What's Really Hurting Your Sex Drive + 5 Ways to Fix It
Whether your current status is “married,” “single,” or “it’s complicated,” you’ve likely had ups and downs in the sex department. We’ve all had those wonderful experiences of feeling completely in sync with our sexual partners. But — let’s face it — we’ve all also had those confusing periods of disconnection and maybe even straight-up dry spells.
A million things can contribute to a lackluster love life, including relationship issues, communication problems, or just a sexual mismatch. But one major factor when it comes to libido that is often overlooked: your endocrine system.
That’s right, when you’re on track, your hormones are what help you feel sexy, juicy, and primed for action. But when your hormones are out of whack, your libido will let you know.
Understanding what rules your sex drive ~
Ever notice how some weeks you feel ready to pounce? While every woman’s cycle is unique, we all typically experience two heat phases a month that are triggered by surges in testosterone — the hormone responsible for putting us in the mood. This happens during ovulation and again during the luteal phase. Both times of the month should have you feeling frisky — consider that Mother Nature’s way of ensuring reproduction.
If, however, you’re missing the characteristic signs of lust and desire around these times, you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance. Some women ignore this lack of mojo and push themselves through the motions just to please their partners. Others are so desperate for pleasure, they chase their elusive orgasms with the help of high-powered toys.
This isn’t a problem reserved for the menopausal set; low libido also doesn’t discriminate by age, and you can notice a flagging sex drive whether you’re in the midst of perimenopause, or are years away from this kind of hormonal upheaval. Because of the prevalence of premature hormonal aging, you could be in your 20s or early 30s and facing the same unpleasant issues women twice your age are dealing with.
While sex drives are complicated and there's a lot at play, here are a few key factors that might be to blame for a loss in libido:
Too much estrogen: Estrogen levels are supposed to go through ups and downs throughout the month. But if your liver and digestive system aren’t operating ideally, you won’t be clearing out excess hormones efficiently from your body, and you could be stuck with higher levels of circulating surplus estrogen, which does no favors for your libido.
Adrenal stress: Your adrenals are the powerhouse glands responsible for producing your stress hormones and some testosterone — the main source of of your sexual desire. Increased output of stress hormones could mean decreased output of sex hormones.
Medications: It’s important to know that a decrease in sexual desire is a very real and common side effect of medications like antidepressants and the Pill. While you should never quit your medications cold turkey, it’s important to have an honest conversation with your doctor to find the right kind of support and possibly wean yourself off what’s not necessary.
5 Ways to boost your sex drive naturally ~
A stalled sex drive is frustrating, but it's also completely fixable. Here's how to mend your broken libido.
Introduce pleasure back into your daily life:
Forget about sex for a minute. Believe it or not, taking small steps to re-introduce nonsexual pleasures back into your day-to-day life can have a major impact in the bedroom. Put a vase of beautiful flowers on your desk or play your favorite album during your morning commute. Indulge in organic body lotions or perfumes that make you feel sexy and beautiful, and get regular massages if you can. These small changes will start to make a big difference in how you feel about yourself, your body, and sex.
Take matters into your own hands and find out what you like:
You can’t expect a partner to know what makes you feel good if you don’t know what makes you feel good. The only real way to understand what you like is to do your research: read some erotica and learn about your anatomy and the physiology behind feeling turned on. Once you know yourself better, don’t be shy to ask for assistance or experimentation from your partner. And if you don’t have a partner, take matters into your own hands (literally).
Eat right to combat estrogen overload:
If too much estrogen is the cause of your waning sex drive, you’ll want to do everything you can nutritionally to eliminate the excess hormone from your system.
To aid your liver in detoxification, try dandelion root teas, and a milk thistle supplement to help your liver more quickly metabolize estrogen. Eating healthy proteins and getting enough fats, like olive and coconut oils, can also help improve your overall hormonal balance. But avoid soy — because it's high in phytoestrogen, it can throw off your hormonal balance and leave you feeling uninspired by your partner.
Support your adrenal glands to produce more testosterone:
Reconsider the Pill:
You might think birth control is your ticket to a worry-free sex life, but the Pill could actually be compromising your libido. A 2006 study found that birth control users had four times the amount of sex-hormone-binding globulin (a substance that binds testosterone and can mute libido) than non-Pill users.
Another landmark study found that women on the Pill who were given a sampling of sweaty men’s T-shirts to choose from were drawn to partners whose pheromones didn’t genetically complement their own. Women who weren’t on the Pill, however, chose partners with genetic compatibility. That suggests that quitting the Pill won’t just enhance your sex drive, but could actually lead you to a better mate or improve your relationship.
Need more hormone help? Alisa's free four-day hormone detox will help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can get back to balance.