If there is one thing that binds couples aside from love, that would be libido. Most of us do not give attention to it until it becomes very low and causes relationship problems. You might have low libido issues if you have the following symptoms:
- Low interest in sex
- Poor body image
- Reduced self-esteem
- Lack of sexual fantasies or sexual thoughts and being bothered by it
Of course, low libido is not a problem if you or your partner is not interested in sex at all. There are couples or individuals who choose not to engage in sexual activities for various reasons.
In some cases, low libido is a symptom of a hypoactive sexual disorder, which is characterized by the lack of sexual fantasies and desires, as well as not responding to a partner’s sexual desire. It is a condition diagnosed by the doctor that requires medical treatment. If you are diagnosed with a hypoactive sexual disorder, you may find natural methods to be helpful.
In this article, we will discuss why some people experience a significant reduction of libido despite not having any health problems. We will also discuss certain substances that are commonly used to enhance sexual pleasure along with their side effects.
Factors That Kill Your Sex Drive
To boost libido using natural methods, it is worthwhile to discuss the factors that can lower it down. Resolving these issues is often very helpful. Have you noticed that your interest in sex seems to go up and down? It happens as the hormones in your body fluctuate.
1) Ovulation and Menstrual Cycle
In women, libido is tied to the menstrual cycle. According to many studies, it seems that women tend to have higher scores in orgasm, interest in sex, and frequency of sexual activity (masturbation and actual sex) when ovulating and tend to have lower scores just before menstruation.
Of course, there is a practical side. Women will choose not to have sex if they experience bloating, headaches, and mood swings.
2) Performance Anxiety
Men do not have a menstrual cycle, but they may experience a reduction in sexual interest as they age, and when having something they call as "performance anxiety".
Performance anxiety is a term for worrying about things such as finishing too quickly or being unable to bring their partners to climax. Other men can also have low libido due to erectile dysfunction, which is the inability of men to get and maintain an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse.
Some people may experience a reduction of libido due to external factors. Most individuals will experience a reduction in sexual interest when they are way too stressed.
Poor stress management is an effective mood killer in both men and women. Stress comes from things such as taking care of kids, facing job-related problems, long working hours, daily commute, and school activities. The resulting exhaustion, mental stress, and anxiety often kill sexual interest.
Note that the term used is "poor stress management". Almost everyone experiences stressful situations every day, but not all experiences can reduce one's interest in sex.
4) Medicine Side Effects
A lot of medicines we take, including over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, can decrease our libido. Other drugs such as finasteride, and drugs used to treat cancer, AIDS, and hypertension, can also reduce an individual's libido.
- Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
- Iterax (hydroxyzine)
- Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine)
These drugs may cause a reduced interest in sex, vaginal dryness in women, and problems in achieving an erection in men.
Antidepressants (used to treat depression) are also potent libido killers, which can affect 2-3 out of every 10 patients taking it. Some examples of antidepressants known for lowering interest in sex include:
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
- Effexor (Venlafaxine)
- Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
It is also important to note that depression itself can cause sexual problems.
Taking birth control pills may take away a couple's anxiety when having sex, but it can also decrease libido. Pills work by changing the makeup of hormones in the woman’s body, so ovulation comes to a temporary halt. However, pills also reduce androgens, the female form of testosterone, resulting in a reduced interest in sex. Women who regularly take pills may experience a reduction in erotic feelings, lubrication in the vagina, and pain during sex. There are several kinds of birth control pills, and only a few can cause a reduced libido.
5) Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is another common libido killer. Some people may find alcoholic drinks helpful in promoting a sexual atmosphere, as it reduces inhibitions. Alcohol, in small amounts, may promote a quicker sexual arousal in some drinkers. However, note that alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. Therefore, you may experience a significant reduction of interest in sex after consuming moderate to excessive amounts of alcohol.
Intoxication often causes problems, as it makes achieving an erection more difficult as well as causing drifting consciousness, which makes sex impossible.
Exposure to pornography, which is a common habit among phone and computer users, may sound helpful in improving libido. Some users find pornography sexually arousing, and thus, helpful. However, there is significant evidence that it causes a reduced interest in real-life sexual activities.
