Doing the same things you are already doing is no way out of a rut.

Doing the same things you are already doing is no way out of a rut.

Is the romance fading? Are your date nights feeling a bit boring? Want to know how to get the spark back?

You've probably already set aside one night out of every week for a date night. But if you haven't, it's time to start. But as with all things, there's more to it than that. Rather than patronizing the same familiar haunts - the same restaurants, the same group of friends - it's time to do this right.

A date night centered around the same things you're already doing is no way to get away from the monotony. It's no way to break out of a rut.

Spending quality time together is only half of the equation. The key is to keep it interesting.

The key to maintaining romance and love is to spend quality time together and always keep it new and interesting.

The novelty of experiencing new things together is what's important here. This can be as simple as trying a new restaurant that's just opened up downtown or as adventurous as a drive with no particular destination in mind. And it is also a large piece of the most important lesson Dr. Dana can teach you.

Click Here to Learn More About Spending Time Together and The Most Important Lesson of All

And with this in mind, here are:

10 Unique Date Night Ideas for the Fall Season

  1. Go to the county fair
  2. Stroll through a historic neighborhood
  3. Go to an art fair
  4. Watch the sunset
  5. Play a round of miniature golf
  6. Walk the dog
  7. Go stargazing
  8. Go to a concert in the park
  9. Go for a bike ride
  10. Go on a picnic

Also... there are 90+ more ideas for the perfect date night available to you through the StrongMarriageNow System

It's vital to your marriage to embrace opportunities to connect and to spend quality time together. But remember that this is only half of the equation. The key is to find new things to experience together. The truth is in the science.

The Science Behind Experiencing New Things

Most scientists that study love and marriage ultimately come to the conclusion through research and experimentation that the decline of romantic love is inevitable. The butterflies of early romance, for instance, fade quickly and are then replaced with feelings of long-term attachment and familiarity. However, several experiments have presented researchers with a caveat to this long held doctrine.

In one such study that took place over 10 weeks, couples that undertook more "exciting" date nights showed evidence of a more increased level of marital satisfaction when compared to other couples that went on more "typical" date nights. And all of this in only 90 minutes' time each week!

Another more recent study used more primitive methods and acheived similar results. In this experiment scientists assigned couples the task of either walking back and forth across a room (to represent a more mundane activity), or binding their wrists and ankles and adding the task of pushing a ball as they crawled back and forth (this to represent a more challenging activity). The couples that were challenged with the latter activity showed meaningful changes in their levels of love and satisfaction.

The fact is that recent studies of the brain show that romantic love can actually last for years - 10 years (even longer!) - into a marriage. Though it's not yet clear why some couples can acheive this kind of long-term satisfaction, but one thing is certainly clear... they didn't do it without the drive to work at it. And part of working at it is allowing yourselves the time together that you need - and the experiences that make that time worthwhile and memorable. These experiences are what scientists call "novelty" and most scientists concur that these novel experiences play a large role in creating this romantic intensity.

You can read more about these studies at the New York Times

Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness!

Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com


Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage


Working on your marriage can sometimes be a daunting task. It can mean addressing serious issues or owning up to big mistakes, but strengthen your marriage isn’t always about overcoming giant obstacles or solving major problems.

In fact, many of us might not be facing large-scale problems, but instead are caught in a cycle of a less-than-satisfying relationship – without a real sense of what’s wrong. Even if you don’t have something huge to address, it doesn’t mean you can’t make an effort to make your relationship great!

Married couple having an intimate discussion

Conversing like you did when you first started dating is a great way to strengthen your marriage.

No matter where you are in your marriage, there is always room for improvement, and there are some small things you can keep in mind that just make everyone’s life a little bit easier (and a little more pleasant, too). To give your marriage a little shove in the right direction, try these simple things:

1.    Contact

Physical contact is a big part of what keeps you connected as a couple, and this doesn’t mean sex! Even the smallest gestures of affection, a quick hug, a kind touch on the arm, all help keep the spark alive. Making a point to touch one another throughout the day, or at least when you can, has a positive effect on both your individual wellbeing and your strength as a couple.

