- How to Grow Your Own Aphrodisiacs at Home
- How to grow it: Horny goat weed prefers a cool climate and shade, and grows anywhere from 6in to a foot (the plant, not you). Its roots demand richness, so add a few inches of peat moss or compost on top of the soil. Keep it moist, and trim away any leaves that crumple during the colder months. Fadogia agrestis
- Get that blood flowing
- Boost with basil
- Communication is key
- Lower stress
- Loosen up those pelvic muscles
- Wetter is better
- Avoid an irritated vagina
- Vitamin intake is key
- Eat more fish
- Get in the mood with the help of aromatherapy
- Enjoy some chocolate
- Listen to our podcast Good Sex Bad Sex
- The Fix
- Yes, you can have better sex in midlife and in the years beyond
- If sustaining intimacy is becoming more difficult, there are many approaches that can help.
- Raising libido
- Aiding arousal and orgasm
- Dealing with pain
- What Is Spanish Fly, Exactly?
- The 3 best aphrodisiacs for women
- I want to hear from you!
- Is Your Period Healthy?
- Female Viagra? Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex Drug Flibanserin But Were Afraid To Ask
How to Grow Your Own Aphrodisiacs at Home
How to grow it: Horny goat weed prefers a cool climate and shade, and grows anywhere from 6in to a foot (the plant, not you). Its roots demand richness, so add a few inches of peat moss or compost on top of the soil. Keep it moist, and trim away any leaves that crumple during the colder months.
What it is: A Nigerian native, this 1-3ft-high, yellow-bulbed shrub has been a folk medicine favorite for centuries in Africa and the Middle East.
How it works: Ingestion of this plant raises the concentration of testosterone in the blood — so much that your balls actually swell. That makes fadogia agrestis supplements popular among athletes and bodybuilders who use steroids. The compounds in fadogia agrestis are similar to the pituitary-produced luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates Leydig cells, the male body’s chief maker of testosterone. In women, the release of LH induces ovulation. Fadogia agrestis is thought to be most effective as an aphrodisiac for men suffering from low testosterone levels.
How to grow it: Fadogia agrestis needs minimal watering and loamy soil. The plant will do great if kept indoors on a windowsill with good light. To get it in you, boil the stems in your tea.
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John Marshall is a writer based in New York. His hobbies include shooting pool, neglecting house cacti, and writing short biographies about himself. Follow him down alleyways, or @brunodionmarsh.
Top 7 Essential Oils to Spice up Your Sex Life
To have a healthy sex life it is key to eat plenty of healthy fat and protien at each meal as part of a healthy Paleo diet/ lifestyle. Also it is key to get plenty of sleep and have an active lifestyle.
It also important to reduce the toxins in your home, especially ones coming from your personal care products. When I learned about the common chemicals in personal care products I was even more sold on essential oils as a natural alternative to slimy cremes and synthetic perfumes that are commonly used in the bedroom. Essential oils are trusty companions in the bedroom setting the mood and ambiance while supporting good health.
Here are some of your best options:
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a scent that’s a wonderful blend of fresh, floral, clean, and calm. It’s this dynamic aroma that has made the flower a classic for perfumes, soaps, fresheners, and beauty products. As one of our most popular products, Lavender oil is a great beginner oil and a must for every home.
Lavender essential oil isn’t just a favorite because of its classic scent—it’s also highly versatile. From skin care products to relaxing routines, this oil can infuse many areas of your life.
You can find Young Living Lavender oil in blends such as Stress Away™, Harmony™, RutaVaLa™, Tranquil™, and Forgiveness™.
Lavender Essential Oil Uses:
- Treat yourself to this well-loved aroma by adding a few drops of oil to lotions, shampoos, and skin care products.
- Create a spa-like retreat by combining 1 cup Epsom salt and 4 drops oil and adding to a hot bath.
- Make a basic homemade body scrub with coconut oil, sugar, and Lavender essential oil.
- Unwind with a Lavender-infused neck or back massage.
- Use Lavender as part of your evening routine. Rub oil on the bottom of your feet before bed or spritz your pillow with distilled water and Lavender mixed in a spray bottle.
- Create a DIY room freshener with Lavender or diffuse it to banish stale odors.
Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) oil
100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil
Fresh, nostalgic, and instantly recognizable, Peppermint essential oil’s scent invigorates the mind and senses, while inspiring a sense of peace. Used topically, Peppermint oil creates a cool, tingling sensation on the skin, making it a favorite for sports massage and an important part of Young Living’s Raindrop Technique®.
When your day is dragging—through a workout, class, or day at work—enjoy some Peppermint oil benefits by applying it to your head and neck. The refreshing aroma will give you a boost of positivity! Peppermint is also a great option for diffusing on its own or with compatible scents such as Lavender, Rosemary, Spearmint, or Sage!
Peppermint is a key ingredient in PanAway®, AromaEase®, Aroma Siez™, Relieve It™, and Deep Relief™ Roll-On essential oil blends.
- After a tough workout, dilute a few drops of Peppermint in V-6™ Vegetable Oil Complex, and use it in a refreshing post-workout massage.
- Create your own home spa! Add Peppermint and Eucalyptus Radiata to hot bath water and enjoy the relaxing, invigorating scent and aromatic steam.
- Peppermint is in the same family as both Lavender and Rosemary. Diffuse the oils of these powerful botanicals together for a fresh aroma that uplifts the spirit.
Containing the naturally occurring constituent limonene, Lemon is a key component in many popular essential oil-infused products. Lemon is used worldwide in cleaners and soaps for its refreshing scent. It can be used to set the tone for fun in the bedroom.
Lemon (Citrus limon) peel oil
100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil
Thieves® essential oil is a powerful combination of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils for an aromatic blend that fills any space with a rich, spicy aroma. Inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals used while robbing the dead and dying, Thieves is one of Young Living’s most popular products.
With the benefits of Thieves oil including cleaning power and an irresistibly spicy scent, Young Living offers it as an essential oil blend and as an important ingredient in a full range of home cleaning and personal care products, from dish soap to toothpaste. Looking to make your home smell as clean as it looks? Diffuse Thieves oil throughout the house for an aroma that makes every room smell more like fall baking than harsh cleaning formulas.
Thieves essential oil uses:
- Refresh musty carpets by adding 5 drops of Thieves to a cup of baking soda; combine well and let sit overnight until the oil is absorbed. Sprinkle over carpets and vacuum thoroughly.
- Diffuse 6–8 drops of Thieves to help create an environment of peace and security. Customize your Thieves experience by adding a few drops of Orange, Tangerine, or Nutmeg essential oil.
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)† bud oil, Lemon (Citrus limon)† peel oil, Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)† bark oil, Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)† leaf oil, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)† leaf oil
†100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil
Ylang Ylang essential oil has a rich, pleasing, and romantic floral scent. Diffuse this calming, relaxing and soothing fragrance or massage into the scalp to increase the appearance of healthy, shiny hair. Ylang Ylang is found in many Young Living skin and hair care products, and essential oil blends including Awaken™, Believe™, Clarity™, Dragon Time™, Peace & Calming® and Forgiveness™.
Cananga odorata† (Ylang ylang) flower oil
†100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil
Rose (Rosa damascena) has a beautiful, strong floral and sweet fragrance that is intoxicating and highly romantic. It helps bring balance and harmony with stimulating and uplifting properties that create a sense of well-being and self-confidence. Used for skin care for thousands of years, it is perfect healthy skin support. Rose has an approximate ORAC of 1,604,284 (TE/L). TE/L is expressed as micromole Trolox equivalent per liter.
Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ rose essential oil(Rosa damascena)
Considered to be exotic and romantic, Jasmine supports the skin’s appearance and is used in several Young Living personal care products. The sweet, floral aroma of Jasmine relaxes the mind and boosts self-confidence.
**Jasmine is an absolute or essence, rather than an essential oil.
Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ jasmine absolute oil(Jasminum officinale)
Bonus: Stress Away Blend
Young Living’s Stress Away™ essential oil blend is a natural solution created to combat normal stresses that creep into everyday life. Stress Away is the first product to contain the unique stress-relieving combination of lime and vanilla pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. Stress Away also includes copaiba and lavender to reduce mental rigidity and restore equilibrium. Featuring powerful plant constituents, such as the cedrol found in cedarwood and the eugenol that occurs naturally in vanilla, Stress Away can help induce relaxation and reduce occasional nervous tension.*
Wondering how to get started with essential oils?
