"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.
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:
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:
Quoting another authority:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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."
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:
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:
*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.