Make a point to get a few good hugs in everyday! Hold hands when you walk through the store together, or simply rest a hand on your spouse when you’re sitting on the couch. It may not seem like much, but these small touches keep the two of you feeling familiar with one another, and a gentle touch can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and generally make your spouse feel loved!

2.    Extra Effort, Extra Consideration

Because we can’t read each other’s minds, sometimes the smallest things can end up causing tension in a marriage. This is especially true when it comes to household chores. The thing that seems like the lowest priority to you might drive your spouse up the wall when left unattended. To avoid this altogether, you can simply make the extra effort to take care of yourself, the kids, or any other little thing you see that needs attending. It’s all about turning your efforts up a notch – spend the extra 10 minutes to put the laundry away or do the few dishes in the sink, not because it’s your turn, but because it needs to be done. In a similar vein, keep your spouse’s schedule and responsibilities in mind. If you can take a small action to reduce just a fraction of their daily stress, you will have strengthened your relationship in a major way.

If you’re both doing this on a regular basis, the chores stay done, and you are both enjoying pleasant surprises of one less thing to do than you thought – and that goes a long way in keeping everyone happy.

3.    Stimulating Conversation

Another great way to stay connected is through conversation – but not just any old talk. Make it a priority to chat with your spouse, but not about the things you have to manage together like finances, kids, or household responsibilities. It doesn’t really matter what you’re talking about, as long as it stays away from those potentially stressful and argument inducing topics. Chat about your goals or aspirations, the book you’re reading, something interesting you heard on the radio – anything to get your comparing opinions and intellects. These are the kinds of conversations you had when you were first dating, right? Before the house and the kids and the car payment, you just spoke to each other as people, not husband and wife. This is the path to staying connected on an intellectual level.

As couples age, their opinions and interests can change – if you don’t take the time to talk about it, you may not notice!

It’s not always the big things that make the difference in a marriage – relationships are full of nuance, and keeping the small stuff in mind makes all the difference in your day-to-day lives. Paulo Coehlo once wrote, "It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary," and this couldn't be more accurate for marriage. It's the simple things that keep you connected and in love.

What little things do you do keep stay connected and keep your spouse happy?


Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage


 

You know that 80 year old couple that’s dancing at the wedding that clearly adore each other and still look madly in love.  Well, those people will tell you that they were not madly in love everyday for the last 60 years.  In fact, there were many times when they wanted to toss their partner out of a window.  We all want to be that 80 year old couple, right?  We want people to say, “Wow, look at them, I want that kind of marriage."

According to new British research, positive emotions can actually go a long way toward preventing coronary trouble down the line. In their study 8,000 people were asked to look at seven areas of their life:

  • Professional
  • Familial
  • Leisure
  • Standard of living
  • Sex life
  • Sense of self
  • and Love

Create a marriage between you and your spouse that everyone else desires.

They were asked to rate their satisfaction in each of these areas and what they found was that those who scored higher than average in all of these areas were in fact 13 percent more unlikely to experience heart related illness. Thirteen percent! It's been well known for some time that negative emotions can contribute poor heart health, but this is the first scientific research to look at the correlation from the opposite perspective - that positive emotions can have an impact, as well.

With this information taken into account, why then should anyone allow themselves to feel trapped in an unhappy marriage? The StrongMarriageNow System was created to give couples the tools they need to create and maintain the marriage they've always wanted. Research indicates that 86% of unhappily married couples that stay together and work on their marriage report that they are much happier later on in life. On the other side of that coin, when you take a look at all those that give up on their marriage in favor of a divorce have their financial resources, their households, and other aspects of their lives essentially torn in half - this certainly does not help contribute to a happier state of mind.

Being Happily Married is a Learned Skill

There are six major skills that couples need in order to have a strong and healthy marriage. Learning these essential skills can be the key to creating the happy marriage you've always wanted, which can in turn help relieve a lot of the stress prevalent in your life.

