Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Science of Desire or How to Enhance Libido Naturally

Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life, has indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages. - William J. Brennan, Jr.
No other aspect of human life seems to have preoccupied us more than sexuality. Sexuality was and still is subjected to social taboos and religious beliefs. And while the Victorians were famous for their prudish attitude to sex, Sigmund Freud elevated sexuality in its importance to the psychological development of every single individual. Countless works of art and literature celebrated human sexuality and science and medicine found sex to be a subject worth a serious research. And while it is clear that sex is a means to assure the continuation of our species, it definitely has a much deeper meaning for most of us. Even though our cultural norms and moral standards changed over the last 50 years, sex is still considered to be the most intimate way to express love in a relationship.

Sexual chemistry lesson

It is generally believed that intimacy is the best aphrodisiac for women, while novelty is what keeps men excited. Our emotions and attraction to our partner may stimulate our fantasies and sexual desire, but the whole process is controlled by our brains. As unromantic as this may sound, the brain is the central organ of our desire. The whole sexual act involves an intricate interplay between neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain and the vital body parts involved in the act. Unless there are enough building blocks in the body to produce these chemicals, not much will happen.


Our sexual activity depends on several neurotransmitters. It is necessary to correct all nutritional deficiencies not only if you want to have a perfectly functioning brain, but also if your love life is important to you. Neurotransmitters involved in sexuality are:
  • Dopamine stimulates desire and controls libido. Low levels of dopamine may lead to a low libido and loss of interest in sex.
  • Acetylcholine stimulates arousal. People deficient in this neurotransmitter are often unable to get aroused.
  • GABA - gamma aminobutyric acid, controls the ability to experience orgasm. People with low levels of this neurotransmitter have difficulties with their climax. They either are may not be able to experience orgasm or have great difficulty to experience one.
  • Serotonin regulates mood and sexuality. People deficient in serotonin may experience decreased levels of intimacy and lack of sexual satisfaction.

As we age the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain diminish. However, imbalance in neurotransmitter production can easily be corrected with nutritional supplements. To restore proper levels of dopamine supplement with L-Tyrosine, L-Phenylalanine, Thiamine, Folic acid, Chromium, and Magnesium. Herbs such as Rhodiola rosea and Ginko biloba may also be useful. To enhance levels of acetylcholine take Choline, Phosphatidylserine, DMAE, Alpha lipoic acid, Acetal-l-carnitine, and Fish oil capsules. Deficiencies in GABA can be corrected with L-Taurine, L-Theanine, L-Glycine, GABA, Gabatropin, B Vitamins, and Inositol. To bring serotonin to optimal levels supplement with L-Tryptophan, 5-HTP, Magnesium, B Vitamins, and Omega-3.


Hormones constitute the second group of chemicals involved in our sexuality. Throughout our lives hormone levels fluctuate constantly. Due to their biology, women are more affected by the hormonal changes than men. However, with progressing age, both, men and women, experience hormonal changes that impact their physical and emotional well being. Diminishing hormone levels can easily be restored with bio-identical hormone preparations that can be taken orally or in form of trans-dermal patches or creams. Specially designed blood tests measure the current hormone levels and establish the dose that is needed to correct deficiencies. Hormones involved in sexuality are:
  • Estrogen - youthful levels of this hormone in women provide sufficient vaginal lubrication. However, excess of estrogen in the male or female body numbs the sexual desire.
  • Progesterone - influence mood and the quality of sleep. It helps maintain high libido in women. Men may need it for their prostate health.
  • Testosterone - important for both, men and women. It enhances libido considerably and boosts physical stamina. Men experiencing erectile dysfunction and women who have difficulty experiencing orgasm may profit from supplementation.
  • DHEA - is a precursor to all the sex hormones in the body. It is produced by the adrenal glands and the body converts it to the hormones that it needs to maintain hormonal balance.
Additionally, melatonin and pregnenolone can be taken to improve overall sex function. Studies show that melatonin not only helps to improve the sleeping pattern and immunity, but it also enhances sexual performance as it prevents the age-related loss of testosterone. The hormone pregnenolone helps to regulate levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and GABA thus contributing to a more satisfying sexual experience.

