Over time, your sex drive will ebb and flow — which is perfectly natural! Changes in hormones that occur naturally over time result in changes to the libido, whether that means a spike in your sex drive, or a dip in your desire to get down.
But while these changes are often natural, normal, and perfectly manageable, a significant dip in your libido might be the result of certain lifestyle choices, including how you eat, your level of physical activity, and how often you consume alcohol. The good news is that making some simple lifestyle changes can help improve your sex drive, and might have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing overall.
Here are a few simple changes you can make that might help put your libido on the upswing.
1. Get it checked out!
First thing’s first: while there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to increase your libido, a low sex drive may be a sign of a health issue that requires medical attention. So before you decide to address a dip in sexual energy with changes to your diet or level of physical activity (more on these later!), consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor to make sure there isn’t a more serious underlying cause for your low libido.
A decreased — or complete lack of — sex drive might be a sign of a medical issue, like high blood pressure or diabetes, or could be the result of a mental health concern like depression or anxiety. A healthy sex life is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing, so don’t be shy about addressing any concerns you might have about a sudden or significant change in your libido with your doctor!
Changes in libido are often also the result of medications, so if you’re taking anything to treat either physical or mental health issues, be sure to ask your doctor if a decreased libido might be a side effect; they might be able to recommend another medication, or suggest some steps you can take to increase your sex drive while still taking the medications you need.
2. Watch what you eat
To be clear: indulging in foods you love, including sweets, fast foods and takeout, and processed snacks, is perfectly fine from time to time, and we aren’t here to promote elimination dieting! But when it comes to food, moderation is always key. If you find that you reach for foods that are very high in sugar or saturated fats more often than you opt for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, you may find yourself feeling sluggish or fatigued, and your sex drive might suffer.
Eating a diet that’s more balanced overall can improve your sex drive, and may also lead to higher energy levels, better mood, and more restful sleep.
3. Incorporate aphrodisiacs
Eating your way to a healthy sex drive isn’t just a question of eating a balanced diet. Aphrodisiacs — which are substances that increase desire — are real, and these sex drive-spiking chemicals naturally exist in a number of foods.
Oysters, which contain amino acids that are known to stimulate desire, are one of the most commonly known aphrodisiacs; some other libido-spiking snacks include artichokes, asparagus, strawberries, watermelon, and — of course — chocolate. Chili peppers and garlic are also known to act as an aphrodisiac. You don’t have to eat them all at once, but try preparing a meal for yourself (or to share with — or feed to — a partner!) that incorporates one or more of these foods, and you may find yourself feeling a bit more amorous.
4. Get your heart pumping
Regular exercise, from high-impact cardio to regular, leisurely walks around the block, can improve both your physical and mental well-being. Incorporating a type of movement that you love into your weekly routine can also help kick-start your sex drive. Exercise can improve body-image, gets blood flowing to your sexual organs, and helps to decrease stress — all things that can lead to a healthier libido. And while the best type of exercise is the type that feels good to you, some studies have shown that strength-training results in the most significant spike in testosterone, so — if you’re into it! — hitting the free-weights might be the most efficient way to boost your libido.
5. Assess your alcohol intake
There’s nothing wrong with having a drink (or two) every now and again — in fact, moderate alcohol use has some health benefits. But drinking too much can have a negative impact on your sex drive. In women and folks who were AFAB, alcohol might make it harder for the vagina to self-lubricate while, for men and people with penises, alcohol can affect the ability to achieve and/or maintain a strong erection. Too much alcohol can also inhibit, or entirely prevent, orgasms, and long-term alcohol abuse can result in issues like erectile dysfunction.
Try to avoid drinking more than two drinks per day, and if you are drinking more than this, try to cut back in order to improve your sex drive.
6. Try something new
There are a number of over-the-counter products that are designed to help boost your libido, from creams and lotions to supplements and sprays. Warming lubes and creams can provide a new, novel sensation to your penis, clitoris, vulva and genitals in general, that just might kick-start your sex drive. Hailing from the sex toy realm, cock rings and penis pumps can help manage any possible (non-medical) erectille issues, and might be able to help you last longer during partnered sex or masturbation.
Even if you make some of the above lifestyle changes and your sex drive doesn’t change, you will be positively impacting your overall mental and physical health. If you’re very concerned about drastic, sudden changes to your sex drive that aren’t being impacted by lifestyle changes, you should speak to your doctor or another healthcare practitioner to find out if there is an underlying issue. And remember: No matter the approach you take, your libido will ebb and flow throughout your life — these changes are a natural, normal part of being a sexual human being. Be easy on yourself, and try to go with the flow!