Everyone’s sex drive is different and will likely change due to circumstances and over the course of their life and a recent research has shown that for women over 50, lack of libido can be a real issue with 75% suffering from a reduced sex drive.
Of course, the main thing that kills libido is stress so being as relaxed as possible is essential but there are a number of other natural ways a low sex drive can be combated. Several experts and nutritionists have outlined some reliable methods in improving sex drive that can help women of any age.
From eating chocolate and using lube through to pelvic exercises and supplements, here are 11 things to try if you feel your libido is lower than you want it to be.
1. Get that blood flowing
Poor circulation and blood flow can lead to stagnant energy within the body. This is further going to worsen the problem of low libido. Good blood flow to your sexual organs is vital for arousal, sexual stimulation and pleasure. The more blood flow, the more intense the orgasm. One way to increase blood flow is by getting out and moving more.
‘Try to add at least 20 minutes of heartbeat raising exercise to your routine each day. This could be as simple as a brisk walk, a session on a mini trampoline or a visit to the gym. Adequate hydration will help too, purified water, fruit teas and herbal teas add to your hydration levels’.
2. Boost with basil
‘Granted, it’s not the most obvious of food choices, however, bear with us! Basil can help increase circulation, stimulate the sex drive and boost fertility. And, surprisingly, the scent of basil (supposedly) drives us wild with desire. Basil oil was used by Mediterranean prostitutes as a perfume, to err, attract their customers…a dab of fresh pesto behind your ears ladies?! No, we thought not, but add some fresh basil to your salad to help get your libido going!’
3. Communication is key
‘Relationship troubles can contribute to loss of sexual desire. If you don’t feel listened to, respected or important it is natural to respond with resentment and that resentment can dampen libido. It’s important to open the lines of communication with your partner, so that anger can be expressed in places other than the bedroom. If the problem is severe, such as infidelity, you may want to go to a relationship counsellor.’
4. Lower stress
Stress plays a huge role in libido reduction. The ingredients that our bodies use to make stress hormones are the same ingredients that are used to make sex hormones. Your body will always prioritise the production of stress hormones over anything else. Going back pre-historically, stress hormones were used to get us out of danger, to stop us being eaten by a tiger. At that moment in time, your body does not care about sex! The problem is that in today’s over stressed work and home lives, we are constantly producing these stress hormones, and often not allowing our bodies to make other hormones, such as sex hormones.’
‘Stress, sleep and anxiety are all related. If we don’t get enough sleep, we can find it harder to adapt to challenging situations, and when we can’t cope as efficiently with stress it can be harder to have a good nights rest. I’d recommend taking Magnesium, which is known as “nature’s tranquiliser” and is needed to relax our muscles and nerves, which helps us to fall into a peaceful sleep. To ensure you’re getting enough magnesium try and include plenty of magnesium-rich foods in your diet such as, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish and leafy green vegetables. I’d also recommend taking a supplement.’
5. Loosen up those pelvic muscles
Addressing emotional or psychological issues can help to boost your libido. Any unresolved issues may lead to stress, mental anguish and anxiety. Boosting self-esteem is important for increasing libido. Remember that sexy is a feeling rather than a look, so appreciating yourself, regardless of your hang-ups will help.
‘In Ayurvedic culture the second chakra, pin pointed at your navel is related to sexual energy, so it is important to ensure that all of your energy is flowing through all of your chakras freely.
‘Meditation, yoga and other forms of exercise can be beneficial to both self-esteem and free flowing energy. The yoga and exercise will help to loosen up the muscles in the pelvic areas, allowing good blood and energy flow to the pelvic and surrounding areas. While on the other side, meditation, helps to calm the mind and connect you to your higher self, which will help plant positive thoughts and emotions.’
6. Wetter is better
On the subject of using lubes to boost sex drive, Shona said: ‘It is much better down where its wetter- and as we age, our sex hormones naturally deplete. The loss of oestrogen can cause the tissues of the genital organs to shrink and for everything to become less sensitive. The lack of oestrogen causes a loss of vaginal secretions, which can make sex uncomfortable. And no one wants uncomfortable sex. Although aging is inevitable, there are natural lubricants that we can use to make things a little more pleasurable.’
7. Avoid an irritated vagina
Vaginal dryness can affect women of all ages, but it is particularly common in women during menopause, affecting half of all women at this stage in their life. It is perhaps the most distressing and least talked about symptom of the menopause.
‘Vaginal dryness can make your vagina feel dry, itchy and at times tender. It may take you longer to become lubricated during lovemaking, which can make sexual intercourse feel uncomfortable, or even painful.
‘Normally, mucus membranes (the vaginal epithelium) located at the mouth of uterus keep the vagina moist. Oestrogen helps these membranes to produce lubrication and stay plump and soft. The lubricant is slightly acidic, which helps to protect the vagina from foreign bacteria, keeping it free from infection. Low levels of oestrogen also cause the vagina and surrounding connective tissue to lose elasticity and the tissue that lines the vagina to become thinner and more fragile.
‘Avoid douches, talcum powder, hot baths, perfumed toilet papers and bath oils and foams, as they can irritate the vagina. Don’t wash the inside of your vagina with soap as this will dry out the skin. The vagina is self-cleansing and in most cases warm water is all that you need to wash it.’
8. Vitamin intake is key
‘Ensuring that you have adequate sex hormone production is essential for maintaining libido. Once you have decreased your stress levels, and investigated any underlying cause, you can look at some foods and herbs which may be beneficial. Vitamin B6 contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Increase your B6 rich foods such as; avocados, walnuts chicken and mackerel.’
9. Eat more fish
Boost you Omega 3 levels, a multi-tasking hero, not only does this help reduce irritability, and reduce inflammation in the body, it also enhances your mood, helps balance your hormones, and it aids healthy production of sex hormones. Omega 3 is building block of sex hormones in both men and women. It fights the build up of plaque in the arteries, thereby improving circulation and increasing sensation. Omega-3 fatty acids also help with sexual response -raising dopamine levels in the brain that trigger arousal. Fish such as wild salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies are also all omega-3 rich.
10. Get in the mood with the help of aromatherapy
‘Relaxing and sexually stimulating essential oils can help put you in the mood for lovemaking. Put a few drops of a relaxing oil, such as lavender, into an essential oil burner, turn the lights down low and allow the calming mood to take the room. Alternatively, try a sensual aromatherapy massage using 15 drops lavender essential oil in 1 fl oz sweet almond oil; or use 5 drops lavender oil in your bath.’
11. Enjoy some chocolate
‘Thank goodness we can eat (dark) chocolate in the guise that it’ll enhance our sex lives! Simply nibbling a few squares of the good stuff after dinner, you’ll help lift your mood enormously, going from stressed to, well…sexy! Go for quality dark chocolate (60-70 per cent cocoa solid) which contains the potential to relax you, intoxicate you and give you sheer pleasure, all thanks to a nutrient called phenethylamine. It does this by triggering those feel-good hormones, and, adding to its pleasure-factor, it provides us with tryptophan, which is a great relaxation chemical; it helps quell any anxiety.’