Does your Love life need a boost?
Check out our top ten aphrodisiacs guaranteed to spark desire.
Nothing is sexier than remembering why you fell in love with each other in the first place. "By undertaking some sort of bonding activity, you can reignite chemistry," says Dr Morrissey. "Look for aspects of your partner that you first admired before you started focusing on what they weren't doing," she says. "Go back to the kind of dating behaviour that you undertook at the start of the relationship, whether that's scuba diving, going out dancing or to the movies, as having fun together helps you to reconnect. By looking at your partner through fresh eyes, you'll see them with a new appreciation that will reignite your sexual spark."
Take a big whiff
Remember when a mere hint of your partner's smell induced all-out lust? Take yourself back to those heady days by wearing the same scent you wore back then as you snuggle on the sofa tonight.
Have a seafood feast
For centuries, oysters have been known as aphrodisiacs, with amorous Casanova said to have eaten 50 for breakfast! Scientists have proven that Casanova was on the right track. A team of scientists at Barry University in Miami analysed bivalve molluscs, a group of shellfish that includes oysters, and found they were rich in rare amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. So go on a date to your favourite seafood restaurant and order a dozen raw oysters for starters and shellfish for a main.
Face up to your problems
If your lack of interest in sex is causing problems in your relationship, sex therapists and psychologists can help enhance your libido. "Sexual dysfunction can be the result of many issues, including depression, hormone levels, fatigue or psychological disorders, which can seriously harm the self-esteem of both partners," says Brett McCann, NSW president of ASSERT (Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists). "Therapists can help by identifying the problem and moving onto a solution."
Have a chocolate and red wine night
There's something undeniably sensuous about chocolate. This is because cocoa contains phenylethylamine and serotonin, two chemicals that light up pleasure areas in the brain. Alcohol is known to induce feelings of horniness, so enjoy a glass of wine with a little dark chocolate for a sensuous treat. Remember, a moderate amount of wine has been said to arouse, but much more than that will have the opposite effect
Working out increases your urge for sex because it activates the same feel-good brain chemicals and sends the blood racing to the pelvic region, getting you in the mood. "During and after exercise, blood flows to the genitals," says Dr Gabrielle Morrissey, body+soul's sex and relationships columnist. "This can increase sensation once you start to become turned on." A study at the University of Texas illustrated this when women aged 18 to 34 were asked to watched an X-rated film twice. The first time the women cycled vigorously for 20 minutes beforehand, but the second time, they did no exercise. Researchers calculated their sexual excitement was 169 per cent greater if they exercised first! Being fit and toned also means lovemaking sessions last longer and you are more flexible when it comes to trying new positions.
Lift your libido
Epimedium, also known as horny goat weed, which grows in China and Asia, may just live up to its reputation, according to researchers at the University of Milan. When looking into natural aphrodisiacs in traditional cultures to establish their potential as alternatives to Viagra, researchers found that horny goat weed contained icariin, a compound that inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor. Viagra's active compound, sildenafil, works by inhibiting PDE5. Try Fusion Health's Libido, a Chinese herbal tonic formulated with horny goat weed and tribulus, designed to enhance sexual desire and physical performance. Available from www.fusionhealth.com.au
The herb damiana has been keeping Latin Americans hot and frisky for centuries. Mexicans in particular swear by its aphrodisiac qualities, drinking damiana tea to get them in the mood as well as to treat conditions ranging from constipation to depression. According to herbalist Ellie Dyson, damiana helps with depression, energy levels, low oestrogen levels, female libido, impotency, menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). To make the tea, add 250ml boiling water to one gram of dried leaves and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink three cups per day over two weeks. You'll find damiana at your local herbalist, or visit www.happyhighherbs.com
According to marital researcher Dr John Gottman from The Gottman Institute, men who do more housework and child care have better sex lives and happier marriages than men who don't. Why, then, did a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, How Australians Use Their Time, find that women still do much more housework than men? So guys, pick up the vacuum cleaner, clean the toilet and pack the kids' lunches and marvel at how much your sex life improves! Dr Morrissey says when women feel more respected, they give more to their partner and the relationship prospers. "Relationships are supposed to be equal, but often women carry more of the responsibility," she says. "When men take on more of the burden, the woman feels cared for and appreciated, and more connected to her partner." Hence more sex!
Infused with four ancient herbal aphrodisiac properties and four essential oils, including Liriosma ovata, known as "the viagra of the amazon" and ylang ylang, which enhances attraction between lovers, Wildfire All Pleasure Oil can be used for massage and as a lubricant. It's $29.95 from Woolworths and pharmacies.