This is the perfect kit to bring the romance back into the bedroom. It has 11 of the most popular oils and the diffuser. Get started here.
Everyone’s sex drive is different and will likely change due to circumstances and over the course of their life and a recent research has shown that for women over 50, lack of libido can be a real issue with 75% suffering from a reduced sex drive.
Of course, the main thing that kills libido is stress so being as relaxed as possible is essential but there are a number of other natural ways a low sex drive can be combated. Several experts and nutritionists have outlined some reliable methods in improving sex drive that can help women of any age.
From eating chocolate and using lube through to pelvic exercises and supplements, here are 11 things to try if you feel your libido is lower than you want it to be.
Get that blood flowing
Shona Wilkinson, a nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com explained: ‘Poor circulation and blood flow can lead to stagnant energy within the body. This is further going to worsen the problem of low libido. Good blood flow to your sexual organs is vital for arousal, sexual stimulation and pleasure. The more blood flow, the more intense the orgasm. One way to increase blood flow is by getting out and moving more.
‘Try to add at least 20 minutes of heartbeat raising exercise to your routine each day. This could be as simple as a brisk walk, a session on a mini trampoline or a visit to the gym. Adequate hydration will help too, purified water, fruit teas and herbal teas add to your hydration levels’.
Boost with basil
Nutritionist Cassandra Barns told us: ‘Granted, it’s not the most obvious of food choices, however, bear with us! Basil can help increase circulation, stimulate the sex drive and boost fertility. And, surprisingly, the scent of basil (supposedly) drives us wild with desire. Basil oil was used by Mediterranean prostitutes as a perfume, to err, attract their customers…a dab of fresh pesto behind your ears ladies?! No, we thought not, but add some fresh basil to your salad to help get your libido going!’
Communication is key
Dr Marilyn Glenville, nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Bible for women, said: ‘Relationship troubles can contribute to loss of sexual desire. If you don’t feel listened to, respected or important it is natural to respond with resentment and that resentment can dampen libido. It’s important to open the lines of communication with your partner, so that anger can be expressed in places other than the bedroom. If the problem is severe, such as infidelity, you may want to go to a relationship counsellor.’
Shona continued: ‘Stress plays a huge role in libido reduction. The ingredients that our bodies use to make stress hormones are the same ingredients that are used to make sex hormones. Your body will always prioritise the production of stress hormones over anything else. Going back pre-historically, stress hormones were used to get us out of danger, to stop us being eaten by a tiger. At that moment in time, your body does not care about sex! The problem is that in today’s over stressed work and home lives, we are constantly producing these stress hormones, and often not allowing our bodies to make other hormones, such as sex hormones.’
Cassandra added: ‘Stress, sleep and anxiety are all related. If we don’t get enough sleep, we can find it harder to adapt to challenging situations, and when we can’t cope as efficiently with stress it can be harder to have a good nights rest. I’d recommend taking Magnesium, which is known as “nature’s tranquiliser” and is needed to relax our muscles and nerves, which helps us to fall into a peaceful sleep. To ensure you’re getting enough magnesium try and include plenty of magnesium-rich foods in your diet such as, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish and leafy green vegetables. I’d also recommend taking a supplement.’
Loosen up those pelvic muscles
Shona explained: ‘Addressing emotional or psychological issues can help to boost your libido. Any unresolved issues may lead to stress, mental anguish and anxiety. Boosting self-esteem is important for increasing libido. Remember that sexy is a feeling rather than a look, so appreciating yourself, regardless of your hang-ups will help.
‘In Ayurvedic culture the second chakra, pin pointed at your navel is related to sexual energy, so it is important to ensure that all of your energy is flowing through all of your chakras freely.
‘Meditation, yoga and other forms of exercise can be beneficial to both self-esteem and free flowing energy. The yoga and exercise will help to loosen up the muscles in the pelvic areas, allowing good blood and energy flow to the pelvic and surrounding areas. While on the other side, meditation, helps to calm the mind and connect you to your higher self, which will help plant positive thoughts and emotions.’
Wetter is better
On the subject of using lubes to boost sex drive, Shona said: ‘It is much better down where its wetter- and as we age, our sex hormones naturally deplete. The loss of oestrogen can cause the tissues of the genital organs to shrink and for everything to become less sensitive. The lack of oestrogen causes a loss of vaginal secretions, which can make sex uncomfortable. And no one wants uncomfortable sex. Although aging is inevitable, there are natural lubricants that we can use to make things a little more pleasurable.’
