Fast forward to present day and you could go days or weeks without wanting sex or even thinking about sex. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
Low Sexual Desire? Now What?
Many women experience low sexual desire at some point in their life, and they wonder if this is just the way it is. Is there anything you can do about it?
One of the first things that women ask me when they have low desire is, “Do you think it’s my hormones?” Hormones definitely play a factor. Women have low estrogen when they are breastfeeding, perimenopausal, and menopausal. We have low testosterone with pregnancy and as a result of many oral birth controls. Both estrogen and testosterone play a role in sex drive. So, if you’re having a sudden unexplained change in desire, you might want to go to your doctor and ask about having your hormone levels checked.
But sexual desire is about so much more than hormones!
There are 4 things that can throw off your sex drive that have nothing to do with sex (or sex hormones). Look these over and think about what you might want to tweak in your life.
Medications can Affect Your Sex Drive
Sometimes you’re taking medicine to help with one problem but then it causes another problem. Every medication has potential side effects and low libido can be one of them. Some common medications that affect sexual desire are antidepressants, antihypertensives (aka blood pressure medication), antihistamines, muscle relaxers, and oral birth control pills.
Not everyone experiences the same side effects and you should not stop or change your medication without consulting your doctor. Also, your pharmacist should be able to look over your medications and tell you if any of them are likely to decrease sexual desire. If you suspect your medication is causing this side effect, ask your doctor about alternatives. This is not an insignificant side effect – your sex life is important!
Exercise can Rev Up Your Sexual Desire
Exercise is great for every organ, not just your muscles, heart, and lungs. When you do cardiovascular exercise (fast-paced walking, running, biking, swimming, etc), you open up your blood vessels, decrease resistance and increase blood flow. When you exercise regularly, this effect is lasting. That means that even when you’re not exercising, every part of your body has increased blood flow, which makes everything work better. Yes! Your lady parts will work better too!
Weight training is perhaps even more important in boosting desire because of its potential to affect testosterone levels. Read more about the effect of weight training on libido here.
Get Your Sexy Sleep
If advice to “get your beauty sleep” has you feeling uninspired, what about getting your sexy sleep? I can’t imagine that there’s a sexually active person in the world who’s never felt too tired to have sex. But if you feel that way most days, that’s a problem!
But it’s not just about feeling well-rested. Sleep affects hormone regulation, cognition, and mood. Studies show that men require 7-8 hours of sleep a night while women require women 8-9 hours.
Here’s what I tell my clients who need to get better sleep:
- Create a good wind down routine:
- No screens for 30-60 min before bedtime
- Read a book or magazine
- Go to bed and wake up at similar times everyday, even on the weekends
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine and ginseng after 12pm.
- Quit smoking or using nicotine – it’s a stimulant.
- Decrease alcohol consumption. Wine and other alcoholic beverages help people fall asleep but it makes it harder to STAY asleep. Alcohol also negatively affects REM sleep and quality of sleep.
- Exercise on a regular basis, especially outside because it exposes you to sunlight which helps your body create melatonin to sleep better.
- Consider changing your sleep environment:
- Use a white noise sound machine if noises wake you up
- Use a sleep mask to block out light
- Get a good mattress if you’re tossing and turning and uncomfortable at night
Improve Your Diet to Boost Libido
Does what you eat affect your sex drive? I’ve led several smoothie challenges in the past to help people improve their health in general. Many people told me that they had SO MUCH more energy when they switched from an egg mcmuffin or bagel to a green smoothie for breakfast. But my clients were noticing something else too–it increased their sexual desire! Major bonus!
It should be no surprise that when we eat lots of fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t just improve our gut health and give us more energy… it can increase sex drive, too! The green smoothies that I use in my challenge are 75% greens (spinach, kale, etc), 25% fruit (banana, apple, orange, pineapples, berries, etc), one tablespoon of flaxseed or chia seeds (for omega 3) and enough water and/or ice to get the consistency your want. Most people made their smoothies large enough to be a satisfying meal replacement.
You can improve your health – including your sexual health!
I’m a huge proponent of general health and wellness and that extends into my specialty of sexual health. I love helping women and couples increase the bond in their relationship through healthy, satisfying sex that they look forward to!
On of the healthiest ways to address problems with sex is to talk about it out with your partner and a professional. If you’re looking for more ways to better communicate with your partner, join my free Facebook Group for women looking to boost their love life, or you can schedule email or video sessions and work with me!