Recognise the link between your lifestyle and your sex life
A busy, stressful lifestyle – whether it’s from a hectic job or the demands of looking after kids – can leave you with barely enough energy to watch TV, let alone have sex.
Stress isn’t just something that happens in your mind - it can have a physical effect too. When you’re stressed your body releases hormones such as cortisol which can reduce your libido
Keep a diary
For a week, monitor how much sleep you get, whether you exercised, what you ate and drank, if you were stressed, what time you spent with your partner, and whether you argued. You can then see what changes you and your partner might be able to make to your lifestyle to get your sex life back on track.
Remember sex is good for you
Sex isn’t just important because it reinforces the bond between you and your partner, it has health benefits too. Orgasm stimulates production of the body’s natural killer cells, which fight infection, and boost immunity. You also release oxytocin, dubbed the love hormone, which boosts mood and alleviates stress.
Take a holistic approach
Nutritional deficiencies, stress and emotional problems, and age can all contribute to a low sex drive. The secret is to think about your body as a whole. You need to simultaneously support hormone production, blood flow, stress levels and brain health, which together will almost certainly affect your sex drive.
You are what you eat
Poor diet can be a key contributor to low sex drive. Eating too many refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugar, can send your sex hormones on a roller coaster ride which loads your body with stress and reduces both libido and fertility. Eat more slower releasing complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains, fruits and vegetables.
Eat more aphrodisiac foods
Foods such as oysters and fruit have been thought to be aphrodisiacs for thousands of years. Oysters are rich in zinc, which helps the body to produce hormones such as testosterone – a key component in getting and keeping you in the mood, sexual arousal and desire.
Help your blood flow
A healthy blood flow can do wonders for your libido by increasing circulation to the pelvic region and your sexual organs. Foods that increase circulation include garlic, dark chocolate, avocados and salmon.
Brain foods can put you in the mood
Giving your sex drive a boost isn’t just about optimising your body’s physical performance, it’s also about your brain health. The brain – often described as the most important sexual organ – uses a complex network of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which can influence whether you feel sad, happy or sexually motivated.
Eat dark chocolate
All those jokes about women getting excited about chocolate do have some basis in science. Cocoa contains a host of beneficial compounds such as antioxidants called flavonoids and a high iron content. Most importantly, it contains phenylethylamine, which has a stimulating effect and releases the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the brain.
Walk for 30 minutes a day
Being overweight can affect normal hormone levels in both men and women and reduce blood flow. Studies have shown that walking just 30 minutes a day, or taking other moderate exercise, can help restore sexual desire and performance.
Work your muscles
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles has major benefits for both sexes. For men, it enhances rigidity during erections and helps keep blood from leaving the penis. For women, exercising the pelvic floor helps builds the neural pathways between the brain and the vagina that can mean more frequent, more intense orgasms.
Smoking damages arteries, affecting circulation. It affects a man’s ability to get and maintain an erection and impedes both men’s and women’s ability to orgasm.
Get enough sleep
It has been clinically shown that men who get less than five hours of sleep a night for a week have reduced levels of testosterone, the libido hormone. Not enough sleep also affects men and women’s mood and sex drive.
Love your body
Studies have shown that people who see themselves as unattractive are more likely to report a drop in sexual desire. Focus on what you like about your body rather than what you don’t.
If the problem is more serious, get help
If you think it’s possible that an undiagnosed medical condition is affecting your sex life, you should seek help from your doctor.