Avoid an irritated vagina
(Picture: Minerva Friere)
Marilyn said: ‘Vaginal dryness can affect women of all ages, but it is particularly common in women during menopause, affecting half of all women at this stage in their life. It is perhaps the most distressing and least talked about symptom of the menopause.
‘Vaginal dryness can make your vagina feel dry, itchy and at times tender. It may take you longer to become lubricated during lovemaking, which can make sexual intercourse feel uncomfortable, or even painful.
‘Normally, mucus membranes (the vaginal epithelium) located at the mouth of uterus keep the vagina moist. Oestrogen helps these membranes to produce lubrication and stay plump and soft. The lubricant is slightly acidic, which helps to protect the vagina from foreign bacteria, keeping it free from infection. Low levels of oestrogen also cause the vagina and surrounding connective tissue to lose elasticity and the tissue that lines the vagina to become thinner and more fragile.
‘Avoid douches, talcum powder, hot baths, perfumed toilet papers and bath oils and foams, as they can irritate the vagina. Don’t wash the inside of your vagina with soap as this will dry out the skin. The vagina is self-cleansing and in most cases warm water is all that you need to wash it.’
Vitamin intake is key
Shona said: ‘Ensuring that you have adequate sex hormone production is essential for maintaining libido. Once you have decreased your stress levels, and investigated any underlying cause, you can look at some foods and herbs which may be beneficial. Vitamin B6 contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Increase your B6 rich foods such as; avocados, walnuts chicken and mackerel.’
Eat more fish
Cassandra said: ‘Boost you Omega 3 levels, a multi-tasking hero, not only does this help reduce irritability, and reduce inflammation in the body, it also enhances your mood, helps balance your hormones, and it aids healthy production of sex hormones. Omega 3 is building block of sex hormones in both men and women. It fights the build up of plaque in the arteries, thereby improving circulation and increasing sensation. Omega-3 fatty acids also help with sexual response -raising dopamine levels in the brain that trigger arousal. Fish such as wild salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies are also all omega-3 rich.
Get in the mood with the help of aromatherapy
Marilyn told us: ‘Relaxing and sexually stimulating essential oils can help put you in the mood for lovemaking. Put a few drops of a relaxing oil, such as lavender, into an essential oil burner, turn the lights down low and allow the calming mood to take the room. Alternatively, try a sensual aromatherapy massage using 15 drops lavender essential oil in 1 fl oz sweet almond oil; or use 5 drops lavender oil in your bath.’
Enjoy some chocolate
Cassandra said: ‘Thank goodness we can eat (dark) chocolate in the guise that it’ll enhance our sex lives! Simply nibbling a few squares of the good stuff after dinner, you’ll help lift your mood enormously, going from stressed to, well…sexy! Go for quality dark chocolate (60-70 per cent cocoa solid) which contains the potential to relax you, intoxicate you and give you sheer pleasure, all thanks to a nutrient called phenethylamine. It does this by triggering those feel-good hormones, and, adding to its pleasure-factor, it provides us with tryptophan, which is a great relaxation chemical; it helps quell any anxiety.’
Listen to our podcast Good Sex Bad Sex
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The show is available now on iTunes here and on Soundcloud here.
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MORE: 7 surprising killers of your sex drive
MORE: Couples with different sex drives reveal how they make it work in the bedroom
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Some doctors will also prescribe off-label “Scream Cream” made by a compounding pharmacy. This cream includes a variety of topical medications. When a woman applies it to the clitoris, it increases blood flow and helps promote an orgasm.
Women can use this cream alone or they can use it along with a stimulating device, such as the Intensity™ device, which is an FDA-approved pelvic electrical stimulating device. It stimulates the pelvic muscles that contract with climax and also provides direct clitoral stimulation. There is another device that is FDA-approved to treat orgasmic dysfunction, called the Eros device, which is only available through a doctor’s prescription.
It’s important to note that there are other problems, besides orgasmic dysfunction, that can affect women sexually and cause female sexual dysfunction. They include low libido, painful sex, difficulty being aroused and even sexual aversion.
