8 ways to boost your libido, plus why it may have dropped
Rest assured, loss of libido – also known as our sex drive – is common, so if this is a current concern, you are far from alone. But there are a number of ways we can give things a boost, if we so desire.
Having a healthy sex life has many benefits, both emotionally and physically. Many studies show a link between regular intercourse and lower blood pressure. Sex is also often touted as a natural stress reliever and aid to sleep.
Why has my libido dropped?
Before we get into things, it may be helpful to understand why our sex drive ebbs and flows in the first place.
According to the NHS, there are a number of things that can reduce our sex drive. Issues within a relationship, such as loss of sexual attraction, physical sexual problems (like vaginal dryness or erectile dysfunction) or difficulty trusting a partner, may be to blame.
While having sex is a natural stress reliever, feeling stressed out – whether that’s because of growing pressures at work, financial worries, or unsettling life changes – can often mean we don’t want to be intimate with our partners.
A floundering sex drive can also be a common symptom of the menopause due to falling testosterone levels, vaginal dryness, and vaginal discomfort. The average age of menopause in the UK is 51 years, but it can occur significantly earlier.
Pregnancy can also affect sex drive. While some women will notice higher levels of arousal while expecting a baby, others will experience the exact opposite. Post-partum, physical changes to our bodies, fluctuating hormone levels and feeling exhausted from caring for a little one around the clock may also play a part in wanting less sex.
Underlying health conditions may also to be blame if sex drive has dwindled. A low libido can be linked to hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), diabetes, and heart disease.
Certain medications and even contraception may be the cause of a reduced libido too.
How can I increase my libido?
There are many reasons why sexual desire may be at at an all-time low. The good news is that there are also many ways to reignite the flames.
Keep reading for eight ways to increase your libido.
Manage anxiety and stress levels
As we mentioned earlier, feeling stressed out or anxious can have a negative impact on your sex life.
Exercising, mindful breathing and relaxation techniques and eliminating unhelpful triggers, such as speaking to your boss about any work worries, can all help to bring stress levels down and help you get back into the mood.
Look at your diet
Zinc is essential for the production of sex hormones in both men and women, so be sure you’re getting enough to recharge your sexual energy.
Oysters are extremely high in zinc (hence the old wives’ tale of them being an aphrodisiac), as are seeds like sesame, hemp and pumpkin, and nuts such as peanuts, cashews and almonds.
Work on your relationship
If you think that issues with your partner, either in or out of the bedroom, are the reason why you no longer want to get between the sheets, then it’s important to address them by communicating with one another.
You may also find it helpful to speak to a relationship therapist to work through any problems you’re facing with your significant other.
Or, if it’s physical problems such as erectile dysfunction or pain during intercourse, it’s worth speaking to your GP.
Try something new
If your sex life has become stagnant or overly repetitive, then you might want to try livening things up in the bedroom, especially if you have been doing the same ‘routine’ for a long time.
Try something new that both you and your partner are comfortable with. Small things like switching locations or giving a different position a test run can have a big impact in making things more appealing.
Give yourself a helping hand
If you’re finding sex uncomfortable because you struggle with vaginal dryness, using a lubricant can help. Vaginal dryness can also be a common symptom of the menopause. Speaking to your GP and seeking a HRT prescription may be helpful.
When choosing a lubricant, avoid those that are overly synthetic or perfumed, as these can cause irritation. Plus, be sure to check that the product is between pH3.8 and pH4.5 as products that are too alkaline can trigger bouts of thrush.
Speak to your GP if you are dealing with any pain caused by sex or if you have any concerns. You may also find it helpful to download our free menopause symptom tracker and Liz’s e-guides to menopause and HRT.
Lower alcohol intake
Men may struggle to get an erection and women may find it harder to orgasm. If you don’t want to cut out booze entirely, ensure that you’re imbibing sensibly within recommended weekly units.
If you think that the menopause may be the culprit behind a plummeting libido, there are a number of things you can do. Speak to your GP if you’re struggling with vaginal dryness, as they can prescribe you with a topical oestrogen either as a pessary, cream or vaginal ring.
Lubricating can also help and testosterone, usually applied as a cream or gel, may also be a useful option.
Ever shrugged off your partner’s advances because you’re ‘too tired’?
Feelings of exhaustion lower your libido, so it’s important that you are getting plenty of quality shut-eye.
Practice good sleep hygiene, for example setting regular slumber hours, cultivating a wind down routine and putting your phone away an hour before bed can all be extremely helpful.