Studies have shown a direct correlation between the amount of sex people have to how happy they are, according to a British study of American adults titled Money, Sex, and Happiness: An Empirical Study. In the study, conducted by economists Dr. David Blanchflower and Dr. Andrew Oswald, data from 16,000 participants found that sex appears to have stronger effects on happiness: Increasing the amount of sex from once a month to once a week had the same effects as putting $50,000 in the bank, according to the leaders in “happiness economics.”
Yet, almost half of American women over the age of 40 did not have sexual intercourse at all in a whole year, according to Dr. Michelle Davin in her article Not Tonight, Dear-Female Sexual Arousal and Dysfunction. Moreover, those 40 year-old (and under) women who did have sex had it only two to three times a month. As over 40 million American women complain about having low sexual desire and satisfaction, most of them also attest to the fact that they are unhappy with that fact. Increasingly, women are demanding to have gratifying sexual relationships, which is why there has been a rise in the sale of over-the-counter aphrodisiacs for women.
PHYSICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL CAUSES OF LOW LIBIDO
Before self-prescribing aphrodisiac herbs, the root of lack of sexual desire must be examined. Visiting your primary care practitioner to rule out or get your health under control is a good way to start. Certain medical conditions can lead to sexual problems, thus getting those in check is always a good idea to get your sex life back on the right track. Conversely, psychological problems are an important cause of the sexual lack of desire in women. For women, mental and emotional connection with their sexual partners during sex is extremely important in order to increase sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction. Imagination is also a big influence in the sexual arousal of women. Thus, working with a mental health practitioner to solve any relationship or psychological issues may also help with sexual problems.
LOW LIBIDO: CAN APHRODISIACS REALLY HELP?
The use of aphrodisiacs has been evidenced in Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Roman, and Greek literature. These cultures believed in the aphrodisiac properties of plants, herbs, condiments, and roots that were native to their geographies. John P. Melnyk and Massimo F. Marcone from the University of Guelph in Canada conducted a study titled Aphrodisiacs From Plant and Animal Sources-A Review of Current Scientific Literature. The authors asserted that aphrodisiacs have been valued for their sexual enhancing properties in many cultures. Evidence suggests that the use of aphrodisiacs has been associated with improving individuals’ ability to procreate and to enjoy fulfilling sexual relationships.
But is it true that aphrodisiacs really improve sexuality or is it a placebo effect? Melnyk and Marcone assert that previous studies in certain aphrodisiacs have shown potential aphrodisiac properties in both animal and human clinical trials. Although there is not a consensus in the medical and scientific community about how aphrodisiacs work, there is evidence to suggest that some substances found in certain foods have positive effects on fertility and libido.
HOW DO APHRODISIACS WORK?
Aphrodisiacs work in different ways, depending on the substance. Mostly, aphrodisiacs are known to relax the smooth muscle tissue in animals, improve erection (including clitoris engorgement) in humans, and increase sexual behavior and satisfaction. Phytonutrients in some foods are believed and/or have shown increased: blood flow to the genitalia, nervous response, sensations in the genitalia, the production of serotonin (the well-being hormone) and oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), as well as to restore the hormonal balance—responsible for sexual response—in the body.
ARE APHRODISIACS SUITABLE FOR YOU?
Before deciding to use an aphrodisiac, here are some recommendations:
- Consult with Your Doctor: Nothing should replace a visit to your health care practitioner. Cardiovascular conditions or other illnesses could be causing your low libido. Rule out illness before moving on to natural remedies.
- Get Informed: With thousands of products on the market that promise to increase your libido, a potential risk can be a decrease in the size of your wallet or, even worse, adverse reactions from the consumption of products that come from less than reputable sources. Visit an herbalist, a natural medicine practitioner, or your local natural store. I trust sources such as Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola for good information.
- Go Organic: Make sure the products are organic and that they come from growers that support sustainable harvesting of these foods. Unscrupulous growers deplete natural sources of foods, add pesticides and hormones to harvests, thus posing a health risk to you.
In a recent informal survey, I asked women if they would take aphrodisiacs to improve their sex life. Here’s what they had to say:
Of course I would! —Rebecca K., New Orleans, LO
I want to know more about aphrodisiacs to spark my sex life. —Cynthia L., Miami, FL
Nothing wrong with taking them. It is normal that, after a while, the routine kind of kills your mood. If an aphrodisiac helps improve my sex, I want it! —Veronica M., Scottsdale, AZ
Women do want sex! As sexual beings, women desire a healthy sexual life and pleasurable sexual relationships. And, as an added bonus, it makes us happier!
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