All of these issues are real. They can cause women a lot of distress and affect their relationships. But the good news is that treatments are available, which many women don’t realize.
By: Holly L. Thacker, MD
Yes, you can have better sex in midlife and in the years beyond
If sustaining intimacy is becoming more difficult, there are many approaches that can help.
Published: February, 2017
Image: © Ridofranz /Thinkstock
Even if, as the saying goes, the brain is a woman’s most important sex organ, we can’t deny the role our bodies play—especially as we get older. Satisfying sex depends on several things: presence of desire, arousal, absence of pain, and an ability to reach orgasm. After menopause, libido declines, and changes in our bodies can make it difficult to get aroused, painful to have intercourse, and impossible to climax. It’s little wonder that many women become dissatisfied with sex, and some avoid intimacy entirely.
Several years ago, a large national survey found that sexual activity fell precipitously with age. Fewer than half of women ages 57 to 73 said they were sexually active, and those who were had sex less than twice a month, on average.
The numbers don’t surprise Dr. Marjorie Green, clinical instructor in gynecology at Harvard Medical School. “Nature didn’t intend for us to be sexually active after menopause, so we have to work at it and be creative,” she explains. In her practice, Dr. Green helps women—and often their partners—work at restoring their sex lives. To do so, she examines the emotional, physical, and medical factors that may sabotage sexual response and draws from a wide variety of therapies to address them.
Lack of desire is a major issue and one for which there is no quick fix for women, Dr. Green says. Flibanserin (Addyi), the much-hyped “pink pill,” didn’t prove to be one. As the first drug approved to stimulate female libido, it has been shown to only slightly improve sexual satisfaction in some women, and it’s meant to be prescribed only for premenopausal women. It also has substantial side effects, including low blood pressure, fainting, and nausea.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t other solutions for women. Finding them entails exploring the reasons you might have lost interest in sex and designing a treatment to address them. Among the most common contributors to lost libido are these:
Declining hormone levels. In women, both estrogen and testosterone can contribute to libido. Estrogen is manufactured by the ovaries and in body tissues; testosterone, by the ovaries and adrenal glands. While estrogen levels drop sharply at menopause, testosterone levels decline slowly and steadily with age. Woman whose ovaries are removed before menopause often experience a dramatic loss of libido. Some studies have shown that systemic hormone replacement therapy can improve libido and sexual responsiveness in women, although it might take three to six months before it’s fully effective. Moreover, the health risks might outweigh the benefits for most older women.
Depression. Becoming increasingly common at midlife, depression notoriously dampens desire. Taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like fluoxetine (Prozac) or paroxetine (Paxil) can be effective for depression, but it can also reduce your sexual responsiveness. Switching to bupropion (Wellbutrin) helps some women, although it may not completely restore lost libido.
Medication. Drugs for high blood pressure can also affect desire. Since there are many options available, your physician can help you find one that keeps your blood pressure down without lowering your libido.
Physical illness. Undergoing treatment for cancer or another serious illness can diminish interest in sex.
Stress and anxiety. Job pressures, family responsibilities, lack of privacy, and worries about children or aging parents can render sex a low priority.
Relationship strains. If you feel yourself growing away or disconnected from your partner, you aren’t as likely to be interested in sex with him or her.
Aiding arousal and orgasm
Both arousal and orgasm depend on a complex array of psychological and physical factors. Issues that reduce libido can also affect arousal and orgasm. In addition, when blood flow to the genitals and pelvis is diminished or nerves are damaged, it can be difficult to achieve either. Identifying and addressing lifestyle factors may increase your sexual response. These are the most common physical factors impeding arousal and orgasm:
Alcohol. Although a glass of wine might enhance your libido, heavy drinking can make it difficult to achieve orgasm.
Health conditions. Diseases that affect blood flow and nerve function, including diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis, can reduce sexual responsiveness.
Medication. Drugs to lower blood pressure can delay or prevent orgasm. Antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, can also impede orgasm.
Clinical trials have demonstrated that the following may be helpful in stimulating arousal and orgasm:
Zestra . A massage oil that creates a sensation of warmth throughout the genital area, Zestra increased desire, arousal, and satisfaction in 70% of the women enrolled in clinical trials required for FDA approval. It is available over the counter for around $10.