Libido enhancing nutrients
  • One of the most important nutrients to consider is the essential amino acid L-Arginine. L-Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide in the human body. Nitric oxide is not only responsible for the blood circulation in the body, but it also mediates the normal function of sexual organs in both, men and women. L-Arginine improves the blood flow to the penis and ensures better and longer erections. The increased blood flow also makes the vaginal and clitoral tissue more sensitive to stimulation and ensures greater satisfaction.
  • Zinc is a mineral essential for the production of testosterone in the body. It is involved in the production of semen and a healthy sperm count. Low levels of zinc affect male reproductive capacity.

Herbal aphrodisiacs for him
  • Maca - plant native to Peru and Bolivia is known for its libido enhancing qualities. It helps to increase the testosterone levels in the body.
  • Muira puama native to Brazil is well known sexual stimulant and aphrodisiac
  • Epidmedium, better known as Horny goat weed, supports healthy libido. The plant is known to stimulate the production of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain.
  • Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen helping to improve mental and physical performance. It helps reduce stress and promotes the production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain.
  • Cordyceps is believed to support healthy testosterone levels
  • Yohimbe is a well known aphrodisiac. It increases the blood flow to the pelvic area.
  • Fo ti is a plant native to China. It is used to heal erectile dysfunction.
  • Saw palmetto promotes strength and has the ability to restore libido and protect the prostate gland.

Herbal aphrodisiacs for her
  • Damiana leaf stimulates sexual desire. It also has the ability to increase the sensitivity in the clitoris thus enhancing the experience of pleasure.
  • Ashwagandha is an adaptogen promoting overall stamina and health
  • Maca is known to balance hormones, increase physical and mental well being and stamina. It promotes healthy libido and relieves vaginal dryness.
  • Muira puama increases libido and stimulates the production of testosterone.
  • Black cohosh helps to balance hormone levels in the body
  • Ginko biloba has a remarkable effect on a female body. It not only improves the micro-circulation in the body, but it also increases sexual desire. Ginko biloba affects the norepinephrine receptors in the brain and helps maintain blood circulation to the genital area.
  • Sarsaparilla contains steroidal saparins that are believed to simulate the action of some human hormones. Among others, the herb promotes production of testosterone and progesterone in the body.
  • Puncture vine also known as Tribulus has a long traditions as a sexual stimulant for both, men and women. It has the ability support healthy hormone balance in the body and to increase the production of DHEA, testosterone, estrogen. 

Superfoods for super sex

There are many foods that have almost legendary reputation as aphrodisiacs. Great lovers like Casanova, took great care to include libido enhancing foods and spices in their menu. Research shows that some of the "folklore" has a foundation in science - some foods are rich in nutrients that are necessary for a healthy sexual function. Foods to try are: oysters, caviar, seafood, eggs, dark chocolate, asparagus, avocado, celery, ginger, nutmeg, cardamon, and basil.

Balanced nutrition is necessary to maintain overall health and physical fitness. Make sure that you are receiving all the necessary nutrients your body needs in order to stay healthy. Loose weight if you need to, drink enough water, and exercise regularly. Keep in mind that nicotine and alcohol may interfere with your sex life. Partners in a happy relationship deserve to enjoy intimacy and to express their love through sexuality. However, aging, hormonal changes, disease, psychological tension, and stress may interfere with, or diminish, our sexual desire. Personal beliefs about sex, attitudes, and daily routine may provide an alibi for an unsatisfying sexual experience or lack of it, but often frustration experienced over a long period of time may lead to more profound problems. Sexual dysfunction and low libido can be corrected nutritionally and with the help of hormones. Do not let your aging body deprive you of sexual pleasure.

By Dominique Allmon

*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose a disease. Please, consult a certified health care provider before beginning self-medication at home.

Creative Commons License The Science of Desire or How to Enhance Libido Naturally by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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