot of the human family. Luckily, evolution has selected for both love and intelligence, each feeding the other in mutually beneficial ways.

On the overwhelming importance of good communication in healing loversí quarrels, he quotes from Aaron T. Beck, "The stronger person is not the one making the most noise but the one who can quietly direct the conversation toward defining and solving problems."

In his discussion of jealousy, Heiby points out the essential difference "between love and attachment." Quoting Swami Veereshwar:

Loving someone is glorifying who they are in their uniqueness. Consider a flower. You see a flower that is really beautiful to you. You want to glorify that flower in its own natural setting, or else you want to pick it and possess it. Those are two entirely different ways of being. Love creates a thankful glorification of the flower. You love the otheróyou want to see the other thrive, enjoy, and grow. You want to see them become more of who they are, no matter what that entails. Thatís the truth of love. It is unconditional.

Attachment is quite different. You want to pick the flower, sever it from its roots, and make it yours. You want to appropriate the beloved, make him or her be what you want them to be, conform to what is convenient for you in the relationship. Attachment is not care for the other, it is care for oneself. This distinction has to be understood. Are you loving, or are you attached?

If you are attached you are going to experience the pain of jealousy. It follows that jealousy becomes the opportunity to see within yourself the truth of attachment. Not theoretical understanding, but existential awareness of attachment at its very roots. Only through this awareness can jealousy be really understood.

In his detailed chapters on sexual intercourse, Heiby emphasizes health and exercises, including the Kegel exercises, which are excellent for controlling female incontinence as well as enhancing sexual pleasure for both men and women. Besides dealing in great detail with healthy people in the prime of life, Heiby covers extensively sexual expression for the elderly; for the handicapped; and for those suffering from various diseases.


On the overwhelming importance of good communication in healing loversí quarrels, he quotes from Aaron T. Beck, "The stronger person is not the one making the most noise but the one who can quietly direct the conversation toward defining and solving problems."


Certain neurotransmitters increase sexual arousal. Some increase arousal but not performance. Heiby describes many sexually-active substances. Quite often he has found that biochemicals (including nutrients in food), which have positive effects at one level, will reverse and have negative effects at other levels. For example, prolactin (a hormone that stimulates and sustains lactation after child birth) seems to increase blood testosterone in adult males (thus enhancing sexuality) and it is reported "that a deficiency of prolactin may be associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy and that nominal amounts seem to be required for prostate health." However, there is a major reverse effect: Excess prolactin "is often associated with impotence, hypogonadism, decreased semen volume, and reduced spermatic density in men and lessened orgasmic capacity in women."

In regard to the reverse effect, Heiby states:

The theory of the reverse effect came about through analyzing tens of thousands of nutritional and medical studies. Reverse effect theory was developed when I taught literature research seminars in nutrition and medicine at the University of Illinois under the auspices of the Nutrition for Optimal Health Association. [In 1988 Heiby published the 1,216-page book, The Reverse Effect, reviewed in NOHA NEWS, Winter 1989.]

In his chapter on "Solving Prostate Problems," Heiby includes descriptions of a great deal of research on nutrients and herbs. In the case of zinc, high levels can inhibit the conversion of testosterone to a metabolite that is almost certainly a cause of prostate enlargement. Low levels of zinc stimulate the conversion. Thus, there is a reverse effect and only the high concentrations of zinc are protective for the prostate. Three amino acids (L-glutamic acid, L-alanine, and glycine) taken together have shown a "reduction in swelling of the prostate and surrounding tissues." Many promising studies of the role of pollens in improving the health of the prostate have been published in German and Japanese journals. Animal and human studies have shown good effects from extracts of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), African prune (Pygeum africanum), and nettle (Radix urticae). Positive results have also been reported from the use of a Chinese herbal mixture called hachimijiogan.


Under "A Natural Approach to Menopause," he includes many foods that have been reported to have estrogenic activity: "apples, barley, carrots, cherries, oats, plums, potatoes, rice, rice bran, rice polish, soybeans, wheat, wheat bran, and wheat germ . . . alfalfa, anise, fennel, garlic, green beans, hops, licorice, parsley, peas, pomegranates, red beans, rye, sage, sesame seeds, soybean sprouts, and yeast."


