Ahhhh Spring. Just like trees coming alive or flowers waking from their winter sleep, it’s the time when our thoughts turn towards love and romance. Or maybe not. Why are some of us seemingly immune to the aphrodisiac effects of the season?
Sex drive varies significantly from person to person and loss of libido is a common problem affecting many men – and even more women – at some point in their life.
What causes low libido?
Loss of sex drive is often linked to professional and personal stress, or important life events such as pregnancy or breastfeeding. But an unexplained loss of libido, especially when prolonged, can also indicate an underlying medical problem such as an underactive thyroid or adrenal fatigue.
Libido is also affected by excess alcohol consumption or the misuse of drugs. Many people lose some interest in sex as they get older, mainly due to falling levels of hormones, age-related health problems, or the side effects of prescription medication.
Men versus Women
Women tend to be more neutral about sex, perhaps because social and cultural attitudes make us less willing to express our sexual desires. We are less spontaneous than men and not necessarily as likely to initiate things in the bedroom. A women’s desire is also much more likely to be affected by relationship satisfaction and emotional intimacy. The more attached we are to our partner the more intense is our libido. In many ways, this is the opposite of the way many men function.
Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during the menstrual cycle, also influence the intensity of a woman’s sex drive. Over the days prior to ovulation, estrogen peaks and libido soars (except in women who use hormone-based contraception, of course). And after giving birth we secrete prolactin, which quenches libido.
The big “T”
Testosterone is the hormone that plays a key role in libido in both men and women. It’s produced by the testicles and adrenal glands in men, and by the ovaries in women. Women have less than men, but this shouldn’t affect our sex drive as the female body is a lot more sensitive to it.
A man’s testosterone falls gradually from age 20 onwards and at age 75 can be half the level of a 20-year-old. “Low T”, as it’s known, can cause depression, fatigue and weight gain, but many men manage perfectly well without problems. Indeed, men with testosterone levels at the lower end of ‘normal’ can have a perfectly good sex drive, just as men with relatively high testosterone levels sometimes complain of low libido.
Other factors also influence sex drive. Here are some of the major anti-aphrodisiacs:
- Stress: Emotional stress affects physical function – including sexual desire and performance.
- Partner: It takes two to tango. Both partners need to feel connected and women especially need the feeling of being close. Poor communication, a sense of betrayal, lack of trust and repeated fighting and criticism may create a relationship that lacks closeness and intimacy.
- Alcohol: While it may decrease inhibitions, it also decreases sexual performance and libido. Your partner may be turned off by drunken advances.
- Prescription medications: Loss of libido and sex drive are side effects of many drugs, including blood pressure medication, antidepressants, antihistamines and cold medicines.
- Poor Body Image: You’re only as sexy as you feel. Many people have low self-esteem, so being happy with yourself is an important first step when it comes to sex drive.
Boosting libido through nutrition
Conventional medicine tends to want to fix sexual health issues with a little pill, but it’s clear that overall health and psychological wellness can have a huge effect on your sex life. When you feel well physically your sex drive generally improves.
If you have a lower than normal libido, then eating the right types of foods and cutting down on the wrong foods can help rebuild your sex drive. Making sure you are getting all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs is essential for a stimulating and satisfying sex life.
Nature’s Libido Boosters
As a trained professional, my focus is on getting to the root of the issue by identifying underlying conditions and contributing factors and correcting nutritional deficiencies. I recommend a whole food diet, plenty of fluids and the appropriate use of natural supplements like these:
- Maca Powder is made from the root of a Peruvian radish-like plant. In South America, it is considered a magical symbol of youth and has been appreciated for thousands of years for its positive effect on energy levels, growth and fertility. Maca is now gaining popularity as a libido booster (it is known as herbal Viagra) and it general strengthening effects on the body.
- Indian Ginseng (also known as ashwagandha) is a commonly used aphrodisiac and has been proven to reduce inflammation and stress, calm the nervous system, and balance the immune system. Modern scientific studies suggest that ashwagandha’s amorous reputation may be warranted and that it may be an effective herbal alternative treatment for loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.
- Vitamins and Minerals are vital for androgen and testosterone production. Make sure you’re getting ample amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Eat foods like carrots, kale, spinach, shellfish/shrimp, wild salmon, kidney beans, flax seeds, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds to get these nutrients into your diet.
Is low libido an issue for you? Performance enhancing drugs and hormone therapy are not your only options. The Foodwise Mood and Energy Plan can help improve your sex drive naturally through nutrition and lifestyle with immediate benefits to your overall health and wellbeing: https://www.foodwise.life/program/energy-mood
How about this for a delicious way to enjoy the libido boosting effects of maca? Maca powder is available from The Clever Kitchen at Stars’n’bars.
Choco LOVE shake
1 cup almond milk
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp almond butter
4 Medjool dates pitted
2 cups loosely-packed spinach (or one frozen cube)
3 ice cubes
2 tbsp raw cacao
½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 – 3 tsp Maca Powder
Simply blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender. Makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies.
Note: be prepared! Always keep a few peeled bananas in your freezer to add coolness to your smoothies.
No frozen bananas? Just add a little less almond milk and a few more ice cubes for a super chilled shake.