Well, let’s just say science has been getting busy. This past year has seen several exciting new studies that have shed light on sex and arousal. Did you know that men can smell when a woman has been turned on? Also, watching porn may have benefits for women, too. And relaxation—induced by supplements such as ashwagandha and CBD—could be key to a woman’s ability to climax. Read on for all the juicy details.
Finding No. 1: Men Can Smell When a Woman Is Feeling Frisky
Many memes would have you believe men are terrible at picking up on women’s signals when it comes to sex, but a study published in February 2020 in Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that nature helps them along: They can actually smell when women are in the mood.
In three trials, researchers collected sweat from women in various scenarios: when they’d been cycling, while they watched a documentary about the very unsexy topic of bridges, and when they had been turned on after watching sex scenes from the movie “Magic Mike” or reading a passage from “50 Shades of Grey.” Then they had men smell all the samples and rate each one on intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness. Overall, the sexually aroused scents were perceived as more attractive when contrasted with the others.
What’s more, the last part of the experiment revealed that the men were more in the mood after they smelled the “frisky” samples. The tells? They spent more time looking at photos of women “displaying overt sexual cues” and reported a higher level of “sexual motivation.”
Finding No. 2: Gratitude Boosts Sexual Satisfaction
Time to fire up the ol’ gratitude journal—it could be the key to better bedroom sessions. In a study published in 2020, researchers first asked 118 couples to write down the level of gratitude they both felt for and received from their partner for three weeks along with their sexual satisfaction. Three months later, they checked back in with them and found that as gratitude went up, so did sexual satisfaction.
Then, to take things a step further, the study leaders had one group think about a moment of gratitude (either giving or receiving) with their partner, while a second group was asked to think of a positive experience their significant other wasn’t involved in. When the groups rated their happiness with their sex lives after, the group that thought about the relationship-related gratitude rated their sexual satisfaction higher. Clearly, that’s something to be thankful for.
Finding No. 3: Ashwagandha May Help with Female Sexual Dysfunction
Ashwagandha isn’t easy to spell. It's also not new—it's been used for ages in ayurvedic practices. But the shrub is getting a lot of recent attention buzz thanks to a study that was released in 2020. In women who were diagnosed with sexual dysfunction, those who received 300 mg of the ingredient (also known as Indian winter cherry or Indian ginseng) twice a day for eight weeks experienced a significant improvement in arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and sexual satisfaction in contrast to placebo. However, since it didn't correlate with desire, researchers concluded it shouldn't be labeled as an aphrodisiac.
Why might the plant be helpful to your sex session? Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it helps your body cope with stress. So it may work by simply soothing all the worry around sex, making it easier to focus on pleasure. For those looking to take it for a spin, you can find it in Miraflora Naturals' +Relax sparkling beverage, which also packs in a whopping 35 mg of calming CBD.
Finding No. 4: Not All Women Experience an Age-Related Sex Dip
There’s a pervasive belief that all women get less interested in sex as they hit menopause. Well, study results presented during the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) say that doesn’t hold true for a significant number of women.
Researchers followed more than 3,200 women for 15 years. At the end, what they found was that for 27 percent of participants, sex remained highly important to them as they hit middle age—a much higher number than past research would have suggested. The study’s lead author, Dr. Holly Thomas, told CNN, "The study showed substantial numbers of women still highly value sex, even as they get older, and it's not abnormal.” Sing it, sister.
Finding No. 5: Watching Porn Comes with Benefits for Women
Watching a skin flick may actually provide women with an assist when it comes to getting them to the big O. In a 2020 study by researchers at Valparaiso University, 2,433 women age 18 years and older answered 42 questions about themselves, their sexual satisfaction, and their porn use. The pattern that emerged? Female porn consumers were unsurprisingly more interested in sex than their porn-shunning peers, but also “more frequent pornography use predicted lower arousal difficulty and orgasmic difficulty, greater pleasure, and a higher percentage of masturbatory events leading to orgasm.” But take note: This was all during solo sex—it seems the porn-watching had no impact on partnered sex, other than in contributing more stress when the female partner struggled to climax. For those sessions, we recommend a dose of Miraflora’s anxiety-busting full-spectrum CBD tincture to hemp you over the hump.