Considering sex is one of the greatest pleasures in life, you better believe there are major benefits to doing the deed.
Having regular sex boosts immunity, reduces stress, increases creativity and analytic thought, actually relieves migraines, releases all sorts of feel-good hormones that relieve pain, improves sleep, makes you appear way younger, reduces heart disease risk, and much more.
But beyond just sex, love is a positive and powerful emotion that is crucial to psychological and physical health.
As a unifying factor between family and community members, feelings of love, particularly others-oriented love and relationship satisfaction, is more important for longevity than genetic factors. It’s in the human genetic code to both receive affection as well as give it to others.
Researchers in one study found that a higher degree of social integration is associated with lower risk of physiological dysregulation, both in early and later life, while social isolation increases the risk of inflammation by the same magnitude as physical inactivity in adolescence.
From an ancestral standpoint, love also occurs through looking into your partner's eyes, experiencing the invisible, chemical signals that they create, and, of course, touching them.
If a mindset steeped in love can affect the body, then the body can also affect the mind along the same physiological highway. Take oxytocin, one of the snuggly, cuddly, feel-good hormones. It has a deep influence on interpersonal trust, which, if you know anything about how humans interact, is crucial to a functioning society. One study found that the intranasal administration of oxytocin, which is also known to play a role in social attachment in non-human mammals, affects a person’s willingness to accept social risks that arise through interpersonal interactions, thus increasing the level of trust placed in those around him or her, and opening up his or her spirit. Oxytocin also enhances the ability to “read the mind” of other people, to infer their mental state by interpreting subtle social cues, particularly the minute movements that occur around the eyes.
But the spirit-mind-body connection doesn’t stop with hormones and minuscule, muscular social cues. One of the primary ways that humans express and experience romantic love is through sex. When it’s paired with a healthy sex life, mindful love gives you a potent one-two combo for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
There’s plenty of tips out there on how to maximize the pleasure of your sex life, but here you’re going to get the most effective and practical advice on how to do that, as well as techniques to use during sex to enhance feelings of connectedness, intimacy, and pleasure.
Eat Your Way to Better Sex With Aphrodisiacs
A lot of people are familiar with the relationship between food and sex, with oysters often being touted as an aphrodisiac. As it turns out, this might actually be true, considering they contain zinc which is important in testosterone production, varying levels of the arousal-stimulating neurotransmitter dopamine are found in raw oysters, and they contain specific amino acids that turn into the sex hormones testosterone and progesterone.
Another way that both men and women can boost their testosterone levels is to have a lot of fats prior to making love. Consider male testosterone production. This hormone is produced in the testes, and as the primary androgen (a substance that stimulates and maintains masculine development), it is necessary for the growth of facial and body hair, lowering the voice, increasing height and muscle mass, and developing the male sex organs. In adulthood, it’s integral in maintaining drive and producing sperm. Its secretion is controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Greater T-production can be stimulated by dietary fat. In one study, men aged 19-56-years old were fed a high-fat, low-fiber diet. They were found to have mean plasma concentrations of total and sex-hormone-binding-globulin-bound testosterone that were 13% and 15% higher (respectively) than their counterparts, who followed a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
Optimal testosterone levels are important for a woman’s desire too, with it being believed that estrogen from birth control pills binding with testosterone may reduce sexual desire in females and testosterone reduction in post-menopausal women is linked to decreased sexual drive. In fact, testosterone therapy in post-menopausal women showed modest improvements in sexual desire.
Foods for boosting testosterone include grass-fed beef and butter, pastured eggs, potatoes, avocados, dark leafy greens, berry, and chocolate.
But truth be told, if you have a twelve-ounce ribeye steak with some butter and an avocado before a love-making session, it doesn’t matter how high your hormone levels are if all of your blood is being redirected to your gut for digestion. A heavy meal is going to send you into a food coma as your body activates the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system. Instead, try out a lighter meal with sex-enhancing foods.
