Do herbal supplements work?

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Dear Sex Counselor,

Do things like "Spanish Fly" and other herbal supplements help people get aroused?


Most supplements will not do anything to you, physically, to help you be aroused. The original Spanish Fly is actually toxic, and even in small quantities causes an intense urinary tract irritation that will lead to an infection in most people. That irritation is perceived as arousal, which is how it got that reputation. But the things you see available that are labeled "Spanish Fly" are not actually that at all.

The way that some supplements work is to stimulate your whole nervous system, which will allow you to feel more quickly aroused, but you still need something that triggers your arousal. Some supplements, especially those that you rub on the genitals, produce either mild irritation (like those with menthol or cayenne pepper) or they arouse you because you are rubbing them on your genitals and bringing blood into your genitals. A nice sexual lubricant see our lubricant sampler pack will do the exact same thing.

We don’t carry any herbal supplements here for a few reasons. First, as I said above, they just plain don’t work well. Massaging your genitals with a good sexual lubricant for five minutes will make you just as aroused (if not more so) than taking an herbal supplement will. Second, herbal products do not have to go through the lengthy FDA approval process here in the United States, so most herbal products have not been properly tested for safety. If something will be unsafe for our customers, we won’t carry it.

Viagra will cause lots of blood to flow into your genitals (and your nose, and your eyes, and ...) making your genitals feel heavier, so you may feel more aroused.  But the herbal "viagra" supplements are not going to do the same thing for you.  And even if you’re aroused and your blood is flowing, you still have to do something with your arousal in order to have pleasure from it.

Most supplements that you take orally really work on your mind. If you think you will become aroused, then you will. The mind is so powerfully involved in sex and sexual arousal that it responds quickly when given the opportunity.

Things you can do to get your libido running: Give yourself permission to fantasize on a regular basis, especially when you want to be aroused. Read an erotic story or watch an erotic movie or look at erotic pictures - this works very well and quickly for many people.  Books and pictures are also good because they will give you more fantasy material for the future, as well as good ideas about what turns you on. Learn to talk erotically to your partner - try phone sex or calling your partner at work and engaging in some spicy talk to get your juices flowing.  Practice getting yourself turned on.  Make a deal with your partner to have him or her practice with you - giving you sexy notes and suggestions, say sexy things into your ear ... anything to get the thoughts of sex rolling around your mind more.  Buy yourself something very silky and sexy to wear under your clothes (or wear no underwear under your dress) and then tell your sweetie what you have on under your clothes (or don’t have on ...).

Being playful and giving yourself permission to get aroused powerfully and often are two keys to increasing your libido and arousal.

The Sex Counselor