  • Spending Time Together - The most important thing that you can do to feel more deeply in love and truly enjoy each other again.
  • Understanding Each Other - How to resolve conflict, how to learn and understand their partner's point of view. How to communicate effectively with each other.
  • Resolving Conflict - Resolve conflict with confidence and end the fighting in your relationship.
  • Agreeing on Money Issues - Get on the same page about money and how to work together as a team to achieve your dreams.
  • Fairly Dividing Responsibilities - Stop nagging and stop resentment and have peace in your home.
  • Having a Satisfying and Healthy Sex Life - Drastically improve your sex life.

How Humor Can Help Your Relationship

Laughter is a potent cure. A marriage may not be 100% "perfect," but couples that know how to lose the "serious face" and are comfortable introducing fun back into their relationship can certainly have an easier time of it. Real life can be a serious business, but allowing yourself a little embarrassment and some vulnerability can go a long ways toward lightening the mood. Doing that - remembering to laugh - while at the same time being mindful of the things that can trigger negative emotions can establish the happiness in your life and in your partners life that we are talking about. Keep your parner's mood and sensibilities in mind when trying not to exacerbate a situation. Some triggers can swiftly move a situation from bad to worse:

  • Teasing
  • Speaking sarcastically
  • Mocking
  • Being overly critical
  • Accusing
  • or Judging

Monogamy can be hard and sometimes even annoying.  If you don't have a sense of humor in a relationship, you'll kill each other.

This is just one way in which your mood and your emotions can play a major factor in your relationship with your spouse. Your mood is actually your choice. Choose to focus on all the things you appreciate about your spouse and your life. Focus on the positive and increase your level of happiness.

Click here to learn more about the StrongMarriageNow System. Then head over to RealAge to read more about the study. Dr. Dana Fillmore, creator of the StrongMarriageNow System, is the featured relationship expert at RealAge. Stop by the Love & Sex Center.

Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness!

Dr. Dana and Amy

"5 Secrets to Save Your Marriage"

Feeling stuck? Want to save your marriage but aren't sure how? Register for our FREE "5 Secrets to Save Your Marriage" Webinar and you'll discover:

  • The answer to "Can my marriage be saved?" Dr. Dana Fillmore will tell you how almost any marriage can be saved even if you’re the only one working on it
  • 4 Relationship Myths that are probably getting in your way – Believing in these myths can actually prevent you from saving your marriage
  • How to avoid common mistakes you may be making in your marriage. Did you know that most people’s attempts to save their marriage fail?
  • The most important thing you need to do to save your marriage – And you’ll be surprised it’s practical and easy to apply for almost everyone
  • Clear, straightforward steps that you can take immediately to get your marriage on track
Register Now for 5 Secrets to Save Your Marriage

Thanks to Harvard-educated gynecologist and author Dr. Sara Gottfried MD, we’re hosting a FREE webinar all about how your hormones factor into your health, happiness, and you guessed it, your marriage!

Dr. Sara has been helping people for 20 years with natural hormone balancing, and has tons of great insight on how your hormones might be causing problems in your marriage. She is the author of "The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol" that is being published on March 12, 2013 by Simon & Shuster, which is sure to be headed for the best seller list!

the-hormone-cure-book

Dr. Sara Gottfried MD’s new book, The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol is set to hit shelves tomorrow.

We’ll go over the three hormones (or “Charlie’s Angels” as Dr. Sara refers to them) that have the largest impact on women’s lives: Thyroid, Estrogen, and Cortisol. We’ll talk about the role that each plays in your body, and how they affect the rest of your life!

This program may be geared toward women, but there’s plenty of information in here for the guys too! We’ll talk about andropause, testosterone, and how hormonal imbalance can affect men as well.

This webinar is totally free, and jam-packed with expert information straight from Dr. Sara’s book The Hormone Cure, as well as discussion of some tough problems couples face – and what they can do about them right away!

