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The Power of Smell in Picking Sex Partners

The Power of Smell in Picking Sex Partners

  The power of smell in picking sex partners

Ladies, be honest: When it comes sexual attraction, how important is a guy’s smell? Not just his cologne or deodorant, but his natural scent? At Good in Bed, we believe that a woman should “follow her nose—it always knows.”

Research supports this idea: In two large studies led by Brown University olfactory expert Dr. Rachel Herz, women ranked a man’s scent as the most important feature for determining whether she would be sexually interested in him.

As it turns out, scent may be the main way in which women literally sniff out genetic compatibility with a potential mate. How we smell is an external expression of the genes that make up our immune system.

Like fingerprints, each of us has our own unique “odor print,”  which is part of a region of genes known as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Women prefer the scent of men whose MHCs are different from their own.

So when we say that opposites attract, we may not be talking about differences in personality, but rather differences in immune systems.  This is one of Nature’s ways of ensuring that we produce the healthiest offspring. No wonder that a woman’s sense of smell is at its peak when she’s ovulating and most likely to get pregnant.

In one study, a wide variety of men were each asked to wear the same T-shirt for two days in a row, after which the shirts were put into identical boxes. Various women were then asked to smell the shirts and to indicate which they thought would have the most sexually attractive wearers, based on the smell. The results showed that women were most attracted to men with an MHC most dissimilar from their own, while T-shirts worn by guys with similar MHC profiles tended to be rated as “fatherly” or “brotherly” but not sexually attractive. And in a survey conducted by the research firm Strategy One, 56 percent of women said they wouldn’t date a guy who smells like their dad.

So what about that cup of joe? Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, conducted research on behalf of AXE body products to determine women’s scent preferences in 10 different cities. “In each city we tested, women reported different scent preferences,” he says, “indicating that geography has a direct correlation to what scents women find attractive.”

Here are the scents that women found most preferable by region:

1.      New York – coffee

2.      Los Angeles – lavender

3.      Chicago – vanilla

4.      Houston – barbeque

5.      Atlanta – cherry

6.      Phoenix – eucalyptus

7.      Philadelphia – clean laundry

8.      Dallas – smoke/fireplace

9.      San Diego – suntan lotion/ocean

10.  Minneapolis-St. Paul – cut grass

I know what you’re thinking: Cut grass? Clean laundry? What the…?!

But there’s a science to these preferences. Scent can trigger powerful memories, especially from our childhoods, which is why these scents may still exert a hold on us years later. And according to Hirsch, “Research has shown that when women are in the presence of a preferred scent, they are more likely to project positive feelings on those around them, which can lead to increased attraction.”

While there is little to evidence to suggest that scent plays as powerful a role for men in sexual attraction, another study by  Hirsch found that the scents of lavender, pumpkin pie, donuts, and black licorice increased blood flow to the penis by nearly 40 Percent. And as I discuss in my book 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex,  “Certain scents increase oxygen in the brain, which in turn affects emotion, attitude, hormone levels, and energy. Both men and women respond positively to scents such as vanilla, black pepper and cinnamon. Other scents that are supposed to have libido-boosting qualities include frankincense, ginger, lavender, lime, orange, patchouli, and rose.”

So, enjoy that cup of coffee, mow the lawn, or fire up the grill—you never know what will happen!

By Ian Kerner

Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs on Thursdays on The Chart

7 Ways Sex Makes You Look Great

7 Ways Sex Makes You Look Great


Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me and everyone else out there who benefit from having sex in ways we don’t even realize. Let’s talk about all the good things that may be, specifically when it comes to beauty. Let’s also conclude this homage to Salt-N-Pepa and get to what’s really important: how sex can make us look younger and potentially more attractive.

Yes, there are advantages to knockin’ boots (or rolling in the hay, doing the horizontal mambo, or simply “bow-chicka-bow-wow”) beyond that obvious, delightfully climactic one. Not only do we feel happier and healthier after a session in the sack, but we might even look better, too.