Eros Clitoral Therapy Device. Eros increases genital blood flow by applying a gentle vacuum to the clitoris. In one clinical trial, 90% of women reported an increase in sensation, and 80% reported increased sexual satisfaction. Available only by prescription, it costs around $250.
Vibrators. There is no dearth of these devices, none of which requires FDA approval, so there aren’t a lot of studies demonstrating their effectiveness. In one of the few clinical trials—a 2016 study of 70 women who had difficulty becoming aroused or reaching orgasm—two-thirds of participants reported increased vaginal lubrication, orgasm, and genital sensation after using a vibrator for three months.
Dealing with pain
Dyspareunia—pain during intercourse—affects about half of postmenopausal women and is one of the most common reasons women shy away from sex. “If doing something hurts, you’re going to stop doing it,” Dr. Green says. Pain may be more pronounced during entry or deep penetration and is likely to stem from one of the following:
Vaginal atrophy. When estrogen plummets following menopause, the vaginal lining thins, vaginal walls become less elastic, and lubrication diminishes. These changes can result in vaginal dryness, burning, or itching that is exacerbated during entry. Topical estrogen—as a cream, a suppository, or a ring that releases the hormone over three months—can help plump up vaginal tissues and aid lubrication. A vaginal insert containing dehydroepiandrosterone (Intrarosa), which was approved by the FDA in 2016, is an alternative for breast cancer survivors who don’t want to risk absorbing estrogen. Water-based lubricants and longer-lasting silicone-based lubricants can also make penetration less painful.
Urogenital inflammation. Vaginal and urinary tract infections and skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, lichen sclerosus, and lichen planus may cause entry pain and can be treated with antibiotics or topical steroid creams.
Chronic conditions and treatments. Treating underlying medical conditions like back pain, hip problems, uterine prolapse, and irritable bowel syndrome can relieve pain. When pain with deep penetration is due to radiation, chemotherapy, or surgical scarring, physical therapy—in the form of exercises and massage to relax and stretch tissues in the pelvic area—can also be helpful. However, it may take several weeks or months of physical therapy to substantially alleviate the problem.
Working with your partner
Dr. Marjorie Green, clinical instructor in obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School, works with postmenopausal women who have difficulty becoming aroused or experience discomfort during sex. She says communication with one’s partner is the foundation of a healthy sexual relationship, and advises the following:
Be honest. Don’t try to fake it if your libido has dropped. Let your partner know when sex is painful.
Compromise. If one of you wants to have sex more frequently than the other, you should try to find a middle ground.
Experiment: If intercourse is painful, the two of you might try new positions and techniques that may be more comfortable. It may help to remember that vaginal intercourse isn’t the only option. Genital stimulation and oral sex may provide as much satisfaction as you need.
Dr. Green acknowledges that even the most compatible couples have to make adjustments as their relationship matures. “Being in a new relationship can bring a surge of libido, but after a while the shine begins to wear off and you may need to work at it,” she says. To restore the luster, she suggests couples try doing things they used to enjoy together at the beginning of their relationship. Recreating the atmosphere that set the stage for romance years ago can have the same effect today.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
What Is Spanish Fly, Exactly?
Despite flashy ads and bold claims, there’s not much evidence to support the use of aphrodisiac products. They’re ineffective at best and potentially contaminated or dangerous at worst.
But don’t despair. If you’re looking for ways to boost your libido or improve your sexual performance, there are things that you can do without wasting money or putting your health on the line.
Get more exercise
Yes, you can exercise for better sex! Unlike Spanish fly, exercise has actually been proven to increase sexual arousal in women and improve sexual performance in men. A 2018 study linked chronic exercise to improved arousal and sexual satisfaction in women.
Numerous studies have also linked exercise to a lower risk of impotence, better erections, and improved sexual function in young and older men.
How can exercise accomplish all of this? It all comes down to its association with:
- increased blood flow
- higher stamina and energy levels
- increased confidence
- better mood and lower stress levels
- the release of endorphins
- increased genital response
Get some sunshine
Spring fever and summer flings aren’t for nothing — sunshine really does make you frisky!
There’s evidence that just 30 minutes of sunlight increases testosterone in men with low sexual desire and causes a three-fold improvement in sexual satisfaction.
