Sexuality and Reproduction

     The Generative Faculty rules the male and female reproductive systems and governs sexual relations and procreation.  Unlike the three primary faculties, the Generative Faculty isn't absolutely necessary on a day-to-day basis, but comes into play only during sexual relations, procreation, and the gestational phase of the life cycle.  Therefore, it's the most specialized of all the faculties.

The Gonads

     The gonads are the principal organs of the Generative Faculty.  The male gonads are the testes, and the female gonads are the ovaries.  In both sexes, the gonads produce the reproductive seed.  In the male, the testes produce sperm and in the female, the ovaries produce the ovum, or egg.  When the procreative seed of both sexes unite during the sexual act, there is conception.
     The procreative seed of both sexes is made from the Radical Moisture, which is drawn from the endocrine glands, which are rich in Radical Moisture, or hormonal essence.  The gonads are themselves endocrine glands, and are also the center or focal point of the Generative Center, or chakra.
     Ultimately, all the other organs and vessels of the Generative Faculty, in both the male and female reproductive systems, exist to guide the procreative seed of both sexes to the point of union or conception, which is the female uterus, or womb.  All the subsidiary organs and vessels of the male reproductive system serve to channel and condition the sperm and spermatic fluid into the female.


The Uterus, or Womb

     What distinguishes a woman from a man is that she has a womb: she's a "womb-man".  The female reproductive system is distinctively different from that of the male in that it contains a secondary principal organ, or noble organ: the uterus, or womb.
     The uterus' product is the embryo, which grows into the foetus, and finally into the newborn.  It is the organ of conception, gestation and childbirth, which are the dominion and responsibility of the female.
     Archetypally, the womb is the essence of the female principle:  the Sacred Space, vessel, or chalice; human life's first home, a protective cocoon in which the foetus grows until it's ready to be released out into the world at birth.  It's also the special psychic function of the woman to draw souls into embodiment during gestation, and to remain very nurturing and receptive to the child's needs, particularly during infancy and early childhood.
     Because sexual union basically happens inside the female, women are generally much more receptive, subjective and inwardly directed than men in their basic approach to sexuality and sexual relations.  Men, on the other hand, are more outwardly directed in a quest to find the right partner, the missing other half.


The Reproductive Life Cycle

     A tree grows to maturity from a little seedling or sapling.  When it has reached a certain level of maturity, it begins to flower and produce fruit. 
     So it is with the human being.  The action of the Innate Heat of metabolism working upon the Radical Moisture as he/she grows to maturity will eventually produce an unfoldment or flowering of his/her reproductive potential.  The point at which this flowering happens is called puberty, which begins the reproductive phase of the human life cycle. 
     The Radical Moisture inherent in the individual that flowers at puberty was mostly inherited from one's parents at the moment of conception.  Each parent contributed an equal portion of their reproductive seed, generated from their own inherent Radical Moisture, to form the new life.
     For the man, the onset of puberty happens with the first ejaculation, or seminal emission; with the woman, it happens with menarche, or the onset of her first monthly menstrual period.  Other signs presage and announce the onset of puberty as well.  These concern the development of secondary sexual characteristics in both sexes, which Greek Medicine considers to be a manifestation of the abundant superfluence of the Radical Moisture, which is spilling over, as it were.  These secondary sexual characteristics also become a potent source of attraction between the sexes. 
     The reproductive phase of the life cycle continues as long as the organism has a sufficient abundance of the Radical Moisture to pass on to their offspring.  But, as we saw in the metaphor of the Lamp of Life, the inherent supply of Radical Moisture eventually dwindles, to the point where there isn't enough to spare.  When this happens, the woman undergoes menopause, and the man's semen becomes sterile and unable to conceive.
     Since the fertility and reproductive capacity of both sexes is intimately tied to the quality and quantity of the Radical Moisture, following the principles of moderation and balanced, sensible living in one's sexual relations helps conserve and preserve the Radical Moisture.  Since the man loses most of his Radical Moisture in ejaculation, sexual overindulgence and profligacy are most harmful and depleting for the male; learning to control or withhold ejaculation during sexual relations with Tantric techniques helps preserve youthful vitality and virility and extends the lifespan.  Since women lose most of their Radical Moisture during gestation and childbirth, optimal nutrition during pregnancy and nursing, as well as family planning, are important. 
     In both sexes, there is considerable individual variation constitutionally regarding native endowment of Radical Moisture.  The greater the endowment, the greater the sexual and reproductive capacity, and the greater the overall level of fertility; the lesser the endowment, the more diminished and feeble this capacity will be.  So, there are no hard and fast rules as to exactly what, or how much, constitutes sensible sexual relations and what constitutes overindulgence.  Each man or woman must listen to his or her own body and its needs.


