We often read or hear news reports about antioxidants and how they can improve our health, yet we rarely hear about the role they play in the pleasure we obtain from sex and intimacy.
To understand antioxidants and the ways they can enhance genital health, we first need to understand the role that free radicals play in damaging our cells. In essence, free radicals are the toxic byproducts of our metabolism. Free radical production can increase as a result of the foods we eat (as is the case with charbroiled meat) or the air we breathe (as is the case with second hand smoke).
Using several enzyme-based systems, our body does its best to combat free radicals. When our body’s defenses fail, though, free radicals cause individual cells to become damaged or die. If left unchecked, free radicals cause tissue damage, premature aging, and loss of cellular function. In other words, our cells become oxidized, much in the same way that rust forms on iron when it is exposed to air and water.
Antioxidants help to combat free radical damage by shoring up the body’s enzyme-based systems. Vitamins C and E are popular antioxidants, as are the polyphenols found in plants and in certain foods and beverages, such as cocoa, red wine, green tea, and ginseng.
Antioxidants can also improve sexual pleasure and intimacy. Women who are perimenopausal, menopausal, or post-menopausal – along with women who use oral contraceptives – can experience genital oxidative stress, which can result in vaginal dryness and a lack of sexual desire. In a sense, antioxidants are an aphrodisiac, in that they preserve the nitric oxide needed to dilate blood vessels in genital tissues, which in turn causes sexual arousal.
Eating or drinking foods and beverages with antioxidant properties is sure to improve your overall feeling of well-being, but antioxidants delivered in the form of a lubricant to sensitive genital skin can have a positive impact on sexual pleasure and intimacy. When organic antioxidants penetrate the skin, they energize nerve endings.
Genital skin care should be an ongoing priority. When looking for an antioxidant to promote genital health, it is important to find one that is water-free and non-oily. Instead, it should be polymer-based and have a non-sticky feeling. In addition, it should be a product that can be used on a daily basis.