Having a low libido can be worrying. It can affect your relationship, your self-confidence and your mental health. However, it’s more common than you think.
Hormone imbalances, sedentary lifestyles, stress and many factors can disrupt your sex drive. So, it’s natural and common for many people to lose the spark at any stage.
Due to its mental nature, however, it can be difficult to overcome. Thankfully, there are many things you can try to rekindle your sex drive. In this article, we uncover 6 ways you can naturally improve your sex drive.
Libido is the term used for sex drive. It is a natural and instinctual desire for sexual activity.
Multiple components affect libido, including physical, psychological and hormonal factors.
Everyone’s sex drive is different. Your sex drive changes throughout your life and the menstrual cycle in women. So, it can be difficult to diagnose. Usually, your doctor can diagnose based on contextual factors (e.g. your mental health or preexisting health conditions).
15% of men and 32% of women struggle with low libido.
Low libido is more common than you think. One UK survey found that 15% of men and 32% of women lacked interest in sex for prolonged periods.
There are a variety of causes of low libido.
Many hormones play a critical role in libido. Menopause, the menstrual cycle or a testosterone deficiency can cause low libido.
Low libido can be a side effect of several medicines. This includes antidepressants, blood pressure medications, steroids and contraception.
Stress and mental health problems
Stress can affect hormone responses that reduce sex drive. Your mental health can also cause you to feel preoccupied or distracted and leave you not wanting sex.
Inactivity, smoking and drinking can affect the psychological and physical systems responsible for sex drive.
Finding the cause is the key to finding the right treatment.
Depending on what’s causing it, there are some simple ways to treat low libido. Here are 6 ways to improve your sex drive.
A sexual discrepancy between partners is common in relationships. However, low libido in one partner can have an underlying cause.
Relationship problems are a common cause of a low sex drive. If you’re having issues with your partner, lack of sexual attraction for them may extend to a lack of sexual desire entirely.
The most common type of therapy for sexual problems is psychosexual therapy (PST). It is a type of talking therapy. It allows you and your partner to talk about any sexual or emotional issues that may be causing your low sex drive.
Many people believe that alcohol is an aphrodisiac. While it may give you a confidence boost, it affects your sexual function in many ways.
It’s well known that drinking too much causes impotence. However, impotence should not be confused with a lack of desire.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it reduces hormone levels like dopamine. While mainly responsible for your mood, research has linked dopamine to sexual desire.
Research also shows that heavy drinking reduces testosterone levels. This can also affect sex drive.
You should aim to drink less than 14 units a week. It will improve not just your libido, but your overall health.
A lack of sleep has a variety of effects on the body. It affects memory and cognition. In the long term, it can even cause chronic health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease.
You may be surprised to hear that it also affects your sex life. One study on women found that longer sleep durations resulted in a higher sexual desire.
Sleep can affect decision-making, mood and mental health. These combined can influence your relationships and sexual arousal. Improving your sleep, thus, may improve your libido as well.
You should look at your current sleep routine and environment. How much sleep do you get each night? Small adjustments can make a huge improvement to your sleep hygiene.
If you have difficulty falling asleep, you can always take prescription medication like Melatonin.
Exercise is good for the body in a multitude of ways. It can also improve your sex drive in several ways.
When you exercise, you promote the production of testosterone. It also increases the production of “happy hormones” like dopamine and endorphins.
In addition, research on endorphins shows that they can improve body recovery, reduce pain and relieve stress. This may help if you have a chronic condition that makes sex uncomfortable.
Exercise also makes you feel more energetic. It helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently which gives you more energy. If low energy is affecting your sex drive, exercise will help.
Many are surprised about how much stress affects the body and how important stress relief is.
When you’re stressed, your body goes through a series of physical and psychological changes known as the fight-or-flight response. This is where your brain prioritises essential functions to prepare you for a stressful or frightening situation.
It causes your heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure to increase. However, non-essential functions like sex drive are reduced. If this stress response isn’t reversed, it can become chronic stress and effects like low libido become long-term.
There are multiple things you can do to deal with stress. You can try stress relief techniques such as:
Exercise, yoga, getting enough sleep and focusing on your hobbies are also great stress relievers. Alternative therapies like acupuncture may also help.
Many will benefit from counselling and psychotherapy for their stress. Speak to your GP if you’re interested in therapy.
Aphrodisiacs are foods or supplements that naturally increase your sex drive. Research has found a variety of natural ingredients that may work for low libido.
These methods have been used historically across the globe. However, there is little evidence that they improve sexual function. Results may be due to a placebo effect.
A lot of herbal medications aren’t regulated either. So, they may not do what they claim to do. Always check with your doctor before using herbal medication.
Low libido is undertreated as many do not consider it a health issue. However, it can be a sign of a chronic disease like diabetes or hypothyroidism. It could also be a sexual health problem like hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSSD).
So, if you’re concerned about your sex drive, you should see your GP.
If you take a medication that you’re worried is affecting your sex drive, such as hormonal contraception or antidepressants, your doctor may be able to alter your treatment.
Mental health problems can accompany or cause sex problems. If you’re struggling with your mental health, your doctor can refer you for cognitive behavioural therapy or prescribe treatment.
You may need to adjust the treatment for a preexisting condition. For instance, if menopause is affecting your sex drive, you can get hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Similarly, if you struggle with impotence and it’s affecting your sex life, you can get treatment from an in-person or online pharmacy.
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