The Sanguine Nature of Sexuality and Reproduction

     In many different ways, sexuality and reproduction have an overwhelmingly Sanguine character.  Let me explain: 
     First of all, there are obvious associations of season and life stage, as depicted in the Greek Medicine Wheel.  In springtime, the Sanguine season, a young man's (and woman's) thoughts turn to love and romance.  Enjoying sexual relations requires a certain youthful exuberance and vitality of spirit, even if you're not that young. 
     The Sanguine principle of abundance endows us with the capacity to enjoy sexual relations, and provides us with a surplus that we can then pass on to our offspring.  This is the guiding principle at work behind the reproductive phase of the life cycle.
     In sexual relations, Nature's strategy for assuring procreation and the survival of the species is by designing overabundance into the process.  Millions more sperm are ejaculated during the sexual act than the one that finally fertilizes the egg.  Many female eggs are washed away in the monthly menstrual cycle without being fertilized over the course of a woman's lifetime. 
     The Sanguine principle of growth is also very prominent in procreation and gestation.  The gestational phase of the human life cycle is the most Sanguine, since the growth rate is higher than it will ever beduring the rest of the individual's life. 
     The female reproductive system is also very Sanguine, since the woman sheds blood every month during menstration.  The health of the female reproductive system is only as good as the health of the blood. 
     The Sanguine Attractive Virtue is amply embodied in sexuality and reproduction, which is Life's attraction to Itself.  The essence of sexuality and reproduction is attraction and union.
     Sex and romance are associated with the Sanguine good life.  A man and woman go out on a date, go to a restaurant and eat a big, sumptuous meal.  Then, when fresh blood from that meal has fully sated their veins, they discharge the superfluity by engaging in sexual relations.


The Reproductive Process

     Although they hadn't discovered genes and chromosomes, the ancient Greeks realized that both parents contributed a portion of their essence, or Radical Moisture, through their procreative seed, since the traits of both parents could be observed in the offspring.  Some ancient authorities believed that the new life came solely from the male seed, or spermatic fluid, whereas the female's contribution was often seen to be just the menstrual blood, which they considered to be merely a passive substrate.  More progressively minded physicians realized that the female must also contribute a procrative seed, and not just menstrual blood.
     Semen was seen to be like a catalyst or enzyme that curdled menstrual blood to form the nascent features of the developing embryo.  Over the course of the gestational period, the woman saves the blood she would have excreted in her monthly periods and uses it to feed the rapidly growing foetus. 
     Moisture, or the Wet quality, was seen to provide the embryo/foetus with the potential and capacity for growth.  The Innate Heat sparked into the new life at conception activates this moisture and growth potential, and the more moisture there is to be consumed, the quicker the growth. 
     The new life is never more moist, and growth never more rapid, than right after conception.  From that point onward, the Innate Heat, by its very nature, steadily consumes more and more of the Radical Moisture, and the inherent moisture of the organism, until it is finally exhausted in Old Age, which leaves us totally withered and dry.  So, life is basically a drying out process.
     The growing foetus inside the womb doesn't yet have his/her own immune system, since their Vital Force and Thymos are totally supplied through the mother's blood.  Only when the newborn takes his/her first breath at birth do they start to generate their own Vital Force and Thymos, and hence their own independent selfhood and immune system.
     At birth and with the first breath, the Vital Faculty of the newborn begins its own independent existence and function.  And since the Vital Faculty is the first among faculties, all the other faculties of the baby's organism develop and unfold from there.  The Generative Faculty is the last faculty to develop and become fully functional.