Ways to keep your sex drive firing

Siski Green
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
How to keep your sex drive fired up.
How to keep your sex drive fired up.
While the male sex drive rarely falters ... the female libido is more fragile.
Siski Green
Don't be alarmed if you suddenly lose your sexual desire; low libido is a growing problem among women of all ages. HeHealth Hub looks at ways to keep sex drive in forward gear.

Can you ever remember your boyfriend saying no to sex? Me neither — that's because loss of libido in men is rare, though it can diminish as they get older. The situation for women, however, is totally different.

Australian counselling website Relate says that a whopping 43 percent of women report reduced sexual desire at some point in their lives. Thanks universe!

The good news, however, is that it tends to come back. Medical website netdoctor says: "Fortunately, for many women this lack of libido is only temporary. Some will get over it by themselves, and a lot more can be helped by expert medical or psychosexual advice."

But what causes a woman to lose her love of something that — when done right — can bring so much joy and companionship? And, perhaps more importantly, what can she do to get it back or, even better, avoid losing it in the first place?

Why do women lose their libidos?
While the male sex drive rarely falters (a recent Oxford University study even claims that male desire is at the root of most conflicts in the world, from football violence to world wars), the female libido is more fragile.

According to netdoctor, the causes of reduced desire in women can be either physical or psychological. Anaemia, alcoholism, drug abuse, disease or illness, prescription drugs and hormonal changes brought on by childbirth are the main physical causes of lack of libido.

Psychological causes, meanwhile, include depression, stress and overwork, anxiety, hang-ups from childhood, past sexual abuse, relationship problems and difficult living conditions such as living with parents.

How to get it back
First of all — don't panic. While there are some medicines out there which claim to restore sex drive, the most important factor is going to be the support and understanding of your partner who wants to help you and appreciates your needs in bed.

Beyond this, there are several lifestyle changes that will make losing your libido a lot less likely.

First of all — you need to be exercising regularly. Personal trainer Gavin Walsh says: "Exercise will provide you with improved strength, endurance, stamina and flexibility. All of which will come in handy in the bedroom. Extra energy is also never a bad thing and when combined with improved confidence in your body, your love life will almost certainly see an improvement.

"Don't forget that exercise also reduces stress, which is also important for an active sex life."

Foods for a lustful life
Good nutrition is also paramount. Dietitian Katie Peck says: "What you eat is very important; not just what you eat before sex, but your overall diet. An unhealthy diet over a long period of time will be damaging to your sex life. Avoid heavy, fatty meals before sex, and while a glass of wine may put you in the mood, don't overdo it.

"Weight gain will affect your confidence, while loving your body shape will make all the difference. We know that conditions such as anaemia and depression can influence libido, and a healthy nutritious diet can help treat both of these."

While more research needs to be done into the effectiveness of aphrodisiacs, Peck does suggest certain foods that could give your sex life a natural boost. "Chocolate is mood enhancing; oysters are high in zinc, which helps the production of sex hormones; nuts and seeds boost blood flow and spices like ginger stimulate the circulatory system," she says.

"Omega-3, 6 and 9 also help to stimulate hormone production, so make sure you eat plenty of oily fish, nuts and seeds. You need energy for sex, but should also manage cravings for refined carbohydrates by swapping white bread and jam for wholegrain toast, nut butter and fresh fruit."

Sorting your head out
If your problem is psychological rather than physical, then you need to take steps to clear your head of stressful or anxious thoughts, leaving room for sexual desire to return.

Psychologist Dr Felix Economakis says: "Stress lowers libido in all of us. In men, it will inhibit erections and lowers sperm count. In women, it also makes for a more acidic environment for sperm to survive, again lowering fertility levels.

"In general, stress drains us, while other activities recharge us. Make time to exercise, walk, play with pets, see friends, continue with hobbies, or set aside 'me-time'. You need to factor these in as 'pit-stops' to mitigate against stress. This will then give you more energy and interest in sex in general.

"Keep one evening free for you and your partner — with no pressure to have sex. You should both eat earlier, go to bed naked, do some idle massage and see where it leads. If sex happens naturally, then great, but if not, then don't worry too much."

Finally, Dr Economakis stresses the importance of the partner's role in keeping your sex drive firing. "Whinging or blaming you for lack of libido is not helpful. He should be asking what you need to get into the mood for sex."

Have you tried all of the above, and still don't feel your, er, juices flowing? Unfortunately, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship, and if it's your other half who isn't sparking your sex drive into life then it could be time to move on to someone who does.

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