1. Tighter and Brighter Skin
When we orgasm, or sometimes even when we kiss and get touchy-feely with a partner, our brains release a rush of hormones that, among other things, sends collagen production soaring. That keeps skin looking fresh and firm, rather than saggy and dull.

Five Best Foods for Your Skin

2. Fewer Wrinkles and Age and Sun Spots
A plethora of hormones that come into play during sex—including serotonin, dopamine, prolactin, and oxytocin (the cuddle hormone)—are responsible for the feelings of bliss and relaxation that often result afterward, and help prevent wrinkles by lowering stress levels. Sex also releases growth hormones that prompt cell regeneration and help heal existing damage from sun, air pollution, and so forth.

3. A Rosy Glow and Pouty Lips
Hormonal surges aside, blood circulation is the other reason having sex procures so many beauty benefits. The heart pumps blood more quickly because of all the excitement and breathlessness, which means blood moves more efficiently through the rest of the body. Because it’s traveling so rapidly and so close to the skin, it’ll give you slightly plumper lips and a healthy flush.

4. Skin That’s Softer to the Touch
Another thing increased blood circulation does is transport moisture to the skin faster, making it oh so soft. Since dry, flaky skin can look cracked and time weathered, having smoother skin can shave years off your appearance, too.

5. Fewer Breakouts
Sex, when it’s done well, involves a good amount of moving around and skin-to-skin contact, which then raises body temperature and leads to sweat. Sweat detoxifies by clearing all debris (dirt and bacteria) and excess oils from pores, leaving you with healthier skin.

6. Potential Reduction in Under-Eye Circles and Puffiness
No, sex isn’t a cheaper alternative to the eye cream you slather on your face every night, but it does give you something eye cream doesn’t: a better night’s sleep. Both oxytocin and prolactin, two hormones released during and after an orgasm, promote deep relaxation and drowsiness, which is why sex makes so many of us sleepy. (In other words, don’t get too mad at your partner if he rolls over and goes to sleep afterward.)

7. Lush Hair and Strong Nails
Remember how blood circulation provides the body with moisture more efficiently? It also brings much-needed nutrients to various parts of the body more quickly as well—nutrients responsible for growing tough nails and shiny, thick hair.

As if sex weren’t a perk in and of itself, a great deal of beauty boosts come along with it. And while having sex won’t necessarily make your hair grow faster or your wrinkles disappear suddenly, evidence suggests that it really does give people a more youthful appearance. Royal Edinburgh Hospital’s Dr. David Weeks, the author of Secrets of the Superyoung, conducted a ten-year study keeping track of 3,500 participants’ sexual activities. He then asked others to guess the participants’ ages by studying photos of them. Those who had sex a few times a week were said to look around four to seven years younger than they actually were.

Perhaps we’ve been looking for the fountain of youth in all the wrong places. Rather than existing in fancy lotions and potions, it might just be found between the sheets. So what are you waiting for? Forget the retinol and Botox injections and get young and beautiful the age-old way.

By Vicki Santillano, DivineCaroline
At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

Sexual Nutrition

Sexual Nutrition


An aphrodisiac, a substance that puts one in the mood for love, can include food, herbs, good conversation, moonlight and even lingerie! Aphrodisiacs are named after, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, fruitfulness, and beauty. They may have a direct effect on the erogenous zones. Some may stimulate, irritate or be a diuretic, causing one to experience more sensation.

Aphrodisiacs may affect the mind, cause relaxation and prolong lovemaking. Their shape, texture or smell may be reminiscent of sex; according to an ancient worldwide belief called The Doctrine of Signatures, plants give us hints as to what they are good for, by the way they look, smell, taste, and grow. They may be highly nutritious and by improving health, bring about healthier libido. Both sex and food are closely related by being pleasurable and physical.

Aphrodisiacs can be enjoyed anywhere from half an hour to an hour before making love. Best when they are incorporated into one’s daily life for their health tonifying properties. As good health is essential to sexual vitality, good nutrition is imperative. When we are in poor health, sexual vitality decreases.

