Sex sells, or so we’re led to believe. The way sex is portrayed in TV shows and movies, you may think that people have a sex drive or libido permanently turned on (no pun intended) . However, sexual desire and drive can differ from person to person and even from day to day for the same person. Some people naturally have a higher libido, and for others, it’s just lower. The only possible constant is that most people’s sex drive declines as they age.
If you are concerned about your loss of libido or your sexual health, you may end up consulting your doctor. They may prescribe specific medications that artificially boost your sex drive or deal with associated symptoms.
However, finding a natural way to boost sex drive is the preferred option for many people. Most natural tips to boost your sex drive can be divided into several broad categories: nutritional, herbal supplements, physical and psychological.
Foods claimed to have aphrodisiacal effects have long been one of the primary tips to boost your natural sex drive. While there is little in the way of evidence for these claims, it’s certainly worth a try.
- Chocolate: One of the main foods that has been touted as improving a person’s libido is chocolate. Chocolate is often promoted as a symbol of desire. While most research appears to suggest that its effects are more psychological than biological, it does help release chemicals such as serotonin and phenethylamine into your system. Both of these chemicals can have an aphrodisiacal effect on a person.
- Wine: Wine–or any type of alcohol, for that matter–is known to loosen a person’s inhibitions. It may also have a psychological effect by taking your mind off things that you’re overthinking or relieving stress, helping you relax and get in the mood for sex. However, as with everything, moderation is key. Too much alcohol may affect a person’s ability to reach orgasm.
- Fruits: Fruits such as avocados, bananas, and figs have also been suggested as foods that might boost your sex drive. This tip is based on the vitamins and minerals in these fruits, which may increase blood flow to the genitals, allowing for a better sexual experience.
- Garlic: Another food that can help with blood flow is garlic. This herb contains allicin, an organosulfur compound that has been found to lower cholesterol levels, as well as blood-pressure-lowering effects. That said, it’s probably not a great idea to munch on garlic just before you are looking to have sex. While your sex drive may be turned on, your breath may have the opposite effect on your partner.
- Overall Healthy Diet: As much as certain foods may help boost your libido, there is no substitute for living a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy foods. Foods with high protein levels and complex carbohydrates can help raise your energy levels and boost your sex drive.
There are several herbs that have been used traditionally to increase sex drive for men and women. Some have research to back them while others have been used for centuries with no real studies. However, in general, these herbs are not harmful, as the most common side effect is gastrointestinal upset, but be sure to check with your healthcare provider to make sure they are safe for your specific situation.
- Maca. This native plant of Peru has been shown to improve sexual desire. In a small, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, it was shown to be effective in increasing sexual desire in women who were taking antidepressant medications. In a review study of four random clinical trials, maca was shown to have favorable effects on menopausal symptoms, including an ability to balance estrogen levels which could alleviate vaginal dryness and increase lubrication.
- Tribulus. This herb has been used for years in Indian and Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments. It has been specifically studied for women who have sexual dysfunction and appears to increase levels of DHEA, a precursor of testosterone that is the main hormone related to libido.
- Ginkgo biloba. Used for centuries in Chinese medicine, this herb has been given to those suffering from senility, asthma, bronchitis, and a host of other conditions. In an open trial, it was found to be 84% effective in treating sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressant medications, with women responding positively more frequently than men.
- Red Ginseng. Another herb that has been used for thousands of years in China, Japan, and Korea, red ginseng has been shown to improve sexual arousal for post-menopausal women. It has also shown promise for erectile dysfunction in men. It may interact with medications such as blood thinners, so double check with your healthcare provider to make sure this herb will work for you.
- Red Clover. This legume has not yet been extensively studied. However, in a 2011 study involving 109 post-menopausal women, it was shown to improve libido, mood, sleep, and energy. It may also have potential for improving bone and cardiovascular health.
- Sleep: Fatigue is a common reason for a person having a reduced sex drive. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it may affect your hormone production, leading to sexual dysfunction. Even if you do try to have sex, your tiredness often makes it mechanical instead of being desirable. Getting enough sleep, either at night or through daytime naps, can help boost your desire for sex. Additionally, ensuring that you make time for sex is crucial in maintaining a healthy sex life. Scheduling sex may seem clinical and is definitely not spontaneous, but this important physical and emotional activity deserves a place on your calendar.
- Exercise: Exercising 2.5 hours a week can increase testosterone by as much as 15%. It can also help reduce stress that allows you to relax and enjoy yourself.
- Meditation and Exercise: For many women, stress plays an important role in their libido levels. Men may use sex to relieve stress, but women tend to find their sex drive dips when tense or anxious. Mediation and regular exercise can lower stress levels and help you relax. Also, physical activity can help raise your stamina and fitness levels, making sex a more pleasurable experience instead of feeling exhausting.
- Communication: Elvis Presley once sang “a little less conversation, a little more action, please,” when referring to relationships. Some people may agree with “The King” about that. However, a lack of communication can have a negative impact on sex drive, especially in women. If there are unresolved arguments or resentments about a lack of attention to a partner’s sexual needs, it can often lead to a person not being in the mood for sexual activity. Communication and resolving relationship issues are crucial for maintaining a healthy sex drive.
Time for a Romantic Meal
Now that we’ve covered how eating and drinking specific food and drinks, relaxing, and communicating can help your libido, why not combine all three? Making time to sit down regularly for a romantic meal can help check most of the boxes. You can relax and reconnect with your partner over a nice meal, washed down with a nice glass of wine, and maybe something chocolatey for dessert. Often just taking the time to remind yourselves what attracted you to one another may give your libido all the boost it needs. (However, it still might be a good idea to go easy on the garlic.)
- Yes, you can have better sex in midlife and in the years beyond
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- High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance
- Nutrients and botanicals for erectile dysfunction: examining the evidence
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