It's safe to say that most of us want to feel as horny as possible on Valentine's Day. But what's the best way to go about doing that? If you're in the Beverly Hills area, you can literally inject sexually stimulating chemicals right into your veins. Exclusively available at the Roxbury Institute in Beverly Hills (sorry, rest of America), the Aphrodisiac IV treatment will supposedly not only boost sex hormones to increase your arousal but give your skin a sensual after-glow. "It makes people relaxed, but it leaves you feeling much better than alcohol," says Sara Christopherson-Whitney, ND, a naturopathic doctor at the Roxbury Institute. Unlike red wine and champagne, which are arguably Valentine's Day's most popular aphrodisiacs, women who have gotten the Aphrodisiac IV treatment say that they feel aroused and relaxed, as well as energized for days after (compare that to the depleting hangover booze can produce). Nicole, a 25-year-old patient of Dr. Whitney's who frequents the Roxbury Institute for botox, fillers, and other IV treatments, says that her lack of libido drove her to try out the Aphrodisiac IV treatment earlier this month. "I work eight hours a day, and when I get home, I’m just exhausted," Nicole says. "I’m young; I should have energy. I want to be a crazy lioness jumping all over my husband, and I’m just not." After getting the treatment, Nicole says that she was feeling "more electric than normal," so she eschewed the normal post-work TV watching with her husband in lieu of (you guessed it) getting her groove on with him. "He was like, 'What is going on here?' I’m like, 'Just go with it,'" Nicole says. So what exactly is in Dr. Whitney's so-called love potion? Does it actually work for every woman who tries it? And more importantly, is it safe? According to Dr. Whitney, the Aphrodisiac IV is a Myer's cocktail that includes minerals (magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins), phospholipids, and glutathione, as well as an injection of adrenal cortex extract and eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng). To help us figure out what all of that means, we spoke with Jessica Shepherd MD, an OB/GYN at the University of Illinois at Chicago. First off: Is this mix of ingredients safe? Even though the Aphrodisiac IV has never been in a medical study, Dr. Shepherd doesn't see any problem with women trying the treatment to increase libido — as long as patients understand the risks, like possible drug interactions or allergies to the products in the IV (though Dr. Whitney says she screens patients to avoid such complications). In regards to the adrenal shot, which is injected into your butt after the IV treatment is over, Dr. Shepherd suggests that anyone with kidney, adrenal, or high blood pressure issues speak with their doctor before getting the treatment. As for whether or not the treatment actually works, it's hard to tell, aside from anecdotal evidence from the relatively few people who've tried it. There have been some studies on the ingredients in the love potion, though. For example, studies suggest that ginseng may indeed promote relaxation and boost energy, as well as help with sexual dysfunction (although it's mostly used by men for erectile dysfunction). But most of the research on ginseng is either small in scale or based off of animal samples, so clearly, more research is needed before we can draw any conclusions. (Studies on the adrenal cortex extract in the injection are similarly limited and hard to rely on, though the extract has been used to fight fatigue and decrease stress.) And while B vitamins are often touted for their energy-enhancing properties, no vitamins can directly boost your energy. They can help your body use energy efficiently, but they don't actually give you energy. If you're eating a nutritious diet, it's likely that your low libido has more to do with a lack of sleep, stress, or relationship issues than a B vitamin deficiency. Of course, there are many other products on the market that claim to increase women's libido (with varying degrees of effectiveness), from the overhyped prescription drug Flibanserin to drinkable "Sex Dust." There's even a new drug currently going by the name bremelanotide, which is an injection rather than a pill (stay tuned to see how that one goes over). For Nicole, who is wary of pharmaceuticals, the Aphrodisiac IV treatment felt like a more "natural" option. It's also worth nothing that, while products like Flibanserin are meant to treat clinically low sex drive (the hotly debated hypoactive sexual desire disorder), the Aphrodisiac IV is simply meant to increase your libido by increasing your energy and improving your overall mood. (For those wary of needles and expensive spa treatments, some experts say that cannabis can work wonderfully as an aphrodisiac.) Nicole says that she plans to go back for another Aphrodisiac IV right before Valentine's Day, and her husband is even interested in joining her. According to Dr. Whitney, the treatment should work for both men and women, so she actually encourages couples of all sexual orientations to come in and try out her love potion together. The whole thing lasts about an hour, and some people may experience swelling and redness at the injection site. All in all, it doesn't seem like getting this IV treatment will do any harm (for most people, at least), but it's also unclear if this actually works as a true libido enhancer. But hey, if a B vitamin shot will improve your mood and make you feel sexier, we're all for that. So if you're looking to boost your sex drive and want to try this, do as Dr. Shepherd advised and talk to your doctor to see if it's right for you. Then, by all means, go forth and get your dose of sexual arousal intravenously.
While we're arguably more in control of and confident about our sexuality than ever, there's still so much we don't know about female arousal. So this month, we're exploring everything you want and need to know about how women get turned on now. Check out more here.