What is an intimacy-enhancing cream?

Intimacy-enhancing topical creams (for example, Escalate) are designed for women to use to help sensitize their clitorises. The products contain L-arginine (an amino acid essential for the production of nitric oxide), which can create an invigorating sensation when applied to the clitoral tissues. These creams have also been known to create a stimulating sensation for men, too. The amino acid L-arginine enhances female sexual response by stimulating the increase of blood flow to the clitoris.

For some women using a cream, orgasm will occur with increased frequency or intensity. In research studies performed by one manufacturer of an intimacy-enhancing cream, about 80% of the women found that the cream extended their natural orgasms and improved responses through three or more successive uses. Creams are supplied in airless pump bottles that provide approximately 30 applications. There are no known side effects and creams are manufactured under the guidance of the GMP standards (Good Manufacturing Practices). Escalate is helpful for women on multiple medications because it does not interfere with any medication. Place a small amount (half a pump) of cream on your fingertips and apply it to the underside of your clitoris and rub thoroughly for several minutes. Almost immediately, you will feel an invigorating warm sensation.

Blood circulation may increase and tissues will become considerably more sensitive. You may reapply after a few minutes if desired. The sensations may last for about 20 to 30 minutes and creams are completely safe for ingestion; some have a pleasant cinnamon fragrance and taste, which can be pleasurable for some men. Some men also report increased invigorating sensations with cream use. If irritation occurs or if you are nursing or pregnant, you should not use the product. Johnson and Johnson is investigating another interesting product, PD-F 5394, which is a nonhormonal over-the-counter female arousal gel for sexual enhancement. Preliminary studies presented at a recent educational seminar demonstrated that the gel enhanced the sexual experience of healthy women with adequate sexual functioning; it improves sexual arousal and lubrication and it is well tolerated with minimal adverse effects or genital irritation. Another study reported that in home use of the female arousal gel applied to the clitoris, it was associated with enhanced sexual arousal, orgasmic intensity, sexual satisfaction, and pleasure. Release of this new product is slated for sometime in 2009.

What are pheromones and how can scent affect sexuality?

Pheromones[1] are chemicals substances excreted by an organism that elicit behavioral responses from another like species member. When humans experience a scent, it often produces an emotional response based upon an associated memory. Research scientists have found that inhaling an odor can modify brain waves, and it is believed that the scent is perceived by one's learned memory in the amygdala, which is a part of the limbic system (the emotional center of the brain). This system also controls emotions related to fear, aggression, stress, anxiety, and sexuality. Aromatherapy[2] is the use of essential oils distilled from aromatic plants for therapeutic purposes. The aromas of ylang-ylang and jasmine have been traditionally used to increase sexuality. A recent study found that the scent of cinnamon may also increase sexual desire through an unknown mechanism.

Female sexual pheromones have been shown to attract mates of the opposite sex in insects, rodents, and seals. In some organisms, these chemicals also can reveal identity and stimulate ovulation[3], or egg production, and sexual development. Humans have historically been thought to have advanced eye/optical and verbal systems but only a moderate olfactory system; therefore, the presence of pheromones in humans and its sociosexual effect has only recently been addressed. The organ that detects sex pheromones in some animals is called the vomeronasal organ (VNO). A tiny, possibly nonfunctional VNO in humans has recently been found far within the inside of the nasal cavity, but whether this organ actually neurologically connects to the brain is unknown. Human pheromones are mostly produced in the apocrine glands that

When humans experience a scent, it often produces an emotional response based upon an associated memory.

are located in the axillae and pubic regions. They may also be found in other gland secretions such as urine, saliva, and sweat. The pheromones are produced only after puberty when mate selection begins, and their production decreases during the menopause transition.

In humans, chemicals released in sweat and other secretions may positively affect the mood of the opposite sex. Interestingly, humans often perceive the pheromone as odorless and their physiologic and behavioral response may be subconscious. Studies that examined topically applied synthesized human pheromones to perimenopausal[4] women have shown to increase affectionate gestures such as hugging, kissing, and petting. When a researcher studied human pheromones in a laboratory, he also noted that they imparted a sense of warmth and friendliness among coworkers in the corporate setting.

Although the topical use of pheromones can increase sexual attraction, affection, pleasant moods, and confidence, there is no sound medical, evidence-based data to support the notion that pheromones may increase sexual activity. Modern social practices such as daily showering or bathing with soap, perfumes, antiperspirants, and use of birth control pills can reverse human's natural ability to perceive another's natural scent. Olfactory researchers say that natural human aromas or scents may play only a subtle part in the phenomenon of human attraction, and that psychosocial and cultural characteristics may play a larger part.

Researcher David Berliner produces scents (Realm for Men and Realm for Women) that include human pheromones. The manufacturer claims that pheromones of the opposite sex positively affect the person's mood and thus may cause the wearer to feel more attractive and confident. Although thought provoking, use of aromas and human pheromones have not been demonstrated with any degree of medical certainty to support the widely held belief that they may be associated with improved sexual vitality and function.

  • [1] A volatile compound released by one organism that triggers a specific behavior in another member of the same species.
  • [2] An integrative care practice that uses oils from plants to treat physical or psychological conditions. The oils can be inhaled, used in vaporizers, or used in massage.
  • [3] The process of egg release from the ovary.
  • [4] The time in which women are having irregular periods before the periods completely stop. It can be several years in duration and is characterized by menopausal and nonmenopausal symptomatology.
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