Feeling romance in the air? Sexual health is a big part of your health and wellness journey. And just like every other area of fitness, there are ways you can give your body a little extra support to help maintain sexual vitality. We all want to feel confident when we get close to our partner and benefit from the affirming touch of our loved one. And, science is on our side. Hugging helps stimulate the vagus nerve, one of the 12 cranial nerves, that helps control heart rate and digestion. When the vagus nerve is stimulated by cuddling, our bodies are more likely to release the feel-good chemical oxytocin, which helps our bodies relax by reducing the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine.12
So, whether you are looking to fuel your libido, boost longevity, enhance your sexual experiences or reinforce overall sexual health, you do have options. Here are some supplements for sexual health and everyday sexual health hacks for better total-body wellness.
The Best Herbs for Sexual Health
Herbal tonics and natural aphrodisiacs have been used to support sexual well-being throughout history. Generations of men and women alike have turned to these natural solutions to ignite their passions, heighten senses and invigorate sexual experiences. But which ones are best? Let’s explore some options.
Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) for Sexual Health
Tongkat Ali is from the Eurycoma Longifolia plant, which is native to Southeast Asia. Both the root and bark of this plant are traditionally used to enhance sexual stimulation.1 Studies suggest that chemicals in the root of the plant may help encourage physical arousal, and it may provide other sexual-support benefits as well.1 Try this time-honored favorite in Swanson Passion Tongkat Ali.
Maca for Sexual Health
Maca is a plant native to the Andes Mountains in Central Peru. Locals there have cultivated it for thousands of years as a vegetable. The roots contain essential fatty acids and amino acids, among other nutrients.2 Both men and women use Maca to enhance sexual desire and encourage reproductive health, as well as to promote physical stamina.2
Japanese Oyster Extract for Sexual Health
Oysters have long been lauded as a natural aphrodisiac, but it isn’t always practical to pick up a dozen of the half shell just to help get you in the mood. Oysters, and oyster extracts, are highly nutritious and unusually high in zinc.3 Zinc has a unique relationship with testosterone production and may positively influence male sexual health.3 Oyster extract has been especially popular in Japan, and now the rest of the world is catching on. Swanson Health’s Kyoto Brand Oyster Extract is sourced directly from Japan where it’s harvested from protected Pacific oyster beds.
Ashwagandha for Sexual Health
Ashwagandha is used traditionally in Ayurvedic, Indian, Unami and African practices for a variety of benefits, including its potential ability to calm the mind.4 Reduced stress and anxiousness is a plus for everyone looking to relax after a long day and connect with a partner. Ashwagandha extract is one of the primary ingredients in our Ultimate Men's Peak Performance IIformula for peak passion and stimulation support, along with Tribulus and Yohimbe.
Tribulus for Sexual Health
Tribulus is a plant native to many warm climates. It produces spine-covered fruit, which is used along with the root and leaves. Tribulus is used by both women and men to support sexual function and reproductive health.5 This herb is a time-honored libido enhancer and provides testosterone support.* You’ll find it in our Men’s Peak Performance II supplement, mentioned above, as well as in Swanson Passion Mega Tribulus Extract.
Yohimbe for Sexual Health
Herbalists use the bark of this African-native plant for both male and female sexual excitement and health. A chemical in Yohimbe may increase blood flow and nerve impulses, encouraging arousal.6 You can take it alone in Yohimbe Bark supplements, or in many combination supplements for men’s sexual health.
Testofen for Sexual Health
Testofen is also known as Trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract or fenugreek, and it comes from a plant in the clover family and is native to the Mediterranean region.Traditionally, it’s been used to support reproductive health.7 Swanson Ultra’s Testofen Fenugreek Extract helps support sexual hormones and libido in men and women.
Horny Goat Weed for Sexual Health
Horny goat weed may have an unusual name, but this herb offers powerful sexual support for men. It contains substances that may help increase blood flow and boost arousal and sexual function,8 and it’s even more potent in combination with Tribulus and Maca, like in our Horny Goat Weed Complex.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) for Sexual Health
DHEA is a hormone produced by the body’s adrenal glands.9 It’s a precursor to sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. As we age, our bodies make less DHEA, which may affect sexual health and desire.9 DHEA supplements help support youthful vigor and libido in men, particularly when DHEA is combined with other reproductive health promoters. Try it in Swanson Health’s Supreme DHEA Supplement for Intimacy.