In addition to his many excellent chapters on enhancing sexual performance and enjoyment, Heiby has one on "Achieving an Easier Menstruation" and one on "The Menopause." In the latter he points out that estrogen usually declines at menopause and that adding back "estrogen (plus progesterone and possibly testosterone) may increase sexual interest." He has extensive sections on hormone replacement therapy and mentions the need for balancing, for example, the estrogens with progesterone in each individual case. Also, some reports indicate that estrogen replacement therapy in postmenopausal women is associated with reduced risk of death from heart disease. None of these studies were "double-blind and randomized" so there is a high probability that there are other relevant differences between the women who took the hormones and those who didnít.

Under "A Natural Approach to Menopause," he includes many foods that have been reported to have estrogenic activity: "apples, barley, carrots, cherries, oats, plums, potatoes, rice, rice bran, rice polish, soybeans, wheat, wheat bran, and wheat germ . . . alfalfa, anise, fennel, garlic, green beans, hops, licorice, parsley, peas, pomegranates, red beans, rye, sage, sesame seeds, soybean sprouts, and yeast." In a study that lasted just six weeks, "the maturation value of vaginal cells was significantly increased by soya flour and linseed." With insufficient estrogen the vagina tends to decrease in size and become dry so this study showed statistically significant benefits. After it was discontinued the vaginal cells in the 25 postmenopausal women "returned to baseline status." The authors state, "Patterns of food intake may modulate the severity of the menopause as it is an oestrogen [estrogen] deficiency state. Up to half of the diet of some populations may comprise foods containing phyto-oestrogens [plant estrogens], whereas in our study such foods comprised only about 10% of energy intake for a fairly short time."


Heiby spells out side effects of many drugs and advises all of us, if taking any drugs, to carefully check the Physicians Desk Reference  at our public library to see "whether those drugs may be a cause of reduced libido. . . . Some drugs have been reported to not only decrease libido but also to cause infertility, gynecomastia [excessive development of the male mammary glands, even to the functional state], impaired ejaculation, pain at or after ejaculation, erectile failure, and impotence."


In a 1991 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the author states that "yams may be used for estrogen replacement but only if they are eaten in large quantities and are not cooked." The estrogenic activity would be inactivated by cooking. Also, we must not confuse yams "of the genus Dioscorea, with the sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas." Considering cooking and other treatments of foods, Heiby has a delightful quotation on gardening from a recent book, written for menopausal women:

Though low back pain and gardening go together, gardeners feel very much better for gardening, back pain and all. The effect is so like the "mental tonic" effect of HRT [hormone replacement therapy] that we may be justified in suspecting that there are volatile estrogens in living plants that do not survive in treated plant material.

Heiby spells out side effects of many drugs and advises all of us, if taking any drugs, to carefully check the Physicians Desk Reference  at our public library to see "whether those drugs may be a cause of reduced libido. . . . Some drugs have been reported to not only decrease libido but also to cause infertility, gynecomastia [excessive development of the male mammary glands, even to the functional state], impaired ejaculation, pain at or after ejaculation, erectile failure, and impotence." He gives numerous references for these side effects and also states, "The bad sexual effects of various pesticides and herbicides are discussed by various authors in a book edited by Colburn and Clement." Their book, Chemically Induced Alterations in Sexual and Functional Development: The Wildlife/Human Connection, was reviewed in NOHA NEWS, Spring 1993.

In her review in the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, October 1995, NOHA Honorary Member Beatrice Trum Hunter states, "Love on Fire  is a tour de force, summarizing science and art." Heiby has given us a wonderful compendium of the scientific literature, along with beautiful quotations on being in love with life. Many of the quotations are his own from his earlier book, Live Your Life. His new book is an excellent marriage manual and more, witness the following:

Love is the intense concern for the well-being of another. It involves the best wishes for both the sexual and nonsexual aspects of the loved oneís future, whether or not his or her future includes oneself.

___________

*1995 (Publication date, March 1996), MediScience Publishers, P.O. Box 256F, Deerfield, Illinois 60015; 812 pages, hardcover, $39.95, plus $5 shipping.

Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XXI, No. 2, Spring 1996, pages 1-3.