Five Healthy Ways to Improve Your Libido
By Richard Gaines, M.D., FAARM, ABAARM
Libido, or sex drive, is a measure of your desire to have sex. Throughout life many factors can combine to decrease libido — stress, certain medical conditions, age, even what you eat, and how often you exercise, can all affect libido. Both men and women can be affected by these factors, and could be looking for ways to enhance sexual pleasure, and increase interest in sex for themselves and the partners. Here are five safe, effective and natural ways to jump start your sex life.
1. Relax and Reduce Stress – Stress not only can be emotionally taxing, and therefore not “put you in the mood” but it also releases certain hormones such as cortisol, that are known to decrease the production of other hormones such as testosterone that boost libido. So make an effort to reduce stress. Try Yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or Tai Chi.
2. Diet and Nutrition – A generally good diet that leads to overall good health – lean protein, low fats, high fiber, a variety of fruits and veggies – can also lead to sexual wellness. Beyond that, there have been claims for centuries about many foods that supposedly have aphrodisiac qualities. Most are myths, but some are true. Avocado, bananas, celery, the proverbial raw oysters, as well as chocolate, figs, strawberries, eggs, liver, pumpkin and garlic, are among those foods that have been shown to increase sex drive. Interestingly enough, these are also mostly foods that have been identified as “super foods,” so there are many good reasons to add them to your diet. Some supplements have been linked to increased libido, these include Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), choline, arginine, and vitamins E, C and A.
3. Exercise – Exercise is good for you overall, but it can also have a great impact on improving your performance on the field, as well as in the bedroom. Aerobic workouts such as running and swimming, or bike-riding increase blood flow, and improve your mood, by increasing the release of “feel good” brain chemicals called endorphins. For men, high intensity training and weight training can increase testosterone levels, which can leave you looking and feeling more attractive. However, do not over-train as some extreme exercise can actually lower testosterone levels.
4. Avoid Alcohol – One glass of wine, and only one glass, can be good to put you and your partner in the mood. But, according to the Mayo Clinic, more than that can lead to sexual dysfunction. One glass can loosen inhibitions and increase desire, but more than that can affect a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection, and women’s ability to achieve orgasm.
5. Add Some Variety – Variety is the spice of life, and nowhere is that truer than in your sex-life. Even couples who are intensely in love and attracted to one another, can get caught in routines that can lead to sexual doldrums. Do not be afraid to shake it up a bit, and add some new excitement to your lives that can boost those endorphins and kick-start the libido. That doesn’t mean to only get a little more daring in the bedroom, although that can help – try doing some exciting activities together such as skydiving, hang-gliding, or rock climbing. Just about anything new and different, could have you looking at your partner in a whole new, and exciting way.