Until recently, the idea of being "attacked" by a cougar was frightening to me! But times change, definitions change, and now it would probably be a compliment. A "cougar" is no longer just a large, tawny, endangered cat. The new and now widely accepted definition of the term "cougar" refers to a vibrant older woman with an active sex life. There's also the "professional cougar" - women who are smart, sexy, independent and proud to be over 40, even if they are not in hot pursuit or pursued by younger men. But wait, the anti-aging scientist within me screamed out! There is more to consider! What does it take besides meeting the age definition of a "cougar" to perform physically, mentally and emotionally like a major league "cougar"? Are there some hints or advice that I can offer to aspiring, or for that matter, established "cougars" that will keep them at the top of their game? Yes there are! Here are several of the main "biochemical/physiological/hormonal training" concepts that will keep your prey (perhaps conquest is a better word) hard pressed to keep up with you!
The brain is a very sexy organ
It is essential to remember that sexual thoughts and stimulation start in the brain and then travel to other parts of the body. Ask anyone who is having a migraine how sexy they feel at that moment. Certain neurotransmitters like dopamine and hormones that initiate the sexual response (that "turned on" feeling), start their physiological magic in the brain, not between the legs! Stress, sickness, lack of exercise and poor nutrition can all lead to deficiencies in these chemicals necessary for achieving heightened sexual feelings. What can we do to maximize our "turned on" neurotransmitters that enhance the likelihood and intensity of orgasm?
The causes of low female libido and female sexual dysfunction
The most important neurotransmitter governing our sense of craving, lust, desire, need for satisfaction and pleasure is Dopamine (DA). Work hard, earn more money, dress beautifully, attract the opposite sex, and eat, survive for the pleasure of taste sensation- it's all about being rewarded! Adequate levels of dopamine turn on your "I want to feel good/reward circuitry" in your brain and sexual satisfaction is right at the top of those feelings and cravings. The reward circuitry is there for continuation of the species. Desire for sex means our genes will be passed on. Desire for food means we will survive. Just prior to orgasm, in normally functioning, orgasmic women, dopamine levels are at a high. Dopamine levels are often lower in non-orgasmic women.
Certain supplements and foods can increase dopamine levels
L-tyrosine is an amino acid. It is also the precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine (amongst others). It is found in dairy products, meats and fish. Tyrosine has been successfully studied for its benefits against stress, and stress is often a major reason for sexual dysfunction and lack of orgasm. Depression also negatively effects sexual desire and performance and tyrosine has demonstrated human benefits here as well. We need B vitamins (especially B-6 and folic acid) for tyrosine to convert to dopamine. 1000mg per day of tyrosine taken with a B-complex vitamin is recommended. Deep sleep, fish oils, salmon, cottage cheese, steak, low fat yogurt, bananas, avocado and spices can all increase dopamine levels and sex drive.
OTHER OPTIONS FOR LOW LIBIDO OR ORGASMIC DYSFUNCTION
Prolactin- Suppressing dopamine is so important that nature uses an additional neurochemical to curtail our sexual desire - it's called prolactin. If dopamine creates desire and cravings, then prolactin decreases them. Prolactin is a hormone from the pituitary that signals the production of milk in the breasts when pregnant. High blood level of prolactin often causes low estrogen levels, infertility and a decrease in menstruation some women may experience a loss of libido (interest in sex). Intercourse may become painful because of vaginal dryness. The good news is that some of the dopamine raising suggestions we gave above may reduce prolactin levels that are too high and causing decreased libido and orgasmic function.
Low testosterone- women produce only small, but necessary quantities of testosterone which helps with muscle strength, bone mass and sexual function. Testosterone levels decrease with age and restoring testosterone levels may help improve well-being and libido. Low levels in women cause problems of low libido and difficulty in achieving orgasms. A 2004 study demonstrated that both premenopausal and postmenopausal women with low libido exhibited lower testosterone levels than age-matched women with a healthy sex drive and ability to achieve orgasm. Ask your physician to check your testosterone levels. Optimal levels for women are around 70-100 ng/ml (a ng is a nanogram which is 1 billionth of a gram which is a 28th of an ounce). If you are much lower, your doctor can prescribe a testosterone regimen that can return your levels to where they should be. A recent study indicated that 300mcg of testosterone via a patch, increased sexual desire in postmenopausal women.