Registration is quick and easy, just click here to sign up!
You will discover:

  • You may have a hormone problem and not know it. That's how they roll – they’re insidious and sneaky. Cortisol gives you a muffin top and robs your memory.
  • 95% of hormone-driven issues can be addressed through lifestyle changes & natural supplements. The problem? Most people don’t know what their options are — and most doctors aren’t talkin’ about it. Dr. Sara, as her patients call her, is here to change that.
  • You'll learn how PMS, perimenopause, menopause, and andropause (menopause like condition in men) can change your "happiness set point" and harm to your marriage.

Start Fixing Your Hormones And Your Marriage!

Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

Most people’s lives are busy, to say the least. Finding time for hobbies, creative pursuits, and the like can be a huge challenge. Between work and kids, house maintenance and making time for one another, it’s tough to even have the energy to pursue your other interests!

While maintaining your responsibilities are important, and as we’ve said before, making an effort to spend time alone with your spouse is of the utmost important to your marriage, fostering personal growth is also quite necessary for long-term happiness. Whether it’s volunteering with the less fortunate, crafting, making music, painting, getting behind a social cause, or growing a garden, passions are important to every individual. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the support they deserve from our spouses.

There are plenty of reasons that this happens, and many of them are perfectly valid. New pursuits can easily infringe on our other responsibilities, and this is a real concern. Passions often cost money, too, which can be another source of disagreement. Most of the time though, neglected responsibilities are not what causes tension for couples in this situation. Instead, it’s feelings of jealousy (he’d rather spend time with his guitar than me), exclusion (she totally ignores me when she’s out working in the garden), and even depression (why don’t I have something important to do?) that cause spouses to be less than supportive of their partners’ interests.

Instead of seeing yourself as an outside observer to your spouse’s interests, though, what about seeing yourself as an active participant? As a married couple, your lives are absolutely linked together. You can be a great source of support and inspiration for your spouse. You may even fall in love with the same things!

Of course, we all need to choose our passions for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take an active interest in our spouses’ favorite things. Knowing some of the terminology, key individuals, or understanding a process can go a long way in bonding with your spouse over their hobbies, passions, and personal goals.

You don’t just have to go along with your spouse’s passions either – use their enthusiasm as inspiration to find your own!

When couples can support each other’s interests, it helps foster a sense of being loved “for who you are,” as well as an environment where new discoveries and newly formed abilities add excitement and happiness to daily life. Personal accomplishments mean more confidence and increased self-worth, both qualities that make us more attractive to our spouses.

While being supportive, we can also act as a voice of reason for our husband or wife, who may delve a little too deeply into a project or want to purchase some equipment that’s outside of the budget. It’s easy to get wrapped up in something your truly enjoy, and sometimes an outside perspective is a welcome reality check. This only works, however, if the general attitude is one of support; if you’ve already been negative about a particular project or hobby, the “reality check” will only be perceived as more negativity.

The bottom line is that we should support our spouses in their endeavors – if it makes them happy and seems constructive, we should do everything we can to help them pursue their goals. We have to be able to grow individually to be able to successfully grow as a couple.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!


Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage


Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

couple on new years

Focusing on your marriage is a great resolution to have for 2013.

We recently received the following email:

“Thank you my beautiful friends for sending me all these emails during 2012. My marriage crumbled into pieces in the beginning of 2012. I had no hope. I thought it was all going to finish in divorce, but God almighty placed people like you in my life to encourage me not to give up on my marriage. I followed your instructions, read all your emails, found peace, hope, and rest in a time of deep trouble. Here we are still together, not 100 percent, but celebrating Christmas together. Thanks, keep on encouraging, helping couples to stay together and work on their issues. God bless you and keep you!”

What a wonderful message!

This just goes to show that when things seem impossible, they can (and do) get better! It may have taken the course of a year, but with the right tools and the right attitude, this particular couple was able to get things back on track, and you can too.

Now, at the very beginning of the year, is a perfect place to start rebuilding your marriage – make it your New Year’s Resolution to focus on your marriage in 2013, to break bad habits and stop destructive cycles in their tracks, to spend more quality time together, to reestablish the connection that may have slipped away over the years.

