Has your desire for sex gone south? Low libido is very common, and often triggered by hormonal or emotional problems. Try these natural solutions to rev up your sex drive:
1. Look to the East
According to traditional Chinese medicine, low libido is due to kidney deficiency, especially if it is accompanied by dizziness, tiredness, or lower back-ache. Saigon cinnamon, Chinese foxglove, Asiatic cornelian cherry fruit, Chinese yam, wolfberry and peony root are all tonics which may help a low libido.
Foods like Chinese jujubes, black sesame seeds, sword beans, wheat and chicken liver would also be recommended to increase kidney energy, along with a course of acupuncture.
2. Pick a herb
Maca is a root plant native to South America that is said to nourish the endocrine glands which produce and release sex hormones, so improving vaginal tenderness as well as stimulating the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands, which in turn support and balance hormones and so boost flagging desire. Add a teaspoonful of the powder to a smoothie or hot drink daily.
3. Get happy
If depression and fatigue are responsible for low libido, tonic herbs like ginseng and ashwagandha build stamina and energy, regulate metabolic rate and protect against mental and emotional stress.
Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant that enhances the supply of blood to the extremities, including to the sex organs. Sarsaparilla contains steroidal saponins which mimic the effect of some hormones, acting as a sexual health tonic.
Damiana is a nervous system stimulant which has been traditionally used to promote energy and increase libido in women — however, it should only be used under professional supervision.
4. Eat the food of love
The ‘junk in, junk out’ rule holds true: a vibrant, energising, balanced diet plays a major role in delivering the same benefits in the bedroom, while heavy, fatty foods will make you feel sluggish.
Zinc is necessary for the production and release of sex hormone in men and women: good food sources are oysters, crab, fortified cereals, cashews, chicken, and chickpeas.
5. Take it E-asy
Poor lubrication equals painful sex, and no one wants to do it if it hurts. The most common reason is vaginal atrophy, when oestrogen levels drop during the lead-up to menopause and then again in menopause itself, resulting in thinning of the tissues and dryness. Try piercing a vitamin E capsule and massaging the contents into the vagina daily.
6. Ommm, baby
Psychological factors, notably stress and depression, can be a downer for your sex drive, due to the negative effects of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin, which reduce the reactivity of sex drive receptors as part of the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to stress.
It’s crucial to manage stress, by taking the time to meditate and exercise. If body image, relationship or low self-esteem issues are interfering with your interest in sex, seek therapy from a qualified counsellor.
7. Check your Rx
Prescription medications can have undesirable side effects on your sexual health — antidepressants, and drugs for blood pressure, pain relief, and chemotherapy are notorious libido killers; even over-the-counter antihistamines may be a culprit. Ask your doctor if any of your medicines might be a hidden cause.
8. Try a (sex) toy story
Couples who laugh together are more satisfied with their relationship, sexual and otherwise. Experimenting with a sex toy can also lend a sense of humour and adventure.
The Rabbit — popularised by Sex and the City — is non-threatening and stimulates the clitoris and the G-spot.
(Text by bauersyndication.com.au / Additional reporting by Natalya Molok)