Watching too much porn, like spending at least 10 hours a week or more, can cause a reduced libido during a sexual act. People who frequently watch porn may heavily rely on pornographic images to get aroused. However, almost all scenarios, sexual positions, or activities in pornography are difficult to accomplish or impossible in real life. Men and women who watch too much porn may find sexual arousal almost impossible, which leads to unsatisfying sex lives.
7) Emotional State
Libido is often affected by the state of one's emotions. Sexual interest and emotions are both processed in the brain, so the motivation to have sex is often linked to an individual's current emotional state.
Becoming too depressed or too excited often kills libido. Couples are often uninterested in sex when they are engaged in an emotional conflict or being in stressful situations such as preparing for a wedding, funeral, and other important life events.
Self-image issues are faced by both men and women. Becoming conscious of one's body weight or shape can also affect sexual moods.
Men may worry about baldness, being too fat, or having a small penis. They tend to believe that these factors make them too unattractive during sex. Women, on the other hand, may worry about things such as having very small breasts, flabby arms, wrinkles, cellulite, or the appearance of their vagina.
Individuals who have undergone an amputation, colostomy, breast-removal procedure, or have extensive body scars, blemishes, or acne, are often reluctant in engaging in sexual activities.
So, is there a way to "artificially" increase libido?
Sort of. You have most likely heard of aphrodisiacs, and probably tried one of them. There are countless substances that are regarded as aphrodisiacs. The problem is that all of them are still not proven effective and not a single substance has been able to instantly and consistently stimulate sexual desires for everyone.
The following stimulant drugs may help improve libido, but they are unnatural. However, note that using them may incur risks such as addiction, problems in brain functioning, and heart disease.
1) Cocaine and MDMA (Ecstasy)
Among the drugs often promoted to increase libido are cocaine and MDMA (ecstasy). Cocaine users often report a high sex drive while under the influence. Moreover, cocaine may reduce a person’s inhibitions. Cocaine is a very stimulating drug, which means that your brain is abnormally receiving higher sensations of all things including sex. However, cocaine may also cause an erectile dysfunction in men.
Meanwhile, MDMA (ecstasy) is a drug that can alter one's mind by causing euphoria and amplified sensations. Users like taking MDMA because it removes inhibitions, increases sensitivity to touch (on all areas of the body), and positively improves the senses.
2) Cocaine and Methamphetamine
The obvious problem of using cocaine and methamphetamine to improve sexual acts is that both substances are highly addictive. It only takes one or two uses to get yourself addicted. They are also bad because they remove inhibitions, making it more likely for you to engage in unsafe or risky sexual practices.
3) Poppers or Nitrites
Another substance often used to increase libido are inhalants called as "poppers", which are also known as "nitrites". Nitrites work in the body by opening up your blood vessels, so more blood rushes to the organs including the genitals. Users describe of having a more "intense" and "charged" sex while under the influence.
Poppers often relax the muscles of the vagina and anus, so they are often used by people who regularly engage in anal sex. Poppers cause a "head rush" or euphoria that may improve a sexual experience, but they cannot be called as aphrodisiacs because they do not trigger sexual arousal. Note that poppers can also cause fainting and cardiac problems.
Viagra, the drug used for treating erectile dysfunction in men, is often promoted as a libido enhancer. The drug works by easing the release of a substance, which can also increase the diameter of blood vessels, so more blood can rush into the penis during arousal and cause strong erections. Viagra has also been given to women who have sexual problems with varying levels of success.
Men with no health or sexual issues may find Viagra helpful for achieving longer and stronger erections. There is some evidence that the drug may be helpful for women with sexual problems caused by factors such as the use of certain drugs. Still, there is a need for more information on how Viagra can help healthy men and women to have an increased libido.
These substances may be helpful, but they are unnatural methods of increasing libido. In addition, note that these substances have certain side effects. In the case of Viagra, it may cause intense flushing, fainting, and priapism, which is an erection that lasts for hours. In addition, these substances are not helpful if you are apparently healthy and have no other medical issues.
How to Naturally Increase Libido
Note that your libido is driven by two things: your brain and hormones. Forget about food, drinks, cocaine, or MDMA. In most cases, increasing libido is as simple as removing the factors that can reduce it. In relationships, it is often necessary to treat low libido as a couple.