The Sexual Satisfaction Salad for Natural Viagra
The “sexual satisfaction salad” introduces compounds into your body that increase your body’s production of natural viagra – nitric oxide (NO). NO is produced by the lining of your blood vessels, the endothelium, which is incredibly sensitive to the condition of the blood. When the endothelium detects good conditions as a result of physical activity and a healthy diet, it releases more nitric oxide. This greater NO release stimulates what’s called vasodilation, a widening of the blood vessels, which increases blood flow and consequently delivers more blood and nutrients to various parts of your body.
One key factor in the production of nitric oxide is L-arginine, an amino acid. A family of enzymes, known as the nitric oxide synthases, convert L-arginine into NO through the nitric oxide pathway. The nitric oxide synthases are calcium-dependent, and some great sources of calcium are greens like kale and arugula. Watermelon contains another protein, L-citrulline, which gets converted into L-arginine when ingested and then, ultimately, into nitric oxide. L-citrulline is also more easily absorbed than L-arginine. Another contributing factor is betaine, which is available in beets and spinach. Betaine provides chemicals that aid the formation of creatine, which causes an improved sense of well-being, less fatigue, greater strength and endurance, and increased desire for (and performance of) physical and mental work.
Fully constructed, the salad should contain greens, a seed or nut, fruits/berries/vegetables, and a lighter fat source. For example, you might throw in some arugula, spinach, pumpkin seeds, watermelon, beets, and extra virgin olive oil. Then, once you’ve gotten your salad fix, chase it with dark chocolate (which also stimulates NO production), and wash it all down with red wine. Both of these promote vasodilation, which will vastly improve your sexual experience. And while a lot of the nutrients and compounds that can improve sexual performance are available in meats and heavier foods, the sheer weight of something like steak will slow you down. Hold off on the meat and focus on this nutrient-dense vegetarian fare to unleash your potential in bed.
Natural Supplementation To Boost Testosterone & Drive
There are also lots of supplements, herbs, teas and compounds, that claim to boost testosterone and and sexual drive – and a lot of them do work. But most of them are overpriced and may contain questionable ingredients. And it can be difficult to know where to start with so many available. So, to make things as simple as possible for you, these are the top three time-tested natural stimulants that you should look into to start optimizing your sexual performance:
This plant is known in traditional Chinese medicine as “the stalk enlarger.” Legend has it that Genghis Khan, whose descendants number today in the millions, consumed it daily. But despite the apparently gender-laden name, it works for both men and women. Cistanche has wide-reaching medicinal properties that aid in hormone regulation and have immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, anti-oxidative, anti-apoptotic, anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fatigue effects.
One of the compounds present in cistanche is called echinacoside (ECH), which was used in one study to treat BPA-induced testicular and sperm toxicity, and also normalized serum testosterone. It also increased the expression of the isoenzyme lactate dehydrogenase, which plays a role in providing energy to spermatozoa, as well as key steroidogenic enzymes to boost testosterone biosynthesis. Other active components in cistanche are phenylethanoid glycosides, which may act as testosterone-generating and metabolizing enhancers, boosting testosterone levels in seminal vesicles and the bloodstream by converting cholesterol into the enzymes of testosterone, and by promoting the gene expression of synthesizing 5α-reductase, which metabolizes testosterone.
This flowering plant is known as “horny goat weed” (about as clever as “the stalk enlarger”). It increases both desire and blood flow. It’s been used to treat erectile dysfunction in traditional Chinese medicine for years, with one of its main active components being icariin. Icariin has a number of benefits that go beyond sexual health, but what’s important for the topic at hand is its impact on the signalling pathways of the transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1).
It’s believed that by working on this pathway, icariin mediates the preservation of smooth muscle and endothelial integrity, neuronal nitric oxide synthase expression in the penis, and penile hemodynamics (the dynamics of circulation). It also increases the weight of the pituitary gland, testes and epididymis (a duct for sperm transportation), improves testosterone concentration, and has properties that allow it to imitate testosterone. Ultimately, this will lead to improvement in physiological aspects ranging from bone density, muscle mass (hey, more testosterone!), body composition, erythropoiesis, cognition, mood, and sexual drive.
