We all know how powerful scents can be, from cinnamon rolls baking in the oven to the first lilacs of spring. Our sense of smell, which stimulates nerve endings behind the nose, can trigger many different emotions: It’s tied directly to the part of the brain that’s linked to memory and emotions.
You’ve probably heard of aromatherapy, the practice of using natural oils extracted from botanicals—flowers, leaves, stems, and other parts of plants—to enhance psychological and physical well-being. It’s been around for thousands of years, and as aromatherapy practitioners (and perfume researchers) know, it can also be very sexually stimulating. In fact, it’s referred to in the Kama Sutra, and rumor has it that Cleopatra used a special blend of oils and spices as an aphrodisiac to seduce Marc Anthony!
While I can’t say for certain whether that’s true, I do know that aromatherapy can “spice up” your sex life by helping to set the mood and stimulate desire. You can use it to create a sensual and romantic atmosphere right in the bedroom. It’s easy and requires very little effort. Candles, incense, potpourri, perfumes, and oils all offer a wide variety of soothing scents and can be found anywhere from health food stores to gift shops—and MiddlesexMD.
You’ll probably have to experiment a little to find the fragrances that appeal to you and your partner, but that in itself can be a fun exploration. You could start by using massage oils, combining scents with physical contact.
Scents that are said to be especially enhancing to sexual enjoyment:
- Jasmine has a “quiet” aroma, which is not only exotic, but calming and comforting, too.
- Cinnamon is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy (and who doesn’t love it?).
- Basil also has a somewhat sweet aroma, but very pleasant.
- Vanilla, soothing and familiar, is used in many perfumes for its universally appealing scent.
- Rose, the symbol of love, is said to be emotionally uplifting.
- Sandalwood has a woody, earthy aroma that many find relaxing.
If you’re using oil, remember that a little goes a long way. You don’t want the aroma to be overpowering, just to put a hint of sensuality in the air.
Using scents to enhance your sexual desire can be a rewarding and erotic experience, so if you don’t get it right the first time, try again. Finding the perfect blend will be well worth the effort!
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.