Spring is just around the corner. Trees are budding, bird are nesting, and the days are getting longer. Sounds like a good time for romance and love, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, many women suffer with low sex drive, so Dr. Sara asked me to write about natural ways you can boost your libido and feel more frisky. One place to start getting into the mood for love is avoiding some common mood killers.
Bloating and Gas
You swear you’ve been eating well, but your gut says otherwise. When you’re bloated, you feel like the only love of your life is your leggings, and they feel like they’re a permanent part of your body.
Turns out you’re not the only one confused about what causes bloating. A 2011 review in Gastroenterology & Hepatology even stated: “The pathophysiology of bloating and abdominal distention is complicated and incompletely understood.” Duh!
Here’s what we do know. Some foods don’t fully digest in your small intestine: fructose, sorbitol (a sugar alcohol used as a substitute for sugar), legumes, fiber, complex carbohydrates such as wheat, and foods containing lactose (if you lack the enzymes to process them, as many of us do). These foods are not fully digested by the time they reach the colon, where they continue to break down—hence . . . gas.
When you want to get in the mood for love, try to avoid these troublesome foods and stick to those that are easy to digest.
When you want to get in the mood for love, try to avoid these troublesome foods and stick to those that are easy to digest. That way, when it comes time to disrobe, you’ll feel as sexy as you look.
Start the day with oatmeal, eggs, or fruit—but try not to eat fruit along with other foods, as these foods digest quickly. Fruit prefers to be eaten alone. For lunch, prepare a salad with easily digestible vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, and a simple, non-creamy dressing. Avoid carbonated beverages and drinking through a straw, as the bubbles and swallowed air also contribute to gas and bloating.
Follow meals with hot water and lemon and/or ginger, but avoid drinking water while you eat, as it dilutes your digestive juices. If an indulgent dinner is part of your plan, just watch your portion size and avoid the breadbasket. (I know . . . easier said than done.)
You know those days where you can barely concentrate? Brain fog makes it hard to connect to people. Since connection is the ultimate foreplay, the goal is to keep your head clear.
Several studies have attempted to pin down the symptoms and causes of mental haziness. A study performed in 2013 separated subjects into two groups: those who struggle with anxiety and depression and those who do not. Subjects in both groups exhibited signs of slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, or a haziness in thought processes, but they seemed to be caused by different mechanisms. For those with depression or anxiety, this seemed to be the root of their brain fog. For the other group, it was unclear what was triggering their brain fog. 
For both groups, mental fogginess was increased by stress. Of course, telling you not to stress out doesn’t help, and you already know that things like hot baths can decrease your stress levels. I’m here to remind you that de-stressing can help your sex life, too.
Slip slowly into a romantic night by slowing down your day. Remind yourself not to get caught up in road rage, breathe deeply throughout the day, and avoid anxiety-inducing stimulants like sugar and excess caffeine.
Here’s something positive to consider. A 2012 study looked at people’s stress levels and their perception of it. What they found is that those who perceived stress as being negative suffered more from it . . . including a higher risk of premature death. Those who didn’t place such a negative connotation on stress could experience high levels of it without harming their health. 
Sure, you can’t eliminate all of the stress from your life. However, if you view it as your body’s way of telling you it’s time to snap into action rather than something detrimental to your health, you can lighten its effect on you.
No, not fruit juice. Let’s not mince words here—to enjoy lovemaking, you need to be properly lubricated. When you’re not, sex can be uncomfortable or even painful.
Herbal medicine is something near and dear to Annmarie Skin Care. It’s what makes our products potent and powerful. Herbs have countless health bringing properties that promote internal wellness as well as external beauty. Yes, you guessed it: you can use herbs to help you prepare yourself for love.
Let’s start with cinnamon. This warming spice helps blood circulate through your body, an important aspect of getting turned on. A Chinese herbal study reviewed the benefits of cinnamon and found that it actually helps blood flow to the uterus.  Sounds about right for our goals here, doesn’t it?
Here are a few more love ingredients to add to your arsenal: nutmeg, vanilla, cacao, shatavari, and rose. 
We touched on how stress-induced brain fog can make connecting with your loved ones a little bumpy. Let’s talk more about how to promote closeness in your relationship.
For those of you in a long-term partnership, intimacy can ebb and flow. For those of you not in a relationship, you may feel like you struggle to feel connected to prospective love matches. Without that spark, jumping in bed feels wrong.
The New York Times ran a study in 1977 claiming that you can make yourself fall in love with someone by asking them 36 questions—a study that still resonates today. In case you missed it, participants who had never met each other sat down and asked one another a series of 36 questions, which become more intimate as you go down the list:
What would you constitute a perfect day for you? What is your most terrible memory?
Here’s what they found. The more participants self-disclosed, the closer they became. In fact, two participants from the study actually got married. 
Does this mean you should you bring a note card with all 36 questions to your next date? No, but the New York Times study is a reminder that being vulnerable is necessary if you want to get to know someone. You don’t have to be shockingly clever or perfectly charming to win someone’s heart. It’s also a reminder to make an effort to really get to know people. If a date is in your future, focus on getting a sense of your memories, values, and hopes, rather than sizing them up or trying to sell yourself. If you are in a partnership, perhaps you still have more to learn about them! Ask questions. Probe. Get personal. That’s going to stoke the romantic fires.
The Beauty Industry
Chemical-laden skin care probably maybe isn’t on your list of turn offs, but it should be.
In order to feel sexy, women around the world slather themselves in body lotion containing synthetic preservatives like parabens, which have been shown to mimic estrogen, and donning lip stick contaminated with lead—a known neurotoxin. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your health to make yourself feel beautiful.
When choosing skin care, stick to brands that use natural oils, aloe, and plant hydrosols. Avoid anything that has artificial colors or “fragrance” as one of the ingredients—that’s a tip off that they are using synthetic chemicals such as phthalates. Companies aren’t required to list the ingredients in their proprietary fragrance formulas, which leaves you in the dark about what you’re putting on your skin. Opt instead for plant-based products scented with essential oils and essences.
Whole we’re on the subject, choose essential oils as aphrodisiacs. A favorite is neroli, a calming aphrodisiac that happens to be as good for your skin as it is for your libido. You can diffuse the essential oil to create a relaxing space or spray the hydrosol on your pillow and bed area for the same effect. As a toning mist, it helps calm flare-ups for skin that radiates health.
If floral isn’t your thing, sandalwood might be your choice. The scent has been shown to promote wound healing, which is why it’s an amazing skin care ingredient.  Plus, once you experience its affinity for encouraging deep breathing and concentration, you’ll be sold on sandalwood’s benefits.
Healthy is sexy. This spring, eat your veggies, enlist some herbal allies, take a deep breath and choose your skin care wisely. Then, enjoy the best fruit of spring: love.
For more information on natural skin care, click here to visit our blog.
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