1) Learn to manage stress
Stress is an inevitable and effective killer of sexual mood. Trying stress management techniques is often helpful in salvaging a declining sex life. Most people will benefit from periodic rests to keep their stress levels in check.
Try to identify the source of your stress, and choose the ones that you should really worry about. Some stresses in life occur because of our habits, attitude, or excuses. We often do certain behavior when we are stressed, and some of them are not really helpful. Some examples of such behavior include smoking, using highly addictive drugs, drinking, withdrawal from society, binge eating, procrastinating, or more worrying. We can also save ourselves from a lot of stress by simply avoiding it. Try streamlining your tasks, take control of your environment, or try to say "no" to additional responsibilities.
A lot of people often do not realize that some of their medications can cause sexual issues. It only takes a few moments to Google the medications you take for possible side effects on libido. However, do not stop taking your prescription medicine. Instead, inform your doctor right away. For such issues, the doctor may reduce the dosage or prescribe another drug that has fewer side effects. These adjustments may work if you are taking drugs such as birth control pills and antidepressants.
2) Avoid alcohol and pornography
Low libido or unsatisfying sex life can be signs that you are drinking too much alcohol or watching too much pornography. Stopping them is a simple solution. Try to accomplish a few days to a weeklong "detox" period when you will abstain from taking alcohol or watching porn. If you are unable to abstain, you might have a deeper and a more serious problem, which requires professional intervention.
3) Resolve conflicts with your partner
You might be having a conflict with your sexual partner that could be the cause of low libido. Your frequent fights and squabbles can hurt your sex life as well as the integrity of your relationship or marriage. A lot of conflicts happen because one or both are not spending more time at home, not doing their share of chores, not being mindful of spending, or having a flirtatious colleague. These things are easy to resolve.
Always remember that shouting, fighting, or not listening to each other are not going to help in resolving relationship issues. If the situation is not resolvable by your own means, consider visiting a counselor or a psychologist.
4) Quit your vices
Smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, and using illegal drugs are bad vices. These substances tend to impair your sexual performance and your overall health status. Consider getting professional treatment when dealing with substance abuse and alcohol addiction.
5) Lose weight
Losing weight can be natural and effective, yet difficult for many people. To lose weight, you often have to reduce calories and commit to a regular exercise program. Losing weight is known to resolve erectile dysfunction and low testosterone in men.
6) Exercise regularly
High levels of physical activity can improve blood flow to the organs and may help relieve low libido. Most people hate going to the gym, but there are many creative ways to exercise. Try playing your favorite sport, playing with your kids, riding a bike, hit the hiking trail, or do housework.
Giving a deep and relaxing massage to your partner is a very natural way to induce sexual arousal. Learn erotic massage and practice it! It often works quite well every time, when correctly done.
8) Consider traveling and having a night or two in a hotel
Boredom is a top sex killer. If you have some means, consider spending a night or a few days in a hotel or out of the country. A lot of couples find having sex in hotels a lot better than at home. No more worries about the sheets, the dishes, or household chores. In short, the relaxing and relatively stress-free atmosphere in hotels is often conducive to sex.
9) Try to actually sleep together
Many couples are so busy that they do not have enough time to sleep and go to bed together, leading to low libido and presenting fewer opportunities for sexual activities. Note that sleep deprivation is a strong libido killer. Try spending some time alone with each other and catch up some sleep at first, and then have sex later.
10) Eat less and choose healthy foods
Have you noticed that becoming bloated or full often kills your sex drive? Eating a lot often makes you full, which can kill libido. If you do have to eat, do not wait until you are very hungry as eating too fast can also cause bloating. Keep your meals light, preferably foods that are low in carbohydrates, beans, lentils, fried foods, and soda to prevent bloating. If you are lactose intolerant, stay away from dairy.
11) Use a good, high-quality lube
In women, one of the common causes of low libido is insufficient vaginal lubrication. Some women have this issue even though they are apparently healthy. Dry sex is not a thing for women because it actually causes irritation and pain in the vagina, which instantly kills the mood.
You can easily resolve this problem by using lube. There are hundreds of different lubes out there, so the choice of what is best for you is really up to you. You can try purchasing lube in sachets, small "pillow packs", or travel packs to sample each one. If using a condom, it is important to use lube to avoid tearing. Moreover, remember to stay with a water-based lube.