Libido is sexual desire; ‘the energy of the sexual drive as a component of the life instinct’. Testosterone is the most influential hormone when it comes to sexual desire both for women and men. For women, progesterone and oestrogen also play a crucial role. An imbalance of these hormones can lead to a reduction of sexual drive or desire and may lead to a loss in libido. Your libido levels change throughout your entire life and this is caused by internal and external factors. In the spirit of shameless discussions, we will look at some of the factors that affect libido and the natural and holistic ways to improve low levels of sexual desire.
Reasons You May Have a Low Libido:
1. Medications like birth control, antidepressants, antihistamines, painkillers, etc. can wipe out your libido. The side effects of certain medications can cause fatigue, a shift in mood, drowsiness, and subdued energy levels which affects sexual desire or the willingness to do much outside of daily physical functions, you just feel tired.
2. Stress causes the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone. In healthy doses, it helps us to get up in the morning and with our fight or flight response. But when we stay in a constant state of stress, too much of this hormone gets released into our system. Cortisol takes over all of the chemicals that make us happy or want to have sex.
3. Diet and exercise can affect libido in varying proportions. A lack of physical activity outside the bedroom or a sedentary lifestyle may lead to low energy levels and the development of certain lifestyle diseases that cause diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and lower sexual desire. Food when consumed excessively and without a good balance can also lead to lethargy and lower libido.
4. The pressure to perform in the bedroom is compounded by expectations due to pornography, movies, social media and other images that are not an indication of the reality around sex education.
5. Age plays a factor too. There is also a decline in libido for women approaching menopause due to a shift in hormones and a decrease in oestrogen as well as men who are older due to lower levels of testosterone produced in old age.
How to Improve Your Low Libido:
1. Communication is key; consenting adults need to have open conversations around sex in order to relieve the pressure from expectations or feelings of inadequacy. Couples should be able to clearly communicate wants and needs and their levels of comfort before engaging in sex and to foster healthy boundaries and practices around sex. If need be, consult a sex therapist to combat the fears and miscommunication with your partner and ask as many questions or concerns you may have.
2. Detox! Eliminate refined sugars, eat a balanced diet filled with wholesome foods like fatty fish, seeds and nuts, dark chocolate, citrus foods, watermelon, ginger, greens and vegetables as well as water and hydrating fluids. Detoxing helps to balance out hormones, balance out sugars and cleanse the gut. Our Arorwet and Tendwet products work most effectively on this. With an all-round healthy practice, you will notice an improvement in your health and libido.
3. Daily exercise like walking, jogging, and lifting weights will not only help your body burn fats and build up a good sweat, but also improve your energy levels and help your body eliminate toxins. There is a direct correlation between an increase in daily moderate exercise and libido as it also increases the levels of testosterone in your system, a vital sex hormone. Drink plenty of water and get adequate rest to aid in the recovery of your metabolism.
4. Managing stress is essential in keeping our hormones in balance. Sex is an emotional and psychological affair as much as it is physical, therefore managing stress and anxiety is integral for healthy sex life. Using daily relaxation practices such as meditation, yoga, breathwork and talk therapy can help to release the emotional and psychological effects of stress and break down the barriers that may be impeding your libido.