While everyone’s sexual desire is different and constantly fluctuating, it can be confusing if you experience a notable dip in sexual desire whether you’re single or in a relationship. Explore why you might be experiencing a lull in libido, and discover ways you can bring sex back into focus with these top tips to turn up the heat.
In our modern world, we’re busy, tired, and stressed all the time. Increased work commitments, social pressures and the need to keep up with the latest trends, TV shows or self-care practice means we’re constantly bombarded and mentally exhausted, but how is that affecting our sex lives?
“A person’s libido is complex – it fluctuates monthly and even daily. Sexual desire changes depending on the environment and interactions such, stress, medication, sleep, self-worth and for women where they are in their cycle,” says sex therapist Helen Birch.
Your sexual health is just like any other part of your health. Getting enough sleep, eating a varied, well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and reducing stress are all important factors to consider if you’re experiencing a dip in desire.
“Medication and health can also affect our desire for sex either by changing how our hormones act or in the case of poor health because we just don’t feel so well or have increased pain or fatigue which is a natural libido killer,” says hormone and emotion expert, Claire Snowdon-Darling. “Good food, to ensure healthy hormones and libido, would consist of making sure you have a protein source at every meal from meat, fish, eggs, or tofu, plus avoiding “fat-free” items and choosing healthy fats such as nuts, oils, avocado, and olives. Fat is how we make our hormones so it’s key.”
If you struggle to keep on top of your nutrition because of a hectic schedule, you might be deficient in key nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can affect sexual desire. Try supplements that contain magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, and B vitamins to nourish the nervous system, boost mood, alleviate fatigue, poor sleep, PMS, and low mood, and increase testosterone – key for feeling frisky!
In the same way that plants are used to boost immunity, energy, and mood, they can boost our sexual health too. Adaptogens reduce chronic stress in the body – something many of us just accept as normal! When we feel stressed, high cortisol levels (the stress hormone) inhibit testosterone, one of the key sex hormones.
Ginkgo, a herbal remedy used for centuries by Traditional Chinese Medicine, increases blood flow to the sex organs to increase desire and is a handy addition to counteract any low libido effects from antidepressants. Also, maca root is an energy-booster and stamina-enhancer that can balance hormones. Plus, it has a slight caramel flavor – delicious in coffees or smoothies, like this hormone-balancing creation!
Manage stress & anxiety
Stress, anxiety, and depression are key factors that can reduce sex drive and affect your vaginal health. To manage these mood-killers, seek professional help, unwind with yoga, meditation and mindfulness, or try the latest stress-relieving trend, cold water therapy. The instant mood-lift and its ability to improve your stress response can work wonders.
Nutrition-wise, turn to omega 3 fatty acids that can boost mood, and sustain your energy and blood sugar throughout the day to avoid dips in energy. It can also release dopamine (the pleasure hormone) to help you to feel aroused.
“Integrating exercise not only helps hormone balance it also helps with self-esteem and body confidence which means we are more comfortable to get naked,” says Snowdon-Darling. Exercise can help boost endorphins and reduce stress levels, especially for an often-forgotten muscle, your pelvic floor. “The pelvic floor is a muscle just like any other muscle in your body and so it needs working out in the same way. The stronger your pelvic floor, the stronger your orgasms,” says Birch.
Relax & reconnect
“Our libido depends on many things, but hormones play a key factor which is why we see women’s sex drive reducing as hormones change during peri to post-menopause. We are naturally programmed to have a higher sex drive in the middle of the month when we ovulate as our body produces testosterone which naturally makes us desire sex more,” says Snowdon-Darling. “This then drops in the premenstrual phase and during our bleed as our fertility reduces.” This can be different for women on hormonal contraception, however – it can lull sexual desire because of the way it affects your hormones.
If you have low estrogen levels and experience vaginal dryness, which is common in menopausal women, try some nourishing vulva balm to increase moisture and alleviate discomfort.
Sexual desire is often more responsive for women than men, and focus and relaxation are vital components when it comes to blood flow, which is vital for sexual desire. To unwind, try incorporating ashwagandha, Rhodiola, CBD, and chamomile into your nutrition, and amp up the time spent on foreplay, perhaps with relaxing essential oils and massage oils.
Birch suggests reconnecting with your body, not just sexually. “Your sensual self involves moving your body, giving and receiving touch, dancing, or any other form of self-care which brings you pleasure. Find something to bring you confidence and happiness.”
Schedule it in
“While this might sound like the least sexy idea you have ever heard. Scheduling sex is a great way to set yourself up for pleasure. Reframe your thinking around this and instead spend time daydreaming about what might happen, creating excitement and a sense of anticipation. It gives you something to look forward to. You all know how good it feels in the build-up to a holiday. Planning time for sex, also reduces stress and anxiety in busy modern life,” says Birch.
Renowned sex and relationship therapist Esther Perel echoes this notion, citing that things don’t ‘just happen’ in long-term relationships. In her TedTalk, The Secret To Desire In A Long-Term Relationship, she says, “Committed sex is premeditated sex: it’s intentional, it’s focus and presence.”
Plus, you don’t always need a partner – make time for masturbation and self-love. This time alone allows you to explore your sexual desire; feel more confident in your body, and particular pleasures. “You don’t need to give yourself a hand cramp when there are toys you can use that are specifically engineered to stimulate everything from your clitoris to your G-Spot,” says psychosexual therapist and advisor for dating app BARE, Sara Rosen.
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Go forth & sexplore!
When it comes to rediscovering your sexual desire, you’ll notice there’s no quick fix. Getting stressed and losing sleep over a lulled libido will do you nofavors! Take the holistic approach to find yourfavoritekind of pleasure and have funsexploringin the process!