Adaptogens for Sex and Spirit
Sex can be a lot of things – a way to connect, a way to relax, an act of love, a ritual, a euphemism for ‘Netflix and chill’ – but most of us do not think of sex as a marker of our overall well-being. In today’s fast, hyperconnected culture, we use a different rubric for measuring “well-being”: Our appearance. Our energy level. Our social life. Our stuff. Our accomplishments. But sex? Sex is often categorized as a marker of a healthy relationship, isolated from other aspects that make up a healthy life. And when it comes to getting support in this area of our lives, a new wave of holistic supplements delivers on herb, flower and root blends of adaptogens for sex. But before we dive into these adaptogens for sex, let’s look the science of stress and how it affects our ability to be present for ourselves, or our partner.
Research shows there are several possible reasons we’ve put sex in a silo. First, our culture has largely reduced sex to a purely sensational, superficial and spontaneous experience. In so many ways, we’ve disassociated sex from intimacy, and certainly from the sacred or spiritual.
Secondly, stress. We have become quite adept at managing stress while maintaining all of the other measures of health and happiness – our disciplined gym schedule, our regular grooming appointments and our social life – but when we finally come home after a long day, we often crash into bed, too exhausted to snuggle, much less engage in a soulful sex sesh. If we’re lucky enough to get a full 8 hours of sleep, we’re up and at it again the next morning, ready to face another 12+ hour day of chronic stress. Wash. Rinse. Repeat until it’s been weeks since we’ve carved out time for intimacy (with ourselves or our partner.)
Biology tells us that if this is how we’re doing life, we’re doing it wrong. Sex and sexuality are an expression of balanced vital life force that can only be sustained by leading a balanced life.
A steady libido – and the energy to act on it – signals healthy hormone levels. Hormone levels stay in balance when the nervous and endocrine systems – the two systems that regulate fatigue, sleep, sexual function and stress response – are functioning optimally. In our culture, stress is the number one cause of a depleted body, which sends our systems and hormones crashing.
Stress wears many disguises – job, kids, parents, finances, travel – and it’s not easy, or even possible, to eradicate all stress from our lives completely. So how do we cultivate a stronger, more consistent sex life amidst the reality of our daily stressors? To answer this, we must first take a look at our relationship with SEX, and then we’ll look at our relationship with STRESS.
Sex and the Spirit
In Peggy Orenstein’s research-based book Girls & Sex, and her follow up, Boys & Sex, she uncovered that boys think of sex as something they do, and girls think of sex as something done to them, but neither camp talked about sex as a healthy, normal and natural desire or act, and they certainly did not connect sex with anything sacred. Granted, most teenagers and young adults are not evolved enough to have cultivated a spiritual relationship with their bodies yet, but it speaks volumes about the messages we hear and social programming we learn at a young age. In our most healthy and enlightened state, sex and sexuality are an expression of our heart. It is not logical; it is emotional. It is not ego; it is love. When love is expressed from its energy center (the 4th chakra; the heart; Shen), it is experienced as intuition, connection, compassion, kindness and acceptance – all of the qualities that make for good, soulful sex.
When we are deficient in our heart chakra, or Shen energy, ego tends to take over. The ego needs to be constantly fed, and the modern world does a great job of nourishing this insatiable beast. The ego craves anger, greed, fear, worry, anxiety and frustration – the same energies that create chronic stress in our lives.
So, if we want to cultivate a better, more consistent sex life, we must first cultivate a stronger, softer spirit. While this requires a holistic approach, there are certain herbs and adaptogens for sex that support this process.
Anima Mundi has introduced us to herbal remedies that “open the cosmic heart and lift the veil of stress and survival”.
Their herbal supplement, Blue Lotus is said to have been used in Egyptian traditions to stimulate spiritual experiences. In modern times, it is shown to have subtle euphoric effects that calm the nervous system and invite us to experience life in a more ethereal state. We suggest it as regular Shen-enhancer, stress-reliever and gentle aphrodisiac.
Schisandra is another single herb that balances yin and yang, supporting greater intuition and facilitates the energy centers of the body to harmonize. Schisandra promotes the beauty and functionality of the skin, benefits the mind and sexual functions, and is a profound adaptogen and Shen tonic.
Euphoria Spirit Elixir is one of our favorite tonics to invite intimate connection, with yourself, your soul or your partner. Formulated with heart chakra-expanding and libido-enhancing adaptogenic herbs including Muira Puama, Catuaba and Schisandra Berries, this Elixir works on the physical body to boost circulation and blood flow, while working on the energy body to arouse the spirit.
STRESS LESS, LOVE MORE
Once we begin working with our subtle energy body, strengthening and softening our 4th chakra, we may find that we naturally feel less stressed by daily life. A body, mind and spirit in balance does tend to respond to stress with greater patience and a more rational perspective. But, let’s face it, sometimes we need a little help. Enter adaptogens for sex and stress. Adaptogens are herbs that uniquely regulate our body’s stress response, down-regulating hormone levels if they are too high, and up-regulating hormone levels if they are too low. Adaptogens do not work the same way each time; they respond to the unique stress our body is experiencing, helping restore energy, optimize function and boost mood…and some even boost libido.
Perhaps the most widely used and highly regarded adaptogens for sex is Ashwagandha, a master adaptogenic herb that is universally effective at creating homeostasis in the body, reducing stress and improving mood. It is also said to ignite passion and desire, increase blood flow to the sexual organs and make the act of sex more intense. There’s literally no good reason to not introduce Ashwagandha to your regimen.
With stress at bay, it’s time to play! Moon Juice’s famous Sex Dust features a beautiful blend of known aphrodisiac adaptogens for sex, including Shilajit, Schisandra and Maca. The effect on the body is subtle, yet sexy. These herbs don’t work like the little blue pill, but they create ease in the body and inspire creative energy, making the dance of arousal and sex more enjoyable.
Ingestibles aren’t the only way to take aphrodisiac adaptogens. Holy Yoni is a silky topical serum formulated with an elegant blend of skin beautifying oils that is safe for all skin, everywhere.
Whether taking these herbs and adaptogens for sex to balance the spirit or boost the libido, they will work to help the body respond better to stress, which is the first line of defense against a diminishing sex drive.