Fitness

Natural Aphrodisiacs You Probably Haven’t Heard of

It can be hard to turn on your charms when you’re just not feeling it, and loss of libido is something that most of us will come up against at some stage in our lives. And, it’s not difficult to understand why – often a night of passion with your partner is the last thing on your mind when you’ve had a long, hard day at the office, you’ve got the kids’ dinner to sort out and you feel about as sexy and alluring as an old pair of socks.

According to the NHS, low libido can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, depression, tiredness, relationship issues and fluctuating hormones (during the menopause for instance) and is a lot more common than you think.

And while everyone’s sex drive differs – there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ libido – fulfilling sex has a host of mental and physical health benefits, so it makes sense to work on getting your mojo back – especially with the help of natural and complementary therapies. These gentle, yet powerful, holistic techniques can help to tackle physical and emotional issues that are often the root cause of libido loss, so what are you waiting for – try these sizzling therapies and turn on your inner sex goddess, tonight!

Visualisation

Your mind is often referred to as one of your biggest sex organs – so make sure you make the most of it! “There is a lot to be said for mind over matter,” says Anna Williamson, mind coach and dating expert on TV’s Celebs Go Dating. “This is easier said than done on occasions, I fully appreciate, but if we tell ourselves ‘we are in the mood’ or ‘not in the mood’, our feelings will mirror our thoughts.

“Imagine yourself, or recall a memory, when you’re feeling at your sexiest; perhaps also aid this by dressing appropriately and making yourself feel physically sexy, as well.

“Think about what is attractive about you, focus on the parts that you really love about yourself and that make you feel sexy. Reminding ourselves of what helps us feel in the mood is absolutely key to helping increase our libido. What we imagine, we can realise. Give it a try.”

Homeopathy

This subtle therapy uses tiny doses of plants and other naturally occurring substances to treat emotions that can hinder your love life, such as stress and exhaustion. “Feeling well and at ease in yourself and also with your partner is essential,” says Steve Kippax, author of new book Health in Theory and Practice (£14.99, Aeon Books). “If anxiety and worry are having an effect on you, then one of the best things to take is Nelsons Rescue Remedy [£9.99 for 20ml, available at hollandandbarrett.com].” He also recommends Nux vomica if you’re stressed out and over-worked, or Pulsatilla if you’re feeling pre-menstrual and emotional.

Massage

Getting your partner to give you a slow and sensual massage might seem pretty obvious but it’s the perfect way to relax into the swing of things. What’s more, giving a massage can be as erotic as receiving one and can really help you to reconnect as a couple. Set the mood by dimming the lights and burning scented candles, then gently warm some body oil in your hands and slowly massage down from the shoulders, using firm and gentle pressure. Remember to pay attention to every area, such as the ears, fingers and toes – focusing on areas that are usually neglected is surprisingly erotic! Why not incorporate some reflexology techniques by gently massaging acupressure points on the feet – this is believed to promote good energy in the body and get your pulse racing!

Herbal healing

Plant power really comes into its own with sexual healing and herbs have been used for centuries to banish two of the main passion-killers – stress and hormonal imbalance.

“If your libido isn’t up to much, getting to the root of the problem is key,” says BBC medical herbalist Pamela Spence (pamelaspence.co.uk). “With those common causes out of the way, stress is often the basis for the issue. In that case, calming herbs, such as chamomile, valerian and limeflower, can be really helpful.”

She also suggests using herbal aphrodisiacs, such as damiana, which has a long history of use and is particularly helpful when the menopause causes libido to flag, and the ayurvedic herb shatavari, also known as ‘She of 100 Husbands’ for women where anxiety and hormonal imbalance are the root cause. For men, ashwaganda is the best male tonic. And, if all else fails, there is of course, the aptly named horny goatweed.

Feng shui

Nothing dampens romance more than an untidy bedroom, so why not get into the swing of things with the ancient Chinese art of feng shui, which focuses on attracting the flow of good energy in your home. First of all, clear all the clutter from your bedroom – simply blitzing your dressing table and getting rid of all the stacks of old magazines and shoes shoved under the bed, will make you feel instantly more relaxed. In feng shui, the love and relationship area of your home is located in the southwest corner, so attract good energy here with crystals, lights or scented candles.

Exercise

Regular exercise not only banishes stress but also boosts your confidence and triggers the release of feel-good chemicals, called endorphins, in your body – turning you into a tiger in the sack!

Dr David Edwards, a specialist in female sexual dysfunction, recommends brisk walking or aerobics to release those happy hormones, while Pilates and yoga are great for flexibility. Kegal exercises (where you try to stop and start your urine flow when you’re going for a wee) can give you greater control over your pelvic muscle tone, which can increase your enjoyment of sex and works wonders for your bedroom routine.

Aromatherapy

Using aromatherapy oils, either in a burner or in a massage oil, can really help to set the mood when it comes to romance. These clever essential oils are distilled from flowers, fruits, herbs and plants and work on the body’s limbic system, which is a part of your brain that plays a role in your emotions. It also has an effect on physiological functions such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure so it can really help to relax you. Try libido-boosting oils, such as rose, ylang ylang, jasmine or neroli, and feel the tension melt away.

More natural libido boosters

Try these other simple ways to boost your sex drive

Stop smoking

Not only can it cause cancer (and smelling like an old ashtray is deeply unsexy) but it also narrows the blood vessels that supply blood to your sexual organs. A no-brainer really!

Don’t drink too much

The occasional drink is a great ice-breaker when it comes to sex, but too much can affect your overall health and lead to serious loss of libido. So keep it down to the occasional tipple if you want to stay firing on all cylinders.

Eat well

Having a good diet full of healthy fruit veg and wholefoods and low in refined sugars and carbohydrates will keep you healthy and lusty! Load up on foods known for their aphrodisiac properties, such as zinc-rich oysters, which help with the production of the sex hormone testosterone, and dark chocolate, which boosts serotonin levels.

Be confident

Feeling negative about yourself or how you look can really put the dampener on your sex drive, so try to find ways to get your confidence back – exercise is always a great start.

Health & Wellbeing