Sunshine also makes us happier because it boosts vitamin D levels, which help regulate hormones related to mood that also happen to play a role in arousal, including serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
And wearing fewer clothes when it’s hot out naturally makes a lot of us think of sex more, resulting in more sexual desire.
Massage increases serotonin and dopamine. It also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Furthermore, touch feels amazing and increases intimacy between partners.
Indulging in a sensual massage with your partner will help you both de-stress and work as foreplay to get you both ramped up for sex. Some massage oil and your hands are all you need. Be sure to touch acupressure points like the scalp and feet to can take massage to another level of sexy.
Talk to your partner
Communication really is key when it comes to sexual relationships, even if it’s a casual fling. Ask what turns them on and which body parts they like to have touched.
We all have erogenous zones outside of the usual ones like the genitals and nipples. Ask what theirs are and you might be surprised! Talking provides a gold mine of information that will make sex hotter for all parties. Besides, talking about it is sure to get the juices flowing — literally.
The 3 best aphrodisiacs for women
- Spicy foods – we usually hear about the benefits of spicy foods to women who are impatiently awaiting the birth of their baby, but spicy foods are also great for the sex drive. That’s because they are vasodilators (they open up the veins and get the circulation going in your body). Anything with chilis in it will give you a natural high due on its capsaicin, which makes your heart beat a little faster. Also, research has shown that spicy foods increase testosterone levels in men and testosterone is just as important for a woman’s sex drive.
- Gingko Biloba – this supplement also increases circulation and the more blood that gets to your pelvic area, the more you’ll get aroused and the better orgasms you’ll have. We spend a lot of time sat at desks, in cars, on sofas these days and all that sitting can lead to stagnant sex drive, partly because we lose circulation in the places that most need it. It has been clinically tested on women suffering with low libido and proven to show increase in desire and enjoyment of sex.
- Prioritizing pleasure – I know you know that there’s no way you’re going from a super stressful day to wanting an orgasm that evening. Women just aren’t wired that way. If you’ve spent all day driving yourself to complete your to-do list, it’s going to be hard to shift gears to receive pleasure. The best way to prevent this part of your brain switching off completely is to incorporate non-sexual sources of pleasure into your everyday life, so that your pleasure receptors are boosted and primed rather than flagging or non-existent. It doesn’t take much, just a few small lifestyle hacks can make sure that when you want to be in the mood, you will be. Have fresh flowers on your desk; call your friend during your lunchbreak; put on a really great outfit that you love even if you’ll just be home all day…select little actions that put you in a good mood. These small victories for your enjoyment over the demands of the day will help boost your sex drive. For more ideas check out my inspiration Mama Gena and her new book “Pussy: A Reclamation”.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, do you have low libido?
Second, do you know if you’re ovulating?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
Is Your Period Healthy?
How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign – your period.
The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.
Female Viagra? Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex Drug Flibanserin But Were Afraid To Ask
What are the possible side effects of flibanserin (Addyi)? Can you discuss the interaction with alcohol in particular?
It has pretty significant side effects. The big ones are nausea, dizziness and fainting. It’s designed to be taken at night. We have to be very careful not to give it to women who have conditions that could make a problem from the drug worse. Say a woman already has a blood pressure condition. Then you add this drug, and she’s fainting at work or while driving.
The FDA recently approved flibanserin, marketed as Addyi, to treat low sex drive in women.
In addition to those side effects, the risk of fainting is worse if a woman drinks alcohol or is taking a particular drug that is metabolized in the same way as flibanserin. A lot of drugs use the same liver enzyme, and one drug that I think is really relevant is Diflucan (fluconazole), used to treat yeast infections. If women take Diflucan and then take flibanserin, it’s going to interact and increase their risk of fainting.
The side effects are magnified for people who drink alcohol, so women who agree to take this medication have to agree to never drink alcohol. Probably what’s going to happen is women are going to take this drug and, after a few weeks, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s fine, so I’ll have a little glass of wine, and we’ll see.” It’s not too much of a stretch to think of women having fainting episodes in restaurants because they mixed it with alcohol. I know for my own patient population, the majority of my patients who are moderate income women, pretty educated, working and have kids, there are very few of them that don’t have a glass of wine now and then. So I think it could be a problem. It’s a risky drug in that way.
How effective is it really? How well does it work, and how many women could benefit?
