4 Surprisingly Common Things That Are Messing With Your Libido
Sex drive took a hike?
Low libido? We matched up some of the biggest arousal disrupters with their proven “Welcome back, mojo!” fixes. Here, how to reclaim your fire in the bedroom…
1. Anxiety or stress
Deep breathing or a 10-minute meditation session can dial down stress. Erotic reading might also help distract you and “focus your mind on getting sexual,” says sexologist Dr Kat van Kirk, author of The Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life. Masturbation is another two-for-one trick. “It can help shift your attention to pleasure and sensuality and away from the things that are stressing you out,” says Dr Emily Nagoski, author of Come As You Are.
Certain meds – such as antidepressants (particularly SSRIs) and oral contraceptives – or hormonal changes (like those that can happen during and after pregnancy) can affect key sex-drive hormones.
Exercise. A 2012 study found that vigorous cardio makes women on antidepressants feel more sexually aroused. “It balances hormones and increases blood flow to the erogenous zones,” says Van Kirk. Or try switching your Pill brand (chat to your doc first).
3. Pelvic pain
Pelvic pain, possibly caused by endometriosis or fibroids, which can make sex (even just the thought of it) off-putting.
Get evaluated by your gynae and learn more about treatment options that can ease pelvic pain, such as drug remedies or surgeries that can remove fibroids or endometrial tissue.
Sugar, says Alexandra Jamieson, author of Women, Food and Desire. The inflammatory food contributes to insulin resistance, which, in turn, drives down testosterone (an arousal hormone in both men and women). Plus, “eating sugary foods can make you feel lethargic,” adds Van Kirk.
Cut your sweets intake and order a dozen oysters to split on date night (not an aphrodisiac cliché). “They’re high in zinc, which helps your body use oestrogen and progesterone effectively. They also contain dopamine, a hormone known to help increase libido in both men and women,” says Jamieson.