How to Increase Your Sex Drive
on Nov 17, 2022
Feeling ready to reboot the system and bring sexy back out onto centre stage? Read our top pointers on boosting your libido and breaking through to your next level of sexual happiness.
There are plenty of variables liable to get in the way of a fulfilling sex life. Sickness, medication, a busy schedule, lack of potential partners, or even the natural (and somewhat unpredictable) ebb and flow of mood and desire. Our sexualities often take on a life of their own, reflecting our environment and mental state. But that doesn’t mean we are completely powerless to make changes when we feel ready to bloom again.
If nothing is seriously amiss and you’re just wondering how to improve your sex life, get back on the horse (so to speak), or level up to meet your partner’s enthusiasm, then there are a few basic adjustments that can make a big difference.
Put the right ingredients into your bod
When it comes to fuelling your body with the right things to liberate your libido, there are two parts to consider. Part 1: What makes you feel strong, energetic and good in your body? And part 2: What works as an aphrodisiac?
There is no point to Part 2 if the foundation of Part 1 hasn’t been laid. Allow us to break them down so you can update your shopping list accordingly.
The idea here is to bolster energy, allow for good blood flow and improve stamina. To do this, your diet must be rich in veggies (especially dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and silverbeet) as well as lean proteins, and low in sugar and fatty foods. Some fats are good - like avocados - but anything high in saturated fats - like deep-fried foods - won't do you any favours in the bedroom.
This might seem like pretty basic info, but it’s easy to forget the ole’ idiom “You get out what you put in”. By keeping a nutritional diet most of the time, you’ll also avoid metabolic syndrome and other nasty hormonal conditions that will affect not only your sex drive but your life in general.
This may not be for everyone, but eating meats, or other foods that contain specific amino acids, could assist with increasing sex drive. Foods that are high in animal protein, like red meat, fish, dairy and poultry, are also plentiful with carnitine, L-arginine and zinc - all of which regulate and improve blood flow, aiding sexual response in people of all genders.
Good news: If you’re not into consuming animal products, there are supplements that can be taken orally to make sure your body is getting optimal amounts of these compounds. On top of that, with a bit of research, healthy vegan foods like nuts, seeds and legumes can also be subbed into your diet to make up for the loss.
There are also foods that can boost your libido specifically. These, often delicious, sources of nourishment are called aphrodisiacs. How does this work? Well, it seems that gastronomical scientists have managed to figure out which foods have the most ‘feel good’ compounds in them. These goods are usually rich in capsaicin or antioxidants, which work to both increase bodily sensations and (as we dove into above) support blood flow. Then there are also the fruits that seems to be more delicate, decadent and opulent, which make a moment feel more special, or might be seductive to feed a lover.
Here is your starter list:
Spicy chilli peppers
Bananas (not just for their shape)
You can also dash your morning brew with roots, spices and medicinal mushroom powders that specifically target virility and desire. These include:
Beware: There can be a little hearsay around this subject (after all, sex does sell), so do your due-diligence and research to figure out the fact from the fiction.
A final note on food
We covered zinc above but thought it worth another mention. For penis owners in particular, zinc supplements are a fantastic way to support sexual function. Zinc helps with the production of key sex hormones, testosterone and prolactin, and enables the creation of the main component of prostatic fluid. Why is this important? Because healthy functioning means increased confidence and, as such, high desire to get jiggy. Interestingly, a 2016 study found that a supplement containing folic acid, zinc, and the herb golden root improved the control of those affected by rapid ejaculation.
The relationship between sex and sleep is far more important than we give it credit for. Along with a range of undesirable health problems, sleep deprivation can reduce sexual arousal in all genders. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that those who suffer from the common sleep disorder insomnia may be at risk for all kinds of sexual dysfunction.
Many people enjoy the sensation of falling asleep after sex, or masturbation, because having an orgasm releases hormones - like oxytocin and prolactin - into the body, which help achieve better sleep by lowering the levels of other stress-related hormones - like cortisol. During sleep, our body restores all of its systems, processes the day’s cognitions and does any physical healing required. So when sleep doesn’t happen, the body falls behind and begins to function less and less effectively.
As well as the physical pressure that results from a lack of sleep, the compounding mental anguish that comes with not achieving enough downtime is also significant when it comes to sex. If a lack of sleep is ongoing within a relationship, emotional conflict is more likely due to heightened levels of stress, which in turn reduces the impulse for touch and closeness - not the greatest environment for fanning the flames of desire.
