When you’re sharing a loving and exciting intimate relationship with your partner, you feel fulfilled and energized. Sex also has other physical benefits that help you feel better.
However, there are times when you may feel too exhausted or stressed to maintain a good sexual relationship. Many factors contribute to low sex life, such as obesity, poor diet and stress. For a normal sexual function we need our organs to be healthy as well as a balanced, and a working endocrine system producing all the necessary hormones.
Natural health offers numerous ways to enhance your sexual energy and invigorate your intimate relationship. “Sexual energy is simply energy”, explains herbalist Brigitte Mars, author of Natural First Aid. “When you’re exhausted and don’t have energy to get through the day, you won’t have energy for your sexual relationship. Anything, such as exercise and a good diet, that enhances your energy, will enhance your sexual energy as well.”
Furthermore, a wholesome diet, fat-low and high in fiber and complex carbohydrates is a great start for increasing your sexual energy. A diet and lifestyle that promote circulation and normal weight, and contain high-vitality fresh foods will lead to better sexual function.
A general and natural multi-vitamin and antioxidant formula is a necessary component. One of the most important nutrients for sexual health is zinc. Many of the foods traditionally believed to improve sexual function come from the ocean. Oysters and clams have high levels of zinc, which may have been the basis for their reputations as sexual enhancers.
Daniel Gagnon, medical herbalist and author of Liquid Herbal Drops in Everyday
Use (Botanical Research and Education Institute), agrees. He believes that stress is the big culprit for depriving men and women of healthy sex. “Most people are basically running ragged, and the ability to have a successful sexual experience is the antithesis of how the body and mind feels in a state of stress,” he notes.

Gagnon names four herbs as essential for a healthy sex life:

  • Damiana — Over a period of time, Damiana nourishes the body and it is a slight mood elevator. Those who take it may feel more alert but not hyper. It does not contain or act like caffeine.
  • Passion Flower – This herb may help stop excessive brain chatter so a person can be more in the mood for lovemaking. It was once used by the early American Indians to soothe their nerves.
  • Muira Puama – Although this Amazonian tree is widely believed to restore libido, Gagnon says exactly how it works is a mystery. “Because it is not a stimulant as such, no one really knows exactly what this herb does. But it seems to work.”
  • Cacao (chocolate) – Christopher Hobbs, author of Handbook for Herbal Healing (Botanica Press) cites this herb as one of the most renowned aphrodisiacs. According to Hobbs, “It is mildly euphoric and stimulating to the nervous system, with minimal effects on the cardiovascular system.”

Gagnon also emphasizes that the health of the whole body is the best aphrodisiac of all. He also recommends eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercise, deep breathing and adequate rest.

Good Sex For Good Health

Cynthia Watson, M.D., author of Love Potions: A Guide to Aphrodisiacs and Sexual Pleasures, agrees that a healthy sex life and overall good health are intrinsically linked. “Sex makes you relax, relieves stress, connects you intimately with another person, and produces endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers. Plus, I believe sex helps the immune system function better.”

Watson notes that besides the physiological explanations, the mind/body connection is important as well. “Basically, sexual pleasure is good for your health. It’s relaxing; it alleviates stress. We all know that stress is a factor in heart disease, and it can also impair white cell function, part of the immune system’s ability to fight off sickness. Anything you can do to combat stress is good for you. Likewise, when you’re happier, you have less of a chance for developing disease.”

Exercise is another aspect that helps keep your sex life alive, notes Watson. “I think of regular physical exercise as an inexpensive aphrodisiac. After all, you need endurance to maintain a sexual rhythm that carries you and your partner to sexual heights. Physical fitness helps energize you; conversely, a lack of energy dampens the libido.”

Aromatherapy is helpful as well, according to many experts. Watson suggests scenting the air with a few drops of jasmine, sandalwood or ylang-ylang essential oil. Scented massage oils also help open up the sexual chakras she notes. She suggests trying Tantric Yoga exercises that teach you to move energy through the chakras.
Here are 10 healthy reasons to hop into bed, and remind that making love is good for both body and soul.
1. Exercise. “Sexual activity is a form of physical exercise,” according to Dr. Michael Cirigliano of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Making love three times a week burns around 7,500 calories in a year — the equivalent of jogging 75 miles.
2. Heavy Breathing. A night of love can raise the amount of oxygen in cells, helping to keep organs and tissues functioning at their peak.
3. Strong Bones and Muscles. “Any kind of physical exercise is going to increase testosterone,” states Dr. Karen Donahey, director of the Sex and Marital Therapy Program at Chicago’s Northwestern University Medical Center. Testosterone is believed to help keep men’s bones and muscles strong.
4. Lowered Cholesterol. Making love regularly can lower levels of the body’s total cholesterol slightly, while positively changing the ratio of good-to-bad cholesterol.
5. Pain Relief. Sex can lower levels of “arthritic pain, whiplash pain and headache pain,” according to Dr. Beverly Whipple, president-elect of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists. Hormones that are released during sexual excitement and orgasm can elevate pain thresholds.
6. DHEA — Without Supplements. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), a popular supplemental hormone, is released naturally during lovemaking. “Just before orgasm and ejaculation,” Crenshaw says, “DHEA spikes to levels three to five times higher than usual.”
7. Prostate Protection. Researchers say prostate trouble may arise or be worsened by fluid buildup within the gland. Regular ejaculation will help wash out those fluids. Be cautious when suddenly changing frequency — sudden changes may also trigger prostate problems.
8. Stress Relief. “Sex can be a very effective way of reducing stress levels,” Donahey told Men’s Health.
9. Love Will Keep Us Together. Crenshaw says affectionate touch will increase levels of oxytocin — the “bonding hormone.” Oxytocin is a desire-enhancing chemical secreted by the pituitary. Regular oxytocin release may help encourage frequent lovemaking.
10. Hormones — Naturally. “Regular lovemaking can increase a woman’s estrogen level, protect her heart and keep her vaginal tissues more supple,” states Donahey.
SOURCE: Men’s Health (November 1997, p. 104-108)

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