When you say you have a “strong gut feeling” or that you can feel “butterflies in your stomach,” it isn’t just a figure of speech. Your gut actually triggers certain feelings in you depending on how healthy it is. And this includes sexual motivation as well? Don’t agree? Let’s see… Did you ever feel like having sex when really hungry? What about when going through some form of stomach upset? No, right?
Unhealthy Gut Lowers Your Libido
By gut, we mean the entire gastrointestinal system, which includes the esophagus, colon, small and large intestines. This huge and complex system contains the biggest load of bacteria in your body and ensures proper digestion of all the foods you eat. But this is not the bacteria’s only job. Studies have proven that an imbalance in your gut bacteria can negatively influence your moods and behavior.1
In this way, troubled gut bacteria can actually lower your libido and make you despise any sexual escapades. Also, antibiotics can regulate as well as harm the microbiome of bacteria. So, if you’re taking such medication, know its effects, too.
Neurons In The Gut Reduce Sex Drive
Your gut isn’t all about bacteria and digestion, like most of us believe it to be. The gut also contains a secondary (enteric) nervous system that is comprised of a multitude of neurons and neurotransmitters. These send and receive signals to your body and from your brain, respectively, controlling your emotional impulses and sexual needs as well.2 So, when you feel the anxiety in the pits of your stomach, it isn’t your mind but this nervous system at work.
Serotonin Turns Down Your Mood
We know serotonin as our happiness trigger that keeps us in a good mood. But not many know that serotonin also influences sexual drive. How? Apart from leaving us happy and naturally in the mood for anything, serotonin also regulates the blood flow to various parts of the body, including the genitals. Thus, serotonin controls your libido. But what’s that got to do with your gut?3
While most of us just assume that serotonin is produced in the brain, nearly 90 percent of it actually comes from the gut microbes. Multiple studies have observed that a weak gut results in nearly 60 percent reduced serotonin production, and thus a reduced libido.
An Emotionally Drained “You” Has No Interest
Now, we know that the gut has a major role to play in regulating your mood. So, even if the bacteria, neurons, or serotonin levels do not affect your sex drive due to some reason, your emotions will. An unhealthy gut weakens your entire body and produces negative feelings, triggering anxiety and depression.
These are the kind of emotional issues that bring you down sexually as well. Unless you target and treat the root cause of these emotions, your sexual drive is not getting back up. And one possible cause of anxiety is, of course, an unhealthy gut.
Tips To Boost Your Libido Through Your Gut
A few simple tips and lifestyle changes go a long way in keeping your gut healthy and you in a good mood.
- Take antibiotics responsibly without negatively impacting your gut bacteria.
- Reduce or stop alcohol consumption.
- Although you might be feeling low, do not influx serotonin into your gut. This might cause digestive issues like diarrhea, pain, and nausea.
- Avoid or reduce refined, processed, junk foods that can tax your gut.
- Find ways to reduce stress – like meditation – and bring your emotions under control.
- Eat prebiotics and foods high in fiber and as they remove toxins and reduce bad bacteria in your gut. However, ensure that you’re not allergic to these foods and that they don’t affect your digestion in an adverse manner.
- Exercise regularly and strengthen your gut.
- Get enough good-quality sleep every day.
If your gut is unhealthy, you’re not going to be that successful in any activities, be in sexual in nature or otherwise. So, eat healthily, exercise regularly, get good sleep, and maintain a healthy gut to not lose interest in your life and in your partner.
|↑1||Foster, Jane A. “Gut feelings: bacteria and the brain.” In Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science, vol. 2013. Dana Foundation, 2013.|
|↑2||Furness, John B., Brid P. Callaghan, Leni R. Rivera, and Hyun-Jung Cho. “The enteric nervous system and gastrointestinal innervation: integrated local and central control.” In Microbial endocrinology: The microbiota-gut-brain axis in health and disease, pp. 39-71. Springer New York, 2014.|
|↑3||Yano, Jessica M., Kristie Yu, Gregory P. Donaldson, Gauri G. Shastri, Phoebe Ann, Liang Ma, Cathryn R. Nagler, Rustem F. Ismagilov, Sarkis K. Mazmanian, and Elaine Y. Hsiao. “Indigenous bacteria from the gut microbiota regulate host serotonin biosynthesis.” Cell 161, no. 2 (2015): 264-276.|