Best Sexual Health Hacks for Total-Body Wellness
One of the best ways to support sexual health, and reproductive health, is to take good care of your body and mind. Provide optimal support for every system in your body so you can stay healthier and happier. Just one imbalance can upset your system, so try these tips to stay on track for whole-body wellness:
Hydrate for Your Health
Your body needs water, and lots of it, to stay healthy and function properly. It may sound basic, but hydration really matters. It can have a significant impact on your well-being and sexual health. If you’re not sure how much water to drink, make a good estimate by dividing your body weight in half and that’s how many ounces you should aim for drink each day. So, for example, a 180-pound person would drink 90 ounces of water each day. If you get bored with just plain water, infuse your water with slices of fresh fruits and herbs.
Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
No one performs their best on too little sleep, sexually or otherwise. Sleep gives your body and mind a chance to rest, recover and prepare for the new day ahead. So, while you’re thinking about sexual health, be sure to use that bed to get enough shut-eye as well. If you have trouble sleeping learn about magnesium for sleep or try melatonin supplements.
Take Your Multivitamins
To help bring nutrient gaps in your diet and make sure nutrient deficiencies are not affecting sexual and reproductive health, add a real food multivitamin to your daily routine. That way you’ll know all your bases are covered and that your body has the nutrients it needs for optimal, whole-body wellness. Try Swanson Health’s Real Food Multi-Vitamin for Women or Real Food Multi-Vitamin for Men. If you’re concerned about possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies, consult your doctor. It’s important to discuss your sexual health with your doctor during your yearly wellness visit.
Support Your Immune Health
Did you know that your reproductive system may be linked to immune function? Research suggests that our bodies prioritize immune health over reproductive health,10 so if your immune system needs support, especially during winter months, your body may not dedicate as much energy to your reproductive systems. Thankfully, the wellness tips listed above (staying hydrated, getting sleep and taking your vitamins) may also help support your immune system.
Reduce Stress and Relax with Essential Oils
Aromatherapy and essential oils can help you reduce stress and relax, which may positively impact your sexual health and help you be more ‘in the mood’ for connecting romantically with you partner. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to support energy, stress reduction and overall well being.11
We love using lavender oil and ylang ylang oil to relax both the mind and body. Make your own calming body oil by adding 3 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of ylang ylang oil to 2 to 3 tablespoons of a carrier oil like sweet almond or jojoba oil to support skin health and relaxation. For more on ways to use essential oils in self care, see Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Beginner’s Guide to Using Essential Oils.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Health and wellness is a journey, and we hope these tips for sexual health and whole-body wellness help make yours more vibrant. For more health and wellness tips, read The 10 Supplements Every Man Over 50 Should Think About Taking and Game-Changer Nutrition and Supplements for Optimal Health.
About Lindsey Bristol, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products
Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for ice cream. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.
Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health Products.
1 Eurycoma Longifolia. WebMD. https://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1132/eurycoma-longifolia (Accessed 2/12/2018)
2 Maca. webMD. https://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-555/maca (Accessed 2/12/2018)
3 Effects of oyster extract on the reproductive function of zinc-deficient mice: bioavailability of zinc contained in oyster extract. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15041778/ (Accessed 2/12/2018)
4 Ashwagandha. WebMD. https://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-953/ashwagandha (Accessed 2/12/2018)
5 Tribulus. WebMD. https://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-39/tribulus (Accessed 2/13/2018)
6 Yohimbe. WebMD. https://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-759/yohimbe (Accessed 2/13/2018)
7 Fenugreek. WebMD. https://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-733/fenugreek (Accessed 2/13/2018)
8 Horny Goat Weed. WebMD. https://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-699/horny-goat-weed (Accessed 2/13/2018)
9 DHEA Supplements. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/dhea-supplements (Accessed 2/13/2018)
10 Women's reproductive ability may be related to immune system status. Science Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130517152435.htm (Accessed 2/13/2018)
11 Gattefosse's Aromatherapy. Rene Maurice Gattefosse. https://books.google.com/books?id=faQPEZmRlpkC (Accessed 2/2/2018)
12 Colino, Stacy. The Health Benefits of Hugging. U.S. News. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-02-03/the-health-benefits-of-hugging (Accessed 2/6/2018)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.