That’s the other thing — in the women we think might be candidates for this drug, does it work? In the trials, they found that women at baseline were having 2.7 “sexually satisfying events” per month. Sexually satisfying events were defined as “intercourse, manual sex, oral sex, or masturbation, with or without orgasm.” Women taking the placebo went to 3.7 events per month, and women taking flibanserin went to 4.5 per month.
These were well designed trials, and the effect seemed to be real, but it’s small, and it only occurred in about 10% of women. One could argue that what we have here is a minor aphrodisiac with scary side effects. How many women are going to be eligible for the drug and how effective are they going to feel that it is?
How much data do we have about long-term risks of using flibanserin?
We don’t have any long-term data. Any time a new drug is brought to market, it’s on the basis of short-term studies, and it remains to be seen how it’s going to be tolerated over time. Again, this drug is designed to be taken every day like an antidepressant and presumably a person would be maintained on it, so that’s an unanswered question right now.
What’s considered “normal” or typical levels of desire in women?
I spend a fair amount of time talking to my patients about what’s normal. The traditional model of sexual response (research by Masters and Johnson) is that sexual activity starts with desire, goes up through arousal, then plateaus a little bit, there is an orgasm (or several orgasms), and then there’s resolution. This is an up and down model. That actually has turned out not to be the case for most women.
In the early 2000s, researcher Rosemary Basson proposed what’s now known as the Basson Model, or what she termed “the new model of women’s sexual response.” For most women, sexual response is more of a circle, and the major point in that circle is emotional intimacy. Feeling emotionally safe with her partner makes her responsive to sexual stimuli. At that point she may begin to feel desire or arousal, which may or may not lead to orgasm. If she has a positive experience, it will bring her back around to emotional receptivity, making her more receptive the next time around. A woman can enter that circle from any point.
The reason this makes sense is that most women don’t walk around with a feeling of just free-floating desire whereas, for men, they usually do tend to have a little more of that initial desire. For women, desire will become part of it, but it’s often not the starting point. Explaining what’s normal can also be very helpful because women wonder why they’re not just thinking about sex all the time.
However, there’s an element of eroticism that has to come into it. It’s about intention and putting some energy toward it. You’re not going to get off the couch at 9:30, after work and dealing with your kids and putting them to bed, and feel like the sexiest thing on the planet. I spend time talking to my patients about sex toys, lubricants and other novelties to make sex fun again. We get out of that headspace because we’re so wrapped up in so many of our demands of our daily lives. Sex is adult play, and I think there is a whole lot that can be done for women with low sex drive. It’s so much more than just a pill.
What about women with small children or women who are breastfeeding — should they expect to have decreased libido?
You can see where evolution would favor women who don’t want to have sex while they’re nursing. One could argue that there’s some evolutionary biology at play here for a woman because it’s not going to make sense for her to be pregnant while she’s nursing. It may just be that there are certain times in our lives when we’re not supposed to want to have sex.
So what should a woman who is dissatisfied with her libido do?
There are three things that predict an active healthy sex life for women: one is mental health. There is a high correlation of desire complaints with things like anxiety, depression and mood disorders, so that has to be evaluated and treated. The next is physical health. For a woman who never goes to the gym or feels unattractive or out of shape, having sex can feel like working out or can just be uncomfortable. For a woman who has diabetes or MS or some other type of chronic illness, that can definitely affect her sexual life, her desire and her sexual activity.
The third one is a new relationship. The effect of longevity on sex drive is interesting. At the beginning of a relationship, a woman’s lust equals men’s. At somewhere between one and four years into a relationship, women’s desire tends to decline. It’s that hormone cocktail of romance. That feeling when you are falling in love, where you think of the person all the time and want to be with them all the time, is a phenomenon called limerence. That just doesn’t last, and it’s probably a good thing it doesn’t last. Nobody would fly airplanes or run for president because we’d all be having sex.
Limerence settles down into comfort, security and safety. When I see a woman who says, “I love my partner, but I’m just kind of not into having sex anymore,” that’s something we have to explore. We have to start thinking about effort and intention. What are they doing to prioritize sex in their relationship? A lot of this needs to be addressed in individual or couples psychotherapy. It’s really inappropriate to start with a pill. You have to look at all the potential causes of why a woman might not have a sex drive.
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