Sex is one of the great mysteries of life. Straightforward for the animal kingdom, for us humans it can be pretty complex—or perhaps we’ve just created the complexity. A fulfilling sex life and good sexual health are truly important. Sex can be incredibly satisfying with a partner you love and who you are truly connected to—through mind, body, and spirit. It can relieve stress, and add that extra spice to the day-to-day repetition of modern living. Because we are such intricate creatures of the mammalian world, our sex lives are sometimes faced with obstacles. Sexual vitality and function may need some revving up from time to time. But you don’t have to resort to Viagra and hormone replacement. From herbs to oils to overall fitness and relaxation, there’s a lot you can do naturally to enhance your sex life.
HERBS FOR PLEASURE
Chinese tonics and herbal aphrodisiacs have been found through the ages to safely, healthfully, and profoundly fortify sexual functioning. They often intensify the pleasure of sexuality and help eliminate roots of sexual dysfunction, frustration, and anxiety. Schizandra berry, which can be taken as an herbal tea or in capsule form, builds energy in the sexual organs while increasing sexual sensitivity and intensifying orgasms. It is considered in Chinese medicine to be one of the most potent herbal aphrodisiacs. Ginseng is a restorative tonic that increases overall well-being and endurance. It is most effective when taken over a period of several months. Lycium berry is a tonic that provides energy needed for sex and also has rejuvenating qualities. It can also be taken in capsule form.
Dong Quai, also called Chinese Angelica, is considered to be one of the most important herbal tonics for women according to Chinese medicine. This herb helps to bring hormones into balance and regulates the entire reproductive system. Damiana is another natural remedy that has been used for centuries by Mexican women, who traditionally drink a cup of damiana tea before lovemaking. It contains a volatile oil that gently stimulates the genitourinary (reproductive and urinary) tract when it is excreted, which acts to enhance sexual arousal. Damiana also has muscle-relaxing properties and is a mild euphoric.
While generally safe, natural remedies do interact with your physiology. Before taking an herbal preparation, learn about possible side effects or warnings. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are pregnant or nursing, be sure to consult a health practitioner before taking herbal/natural remedies.
Throughout the centuries people have sought out foods with aphrodisiacal powers and have proclaimed their sexual enhancing qualities. Foods can be sensually delightful simply because of their textures, aromas, and flavors, but certain foods have chemical components that enhance sexual function. You’ve heard of some of them—oysters, chocolate, peppers—and perhaps you’ll discover your own.
Oysters are considered sexy for textural reasons, but there’s more to it than that. A team of American and Italian researchers analyzed bivalve mollusks—a group of shellfish that includes oysters, mussels and clams—and found they were rich in rare amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Chilies heat up your sex life due to capsaicin, the special compound that gives a kick to peppers, curries, and other spicy foods. Capsaicin stimulates nerve endings to release natural neurochemicals, raising the heart rate and possibly triggering the release of endorphins—those brain chemicals that give you the pleasurable feeling of a natural high.
Chocolate has been thought of as an aphrodisiac for millennia, perhaps as early as 600 BCE. In modern times, researchers hunting for clues to explain chocolate’s allure have some leads. For instance, chocolate (with its fat and sugar content) triggers the release of brain chemicals such as opioids, dopamine, and serotonin, which are associated with feelings of happiness or elation—positive states for enjoying sexuality. Some of chocolate’s compounds can gently stimulate the central nervous system, which gives an energy boost that increases physical stamina.
Strawberries gained their reputation as an aphrodisiac due to their large number of tiny seeds symbolizing fertility. In art and literature, strawberryies were usually portrayed as symbols of sensuality and earthly desire and have been described as fruit nipples. Strawberries are nutritious, too, containing more vitamin C than any other berry, a good amount of potassium, folic acid, iron, and fiber.
Honey has been known as an aphrodisiac as far back as the 500 BCE. Even Hippocrates prescribed honey for sexual vigor. Everything about honey is romantic, from the way it’s made to its golden appearance and delightful texture. Honey’s rich B vitamin and amino acid content are excellent for sexual health.