Lost that loving feeling? Try these natural aphrodisiacs to turn up the heat in the bedroom
It can be hard to turn on your charms when you’re just not feeling it. Loss of libido is something 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 work 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 would think. 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?
Your mind is often referred to as one of your biggest sex organs, so use it to your advantage. “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. 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.”
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.
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 tonic. And, if all else fails, there is of course, the aptly named, horny goatweed.
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.
Regular exercise not only banishes stress but also boosts your confidence and triggers the release of feel-good chemicals, called endorphins, in your body. 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 can give you greater control over your pelvic muscle tone, which can increase your enjoyment of sex.
Using aromatherapy oils, either in a burner or in a massage oil, can really help to set a romantic mood. 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. Try rose, ylang ylang, jasmine or neroli and feel that tension melt away.
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