The New Year is an excellent time for new beginnings – something about the date rolling over to a new number makes us feel like we’ve got a new lease on life, so why not take advantage of the motivation? You can start with something small, like designating a “date night,” working on better communication, or any other specific area to improve on. Keep in mind, though, that it’s all part of the larger goal of strengthening your marriage throughout 2013.

As you form your plans, remember that this is for the mutual benefit of you and your spouse. It might not be easy every step of the way – you may have to confront some problems or face some unpleasant truths about your own behavior, but this kind of honesty with yourself and your partner will only help you fortify the strength of your marriage. Stay motivated and remember the message above – things seemed dismal at the beginning of the year, and through perseverance and the lessons available in the StrongMarriageNow System, they were able to get things back on track.

What can you do to improve your marriage this year? What you accomplish in 2013 will last for years to come.


Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage


Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

Make The Holidays About Family and Fun

On December 21, 2012, in Keeping The Love Alive, Marriage Advice, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Afro-American family holding Christmas presentsThe holidays are supposed to be a time for togetherness, love, family, and fun. All of the other stuff, stressing about presents or travel plans, preparing meals or putting out decorations, is extra – and not worth sacrificing the things that really make the holidays special.

It can be a stressful time of year, there’s no denying that, but all too often, couples let themselves get wrapped up in all of the trappings of the holidays instead of taking the time to get some enjoyment out of them. Of course you feel obligated to attend the family party or decorate the tree, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing these things together, and at your own pace.

Chances are, you’ve got a day or two off of work and the kids are on a break from school, so why not snatch the opportunity to really get some quality time in with your family? Instead of that last minute shopping trip, relax by the fire. Instead of breaking your back to put up that last string of lights, have a “just the two of us” gift exchange with your spouse.

There’s really no need to create undue stress for yourself, especially during a time of year that’s supposed to be joyous and full of love. The holidays are only as difficult as you make them, so don’t overextend yourself to please everyone. Make a point to get that quality alone time in with your spouse in addition to the time you spend with the whole family – these are the people you should really be concerned with this holiday season.

When you’re running late to grandma’s house or you forgot to wrap so-and-so’s gift, don’t get angry or stressed – remember that it’s ALL a bonus to the real spirit of the holidays: spending time with the people you love.

From everyone at StrongMarriageNow, happy holidays!


Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage


Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

A recent study by UCLA psychologists has confirmed a principle we believe in (with a few tweaks and suggestions, of course!): for relationships to work for the long term, both members of a couple must be willing to compromise and make sacrifices.

It sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be amazed by the numbers of married people who can’t seem to grab a hold of this idea. Sacrifice means more than changing your plans or giving up a night out with friends. There’s a lot more involved than surface compromise.

For marriages to remain strong over time, both people should have this mentality of giving, of doing whatever is in their power to ease the burdens of the other. Whether it’s something large or small, strive to make your partner happy!

When it comes to conflict (and it will happen), the principle of compromise and self-sacrifice can be summed up very simply: when it comes down to it, which is more important, being stubborn and holding your ground in an argument, or making your marriage work in the long run?

This is the essence of commitment. It doesn’t just mean committing to the other person, it also means committing to the relationship itself. Sacrifice means swallowing your pride and admitting when you’ve done wrong, it means resolving issues in a way that both of you walk away feeling satisfied, and not giving up on the issue until you’ve reached some common ground.

But what if only one of you is committed to your relationship, right now? Can this principle still apply?



Absolutely! A commonly held misconception is that both people must engage in this sacrifice all of the time. Even worse, many people wait for their spouse to compromise or change before they're willing to compromise themselves. This belief only ends up in a contest of keeping score for who did what for whom. This "tit for tat" mentality can prevent one or both of you from stepping up and being the husband or wife that you know you can be.

