Sexuality can be fickle. Often, lack of sex drive can be due to the usual things we all face in life: stress, fatigue and those “little” relationship issues. On the other hand, if you notice prolonged periods of little to no interest in intimacy it may be a hormonal or medical issue. We know that sex is good for health, and it is usually good for relationships, so paying attention to libido is a natural health booster at all levels. What can you do about boosting sex drive naturally on your own and when do you need help?

The Libido

Sex drive can wax and wane for many reasons, and at some point you may feel it is not what it used to be. Here are some common reasons for a decreased sex drive:

  • Working too many hours and resulting fatigue
  • Problems in a relationship
  • Feelings of low self-esteem, poor body image
  • Stress (directly affects hormone function)
  • Smoking or poor lifestyle habits, including excess alcohol
  • Lack of exercise or poor circulation
  • Hormonal changes, like menopause
  • Certain medications like anti-depressants, opioid pain medications and beta-blockers, which are often used for heart conditions and blood pressure control

You can work on some of the above issues yourself, such as improving your sleeping habits and reducing stress, but some situations may require help and prescription medications. On the other hand, there are always natural solutions as well, and are usually the first step.

Medical Reasons for Low Sex Drive

Stress, aging, irregular menstrual cycles and menopause can throw your hormonal axis into a tailspin and destroy libido. The main sex drive hormone is testosterone, often thought of as the “male hormone”. But this is a misconception. It is crucial for good quality sexual life in women. During menstrual years it cycles along with estrogen and progesterone. So, if you have irregular periods, this can affect testosterone levels as well. After menopause, often testosterone actually increases and can heighten sexual desire, but this is not always the case. Various medications, stress, poor sleep patterns, smoking and other factors can affect testosterone levels as well. The good news is that testosterone levels can be measured and supplemented by prescription when needed.

Natural Sex Drive Stimulants

“Natural” testosterone supplements do not exist, at least not in the same way as plant estrogens do.  Bio-identical prescription testosterone exists, but should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.  Before moving to that, there are natural measures you can take to affect your testosterone levels and affect your libido in other ways.

  • Dark chocolate is known to be aphrodisiac, which is probably related to it’s effect on dopamine which is a pleasure producing neuro-chemical
  • L-arginine supplements may help by dilating clitoral blood vessels
  • Rhodiola can help slow down the chemical breakdown of serotonin and dopamine, prolonging pleasure
  • Magnesium helps keep testosterone free in your blood and not attached to proteins, which lower its effect
  • Zinc also supports optimal testosterone levels by helping block its conversion to estrogen. Great sources of natural zinc are pumpkin seeds and oysters.
  • Omega 3 fish oil supplements help boost dopamine and arginine which leads to higher levels of nitric oxide, another known blood vessel dilator which can improve clitoral blood flow

Beneficial Lifestyle Changes

Beyond supplements or prescription testosterone treatments, there are some behaviors to try that can help you increase your sexual desire. These include:

  • Getting regular exercise. 
Taking a walk, practicing yoga, dancing or whatever physical activity you enjoy are great ways to boost sex drive. These activities bring increased blood flow to all parts of the body — including the genitals – which can awaken the libido.
  • Attaining a healthy weight. 
While there are many reasons to get in shape, getting fit is great for your sex drive. Not only will you feel better about how you look (which could be the entire cause of your low sex drive) but you’ll also enjoy improved circulation and lower blood pressure, as a result of improved overall health. A healthy weight will also help support normal hormonal cycles during the menstrual years.
  • Using non-sexual touching.
Try giving your partner a massage. Make it a head-to-toe massage that allows you to really bond and connect and will provide complete relaxation for both of you. If it eventually leads to something more, well, that’s good, too.
  • Practice mindful breathing.
Lots of people forget how to relax because they’re unknowingly holding their breath. Couples who sit together for a few minutes each day and just do some mindful breathing (in through the nose and then slowly out through the mouth) tend to be far more relaxed together. This relaxation often helps increase sexual desire.
  • Assuming you are of drinking age, consider some red wine.
 In moderation, red wine can of course release some inhibitions, but it is also known to increase blood flow to the genitalia, which can help get you in the mood.

Try some of these tips to get your libido back where it used to be.  Don’t be afraid to discuss sex drive concerns like these with your doctor, so they can determine the proper cause and help you determine the right remedy.  Again, other than improving your lifestyle and reducing toxic influences like smoking and poor habits, the best starting point may be to measure your hormone levels and ensure there are no prescription drug reasons for your troubles.  For that you need the input of a physician and can get you on the right path faster.

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