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Throughout human history, there have been countless uses of natural substances to increase libido, performance and sexual desire, with the coined name of an aphrodisiac, after the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.  The search for a substance to best the ‘manhood’ of males has been an obsession of many past civilizations, whether they were eastern or western, religious or atheist. In ancient Rome, starfish were sold on the streets, potable gold was used in medieval times, and even animal genitals where consumed by Chinese civilizations. This obsession is still carried on today, seen by the popularity of pharmaceuticals and neutraceuticals to enhance sexual performance. Are you part of the majority looking for some ideas to rev up your libido? Need a little boost to amp up your sexual performance? Here are my top four picks to set you on your way to a great sex life.

4. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate (Cacao), made from Cacao beans, has long been used to boost sexual performance and libido. Reportedly, it was used by the Aztec emperor, Moctezuma, before visiting any of his wives to increase his libido. Chocolate is often considered to have some of the greatest impacts on mood and has been demonstrated to have some pretty impressive health benefits, widely derived from its flavanol content. Although flavanols are found at low concentrations in red wine, tea, and many fruits, flavanols are found in the greatest concentrations in dark chocolate (responsible for its bitterness) at about 510mg per 100g!  Aside from the benefits associated with heart disease and diabetes prevention, antioxidant activity and reductions in inflammation, several studies have reported an improvement in sexual function. Chocolates that have been either fermented, roasted or alkalized will have significantly lower flavanol contents, so when deciding which chocolate to buy, opt for a good quality dark chocolate to max out the health and libido benefits! There are plenty of raw, vegan, and low sugar chocolates out there that would make great options for a flavanol rich, healthy chocolate. Try out the 10 Best Vegan Dark Chocolate Bars, and if you feel like making something decadent, these Raw Dark Chocolate Cherry Cream Cups or Blueberry-Almond Dark Chocolate Bark are great options!

3. Maca

Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walpers) has been used in the Andes for centuries to boost the fertility and health of animals and humans alike. It has been demonstrated to improve several health aspects, such as bone density, energy levels, depression, metabolism, and immunity, but has been particularly effective for reproductive function. It has been shown to improve libido, fertility, erectile dysfunction, hormones in women with amenorrhea (loss of menses), and has even had promising research showing its effectiveness as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women. When looking for maca products, a good quality product is key to ensure a good flavor (my personal favorite is by the company Organic Traditions) (Side note- if you have high blood pressure, use maca with caution and don’t get a product more potent than the powdered form). Maca has a nice toasted-marshmallow taste that goes great in hot chocolate (can be used to replace your morning coffee), smoothies and baked goods. To learn more about Maca, read this article and try this recipe for Raw Vanilla Cake with Chocolate “Buttercream” and Maca.

2. Yoga

Yoga, an ancient practice with eastern roots, has long been used to not only enhance overall health, but also sexual health. Yoga involves a number of physical postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayamas) that make yoga an amazing practice for overall well-being. Aside from the demonstrated benefits of improved well-being, mental health, blood pressure, heart rate, lung capacity and overall health, yoga, as well as other eastern approaches like tantra, tao and acupuncture, has been shown to enhance fulfillment, pleasure and libido. On top of that, yoga is an excellent way to keep you limber, in tune with your body, and confident, all vital for a satisfying sex life. New to yoga and don’t know where to start? Head over to your local yoga studio! Most studios give great introductory classes, ensuring you develop the technique required to safely practice yoga. I absolutely love practicing yoga in a studio; there’s something about being in a supportive group with ambient music and a knowledgeable instructor to leave you feeling amazing for the rest of the day. There are also a number of excellent yoga DVDs, ranging from all ability levels; head over to your nearest book store or yoga studio to see what they have to offer (even more can be found online!).

1. Red Wine

Regular red wine consumption is not only linked to some pretty amazing health benefits, including a reduced risk for heart disease and diabetes, it has recently been demonstrated to be a natural and tasty sex booster. Red wine is high in a number of health boosting polyphenols, including the recently famous and popular resveratrol. The polyphenols present are thought to be the major contributors to the amazing benefits associated with drinking a glass a day. In terms of sexual health,  red wine has been demonstrated to enhance overall sexual function, desire, lubrication and sex drive, making it a great drink to give you a little boost in bed. Red wine makes a nice addition to dinner, is easily accessible and is delicious (in my opinion); there is really no reason not to enjoy it (in moderation! ;)).