L-ARGININE and YOHIMBINE - Sexual arousal intensity and vaginal sexual response time in women improved with the combination of L-arginine and yohimbine. Within 60 minutes of receiving the combination of 6 grams of L-argininine and 6mg of yohimbine, vaginal sexual response to an erotic film was substantially increased. This result comes as no surprise to me being that L-arginine improves blood flow and yohimbine does also, as well as having libido enhancing qualities. Though yohimbine can raise blood pressure in some people, at this very low dose it is unlikely. If you are taking anti-depressants, I would not recommend taking yohimbine. If you feel excessively nervous while taking yohimine, discontinue its use. For women who would like to implement some of the choices listed above, I would suggest trying the tyrosine, yohimbine/L-arginine supplements before trying prescription drug options mentioned in this article.
The Heart, or "Sex is an Aerobic Exercise"
In poetry, the "heart" is the quintessential source of emotion, but actually it's the brain! But the role of the heart in sexual performance and overall health cannot be overstated. Both men and women reproductive and sexual organs require significant and continued blood flow to maintain an intense and on-going sexual encounter. The heart has to be capable of delivering sufficient and on-going quantities of blood to these areas and the vasculature (arteries and veins) have to be youthful and flexible enough to receive and maintain the blood flow once it arrives.
CoQ-10 (Coenzyme Q-10) is a supplement that is involved in the production of energy. It is particularly helpful to the heart as it helps heart cells to produce energy efficiently, which can take the load off of the heart and make it healthy and strong. This can be very helpful in producing the youthful energy required for passionate love making.
Viagra for women?
Recent studies suggest that 50mg doses of Viagra increased both clitoral blood flow and sexual satisfaction scores in women who were experiencing orgasmic dysfunction. You may want to consider speaking with your physician to see if this is an option to pursue.
Foods that enhance blood flow
Watermelon, dark chocolate, asparagus, spices, black pepper, nutmeg, tumeric, garlic, sauerkraut, oysters, bananas, avocados, nuts and fish (fish oils).
The "Core" of the matter. The sex act and the different positions that can be assumed during creative and passionate sex require a certain degree of strength, especially if prolonged encounters are desired. The strength of the central "core" of your abdominal area, as well as the strength and tone of the pubococcygeus muscle group (PC) (in your pelvic area) is the key factor in determining how well and how long you can perform in the different sexual positions, as well as your ability to orgasm. Kegel exercises for the PC, plus two of the most effective core strengthening exercises are described below. Stay with these three simple exercises for 1 to 2 months and you will experience a notable improvement in your sex life. The strength and tone of the pubococcygeus muscle group (PC) is vital to achieving consistent orgasms and maintaining urinary continence as well. Stress as well as poor strength and tone of the PC group can lead to unconscious tightening of the buttocks, abdomen and thighs, which is known to interfere with the ability to reach orgasm. Most women have heard of Kegel exercises but very few ever do them on a consistent basis. Studies have shown that both women and men experience more consistent and intense orgasms after doing these exercises several times a day for two months.
Kegel Exercise (it really works!), don't leave them out, they're easy to do any place! To isolate and identify where your PC muscles is and what it feels like when it is contracted, when the bladder is empty, insert one of your fingers into the vagina up to the first knuckle. Pretend to urinate and try to stop the flow. The muscle that tightens around your finger is the PC. Now you will now clearly where it is located and how it feels when it is tightened. At least four times a day (more is better) tighten and release the PC 50 times. This will also release any stress and induces tension in the buttocks, abdomen and thighs. You can do these exercises anywhere. In a chair, standing up, lying down. Two of the best and easiest "Core-strengthening" exercises are the Reverse Crunch or the Pelvic Thrust and the Quadruped. You can do either the Reverse Crunch or the Pelvic Thrust (whichever you prefer - if energetic do both) and then do the Quadruped.
Reverse Crunch - Lying flat on your back extend both legs straight out towards the ceiling. Keeping your lower back flat to the floor just raise and lower you buttock of the floor. (The only part of your body leaving the floor should be the buttocks). Do this 30 times, rest for 45 seconds and repeat for another 30 times. Do this everyday for impressive results.
The Pelvic Thrust - This is actually the same movement as the Reverse crunch but for women who find extending their legs straight out towards the ceiling uncomfortable. Repeat exactly as instructed for the Reverse Crunch.
