Celebrating Rose as an Aphrodisiac

Celebrating Rose as an Aphrodisiac

Getty/Polina Lebed

Rose can provide deep healing to the heart and support you on your sensual journey. Learn how one herbalist works with rose for enhanced sensuality and sexuality.

Plants are unapologetically erotic beings. In one of my favorite poems, “Biosexual,” Dona Nieto writes,

… a flower is really nothing more
than spread open botanical labia,
love lips smiling at the world.
A flower is a sexual invitation
luring insect pollination …

Unfortunately for humans, much of our sexuality has become shrouded in shame, repression, and trauma. This is especially tragic because erotic energy is Source energy for our confidence, creativity, and vitality. Author Naomi Wolf documents this in her book Vagina, referencing female artists whose work blossomed during particularly juicy love affairs. Taoist master Mantak Chia talks of channeling his erotic energy into his writing and has written over 75 books.

Expanding your experiences of sensual and sexual pleasure and cultivating a flow of erotic energy in your life taps you into an abundant, natural resource that can help fuel whatever projects or interests you want to pursue. Plants can be amazing allies as you seek to do this, as they help you to heal sexually and to cultivate more erotic energy in your life. This is core-level healing and has the potential to impact every aspect of your life.


Let’s start cultivating a relationship with one beautiful, healing, aphrodisiac plant … rose.

Tapping Into the Complexity of Rose

Now, you may think of rose as just a stereotypical romance plant without much to offer. When I was doing research for my book on herbal aphrodisiacs, I held a circle for people to experiment with one aphrodisiac plant per month. Some people within this circle echoed this sentiment, saying that rose was just an overhyped romance plant.

“The scent was too strong,” they said. Or, it reminded them of their grandmothers. And yet, some amazing things happened when they actually started interacting with rose.

We made rose petal massage oil, rose water, and rose incense. We rolled chocolate truffles in rose petal powder, decorated our beds with rose petals, and sprinkled more petals into our baths. Two of the women in the circle had beautiful self-pleasuring experiences with rose as their partner. Another woman found her way back to her sensuality after a break-up when a friend rubbed rose massage oil onto her back.

By far, my favorite story features a couple who went out gathering wild rose petals. They got so intoxicated with the scent of rose, the softness of the petals, and the warmth of the sunny day that they ended up making love. That is the day that they conceived their first child.

How Rose Interacts With Our Bodies

Rose works with our bodies in very particular ways. The aromatic quality of this plant relaxes and restores us while easing anxiety and depression. Rose actually works as a neuroprotective, helping to protect our nerve cells from damage. Two of the main constituents found in rose-infused oil, citronellol and geraniol, interact with the AMPA receptors in our brain to help calm and protect our central nervous system. The flavonoids found in rose interacts with the GABA receptors in our brain to help relieve anxiety.

Plants like rose—those that are calming and protective of our nervous systems—are some of the most powerful aphrodisiacs for people in our busy, stressful culture. They can help slow us down so we can relax into intimacy.

Rose petal infusions (strong tea) can also help tone and regulate our reproductive systems, and rose is a heart and circulatory system tonic as well. Healthy reproductive systems and hearts are foundational for healthy sexuality, and a healthy circulatory system can help warm us and bring more blood flow to our pelvic region. In addition, rose can be nourishing and healing for our skin, our largest erotic, sensual organ. Rose is a common ingredient in lotions, creams, body oils, and skin toners.

So, there are reasons, even beyond its beauty and luscious scent, that rose has become associated with love and romance.

Working With Rose as an Aphrodisiac

Entering into relationship with rose as an aphrodisiac can be quite simple. My favorite way is to take a single rose petal, place it on your finger, and bring it to your lips.

Now, close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths to ground and center yourself.

Bring your full attention to your lips and, very slowly and softly, run that rose petal across them.

Notice each sensation in your lips and in the rest of your body as well. Are you aware of any tingly sensations? If so, you’ve stirred some erotic energy.

Rose petals can also feel wonderful when run over other sensitive body parts: ears, nipples … you get the idea.

Perhaps this exercise got some tingles going for you, or perhaps not. Either is perfectly fine. We are each in a different place on our journey with our sexuality, and we each have different capacities to feel erotic energy and different preferences about what stirs that energy.

Sometimes, when erotic energy gets generated, people can become agitated, especially if they feel a longing to release the energy through sex. When this energy becomes stuck in our pelvic region, it can manifest as sexual frustration. When you begin to feel this, I invite you to play with moving that energy through your body. You can use your breath to breathe it up the back of your body, up your spine, and into your head with your in-breath. Then breathe it back down into your pelvis with the out-breath. Continue breathing in this way, circulating the energy in your body. Feel it begin to spread out and become accessible for your creative work.

Standing and shaking, or dancing or running, can also help to move energy in your body and promote circulation so it can increase your feelings of vitality and confidence. The key is to move it beyond the pelvis.

I would also like to offer you one of my favorite recipes incorporating rose into a lovely aphrodisiac tea. This is another super simple way to engage with this herb to help generate some of that erotic energy.

Tender Titillation Tea


  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals

  • 1 tablespoon dried milky oat tops

  • 1 tablespoon dried damiana leaves

  • 2 tablespoons dried hawthorn flowers

  • Optional: honey to taste


  1. Boil 1½ cups of water. Place the herbs in a cup and pour the just-boiled water over them.

  2. Cover and let the herbs steep for 15 minutes. Strain.

  3. Add honey to taste. I definitely recommend adding some. This tea is delicious when sweetened.

Though this seems like a lot of herbs for just one cup of tea, I find the ratio of herbs to water to be just perfect for this blend, and the taste is absolutely divine.

Learn more about mindful, divine sexuality.

Celebrating Rose as an Aphrodisiac

Enjoying this content?

Get this article and many more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.