This root is often used by athletes prior to exercise to enhance athletic performance, but you can use it to perform better in the bedroom, too, by improving blood flow and stimulating creatine activity, as mentioned before. Beets also contain some of the highest vegetable nitrate concentrations found in nature, which contributes to what’s called the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway, leading to various vascular effects. Dietary nitrate reduces blood pressure, inhibits platelet aggregation, preserves or improves endothelial dysfunction, and enhances exercise performance. In particular, the effect on the endothelium will improve the production of nitric oxide. That’s why it should always be included in your sexual satisfaction salad, or consumed at some point during the day.
By adding these three natural sex-health-boosting foods, your desire and sexual performance will skyrocket. But ultimately, sex isn’t just about feeling good. Enhancing sexual satisfaction goes way beyond just increasing blood flow or eating special foods and supplementing your diet.
Increasing Sexual Intimacy And Satisfaction
While you’re busy fretting over your sex drive, blood flow and testosterone levels, it’s easy to forget the other components of sexual satisfaction . Even if some of these sex-biohacks are rooted in traditional medicine, it seems like they can skirt a little too close to science and too far away from what a sexual relationship is all about. Your romantic relationship likely nourishes a deep love connection that is best served when you remember that it’s a two-way street, a give and take, and an exploration beyond the realm of science experiments.
Even if this is already something that you know and cherish about your sexual relationship, there are ways to improve even this special connection that happens when mindful humans physically engage. Here are three simple, yet extremely powerful ways to increase intimacy and satisfaction in a sexual relationship.
Intense Eye Contact
This tactic relates back to one of the aspects of ancestral relationships – how humans read social cues through tiny movements around the eyes. Some studies have found that as physical proximity increases in social interactions, eye contact tends to diminish, as a way to keep intimacy down at a time when it may not be appropriate for it to reach romantic levels. And that suggests that to have a real, intimate, soul-connecting sex experience, you should combine intense eye-contact with sex. So the next time you make love, don’t close your eyes or think about something else or stare at the ceiling. Instead, during foreplay, during love-making, afterwards, for the entire time, make eye-contact with your partner. It’s more difficult than you might think, but it can completely change the sexual experience and provide profound feelings of connection with your partner.
Safe And Open Communication
As much as you may think you can read your partner's mind or assume they can read yours, science hasn't yet brought us the technology to do this so communication is still the key to a deep connection. Ensure your partner knows that sharing their desires and needs will be welcomed in a safe emotional context. Nurture sexual expression and encourage conversation about the topic. And be sure to share with each other the ways in which you can enhance the sexual experience and sexual pleasure for each other.
Breathing Energy Up And Down Your Spine
You’ll find this advice in a lot of tantric sex approaches, and it has quite an effect. You can read about this in the book “The Multi-Orgasmic Man”, but it works for both men and women. The basic idea is that while you’re making love, just imagine a breath of air coming up the back length of your spine, washing over your head, and then passing down the front of your spine into your sexual organs. Let that energy pulse through you as you’re making love and making eye contact and imagine passing that energy onto your partner.
Put It All Together For Mind-Blowing Sex
The unfortunate truth is that in today’s hookup culture, it’s too easy to focus on the carnal aspect of sex, and miss out on the deeper connection that lies just beneath the surface. There’s a reason physical intimacy is so alluring. There’s an implicit promise of an emotional and spiritual relationship, which affects both your mental state and your physical satisfaction as much as “doing it” itself does.
Improving your physical sexual performance with the supplements and foods listed here are a great way to start spicing up the bedroom, but you can really vamp up your sexual experience by allowing for and nurturing powerful spiritual satisfaction through one of the most intimate physical experiences that humans can engage in.
The next time you and your partner go for a session between the sheets, serve up some sexual satisfaction salads, enjoy some dark chocolate and red wine, and once you’re making love, keep your eyes locked together the entire time.