Valentine’s Day is here and it’s the perfect time to take a look at your libido. If you’re not in the mood as often as you once were, fret not. It’s common and there are plenty of simple, natural ways to get your sexxxxy back!
Unsurprisingly, exercise helps with libido for a variety of reasons. Exercise boosts the blood flow to the genitals and it also helps to release testosterone and reduce cortisol, two of the major hormones involved in both the male and female sexual response.
The additional benefits of exercise are also plenty, because when we’re feeling good in the gym, we’re also more likely to feel good between the sheets. Of course, more strength and flexibility will allow for more creativity in the bedroom, and having a good self image will only help to boost confidence and in turn, performance!
For men, working on exercises like push-ups, planks and crunches can help to gain stamina and strength throughout the upper body, including the shoulders, back, chest and abs – the muscles most often recruited during sex.
For women, healthy pelvic floor muscles will lead to a healthier sexual response which looks like more arousal, sensation and better orgasms! Beyond kegels, seeking out exercises that focus on pairing breath with core movements that engage the pelvic floor (like pilates) can be incredibly helpful. Also, women who do resistance training produce higher levels of the hormone testosterone which plays a pivotal role in sexual desire!
All that said, too much of something is never a good thing and studies show that over exercising can have negative effects, including the link between too much exercise and too much of the stress hormone cortisol. A recent study showed endurance training can actually reduce libido by lowering the amount of testosterone in the body of men . As for women, exercising too much or reducing body fat levels too low can affect the reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone), resulting in irregular menstrual cycles irregularities and lowered sex drive.
Key takeaway: train with weights and move regularly, but don’t overdo it.
For centuries, many different cultures have used foods to boost and enhance sexual performance. Known as aphrodisiacs, many of these foods lack the science to back all the claims although yet there is some evidence revealing how they may work – beyond the placebo effect.
Celery contains the amino acid arginine which helps to expand blood vessels in a similar way that Viagra does. It also contains the steroids known as androstenol and androsterone. These steroids may increase male production of pheromones released through the sweat glands which then helps attract the opposite sex.
Pumpkin seeds contain Zinc which is good for the male reproductive organs, including boosting testosterone, thereby increasing libido. For women, zinc blocks an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
Pomegranate are high in antioxidants and may improve blood pressure and circulation. They have also been noted to increase testosterone levels in both women and men.
Oysters are probably the most well known of all the aphrodisiacs. In addition to testosterone-boosting zinc, oysters also contain the amino acids known as D-aspartic and N-methyl-D-aspartate which are known to increase sex hormones. Tyrosine, another amino acid in Oysters affects the dopamine response which is linked to libido.
Walnuts are another good source of the amino acid L-arginine which after being converted to nitric oxide has been known to improve blood flow.
Dark chocolate contains mood boosting and stress relieving qualities from ingredients like phenylethylamine. Make sure you’re sticking with the 60-70%+ cocoa version and eating a reasonable serving size!
Key takeaway: no amount of libido boosting foods will take away the negative effects of a poor diet, but the aforementioned foods may help.
While many supplements show promise for improving sexual health, it’s important to note that they’ll work best when combined with plenty of healthy food and exercise.
Ginseng has been part of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It’s an antioxidant, and is used as a sex stimulant to treat sexual dysfunction and enhance sexual behaviour. It has also been known to improve sperm quality.
Maca is part of a group of plants known as “adaptogens” which help the body adapt to stressful conditions. One double blind study found the group of men given maca to have (self-reported) heightened sexual desire . Other studies have shown increased sperm count and motility  as well as improvement in erectile dysfunction .
Citrulline, is an amino acid that is converted by the body into the amino acid L-arginine. As noted above, it enhances the production of nitric acid which helps with fatigue and erectile dysfunction.
Other more common supplements known to be helpful for sexual health include: Zinc and Vitamin D (both which may help boost testosterone levels), vitamin C (which acts as an antioxidant) and the B-complex vitamins (which support adrenal health and help to balance mood).
After you’d looked at the exercise, nutrition and supplements to help strenthen your sexcual health, the final step is saying goodby to any of these bad habits:
Increased cortisol caused by lack of sleep and too much stress is probably one of the quickest things to take you out of the love game. Simple things like turning off your work emails, leaving your phone in another room or turning off the news can go along way when it comes to helping you get in the right mindset.
Although a little bit of alcohol may lower inhibitions in the bedroom, it’s still a depressant. Smoking also damages blood vessels and has a direct impact on sexual performance which is directly linked to how many cigarettes smoked per day.
Although uncommon, taking synthetic hormones can sometimes throw off the natural balance of female hormones by eliminating the mid-cycle surge of testosterone, which is directly linked to libido.
Getting your sex drive back on track isn’t the sexiest to talk about but if you want to know the best supplements that’ll help, come and visit us in store. We’ve got the expert advice to help you achieve your peak performance in aspects of your health – find a Reflex location near you! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We are #ReflexNation.
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