Alex Steelsmith
"Your health is itself a potent natural aphrodisiac."

          "The effects of many aphrodisiacs depend on your overall well-being; they tend to be most helpful when you're abundantly healthy. One of the underlying themes of this book-that your capacity for great health and great sex are intimately intertwined-is especially relevant when it comes to aphrodisiacs. They have a way of proving that great health allows you to experience states of mind and body that are otherwise inaccessible. In this sense, your health is itself a potent natural aphrodisiac.
          "Your greatest aphrodisiac, however, as we said in the Introduction to this book, is love. Aphrodisiacs are most effectively used in that context, rather than to enhance sexuality for its own sake. By using them to explore new erotic landscapes, you can deepen, enrich, and enliven a love relationship. And according to some tantric teachings, expanding your capacity for erotic sensation can build another kind of love-by heightening a sense of unity with the divine.
          "Aphrodisiacs, after all, are named after the goddess of love. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite emerged from the foam of the sea and was carried ashore by a vulva-shaped shell. She wore a girdle with magical powers; it was believed that any woman who donned Aphrodite's girdle would arouse love in others. In Roman mythology she was identified with Venus-the goddess of love and beauty and the mother of Cupid, the god of erotic love.
          "Aphrodisiacs have been used by lovers worldwide since prehistoric times. As Christian Ratsch, author of Plants of Love, points out, archaeological evidence suggests they were used even by Neanderthal cave dwellers. Modern research has confirmed the effects of many aphrodisiacs . . . but others may involve complex biochemical or psychological factors that elude scientific understanding. Of course, love is always unique and personal, and intimacy and pleasure highly individualistic; a sex-enhancer that works well for one couple may do less for another. To paraphrase a line written by Vatsyayana in the Kama Sutra, the classic ancient Sanskrit sex manual, the methods that lovers use to arouse each other's passion during a loving union are so mysterious as to be as indefinable as dreams.
          "The aphrodisiacs you'll explore in the pages ahead include some of the world's oldest and best-kept secrets for enhancing your sexuality naturally, and the most effective methods known to be safe when used appropriately . . . Many were so prized by our ancestors that they were passed down from one generation to the next for centuries, or even millennia."
-From pages 151-152 of Great Sex, Naturally

          "Many herbal aphrodisiacs additionally boost your libido by increasing your level of nitric oxide (NO). When you have ample NO in your body, there is increased blood flow to all your tissues because it dilates your blood vessels-including those that supply your vagina and vulva. This not only enhances your sexual response, but also brings numerous health benefits to your sexual organs . . . The bottom line: you can give a resounding yes to NO."
-From page 153 of Great Sex, Naturally

          "Scents, sensuality, and your senses are deeply connected; your sense of smell gives you a direct channel to your limbic system, the 'emotional center' of your brain-critical to your capacity for sexual attraction, intimacy, and love, as you discovered in Chapter 1. By way of your olfactory nerve, scents bypass your cerebral cortex-the conscious, rational part of your mind-and reach right into your moods and feelings. This is why scents can stir strong emotions and sexual responses before you become consciously aware of them, and why a simple scent, wafting through the air, can instantly bring back a flood of passionate memories."
-From page 168 of Great Sex, Naturally

          "Some foods have gained special status as sexual victuals, with the potential to give you an added dose of libido nourishment . . .
           "Although people have searched for foods with sex-enhancing powers since the dawn of history, some long assumed to be aphrodisiacs may owe their reputations to placebo effects-which might make them interesting food for thought, or food for fantasy, but not true aphrodisiacs in the biochemical sense. (On the other hand, it may be that their active constituents haven't yet been discovered.) Let's take a look at some foods believed to have aphrodisiac powers, and how each qualifies as erotic fodder . . . "
-From pages 175-176 of Great Sex, Naturally

"What we call love at first sight may often be a matter of love at first scent."

          "Your nose serves as a kind of sexual sextant-a finely tuned instrument for navigating your erotic environment-and gathers far more information than scientists once believed possible. The study of human pheromones is still in its infancy; there's much we don't know, and much to discover. The current state of research can perhaps be summed up by saying no one knows what your nose knows. But there's been some fascinating research in recent years . . . It would be difficult to imagine a more fantastic (and potentially romantic) picture than the one that seems to be emerging from the world of biological research on human pheromones . . .
          "You have an invisible 'scent cloud' emanating from your body at all times, released from your breath and perspiration on your skin, drifting through the air around you like an aura . . . Your scents contain important chemical signals-personal information about you that's instantly detected by anyone you meet, allowing that person to 'perceive' your scent-essence. At the same time, it's a two-way exchange; you're simultaneously picking up on similar personal information about the other individual.
          "But there's a delightful catch: neither of you is conscious of all the information you detect; much of it is perceived subliminally rather than through your normal sense of smell. In a sense, you're using a subtle form of communication hidden from both of you, yet it can affect your individual moods and behaviors. It may cause each of you to have intuitions about the other-you may feel attracted, repelled, or indifferent-without any conscious awareness of what's passing between you. This may go a long way toward explaining the proverbial 'woman's intuition,' or the 'sixth sense.' And what we call love at first sight may often be a matter of love at first scent.
          "Further complicating this marvelous picture, your secret scents are uniquely blended with your body's other natural scents-the ones you are conscious of-because the two are released in unison . . . Thus, you and the other person each have a distinct 'scent print' or 'scent identity' that announces who you are to the world . . .
          "You can think of your secret sexual scents as your 'personal' aphrodisiacs; their sex-enhancing power is specific to you, because your scent print is as unique as your fingerprint . . .
          "The beauty of your secret sexual scents is that you can't prevent their release or mask them with scents that are consciously recognized by your normal sense of smell. They're detectable regardless of perfumes and colognes-no matter how pleasant or striking . . . All you can do is be yourself and let their hidden magic happen . . . And since the consciously recognizable portion of your scents is part of your scent print, you might want to minimize deodorants-an easy way to keep your natural essence readily detectable to your partner's 'extrasensual perception.'"
-From pages 171-174 of Great Sex, Naturally

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