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ver the centuries, hundreds of substances have been purported to have desire-arousing qualities, but sadly none has ever been proven to actually work. The most powerful aphrodisiac does not come in a potion or pill, but in the form of a loving, fulfilling relationship based on good communication, commitment and caring. Once you have that most essential ingredient, there are many ways to further enhance the sexual experience and promote desire. These include ensuring you optimise your physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing and take care of your relationship. Enhance your physical wellbeing with adequate rest as well as exercise and good general nutrition. Optimise your emotional wellbeing by working on your self-esteem, sexual self-esteem and body image. Allow yourself to enjoy pleasurable sexual thoughts and fantasies to create sexual anticipation. Create a conducive atmosphere by setting aside a time and a place where you will not be distracted and where you can be comfortable and relaxed enough to feel playful, amorous and adventurous. The best way to enhance each person’s desire varies according to the individual, however in general, women tend to respond favourably to romantic gestures such as flowers, thoughtful little gifts and compliments, affection, communication and quality time, whereas men tend to respond more to variety and novelty in lovemaking, spontaneity, lingerie, nudity and erotica. All these things may seem somewhat clichéd or even frivolous and superficial, but all that really matters is that you figure out what works for you and your partner and accept and respect what works for others, even if it doesn’t appeal to you. Indeed, by far and away the most important and essential elements in enhancing sexual desire (apart from basic physical attraction in the first place) are acceptance, respect, trust and communication. Being able to communicate your respective desires and having mutual acceptance and respect is a good start for any sexual relationship and far more beneficial than a kilo of oysters, ginseng, rhinoceros horn or ground tigers’ testicles. ■ Dr Cindy Pan has had over 10 years of clinical practice experience. Her books include Pandora’s Box: Lifting The Lid On Life’s Little Nasties (HarperCollins) and Playing Hard To Get (HarperCollins). She appears on television, lectures and speaks about all aspects of health, relationships and wellbeing.


lack of libido often indicates that something else is awry on a mental, emotional or physical level. Simple reasons such as fatigue cannot be ignored and I often remind patients that libido is a by-product of peak health. Our genes are predisposed to procreate and we have sexual passion when we are at our best. From a physical perspective, a common presentation is someone who is deficient

in zinc. They may have poor hormonal production, lowered mood, hair loss, poor digestive function, insomnia and low libido. Zinc is crucial for sexual reproductive function and regulates and assists the production of hormones. If someone is proven to be zinc deficient (don’t take it if you haven’t been assessed properly), then correct supplementation ameliorates most of these concerns, including low libido.

The emotional and mental aspects of libido cannot be underestimated. Any communication breakdown in relationships is reflected in sexual communication, or lack of it. Occasionally, low libido can be a sign of other serious illnesses. If your libido is low for an extended period of time, or if you have other health concerns, see a health professional.

■ Leah Hechtman is a naturopath and fertility specialist. She is a lecturer, author, researcher and industry consultant and has her own clinical practice in Sydney, NSW. She specialises in fertility, reproductive and psychological health. For more information visit



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