If you're the only one that's committed to working on your marriage, or you're in a stalemate or score-keeping situation with your spouse, we encourage you to be the bigger person and put your spouse's needs and feelings above your own. By stepping up and making that sacrifice yourself, you'll demonstrate how much you care about your partner. Once your spouse sees that pattern of love and caring and trusts that the pattern will continue, they'll be much more likely to respond in the same way. Trust us, being the best spouse you can be goes a long way toward establishing the cooperation, sacrifice and love you truly desire in your marriage.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes! Please comment below.


Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage


Do you feel like your marriage is lacking commitment? Is the compromise and sacrifice one-sided, or not there at all? Feeling stuck? Frustrated that your partner won't work on your marriage? Discover how to motivate your spouse to commit to your marriage today!

Wishing you a lifetime of happiness,

Dr Dana and Amy

In a recent study from the University of East Anglia in the U.K., researchers observed that fruit flies mate for significantly longer and reproduce more offspring when they’ve been exposed to rival male fruit flies prior to mating.  In other words, when these male flies sniff even the faintest hint of competition and suspect their pretty partners might hook up with other male fruit fly dudes, they straight-up get busy, researchers say. Who knew the threat of infidelity mixed with a healthy dose of paranoia made flies so horny?

Ah, but just like our winged brethren, sometimes men get turned on by strange, unexpected stuff, too. Here are five.

1. The Economy
While our wallets might have taken a hit from the recession, men’s sex drives haven’t diminished. Studies show that while tough economic times make men reluctant to divorce given the financial instability, these same tough economic times make men more tempted to sleep around.  Why? The study speculates that the stagnant economy may make men’s ancestral instincts kick in. In prehistoric times of famine, men who sought out lots of one-night stands may have helped preserve the species, even if they kicked the bucket the next day.  So if you’re going through hard times, make sure connecting in the bedroom is a little bit easier.

2. Fear
Ever considered Jaws pre-foreplay? In a classic study at the University of British Columbia, researchers sent an attractive female assistant to ask two groups of guys to fill out a survey. The woman approached one set of men on a short, sturdy bridge while she contacted the other group on a long, shaky suspension bridge with a frightening 230-foot drop. Both groups of men were just as likely to stop when they saw the sexy assistant, but the men on the dangerous bridge provided more sexual answers on the survey, and were five times more likely to call the woman after the experiment. In other words, fear makes men randy, even when they could be facing death.

3. Pumpkin Pie
After reading this, you’ll never think of Thanksgiving as a wholesome, family-friendly holiday again: In a study from Chicago’s Smell and Taste Research Center, researchers tested the effects that 24 odors had on arousal in men. Results showed that the number one scent that increased men’s penile blood flow was a combination of lavender and pumpkin pie. (Just in case you wanted to complete your sex dessert, vanilla had the second-strongest effect on men, with strawberry rhubarb pie coming in third.)

4. Twitter
According to recent studies, sometimes all it takes is 140 characters to get in the mood. A 2011 survey from dating website OKCupid found that its members who tweeted at least once a day were twice as likely to regularly masturbate. The study indicated that people who tweet have easier access to, um, “visual stimuli,” considering the time they spend in front of a computer and that if they make time to tweet, there’s a good chance they make time to masturbate as well.  So what’s that mean for their women?  Get involved!  Take the time to send your man a few sexy texts during the day so he’ll be sure think of you during the night.  

5. The Color Red
There’s a reason why red is the color of lust: according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men are more attracted to women in rouge without even knowing it. In one experiment, researchers had men rate pictures of women in terms of attractiveness, and found that women wearing red were given significantly higher scores than those in other colors. Men even passed over pictures of the same women they had previously rated as sexy when they were dressed in different colors. So ladies, get out there and buy red!

Better Sex: Do you know of more strange and interesting things that turn men on? Please comment below.


Check Out Our Video: How To Regain the Love, Rekindle Passion and Save Your Marriage


Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart,
co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

Is your sex life just ho-hum?  Feeling a bit bored?  Consider trying certain foods to reignite the spark. Edible aphrodisiacs can turn up the heat in more ways than one.  While it’s true there's more folklore than scientific proof to substantiate the link between food and passionate sex, that's no reason why you and your partner should shy away from these so-called natural love potions.