Many of the foods mentioned here contain the seeds of life: the design and pattern for creating new life, with the potential to grow into a replica of themselves. For example a pumpkin seed planted, could spread into an awesome vine, bearing several pumpkins, resplendent with nourishing seeds, benefiting the reproductive system. A raw pumpkin seed contains this spark of life, yet a roasted salted one would not grow.

Grains for libido include rice (no wonder it is thrown at weddings), wild rice, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet and oats.

In Asian medicine, it is the Water Element or Kidney that governs sexual vitality. According to this tradition, black (and blue) colored and salty foods such as chia seeds, miso, black olives, sea vegetables, black sesame seeds and blueberries contribute to a healthy sex life.

Vegetables play a part in the food pharmacopoeia of sexuality as well. Some have suggestive shapes like asparagus (a genito-urinary stimulant), which was cultivated by the Arabs and Greeks as an aphrodisiac. English herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654) said that asparagus “stirreth up bodily lust in man and woman.”

Shiitake mushrooms are used in the orient to make women more responsive. In general, roots such as carrots, dandelion and burdock help energize the lower chakras. A Japanese proverb says, “A man who likes carrots, likes women. It would be unwise to serve your beloved wilted carrots.” Okra is stiff and exudes a slimy fluid, not unlike sexual fluids.

Garlic and onions are warming and stimulating. Egyptian priests and devout Hindus were forbidden from consuming them in the belief that they would lose control over their sensual desires.

Arugula was often used in ancient love potions. It is still found growing around phallic statues in Greece and Rome. Celery contains androsterone, which is released in the sweat after being consumed. It attracts women and has traditionally been included in aphrodisiac recipes.

Artichokes are an unopened flower. Paris street vendors of the 1700’s used to cry out “Artichokes! Artichokes! Heats the body and the spirit. Heats the genitals!” It is the one vegetable there is more of, after you eat it.

The French word for beet, betterave, is slang for penis or “man root.” Avocados are called ahuactl in South America, meaning “testicle. ” Sea vegetables, both salty and dark colored are mineral rich and nourish the thyroid gland and entire endocrine system, which when under active, lessen libido. Winter squash and cabbage are warming nutritive sexual tonic foods.

Phosphorus found in chutneys, curries, salsas and hot foods stimulate circulation and the sex organs. The Perfumed Garden says “Green peas boiled with onions together with cinnamon, ginger and cardamoms, all aground, create passion and strength in coitus.”

Fruits entice passion with their sweetness and succulence. Consider their shape, hot colors and juicy nature. Apples, apricots, bananas, cherries, dates (especially Jujube – Chinese red dates), mangoes, mulberries, peaches, persimmons, strawberries, and watermelon (eat the seeds) are all considered sex tonic foods. Suck the fruit out of a perfectly ripe persimmon. Try eating ripe mangoes in a bathtub with your beloved.

Figs and pomegranates, known for their abundance of seeds, are traditional love tonics. Pomegranate means “apple of many seeds” and due to its blood red color has long been a symbol of fertility, birth and sexuality. If you are in the tropics where they grow, soursop and durian, you are in luck! These are considered supreme sexual foods. There is a saying in Malaysia, “When the durians fall, the sarongs rise.” Better to eat a piece of ripe fruit than to over stimulate blood sugar levels with excessive amounts of sweet juices.

Nuts and seeds are foods of love. Being fertile, they contain the reproductive energy of plants. Almonds, chia, hazelnuts, hemp seed, pine nuts, pistachios, poppy, walnuts, pumpkin, sesame (especially black) and sunflower seeds are rich in zinc, an important component of sexual fluids. Halvah, made of sesame seed and honey are food for inability to orgasm and to give courage. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of nutrients, high in protein and essential fatty acids. Soaking them overnight and rinsing the next morning, removes enzyme inhibitors, softens them and enhances their digestibility as well as “bringing them to life” as many will sprout “tails.” Always avoid rancid nuts and seeds.

