How To Boost Libido, Naturally
How To Boost Libido, Naturally
February is the month of all things related to the heart! It is the month that Valentine’s Day falls under and is also heart awareness month. Last week we talked about 5 steps to do on an everyday basis to improve your heart health. Today’s post is all things related to LIBIDO in both men and women!
Between late nights, early mornings, leading high stress lives, kids and a million other things going on, there is little time left for intimacy. Relationships can change overtime and this comes with an obvious decrease in libido. A lot of people see this as the natural progression that comes along with aging, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be like that!
Continue reading if you want to learn more about the causes of low libido and how to naturally address it!
What Causes Low Libido?
The causes of sexual dysfunction are multifactorial and include:
- One of the biggest influences on libido is hormones. Many people think low sex drive is only a result of declining testosterone. However, optimal sex drive requires a balance of all hormones including, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, insulin and testosterone.
- In women, low libido is most likely due to a decrease in progesterone production which leads to estrogen dominance. This can be brought on by stress, poor diet, and a sluggish liver. Symptoms of progesterone deficiency include: vaginal dryness, fatigue, weight gain, headaches and depression.
- Low testosterone levels can impact libido in both sexes. Low testosterone levels in women can be a sign of physical or emotional burnout, low energy, poor focus, low sex drive and high anxiety. In men, testosterone levels decline with age and can lower libido, cause erectile dysfunction, depression, anxiety, poor memory and insomnia.
- High stress, hectic lifestyles and feeling tired all the time can leave less time for intimacy and lower libido.
- DHEA is a very important steroid hormone that is the pre-hormone to testosterone and estrogen.
- When responding to emotional and physical stressors, the body produces more cortisol (stress hormone) and less DHEA. Less DHEA means less testosterone which can impact sexual health.
- In fact, high cortisol levels are frequently seen in both men and women with low libido.
Excess Body Fat & High Insulin Levels In Men
- High insulin, which is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels can increase body fat.
- An enzyme called aromatase, is found in fat cells and is responsible for converting testosterone to estradiol. The more fat cells there are, the more aromatase is present which means less testosterone and more estrogen!
- Thus, an obvious connection between obesity and lower testosterone is present.
- Low libido can be linked to low energy.
- Going into bed at the end of the day being exhausted does not leave much time for intimacy.
- Reasons for low energy can include: underfunctioning thyroid, low protein intake, low iron and/or low vitamin B12.
Lack Of Physical Activity
- Lack of exercise can impact mood negatively and decrease energy.
- It can also lower self-esteem leading to negative feelings about one’s body which can then lower libido.
Side Effects Of Medications
- Antidepressants (SSRIs) have been linked to decreased libido, arousal and intensity of orgasm.
- Oral contraceptives have also been correlated with a decrease in libido.
- Lack of communication, ignoring your partner's needs and resentment can all lead to intimacy issues with your partner and ultimatley decrease sexual desire for each other.
Blood Tests To Help Determine The Cause Of Low Libido For Men and Women
Hormones are a great place to start when evaluating one’s sexual health. Start by getting your hormone levels tested to identify if hormone imbalance might be a factor in your libido changes. Bloodwork related to libido include:
- Estradiol (Day 3 for women)
- Progesterone (Day 21 for women)
- Testosterone - Free and Total
- Free T3 & Free T4
How To Naturally Get Your Libido From 0 To 100
Address Your Hormones
- It is becoming quite clear that declining libido is happening at an earlier age in today’s society.
- Get your hormones tested with your doctor as balancing these could help restore your sex drive.
- Many people will lose interest in sex when they are stressed. For example, many women are more likely to experience physical pain during intercourse if they are experiencing negative feelings towards their partner.
- Mindfulness practices and deep breathing exercises can dramatically lower feelings of stress, which lowers cortisol levels and thus raises testosterone.
- Most importantly make the time for your partner, whether it be going to bed at the same time for a couple weeks or doing fun activities together can help to manage stress as a couple.
- Manage your caloric intake to an amount that is desired for your gender, age and fitness levels.
- Excessive calorie intake or a diet that is high in refined & processed sugar can lead to increased insulin and cortisol levels which can negatively impact sex drive, yet again.
- Exercise includes both cardio and strength training.
- Exercise increases testosterone levels and reduces both cortisol and insulin levels.
- Physical activity can also enhance self-confidence and body image which can increase libido.
Make Your Bedroom Technology Free
- I’m sure its not a surprise to you that social media is negatively impacting sex drive, big time! With checking social media before bed and first thing in the morning it takes away the sacred intimacy that is associated with the bedroom.
- In a study of 1,020 women in Cosmopolitan magazine’s sex and social media survey it concluded that about 57% of women would rather give up sex than stop using the internet for two weeks.
- Make the bedroom a space where it is only used for intimacy and connecting and communicating with your partner. After all, communication is the key to any good relationship and thus, a great sex life.
Natural Supplements To Raise Libido
- Is an adaptogenic herb that increases the body’s ability to handle environmental stress.
- It helps to instil energy in people who have regular fatigue.
- Ginseng also increases sex horrmones like testosterone which enhances sexual urges in both men and women.
- Is a herb that increases blood flow to the brain and sex organs.
- Gingko also increases production of dopamine, adrenaline which are neurotransmitters in the brain that help to improve pleasure.
- Is a Peruvian herb known for its energy enhancing abilities. It helps to increase libido and sexual function in both males and females.
- Maca: 3 grams a day
- Zinc and Magnesium
- These nutrients are commonly low in people with low libido.
- Zinc and magnesium help to regulate the metabolism of testosterone.
- Magnesium specially, can help to increase circulation and reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Zinc: 20-30 mg/day Also found in nuts, seeds and meat
- Magnesium: 300-600 mg/day Also found in nuts, beans, meat and whole grains
When it comes to sexual health, the causes of low libido are multifactorial and is never due to just one thing. Hormone testing can be a great place to start when balancing out hormones. A nutrient dense, low calorie diet can really help to control stress, and sex hormone levels. Lets not forget the role that exercise and stress reduction strategies play when it comes to libido and improving sexual performance. Lifestyle and dietary changes can have the greatest impact on libido in both men and women. Lastly, intimacy for both women and men is strongly rooted in open lines of communication and understanding of your partners needs and wants.
** Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.