For centuries, the smell, taste, and appearance of food has been touted as passion-producing.  Some foods are reputed to strip away inhibitions. Others claim to put you in the mood for lovemaking, and still others boast of improving blood flow to your genitals, enhancing performance and pleasure.  So go for it! Increasingly experts are acknowledging that the most notorious food aphrodisiacs are a treasure trove of nutrients necessary for sexual prowess and good health.

Erotic Fruits and Vegetables

Some people find produce erotic. Bananas, asparagus, cucumbers and carrots speak for themselves.  Avocados were prized by the Aztecs, who called them "testicle trees" because they grow in pairs. Ancient Greeks and Romans feasted on figs to promote potency.  And let's not forget pomegranates, also known as "love apples."
Those ancient civilizations were onto something. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals required to produce sex hormones necessary for sexual arousal and pleasure.

Honey

Ever wonder where the term "honeymoon" came from?  Centuries ago, newlyweds in Europe drank honey wine during the first month of marriage to improve their sexual stamina. As a bonus, the long-ago lovebirds also got small amounts of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from honey.

Chocolate

The Aztec emperor Montezuma's chocolate consumption is legendary. Rumor has it that he drank 50 glasses of honey-sweetened chocolate a day in the name of virility.  Perhaps Montezuma valued chocolate for its feel-good qualities, too.  Cocoa beans contain phenylethamine, a compound that triggers the release of endorphins, compounds associated with pleasure.
Nowadays, cocoa powder processed without alkaline provides the biggest bang for the buck. It contains the highest levels of the antioxidants associated with lower blood cholesterol levels, reduced inflammation in blood vessels, and maximum blood flow. Darker chocolate contains more cocoa powder.

Alcohol

Nothing says seduction like popping the cork on the best bottle of bubbly money can buy, if that's what you enjoy.  A drink a day may help reduce the risk of heart disease in healthy people, but more than that may turn your tryst into a snooze fest.  Alcohol is a central nervous system downer.  Chronic drinking is linked to erectile dysfunction, which will put a damper on lovemaking.

Salmon

Salmon harbors an abundance of omega-3 fats, which qualifies it as a natural mood booster.  We all know, you can't “get down” when you're uptight. Eating salmon can help brighten your disposition.  Salmon also supplies large amounts of vitamin D.  Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that vitamin D appears to work in the brain like many antidepressant medications do: by raising levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of calm and banishes bad moods.

Oysters

Oysters are dripping with dopamine, a compound that stirs feelings of sexual desire, and pleasure. These mollusks are also bursting with zinc, a mineral that fosters the production of testosterone, necessary for arousal and pleasure in men and women.
You may need to resist the temptation to ply your paramour with raw oysters, however, as your romantic interlude could end with a severe case of food poisoning Some raw oysters in the U.S. carry a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus.  Healthy people are unlikely to have adverse effects from eating raw oysters, but those with diabetes, liver disease, immune systems disorders, AIDS, and other chronic diseases can end up with a severe infection that may be fatal.

Garlic

Rich in antioxidants that protect against cell damage, garlic is said to stir sexual desire and increase blood flow.  Just be sure to eat as much as your bed partner,…..as the effects of garlic can linger on your breath for hours.

The Couple that Eats Together, Sleeps Together

If you enjoy foods with a reputation for making you hot to trot, you may be thinking about whipping up meals that will knock your socks off, and your partner's.  We all know a delicious meal can be a prelude to sex.  The act of cooking together can be a form of foreplay, and the smell of food can ignite intimacy, too.
On an interesting side note, research has shown that the aroma of pumpkin pie, cheese pizza, and buttered popcorn induced blood flow to the penis, and the combination of pumpkin pie and lavender did the best job.  Women, on the other hand, responded to a combination of Good & Plenty and cucumber.  The smell of vanilla is particularly alluring.  Consider adding vanilla extract to whole grain French toast or drop a vanilla bean into your champagne for some desirable results.

Looking to spice up your sex life?  Have any food stories you would like to share with us?  Please comment below.

Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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