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How to use aromatherapy for better sex

In case you haven’t heard by now, the best sex is deeply sensual — and we don’t just mean the sense of touch.

Good sex is all about the five senses, and one of those senses has some impressive science to back it up as an important and often overlooked component of a healthy sex life. In fact, certified aromatherapist Leah Vautrot has built her career around the therapeutic link between scent and well-being, and she’s a huge proponent of using aromatherapy for a better sex life. “The sense of smell is incredible because it links memory and emotion,” she explains. “I myself use a specific essential oil to encourage a romantic environment.”

There’s a reason for the link between scent, memory and emotion. According to Vautrot, each nostril has 25 million receptor cells, which transmit scent information to the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb, in turn, transmits the molecular information of a scent to the limbic brain. “The first place the olfactory nerves reach is the amygdala, which governs emotional response and presents emotional data with the smell,” she says.

More: 6 Ways to use heat during sex that have nothing to do with candles

So there you have it. Science says that scent is deeply linked to emotions — so why not use your sense of smell to stimulate emotional depth and connectivity during sex with your partner? Vautrot says that the best way to do so is through the use of essential oils. She encourages couples to diffuse specific oils into the air, since the molecular compounds of essential oils work best to encourage intimacy when couples have the opportunity to inhale them. She loves the following essential oils for their soothing but stimulating effects: 

  1. Jasmine and ylang ylang. Both oils can be used as natural aphrodisiacs via inhalation.
  2. Clary sage. Use topically or via inhalation to inspire euphoria.
  3. Rose. Good for eliciting feelings of love or soothing emotional trauma.
  4. Bergamot. Eases the jitters that accompany a new romance.

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Can’t decide if you’re in the mood for euphoria or for a good old aphrodisiac? We have good news. Vautrot says that you can totally blend the above oils to create your own yummy mix for a special evening.

For inhalation through a diffuser, she suggests you mix 20 drops of ylang ylang, 10 drops of bergamot and five drops of clary sage for an inspired evening. And if you’re game to rub the oils onto your skin, Vautrot says you can blend several drops of rose and jasmine into a carrier oil before applying to pulse points. The heat from your pulse points will help the scent and its positive effects linger throughout a night of romance. Plus, applying essential oil to the skin will help both you and your partner experience the benefits of inhalation as well as topical application. Just don’t forget to use a carrier oil to dilute the essential oil, since oils can cause skin sensitivity.

More: 6 Ways essential oils can harm you

Of course, these are just Vautrot’s suggestions. Part of the fun of aromatherapy is finding your own favorite scents and blends to create the atmosphere you want. Just like sex, part of the joy is in the experimentation and discovering what you like.

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