Men's Health, Women's Health | August 21, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
A person’s sex drive or libido can vary significantly, with women more likely to have a lowered one. Research shows that 32% of women and 15% of men lack the desire for sex on a regular basis. A low libido can happen to anyone, regardless of age, for a variety of different reasons—including medical conditions, medications, hormone levels, relationship issues, anxiety, depression, lack of exercise and drug or alcohol use.
This is why so many people seek out ways to increase their libido…so you are definitely not alone! The good news is there are lots of natural remedies that can help to give it a boost without the need for potentially harmful drugs.
There is no normal when it comes to the frequency of sex. Some people feel like having sex every day, while others may ‘do it’ once a year or not at all. Many new relationships will experience a higher frequency of sex which will then slow down over time. Being tired or preoccupied with daily activities can leave some people too tired to even think about it. It all comes down to what your preference is and your life circumstances. However, if it is causing problems in a relationship and you are worried about it, there are many things that can be done to improve your desire for sex.
Changes to hormone levels in both men and women can alter the desire for sex.
In men, low testosterone can contribute to a low sex drive and may also cause erectile dysfunction (difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection).
The amount of testosterone that is produced in males usually peaks in their 20’s and steadily declines as they age. This explains why some males can experience a natural decline in their libido.
In females, low testosterone may also be a cause of low libido, as well as a drop in oestrogen during the transition to menopause. Hormonal changes due to the oral contraceptive pill, pregnancy and breastfeeding can all put a damper on sexual desire.
Avocado’s, dark chocolate, figs and bananas are considered natural aphrodisiacs and are loaded with nutrients which help to promote blood flow to the genitals to increase sex drive.
Research has found that dark chocolate contributed to some aphrodisiac and mood-lifting effects. Also think food rich in potassium and vitamin C to improve circulation, promote collagen production and maintain healthy blood pressure. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, while pepitas are high in zinc, and both minerals are essential for healthy reproductive function. Spices such as nutmeg and clove can be added to baking and casseroles and were found in animal subjects to enhance sexual behaviour.
Maintain a healthy body mass index, this includes avoiding obesity and being underweight. Exercise can be helpful for libido by increasing circulation and boosting our levels of feel good hormones. If stress is affecting you in a big way, then look to meditation or other forms of relaxation and incorporate them into your day. Ensure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to avoid daily fatigue. Open the door to communication with your partner, discuss your concerns and seek professional help from a counsellor if necessary.
Tribulus is used in western and traditional Chinese medicine as an aphrodisiac. It has the ability to improve levels of androgens, such as testosterone. It may be helpful in mild to moderate cases of erectile dysfunction and in menopausal women with low testosterone levels. Tribulus has the ability to increase the release of nitric oxide, essential for penile erection. This may account for its claims as an aphrodisiac.
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Withania, also known as ashwaganda is best regarded as an herb that helps us adapt to stress, relieve anxiety and improve mood. It is also a tonic with aphrodisiac qualities. Clinical studies in infertile men have resulted in a decrease in stress, improved level of antioxidants and corrected hormonal imbalances. It could be prescribed to women if chronic stress is an underlying reason to their low libido. A recent study confirmed withania’s ability to improve female sexual function. Although it didn’t increase the frequency of love making it did significantly improve sexual satisfaction, arousal, orgasm and lubrication.
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Other herbs which may be helpful include ginkgo, damania, horny goat weed, panax ginseng and Siberian ginseng. B vitamins can help to support a healthy nervous system if there is depression or stress. Niacin and L-arginine can help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow to the genitals.
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Montgomery KA. Sexual desire disorders. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2008 Jun;5(6):50-55
Chauhan NA, et al. A review on plants used for improvement of sexual performance and virility. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:868062
Dongre Swati, et al. Efficacy and safety of ashwagandha (withania somnifera) root extract in improving sexual function in women: a pilot study. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:284154