12 Natural Aphrodisiacs for Women

Having trouble getting in the mood? Given the stressful schedules and lack of free time that most people endure these days, it's hardly surprising that you lack the will or desire to be intimate with your partner. But you can feel amorous, sexy and ready for love without having to resort to pills or patches.

"Even though there's not a lot of scientific evidence that foods are aphrodisiacs, I believe that some of them are," says Mary Jo Rapini, LPC, an intimacy/sex relationship psychotherapist. "Eating the right foods adds to the excitement of sex."

 A variety of simple, natural remedies can "soften you and put you in the mood," says Charla Hathaway, sex and intimacy coach, author of 8 Erotic Nights, and the founder of "Body Joy" in Austin, Texas.  "Just setting aside some time for pleasure, maybe from 7 to 10pm, can be very helpful," she says.

The Lovin' Dozen

Before you spend another night alone, consider these natural aphrodisiacs:

1. Eat in bed together. "It's part of the foreplay," Rapini says. "Before you even start doing anything else, get in bed, sit back, have a glass of wine and something to eat. It adds to the excitement of sex."

2. As for what to eat, salmon is a good choice, she says, since it contains the "good" kind of fat and is good for your heart. "And anytime that your circulation is increased, you are more likely to be aroused," Rapini says.

3. Chocolate is a rich source of a love-promoting substance in the body called phenyl ethylamine (PEA), Rapini says. "It's a natural substance, and while you can get the same chemical from hugging people and from being in love, it's in chocolate," she explains. "PEA elevates your mood and when your mood is elevated, you feel more receptive to sex."

4. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, and these are thought to "enhance and increase your sex drive," Rapini says.

5. Asparagus is "loaded" with vitamin E, notes Rapini. "And E is called the sex vitamin in that it has a good effect on a woman's libido," she says.

6. Tomatoes contain two health-promoting nutrients: vitamin C and lycopene. "These are good for the heart and they're good for the libido," Rapini says.

7. Avocados are also believed to be an aphrodisiac for women, Rapini says. "They're soft and kind of messy to eat," she says. "And the texture is somewhat sensual." Try feeding each other chunks of soft, perfectly ripe avocado. In bed, of course.

8.  A hot bath, followed by a rub-down with vanilla lotion. Enough said.

9. Watching a sexy movie with your guy. "It can really set the mood," Hathaway says.  

10. Making time for the two of you to just be together. "When you are in the moment together and you don't feel like you have to get anywhere, that's all you need to feel sexy," she says.

11. Certain scents can also be aphrodisiacs for women, says Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CSAT-S, CST-S, clinical director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles. "Try vanilla, lavender, and white musk," she says.

12. Strawberries and champagne are often believed to act as aphrodisiacs when paired together, she says. "Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants," Katehakis says. "And a large part of what makes a woman become aroused has to do with oxygen and blood flow." As for the champagne's role? Alcohol makes people feel less inhibited and more relaxed, and when women are more relaxed, they're more in the mood for sex.