Is Nitric Oxide an aphrodisiac? Let’s examine the ways it supports Female Sexual Health.
Part I of a 2 part sexual health series.
By Greg McKettrick
If you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a unique, health-conscious way — beyond the box of organic dark chocolates — look no further than Nitric Oxide. Although it’s not something one would typically associate with romance (or ever consider to be “sexy”), Nitric Oxide (NO) is more relevant to people’s love lives than one might think.
That’s because Nitric Oxide plays a critical part in the physiological mechanisms that enable healthy sexual function in both females and males throughout our lives. In fact, as we’re about to discover, NO’s role in sexual wellness and intimacy is so powerful, it could potentially be considered an aphrodisiac of sorts.
In this first part of a two-part series, we’ll look at Nitric Oxide’s specific impacts on female sexual function and intimacy. In part two we’ll focus on NO’s effects on male sexual health.
Nitric Oxide: More Than “Just a Friend” for Supporting Healthy Female Sexual Function
As a natural vasodilator and unconventional neurotransmitter, Nitric Oxide plays a huge part in the body’s circulation of blood and oxygen and supports almost every biological system and process. This includes sexual function in both females and males, such as blood flow to the genitals and production of sex hormones.
Although the body naturally produces Nitric Oxide, by age 40, NO production functions at just 50%, and continues decreasing thereafter. Meanwhile, Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD) affects up to 70% of women with at least 25% of women unable to reach orgasm. In addition, research shows that in the US, between 25–60% of women experience some sort of sexual dysfunction.
Here’s the good news: peer-reviewed medical research shows that improving Nitric Oxide levels may help counter FSAD. That’s because NO is intimately involved in promoting sufficient blood flow to the genitals, while supporting female arousal response, genital engorgement, lubrication, and more.
Some of the Primary Ways Nitric Oxide Affects Female Sexual Function
NO mediates functions critical for attaining and maintaining sexual excitement
Nitric Oxide mediates the female genital arousal response that happens via sexual excitement as well as genital engorgement, swelling and lubrication.
NO controls clitoral and vaginal blood flow during sexual arousal
Nitric Oxide is believed to have a primary role in the regulation of clitoral and vaginal blood flow, as well as smooth muscle relaxation during sexual arousal.
NO is a neurotransmitter that relaxes smooth muscle, leading to better blood flow and orgasms
NO is a potent vasodilator of clitoral tissue. Sexual stimulation leads to NO production, which then relaxes smooth muscles in the clitoris to increase blood flow. Improved blood flow leads to better orgasms.
NO affects the release of hormones pivotal to sexual function and behavior
Nitric Oxide affects reproductive processes both at the level of the brain and reproductive tract. NO acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain affecting the release of oxytocin and luteinizing hormone releasing hormones (LHRH) which help modulate sexual behavior.
NO levels work hand in hand with the “love hormone” oxytocin
Oxytocin is called the “love hormone” or the “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin increases NO production through the Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS) enzyme system, and NO levels are greatly increased after orgasm.
NO leads to increased pleasure-enhancing lubrication
During sexual arousal, NO is integral to vaginal smooth muscle relaxation and enhanced genital blood flow. It also modulates the release of fluid to enhance lubrication, which is essential for pleasurable coitus.
NO helps decrease anxiety, increase sexual pleasure, and enhance memory
NO is an important neurotransmitter in decreasing anxiety, which increases sexual pleasure. NO is involved in the creation of long-term memory, and it enhances the ability to remember sex scents (pheromones) which are intimately related to libido.
Supporting Female Sexual Health and Intimacy
Peer-reviewed medical research shows that maintaining healthy levels of Nitric Oxide can help to improve female sexual function and enjoyment, leading to better orgasms and overall enhanced wellness.
Natural, dietary nitrates such as beet root and leafy greens are proven to boost the body’s production of Nitric Oxide. Although NO levels can be improved through a nitrate-rich diet, modern eating habits make a simple supplementation program a much more efficient and effective solution.