How can libido be affected?
Biologically, our sex hormones regulate our libido. These are testosterone and dopamine, and a change in the levels can result in a decrease or increase in sex drive. But there are also a wide range of exogenous factors that play a role in our sexual appetites.
Social and Psychological Factors
Lack of privacy in the home and lack of intimacy can play a major part in decreasing your libido. If you have to share your space with others, or are hosting people in your home for an extended period, you tend to rule out sex altogether because you just don't get any interruption-free periods. If you are currently stressed, or fatigued, expect your sex drive to drop. The same goes for depression. Depression makes you feel as though you are worthless, making it challenging to initiate sex or to summon the energy to be intimate with a partner. On top of this, if you're taking anti-depressants, a loss of libido is a well-known side-effect.
Other social causes can affect our desire to have sex. If you suffer from anxiety or negative body image, if you have experience sexual assault or abuse, if you've grown up in a household where sex was not discussed or considered taboo, all these societal factors serve to decrease your natural libido.
We may think of periods and sex as two very disparate concepts, but the menstrual cycle can increase libido as much as it can decrease it. Many women experience an increase in libido quickly before ovulation begins, and this is associated with a change in testosterone levels during the menstrual cycle. This is because this a woman's peak fertility period normally occurs in the period spanning two days before and two days after ovulation. Testosterone levels gradually rise from around the 24th day of a woman's cycle until ovulation on around the 14th day of the next cycle - and this period acts as a major libido booster. On the flip side, the week following ovulation sees testosterone drop to its lowest level, and as a result women find themselves less interested in sex.
Impact of age
A male will reach his sexual peak during his teens around the ages of 15-16 years old, whilst a female will reach her sexual peak during her mid-thirties.
10 Ways to Increase Sex Drive
If you are concerned about your sex drive, your first port of call should be to schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional. They'll be the best equipped to get your sex drive back on track. But if you'd like to explore natural ways to increase your libido, go right ahead! It's important to have agency over your own body and feel as though you have control over how to increase your libido.
10. Check Your Birth Control
The pill, the patch, the implant or the IUD - each is a birth control that uses hormones to achieve the desired result. These added hormones can cause your sex drive to drop. If you're wondering "How can I increase my sex drive?", try tracking your arousal levels when you aren't using birth control and compare it to your libido when you are back on birth control. You may see a distinct pattern emerge. Talk to your doctor about transitioning to a different form of birth control and how to increase your libido at the same time.
9. Exercise Before Sex
Ok, we don't mean leap up out of bed and say "Wait here honey, just going to run a few times around the block", but exercise can improve your sex life. When you make time for regular exercise, you become more confident in your body, you benefit from the increased endorphins, and you become more partial to working up a sweat in the bedroom as well as in the gym!
8. De-Stress Your Way To More Sex
Making an effort to de-stress is one of many natural ways to increase libido. If your career or personal life are piling on the pressure, you'll need to make your emotional wellbeing a priority if you want your libido to function normally. Whether you're a fan of yoga, meditation, journalling or therapeutic activities like colouring-in or craft, make sure you take time to decompress. When you are wound as tight as a spring, you're not going to feel in the mood for romance.
7. Do Your Kegels
Doing pelvic-floor exercises can make potentially increase the intensity of your orgasms, and help prevent urinary incontinence later in life. So don't skip out on your kegels!
6. Prioritise Your Relationship
If you keep putting sex, intimacy and time with your partner last, you're never going to get anywhere. As artificial as it may seem, block out time for sex and intimacy with your partner and stick to those times. It may not seem organic at first, but in time things will start to come more naturally to you again.
5. Sensual & Pleasurable Foods
People tend to exaggerate the affect of foods that increase libido. Any benefit won't come from what nutrients are in the food, it's more likely to come from the act of eat the food itself. Peaches, figs, chocolate, oysters, these are famous aphrodisiacs because they are sensual to eat. These foods will only act as libido boosters if you actually enjoy eating them in the first place, so if you hate oysters don't expect them to magically increase your sexual appetite.
4. Treat Your Self
Treat yourself to some new lingerie or sexy sleepwear. Book in for a couple's massage, or arrange to have a special night away with your partner. Sometimes you need to shake things up and look outside your usual routine if you want to reignite that special spark.
3. Communicate With Your Partner
With low libido can come guilt, embarrassment and feelings of shame. Speaking openly with your partner can at least ease the burden of these negative feelings. If you don't communicate, you partner may continue to unintentionally make the situation worse. Letting them know what you're going through can help the both of you work through this together.
2. Get to Know Your Body Better
'Self-love' can feel taboo, especially for women. But how can you hope to increase your libido if you yourself don't know your own body? Feeling comfortable and confident starts with you, so as daunting as it may seem you may have to start learning to love your own body before you ask somebody else to.
1. Minimise Your Alcohol Intake
One drink can give you more confidence, but any more than that and you aren't doing your sex drive any favours. Alcohol is a depressive-type drug, and in both male and females regular and prolonged periods of drinking can reduce sexual response. Stick the bubbly water and see if this makes a change.