The Quadruped - This core-building exercise gets to those muscles of the back that are considered to be essential to total core strength. Get on a carpeted floor or mat, and rest on your hands and knees, with your hands aligned shoulder width. Extend your right arm out straight out towards the wall and hold it there for 20 seconds. Place it back on the floor and do the same with your left arm. Then replace the arm back on the floor and extend the right leg out behind you and hold for 20 seconds, retract and extend the left leg and do the same. When this gets too easy, extend opposite limbs together, ie: right leg and left arm, then left leg and right arm, and hold each for 20 seconds. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do this daily.
Looking good naked There is no doubt about the multiple health/cardiovascular benefits of consistent, moderate, exercise programs. But when it comes to looking good in or out of your clothing, if you were only going to dedicate your efforts in this area to either a healthy diet or exercise - the healthy diet wins by a mile. It's not even close. Think about it! Get on a treadmill for an hour and burn maybe 400 calories. Eat a cupcake and in one minute and all of the calories lost on the treadmill are instantly gained back! I speak with hundreds of women, who do more aerobic exercising than I will ever do. Many use weights or weight machines at their gym. Many have pretty good musculature which is unfortunately covered by a layer of FAT! The fat covering these exercised muscles can actually make them look chunkier than they like. Reduced caloric intake will get rid of that fat when aerobic exercise, that is not accompanied by caloric reduction, will not be anywhere near as effective. Healthy eating trumps exercise every time! Of course, combine them both and then the results speak for themselves.
Keeping your skin young looking The quality of your skin is obviously an important factor in how good you look and how young you look. We have probably all seen thin, in-shape women, whose skin folds and hangs, despite low levels of body fat. This is an example of the internal damage that can happen to the collagen and elastin levels in our skin that keeps it looking tight and young. While even the best of creams and lotions can have some topical benefits, the true quality of your skin is determined by the aging processes that are occurring WITHIN your body. Next we discuss what foods and supplements help protect your skin (and hair) and keep it young looking and protected, inside and out, from the damaging effects of aging. Listed below are a few ingestibles, and other things, that will keep your skin looking young.
Grape seed extract - How does taking grape-seed extract help prevent wrinkles? GSE helps with both blood flow (protects capillary integrity) to the skin and reduces free radical damage to the skin. Some research indicates that it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down elastin, the protein that keeps our skin tight. When our skin doesn't snap back into place in certain places, the elastin has been damaged. GSE will help the skin to keep a youthful appearance. Take at least 125mg per day of GSE.
Tea tree and citrus oils topically (not ingestible) help tone skin between washings via their astringent (skin tightening) effects. Vitamin C is biochemically crucial to the synthesis of collagen in our bodies. A minimum of 400mg per day is recommended.
Antioxidant laden foods - Foods rich in vitamin A and vitamin C and other antioxidants, include brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes, strawberries, and kiwi. Vitamin E is found in a variety of nuts and their oils and wheat germs.
Water hydrates the skin from the inside out, so practice drinking enough water that you rarely get thirsty. Avoid smoking! Few things are more destructive to skin quality. It can literally starve the skin of oxygen and destroy its youthful appearance.
Choose 'smart' anti-aging fats! The essential fatty acids EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) found in fish oils and the essential fatty acid ALA (alpha linolenic acid) found in flax seed oil are anti-inflammatory, help with circulation and can add to the youthful quality of your skin in addition to cardiovascular, brain and multiple other benefits. Try to get at least 500mg per day of EPA/DHA in total. This can usually be achieved by taking two softgels of a well made fish oil product. You can also get benefits from taking a tablespoon of flax oil per day.
Not now - I really do have a headache! One final tip - it's tough for a woman to be at her best when suffering from a migraine. When a migraine occurs it's too late for a romantic evening - preventing them from occurring is the real answer to the problem. If you are a migraine sufferer your may benefit from an all-natural patented product called MigreLief, found at Migrelief.com. Many people have have experienced amazing results by using this product. Incorporate these anti-aging habits into your daily lifestyle. I hope you've enjoyed reading this article and that you incorporate all or most of its suggestions into your day-to-day lifestyle. I just realized, indirectly, I'm probably going to make a lot of men in their twenties and thirties very happy!
Helping you to get well, stay well, and stay young and vibrant well into the later years of life! Your anti-aging scientist, Curt Hendrix, M.S., CCN, CSN.
While Curt continues to share his vast knowledge and expertise on health and nutrition, he remains dedicated to his research and development of safer, more effective medications and supplements. For more information, please feel free to visit his blog at CurtHendrix.com. Learn about the bio-chemistry (made easy) of aging, and what you can do to stop it.
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