Chocolate and rose water contain a chemical called phenylethylamine that is also produced by the brains of people in love and simulates post coital bliss. Chocolate was the love tonic of Montezuma who drank some fifty cups daily, before visiting his harem of six hundred women. During the 1800’s, physicians suggested chocolate to boost libido. When enjoying chocolate, allow it to slowly and sensuously melt in your mouth.

When buying rose water, make sure it says distilled to avoid buying a synthetic product. Add rosewater to desserts such as rice pudding and baklava.

Use lavish amounts of the culinary herbs in your cuisine, many of which are considered aphrodisiac, including anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, curry (a blend of herbs), paprika, pepper and turmeric.

Ideal food for sexuality should be light, moist, sweet and easily digested. Moist foods lend their yin to sexual fluids. Naturally sweet foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide energy and stamina.

Women and men need clean arteries for optimal arousal. A diet overly rich in animal fats (including pasteurized dairy products) can block nerve sensitivity and cause stagnant chi. As erection is achieved by blood moving into the penis, hardening of the arteries can hamper that essential function. Avoid hydrogenated oils such as margarine, shortening and fried foods. Eating excessive refined sugars and carbohydrates decreases libido. Icy cold foods can cool your passions. It is also best to eat small frequent meals to be emotionally stable. In general, eating less is an excellent way to stay sexually vital. Save some hunger for your beloved! Ice cream before bed cools your jets. Make snacks an opportunity for health by eating nourishing foods. Let nuts, seeds, active yogurt, fruit and vegetables replace candy and ice cream.

By feeding a potential mate, you exhibit your ability to provide food and pleasure. Share meals with your beloved as much as possible. Say a blessing first. Enjoy beautiful, delicious, healthful food. Prepare food with a vibration of love, enjoying music, pretty things to work with and luscious organic ingredients. Food tastes great when eaten outside. Enjoy picnics, even if it’s in your own yard, under a tree.

Enjoy the sensation of eating with your fingers. Inhale the aromas of your food. Taste and savor. Let eating be a sensual pleasure. Remember to avoid any foods topically that you may be allergic to orally.

Sharing of food is simple love magic and has long signified trust and bonding.

Flowers are the sex organs of plants. Decorate your food with organic edible flowers such as violets, rose petals (organic – with the white heel removed), day lilies and hibiscus. See my book, Rawsome! for a list of over 120 edible flowers. Show your beloved that he or she is adored! Make food a healthful, beautiful and flavorful expression of your love.

The best aphrodisiac of all is to be deeply in love!

by Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over forty years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of twelve books, including The Country Almanac of Home Remedies, The Sexual Herbal, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, Healing Herbal Teas, and Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com. Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at rainbeaumars.com.

Top 10 Sex-Drive Killers

Top 10 Sex-Drive Killers


If you don’t remember the last time you felt like having sex with a partner, you are probably suffering from low sex drive. A number of psychological and physiological factors can have a major impact on your libido. Read on to know more about the top ten sex-drive killers.

Stress
Many people perform best under intense pressure, but sexual performance certainly isn’t one of those. Stress at the workplace, financial troubles, a sick family member, or simply a hectic lifestyle with poor eating habits can take a toll on your sex life. You and your partner can seek counseling from a sex therapist, learn techniques for managing stress, and work toward having a better lifestyle—if it’s stress that’s wreaking havoc with your sex life.

Relationship Problems
Knotty relationship issues need to be resolved and major differences ironed out if you want to reclaim the intimacy and affection that you once shared with your partner. Emotional closeness plays a major role in sexual passion, particularly for women. Poor communication, infidelity, constant arguments, and other relationship-breakers need to be eliminated before mutual sexual desire can be regained.

Alcohol
If you always require a couple of drinks before you can get in the mood for sex, there’s something seriously wrong with your sex life. Alcohol is commonly perceived as an aphrodisiac that breaks down barriers and inhibitions before sex, but all it actually does is numb your libido in the long term. Getting drunk might even put off your partner and you might end up having lousy sex. The same goes for recreational drugs and other so-called libido boosters.

