Aromatherapy for Romance

Surprise your valentine with sensual scents.

| January/February 2006

This Valentine’s Day, enlist the power of scent to help you create a romantic atmosphere. Using fragrant essential oils for romance and seduction is nothing new. In ancient Egypt and Rome, bathing with essential oils was part of the ritual of preparation for lovemaking. Cleopatra, one of the most renowned lovers of all time, is reputed to have scented the sails of her royal barge with rose water to seduce Mark Antony as she sailed to meet him. Today, the perfume industry is a multibillion- dollar business based on the notion that fragrance makes us more attractive to each other.

The Scientific Link of Scent and Sensuality

There’s a logical explanation for scent’s powerful effect on romantic feelings. The olfactory lobe of the brain is part of the limbic system, the same area that produces sexual desires.

In an attempt to prove the effects of odors on sexual arousal, neurologist Alan Hirsch, M.D., and other researchers at the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago studied the effects of 30 different scents on the arousal of 31 male volunteers (as measured by penile blood flow). While all of the scents produced some level of arousal, the winner was a combination of lavender and pumpkin pie, which produced a 40 percent increase. Other high-ranking items included orange and the combined scent of black licorice and doughnuts. In a similar experiment with women, Hirsch found that baby powder, as well as a mixture of Good and Plenty licorice candy and cucumber, were the top two sexually stimulating scents. Lavender and pumpkin pie also ranked high with women.

Despite Hirsh’s findings, most people aren’t likely to associate doughnuts or Good and Plenty candy with romance. However, the studies do validate an intriguing link between scent and sexual response. There’s a lot more research to be done, but until then, there’s plenty you can do to infuse your love life with the pleasure of sensual scents.

Set the Stage for Romance

Romance blossoms in a relaxing, beautiful environment. Set aside special time for a romantic interlude with your partner, and schedule it as a date. Send the kids to a friend’s house, turn off the phone, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and do whatever else is necessary to give yourself the privacy to focus on each other.

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