Who has the time or energy for sex these days? With increasing demands at work, financial worries, relationship strains, and all the other responsibilities women shoulder, sex seems to have lost its luster for millions of us. According to the American Psychological Association, 43 percent of women say that their stress has increased in the last 5 years, with nearly half of us lying awake at night stressed out.
Many women, especially those who’ve been in long-term relationships, tend to lose their sexual desire. They desperately want it back and don’t know where to start. And sadly, the answer isn’t as simple as letting go of responsibilities or “finding ways to de-stress.”
How Do Hormones Control Your Sex Drive?
Any external stress you experience translates into physical stress on your body – especially for a little-known pair of glands that manages stress: the adrenals. This shift in the adrenals causes an imbalance of adrenal hormones, which causes weight gain, cravings, extreme fatigue, insomnia, and a greatly diminished sex drive.
If you’re under a lot of pressure, you may not notice the effects this is having on your sex drive. In fact, physical intimacy may be the last thing on your mind when you’re stressed. But sex is one of the best ways to release tension, and these 4 amazing desire-building tips can help.
Ways To Get Your Sex Drive Back
1. Increase Your “Love Hormones”
Believe it or not, there is a whole cocktail of hormones associated with being turned on, and stress can block all of them. At persistently high levels, the stress hormone cortisol can lead to low dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is the precursor (or the “mother hormone”) to sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen (produced in the ovaries and the adrenal glands). Testosterone is particularly important for women because after released by the ovaries and adrenal glands, it travels to the brain to increase dopamine, the neurotransmitter that heightens lust and pleasure.
About 70 percent of low sex drive is caused by hormonal imbalances. And 90 percent of these imbalances can be corrected by making simple adjustments in the way you eat, move, and supplement – no medications necessary.
One of the best ways to pump up your love hormones is to support your adrenal glands. With herbs like passion flower and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, you can shift the focus of your body away from heavy cortisol production and toward DHEA and the sex hormone cascade.
2. Work On Your Intimacy
Intimacy starts in your mind, not your bedroom! One study observed the reaction of men and women when they were stimulated visually with repetitive sexual images. Initially, both groups were turned on.1 However, while the men continued to be turned on day after day by the same images, stimulation in women went down after a short period of time. The female response increased again only after the introduction of new stimuli – this suggests that women need diversity, change, and novelty in the bedroom.
So, open your mind to different approaches to sex, fresh fantasies, and more playfulness in the bedroom. For many women, this means experimenting with toys, literary erotica, or self-pleasure to get into the mood for sex. Remember when all you had to do was look at your partner and feel sexy? Go back to doing the things you used to do… kiss him goodbye lingeringly when he leaves for work or touch his arm as you go by.
3. Use Essential Oils
Prepare for sex by taking a bath with some essential oils like rose, clary sage, or jasmine. All three oils have their own benefits:
- Rose essential oil: As an anxiety-relieving, calming oil, it comes as no surprise that rose essential oil is also traditionally used as an aphrodisiac.
- Jasmine essential oil: It is a precious and pricey oil derived from delicate flower petals and has proven itself well in studies. Researchers have even observed alertness and “behavioral arousal” after a topical treatment of jasmine oil.2 And, the participants were found to be more refreshed, with their senses on high alert. This translates to more arousal for you!
- Clary sage essential oil: A 2014 study on menopause symptom relief and essential oils found that simply inhaling hormone-balancing clary sage essential oil had an antidepressant effect on menopausal women.3 When libido is low due to hormonal shifts like menopause, clary sage provides balance and brings about some relief.
4. Eat Stress-Relieving Aphrodisiac Foods
Is it possible that there is a food that can help reduce stress and stoke our libido? Yes! One of nature’s brilliant solutions for sickness is using food as medicine.
Shatavari Or Asparagus
Asparagus offers vitamin B6 and folate to boost arousal and orgasm. It also contains vitamin E, which can stimulate sex hormones. In India, asparagus is called Shatavari and it means “one possessing 100 husbands,” indicative of the herb’s exceptional ability to tackle sexual debility and fertility issues in both sexes.
In Ayurveda, Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is used to treat women who feel wired and stressed all the time and ashwagandha to reduce constant tiredness and fatigue.
Shatavari has been used for centuries in Ayurveda as a rejuvenating tonic to support the reproductive system, particularly in women. This support is not only for young women but also for those in their middle and elder years. It will help you to gracefully transition through the natural phases of life, including menopause.
Avocados are loaded with nutrition, especially B6 and omega-3 (which can support sex hormones and boost mood). Avocado grounds and calms the central nervous system. Its heaviness is comforting and calming, redirecting attention inward to rejuvenate your mind. Avocado strongly builds Ojas (vitality) and is an excellent rejuvenating food.
Walnuts And Salmon
Walnuts and salmon are also great options for omega-3 fats. Walnuts are anti-inflammatory, a mood booster, and aid in weight management. Essential fatty acids from walnuts and salmon secure bone health and improve metabolism. They provide minerals to the body that contribute to metabolic activities like growth and development, sperm generation, digestion, and nucleic acid synthesis.
Oysters, another super sex food, are loaded with zinc, which aids in the production of testosterone. This is the hormone responsible not just for sex drive and vitality but also for keeping you confident and lean. In fact, oysters are the best source of nutritional testosterone.
All of these foods are excellent for your adrenal health as well because they either provide quality fat, protein, or fiber to lessen blood sugar spikes and ease the burden on your adrenals. Reduce stress further by not letting yourself get too hungry during the day, like many women do. Eat within an hour of waking in the morning and find healthy snacks to tide you over until meal time. Hunger equals stress on your body.
5. Get The Right Nutrition
Vibrant health increases your sex drive. And good health starts with good nutrition. Take time to know your body’s nutritional needs. In Ayurveda, we recognize not only that everyone is different but also that each and every person needs different things to live a healthy life. Your genetic makeup or bio-individuality type is known as your “dosha.” This dosha governs your metabolic constitution, personality, and physical characteristics. It is, in essence, what makes you “You.” By discovering your dosha, you can determine what foods to eat, what exercises to practice, and what lifestyle choices to make.
6. Make Time For Creativity
Creativity is another powerful force. As much as our modern life tells us otherwise, we are creative at the core. However, we need time to feel creative. Take some time out and watch how your mind starts being creative again. Many women begin to feel their spark of desire come back when they are involved in creative projects.
7. Take Care Of Yourself
Self-care is not selfish but sexy. Experiencing joy is one of the best ways to naturally lower cortisol, increase DHEA, and pump up all the love hormones in your body. Get honest about the things that bring you happiness – sleeping in, dancing, playing sports, spending time with children or friends, singing, cooking, or hiking. The list might be endless, but make time for a few of those at least. It may seem like you have too much to do already, but finding joy is one of those “tasks” that will fill you up and give you more energy to use – both in and out of the bedroom.
Remember that sexual desire is not all about sex – it’s about feeling alive!
|↑1||Rupp, Heather A., and Kim Wallen. “Sex differences in response to visual sexual stimuli: A review.” Archives of sexual behavior 37, no. 2 (2008): 206-218.|
|↑2||Hongratanaworakit, Tapanee. “Stimulating effect of aromatherapy massage with jasmine oil.” Natural product communications 5, no. 1 (2010): 157-162.|
|↑3||Lee, Kyung‐Bok, Eun Cho, and Young‐Sook Kang. “Changes in 5‐hydroxytryptamine and Cortisol Plasma Levels in Menopausal Women After Inhalation of Clary Sage Oil.” Phytotherapy research 28, no. 11 (2014): 1599-1605.|