Too Little Sleep
Lack of sleep is one of the biggest killers of sex drive. After all, if you start snoring as soon as you are under the covers, you are not likely to have a very active sex life. If it’s sleep apnea or insomnia that’s causing all the trouble, you can get suitable treatment for it. Try and get rid of whatever it is that is interfering with your sleep patterns, because sleeping too little gives you fatigue and saps the libido.

Medication
Loss of libido is a side effect that accompanies a number of medications. Ask your doctor to prescribe alternatives or change the dosage if your sex drive is being affected by medications, such as: antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, oral contraceptives, anti-HIV drugs, synthetic progesterone-medroxyprogesterone, finasteride, or chemotherapy.

Body Image
If you feel you just aren’t sexy enough to please your partner, you are suffering from poor body image linked to low self-esteem. Many men, for instance, feel that their penis is too small, and these feelings of inadequacy can affect their sex life. If you are a woman and are too concerned about your breast size, you are probably ruining your sex life. Talking to a psycho-sexual therapist or a qualified counselor will help you develop a positive body image and dramatically enhance your libido.

Obesity
Obesity is directly related to lack of sexual desire and poor sexual performance. The causes for this are usually linked to social stigma, low self-esteem, unsatisfactory relationships, and simply difficulties in having sex. Losing weight can certainly lead to better sex.

Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a medical condition characterized by a restricted flow of blood to the penis, thus leading to difficulties in getting or retaining a satisfactory erection. Men suffering from ED are likely to worry about their sexual performance and kill their sex drive. ED medications such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis can address this problem to a great extent.

Low Testosterone
The amount of testosterone in your body determines the level of your sex drive. If your testosterone levels dip too low, your libido is likely to decline. Testosterone therapy is recommended for boosting your sex drive.

Depression
Depression is a double-edged sword because it saps sex drive, while antidepressants do so too. Seeking treatment for clinical depression is necessary; you can deal with the low libido once the depression is under control.

By Aderline Peech, DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

5 Surprising Ways to Keep Inflammation in Balance

5 Surprising Ways to Keep Inflammation in Balance

We all need inflammation — the biochemical process that starts right at the cell level to fight damaging invaders. Just not too much inflammation. That’s where diet and lifestyle choices come in, researchers say. Among the more surprising anti-inflammatory activities:

Consider an aspirin a day

Aspirin and NSAIDs (Aleve) are anti-inflammatories. A daily aspirin curbed the incidence of cancer by more than 20 percent among those who took it, according to a 2010 study in the journal Lancet.

But the pills may have unintended consequences and aren’t yet recommended for everyone. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting daily aspirin.

Drink red wine and green tea

The single best alcohol type is red wine, thanks to its anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, including resveratrol. Men who consumed four or more four-ounce glasses of red wine each week had a 60 percent lower incidence of aggressive prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (although this research is preliminary). (Leesa recommends organic red wine and organic green tea!)

Just . . . walk

Regular exercise three to four times a week helps reset the inflammatory process. What you do doesn’t have to be extreme, though; just make sure it’s vigorous. Brisk walking is ideal.

Have lots of sex

Orgasm is known to increase the production of antiaging hormones. And the workout involved in vigorous sex (see above) doesn’t hurt.

Eat less wheat

Even “100 percent stone-ground” wheat, the kind Americans have now been trained to favor, may not be helpful to the millions with undetected gluten sensitivities. Beware of wheat in crackers and other packaged snack products, too. Look for alternatives like millet, quinoa, barley, oats.

By Paula Spencer, Caring.com senior editor

Caring.com was created to help you care for your aging parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. As the leading destination for eldercare resources on the Internet, our mission is to give you the information and services you need to make better decisions, save time, and feel more supported. Caring.com provides the practical information, personal support, expert advice, and easy-to-use tools you need during this challenging time.

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