Better and more sleep can be the most magical solution to not feeling up for any hanky panky. For some of us, that just requires better boundaries with bedtimes and getting off our devices earlier and making sure we are prioritising sleep when we know we need it over all the other distractions that life might present us with. For others, like shift workers, being able to sleep to the body’s natural circadian rhythm is wishful thinking. However, there are some things you can do to make sure your sleep hygiene is as good as it possibly can be in your circumstances:
Setting your bedroom to the ideal temperature before sleep
Investing in a good mattress and comfy, inviting bed linen
Using an essential oil diffuser to create a calm and relaxing aroma
Using blackout curtains, a sleep mask, a white noise machine, or earplugs to eliminate any disruptions before or during sleep
Being consistent with sleep even on days off, and making sure to get natural light where you can
Avoiding alcohol, tobacco or caffeine before sleep, and being sure not to eat any heavy meals right before getting into bed
Be diligent with making sure phones, laptops, tablets or anything with a bright light is away for at least 30 minutes before bedtime
Using meditation techniques before or while in bed to help relax into deep sleep
Exercising where possible during the day
Having a hot sauna, if it’s safe for you, to calm your nervous system
Do things that make you feel sexy
So much of our drive to be intimate comes down to how sexy we feel. While everyday falls differently on the self-love spectrum, getting to know what we need in order to feel empowered and excited to connect physically is the most individualised way to boost our libidos.
For some, dancing may be the remedy to feeling frumpy; for others, cooking a killer meal might set off some seduction. Some activities can boost libido when we are with our partners, and others might be for private moments so that we can come back to our lovers with full sexual prowess. We’ve thrown out a few other suggestions below - some you may have thought of, others you maybe haven’t:
Dressing up in costume or theme
Going on a date
Purchasing some toys
Taking sexy photos
Having a deep conversation
Playing a sexy game
Going for a naked swim
Having a hot shower
Having a bath
Giving or receiving a massage
Getting dolled up
Painting each other's bodies
Meeting at a new location
Booking a trip
Have a nap together after a day in the sun
Feeding each other juicy foods
Really, this list could be endless. If you’re not sure what it is that makes you feel alive and excited by the idea of intimacy off the top of your head, then write a little note down in your phone next time you feel that spark of sexiness. Ask yourself: What was happening at the time? Who was I with? What was I doing? Where was I going? What kind of day had it been? This should give you some important clues as to what you like and what you need. You may even surprise yourself.
What to avoid
We can’t, in all good conscience, talk about how to increase sex drive without covering off what can often decrease it. Outside of medical conditions, and taking into consideration the colourful spectrum of sexuality and desire for sex, there are a few basic things that should be avoided if becoming more sexual is at the top of your priorities:
Cheese: We know, a tragedy! But cheese has an enzyme in it that lowers testosterone.
Alcohol: While a cheeky drink might lower our inhibitions initially, when consumed in excess it can cause all sorts of problems in the realm of sexual competency. It can affect natural lubrication, reduce sensation (making orgasm more difficult to come by) and lead to risky sexual behaviour such as unprotected sex.
Microwave popcorn: No movie is complete without it! But, alas, the bag’s lining has a chemical in it that decreases testosterone and has also been shown to affect fertility in those with female reproductive systems if consumed too often.
It is important to remember that life is about balance and you can’t have sexual happiness without happiness. If wine, a cheeseboard and a movie on the couch is your Saturday night treat, just act in moderation if you plan on getting freaky afterwards.
Consult a professional
If you feel like your mojo has been lost for a while then there is absolutely no shame in seeking some advice on what your next steps should be. This doesn’t have to be a doctor (although it could be if you have one you trust). It could be a sexologist, a therapist, a counsellor, a psychologist, a pelvic floor physio, or even a spiritual healer if that is more up your alley.
There are so many people dedicated to helping those who want to invest time in better understanding their sexuality. This isn’t as scary as it sounds either - these professionals are trained and used to hearing about all manner of sexual issues, so you never need to worry about being judged. This might also be a good opportunity to reach out to friends for recommendations. You never know whose been in your shoes and who might have the perfect practitioner for you to see.
Of course, we don’t discount the fact that seeing a professional can require a significant commitment out of your wallet. If you’re not ready yet, or not quite in the position where you can empty your savings, there are plenty of great resources online to help kickstart your research. We recommend poking around places like Healthline, Mayo Clinic, or considering an online course in sexual self-esteem by a sexologist we trust like Chantelle Otten.
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