What's the Deal with Low Libido?
Let’s be honest, most of us will go through phases of low libido at some stage in life, but have you ever wondered what to do about it? Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of libido, and some hot tips to boost your sex drive.
What exactly is libido?
The main hormones that are related to libido are testosterone, estrogen and oxytocin. One pervasive stereotype that doesn’t hold up is that testosterone is only important for men and estrogen for women (or people with ovaries). Testosterone actually converts into estrogen in men’s bodies to have its full effect and estrogen aids in preventing vaginal dryness which helps to make sex less painful. Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone” - it makes us want to physically connect with our partners after sex. But maybe most surprisingly of all the new research findings is that hormones play a much smaller role in sex drive than previously thought. (1)
If you live in Northern countries, then your likely to experience long and dark winters and with it a dip in your sex drive. It’s no wonder when you understand that libido is directly connected to vitamin D, particularly desire, arousal and satisfaction. (2) Hormonal imbalance can also be a factor that plays into it; if the adrenal glands are insufficient and you’re suffering from weight loss, dehydration or weakness these are red flags. Or on the other hand, if you have an underactive thyroid and are suffering from weight gain, depression and dry skin then it’s worth getting a simple blood test for either of these issues. (3)
What can I do about it?
Being proactive and finding solutions is the best way to go, and it’s what we offer on our BEINTHEKNOW blog. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the potential solutions to a lagging libido.
1) A quality night of sleep does wonders for your sex drive (and mood, and skin… the list goes on). (4)
2) Take stock of your nutritional intake – are you getting enough protein, vegetables and fruit in your diet? If you are then go deeper into any health-related issues you might be suffering from. Try out some ancient herbs like maca, ginseng or gingko. You can find these at your local bio shop or tea shop. (4)
3) If you’re a smoker, it’s about time to quit (easier said than done!) A number of scientific findings point to cigarettes lowering sex drive. (4)
4) A physical fitness routine is key, and not just physiologically - it also boosts self-esteem. (5) Sign up for a Barre class, it’s a great option for many reasons. It was originally created to ‘radically improve sexual pleasure and support spinal health’ (6) in the 1960s by its founder Lotte Berk. She designed a series of exercises called ‘The Sex’ which strengthened the quads, inner thighs, gluteus muscles and mobility in the hips. Some other unforgettable routines she created were called ‘Naughty Bottoms’ and ‘The Prostitute.’ (6)
5) The hype is true; dark chocolate increases dopamine which is the chemical that courses through the sexual centers in our brain. Not to mention one study found that eating 40g of dark chocolate consistently for 14 days can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. (7)
6) Daily rituals in the morning and evening time are key to staying grounded and comfortable in your body and home. Cultivate strong rituals before going to work and when returning home that include aspects of all the tips above - start with number one and you’ll find that many other fall into place.
There’s no such thing as normal
Doctors and specialists struggle defining what a ‘normal’ sexual libido is because it operates on a large spectrum. (8) Most of us have experienced our libido fluctuating throughout our lives. Many factors that we touched on can play into the ups and downs, like different seasons in the year, hormones, and varying emotional and physical states. And for people with a period this is tied to hormones during ovulation and the menstrual cycle.
One positive affirmation that Bradley Anawalt, M.D., an endocrinologist who specializes in low testosterone and male fertility says, is that your libido is only a problem if you’re unhappy or not satisfied with it. If you think you have a high or low libido and have issues with it, that’s when you should seek answers or talk with a doctor. Your perspective and feelings towards it matter most, it’s as deeply personal as that.
Article by Natalya Gimson - Wellwords Studio.