Keep it greasy…with Zestra®

Posted by on Sep 25, 2009 in sexual desire, sexual health | 8 comments


Sexual desire an issue? Not feeling it?

That isn’t my problem but when I was approached by the folks at Semprae Labs to test Zestra®, their hormone-free, topical “Essential Arousal Oils™, I thought, hey, what the heck? I’m all for research! And they sent me clinical data supporting its theoretical effectiveness, which peaked my interest even more.

What is Zestra, you ask?

Zestra contains a proprietary blend of borage seed and evening primrose oils (purportedly to increase blood flow and nerve sensitivity), angelica root extract (to improve arousal/desire) and coleus forskohlii extract (to boost performance/orgasm). On its packaging, it says that “Zestra works effortlessly and within minutes by heightening your sensitivity to touch — for deep, pleasurable sensations, sexual satisfaction and fulfillment.

Zestra was tested in a small clinical study comparing its effectiveness versus a placebo oil in 20 women with and without difficulties with arousal. During the study, participants were asked to use Zestra 5 times and then complete a questionnaire on side effects and sexual function (i.e. desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain). Study findings showed the following:

  • Participants with normal function reported highly significant improvements in arousal while those with female sexual arousal disorder reported highly significant improvements in arousal, orgasm and satisfaction.
  • The most commonly reported side effect was a burning sensation in the genitalia that subsided within 30 minutes.

So, this was the study population.

What about me?

Zestra ain’t “zesty.” The oil has a unpleasant smell. Following application, it heats up the vaginal area but that’s about it – heat – and not the sexual, I want to/have to have you kind of heat. Nope. No increase in desire, arousal or sensitivity to touch.  No added improvements in satisfaction. Just one unpleasantly warm, greasy vagina.

Is it just me? Evidently not. Here’s what some friends have to say about Zestra:

“Smells like an overly-sweet candle shop or bad potpourri. Not an enticing scent. Taste is chemical and bitter. Too greasy. Nice, slightly warming effect, but felt no unusual or heightened sensation. Actually had to work harder because I was so turned off by the Zestra scent. Zestra will be sleeping alone from now on!!!”

“OH. MY. F***ING. GOD. I hated that shit. It burned and I couldn’t even wash it off afterward. Who the f**k knows if it increased arousal? I was too busy burning to notice.”

Like my gal pals, I couldn’t wait to shower Zestra off. In fact, Zestra left me wanting less, not more.

I’ve got lots of zest. But not for Zestra.  Zestra – you underwhelm and underwow me.

Sorry Semprae. This one’s a dud.


  1. 9-25-2009

    Thanks for reporting…when you find the one that works, let us know!

    • 9-25-2009

      LOL! Will do 🙂

  2. 9-25-2009

    Ok, first, who is your focus group? The last person is riot, I must know her.

    Second, mom bloggers get lame videos and toys to review, I think you have a way better job.

    • 9-25-2009

      Amy – I never reveal my secrets (okay, almost never!). With regards to products, I could review a few toys 😉

  3. 9-25-2009

    Oh, and great Zappa vid

  4. 9-25-2009

    I admit to having used Zestra occasionally because it cuts through the deadening of my SSRI (Paxil) and assists with post-menopausal dryness. For those of us who need a little help to feel again, it works just about the same or slightly better than Mentholatum. But Mentholatum is a lot cheaper!

  5. 2-23-2011

    Aw man–I just saw a reader raving about this in Redbook and was all ready to try it. Glad I read this first because I’ve tried those warming creams before and…yuck.

    • 2-23-2011

      Maggie – it was disgusting. Period.


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