Our Relationship With Libido
What is libido?
Libido is a person’s overall desire for sexual activity. It is affected by several biological, psychological, and social factors. Sex hormones and associated neurotransmitters work together to dictate the level of libido in humans. Sexual desire is vital for human health, and less than the optimal desire can prove to be detrimental to intimate relationships. Levels of libido vary between individuals, and there’s no such thing as a “normal” libido. What is normal for one person, is not for another. Many people, however, suffer from low libido due to a variety of reasons that we will discuss below.
One of the most common symptoms of clinical depression is having no sex at all, and therefore any level of stress or anxiety can cause low sex drive. People who are always busy and tend to over-extend themselves in terms of their work schedules may feel burnt out and exhausted and, as a result, have a low sexual desire. If you feel that this applies to you, it is vital to manage mood first. It is important to keep in mind that many medications that address mood problems also come with a host of side effects that can greatly influence libido. Please consult with your doctor to see if there are medications that would tamper the least with libido. Managing stress and anxiety are key to ensuring that the body is primed and ready for a healthy libido level.
When referring to relationships, you may have heard the term, “Comfort phase”. Relationships can dull over time if they are not taken care of and nourished. This can lead to a low libido. When relationships enter into the, “Comfort phase”, sometimes one or both partners stop caring as much about their physical looks. In addition, living together can cause for more frequent disagreements, unresolved issues, and/or lack of communication between partners.
To resolve these issues, couples can plan an unexpected date night, go on trips together, spend more quality time with one another, and most importantly, focus on engaging in open communication. Being in a long-term relationship that routinely practices open communication can boost sexual health as partners begin to understand the each other’s needs.
Following a healthy diet can enhance libido. It promotes proper blood circulation and heart health. Including a variety of meats in your daily diet to improve your sex life, including beef and chicken. They are rich in carnitine and L-arginine, which are amino acids that will enhance blood flow, and undoubtedly can be beneficial for sex.
You may have heard of the aphrodisiac power of Oysters! Yes, you heard that right. Research shared by the American Chemical Society has found that oysters, clams, and scallops contain compounds that raise testosterone and estrogen levels.
Chocolates and nuts, including almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and pumpkin seeds, have specific oils to boost up your sexual desire and abilities as well. It’s no coincidence that these are, “Go-To” treats for your loved one on Valentine’s Day.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight:
Being overweight and obesity are linked to low sex drive. This is because obesity greatly affects the balance of the sex hormones. To top it off, being obese can also greatly affect your partners sexual desire. We all want to look our healthiest for our partners.
Practicing a healthy diet of lean meats with plenty of fruits and vegetables is vital for improving heart health, blood pressure, and ensuring that the sex hormones are in optimal balance.
In addition, exercising on a regular basis has been shown to fight obesity, improve heart health, normalize blood pressure, and balance the sex hormones for optimal libido!
Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs:
This is likely not a new discovery for many of you reading this. Alcohol, smoking, and many drugs can surely impair sexual function. In the short term, they can throw off blood pressure, which can negatively impact libido. In the long term, they can negatively impact the sex hormones, creating imbalances and causing major problems. Abstinence is best, and moderation is mandatory here.
Sex Education and Counselling:
Talking with a sex therapist or sex counselor who is skilled in addressing sexual concerns can help a lot with low sex drive. Therapy often focuses on knowledge about sexual response and techniques and how to improve your intimate relationship. Do not shy from telling your counsellor about your body and what you’re feeling. Don’t hold back as this is the only possible way that they will know whether the root of the problem is physical, psychological, or both. Your therapist will most likely provide recommendations for reading materials or couples’ exercises. The simple act of attending counseling that deals with relationship issues may also help increase feelings of intimacy and desire.
What About Medications?
Everyone has heard about Viagra and/or Cialis. Yes, they work at increasing the ability of the body to engage in sexual activity, but they do not increase desire. These medications work by increasing blood flow to the sexual organs, thereby, increasing sensitivity and function. They do not, however, have a direct impact on improving libido.
What About Natural Supplements?
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.
- L-Arginine: An amino acid that optimizes blood flow to tissues and has been shown to improve blood flow to the sex organs.
- DIM (Diindolylmethane): Found in cruciferous vegetables, DIM is a potent anti-aromatase inhibitor that works to balance estrogen levels for optimal health, and as a means of decreasing estrogen-related fat storage in the body, and balancing sex hormones.
- Panax Ginseng: Ginseng has been part of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is an antioxidant and is used as a sex stimulant to treat sexual dysfunction and enhance sexual desire. It has also been known to improve sperm quality.
- Forskohlii: An herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to increase strength and libido while improving fat loss and decreasing cravings
- Maca: 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.
- Resveratrol: A compound that has gained popularity because it is found naturally in red wine and has been found to be effective in decreasing the risk of developing heart disease, prevents the incidence of high blood-sugar, supports long-term fat loss, and even helps to regulate blood pressure
- Citrulline: 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).
If you have tried any of our libido-boosting tips, or if you’re considering whether or not to add some of our libido-boosting supplements into your regime, tell us about it on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to tag @reflexsupplements and use the hashtag #ReflexNation.