Libido or Sex Drive is defined as desire for sexual activity or urge for sex; one may or may not act on this urge. It is different from Erectile Dysfunction in which a man has the urge but is unable to have a sustained strong penile erection to perform the act.
The urge to have sex may be spontaneous, may be due to reflection on memorable sexual moments or visual stimulus(i).
The seat of libido lies in the brain which produces the neurotransmitter called Dopamine; it is produced in the mid-brain. This Dopamine initiates several activities which culminate in the production of testosterone; the male hormone responsible for sex drive.
Below are some ways to boost your sex drive naturally:
1. Eat suitable foods regularly
Eat nuts regularly. They are rich in testosterone-boosting zinc as well as the amino acid L-arginine, which helps improve blood flow to the sexual organs.
Eating Sugar is known to cut the levels of circulating testosterone in the blood significantly, so cut back on sweet treats and try using honey to sweeten foods instead of sugar.
Several fruits are also known to increase libido, these include water melon, banana and avocado.
Vitamin D boosts testosterone levels and is essential for maintaining semen quality and sperm count, eat vitamin D-rich foods, like oily fish, eggs and fortified fat spreads and cereals or take supplements containing Vitamin D
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise combats a lack of libido by improving blood flow to the genitals, releasing ‘feel good’ endorphins and boosting energy levels-not to mention giving your self –esteem a boost.
If you want to increase your testosterone levels, try intense strength training. Increase the weight you lift, lower your number of reps and slow down the movement.
Sprints. Short, intense bursts of exercise are known to be more effective and preventing its decline than sustained effort.
3. Be conscious of your medications
Some medications such as drugs used to treat hypertension, sedatives and sleeping tablets can cause a drop in libido. Inform your doctor if you notice a reduction in your libido, he can easily change it to something else with the same efficacy.
Antidepressants can also have a serious impact on sexual desire too. Speak to your Doctor about possible alternatives.
The contraceptive pill (in women) could remove sex drive in some women but can improve it some others because the fear of pregnancy is removed. If you notice a drop in your sex drive; inform your doctor, there are other birth control methods.
4. Adequate Sleep
A study at the University of Chicago found that getting five hours of sleep each night reduced men’s testosterone levels by 10 to 15%. Get your eight hours of sleep at night daily for good performance in bed.
5. Get some sunshine
Vitamin D boosts testosterone levels and is essential for maintaining semen quality and sperm count. Make sure you get some sunshine, especially in winter in temperate countries and eat vitamin D-rich foods, like oily fish, eggs and fortified fat spreads and cereals.
6. Use Herbal supplements
A 1998 study at the University of California found that gingko biloba “enhanced desire, excitement, orgasm and after-glow” in 91% of women and 76% of men. There are a lot of herbal supplements in the market which contains this ingredient
7. Reduce Alcohol Intake/ Quit Smoking
Alcohol, when taken in small quantity, gives the drinker a feeling of happiness and increased desire and maybe performance but after some quantities alcohol becomes a depressant. The drinker may have the sexual desire but will not be able to perform. Alcohol dulls performance. This failure if not properly managed can lead to impotence. According to Shakespeare in Macbeth, “It (alcohol) provides the desire but takes away the performance”.
Just one glass of wine is enough or a glass of beer before a night of passion.
Smoking is known to narrow the blood vessels, affecting blood flow to the sexual organs.
8. Reduce stress/Avoid stressful situations
Stress kills sex drive big time and according to Harvard Health Publications, its effect on libido is most strongly felt by women. You can relax by watching TV, reading novels, meditating, going on vacation.
9. Lose Weight
Carrying too much weight can cause narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow where you need it most. If you’re overweight, slimming down can significantly boost your testosterone levels, according to research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 meeting.
Also Read Facts on female sexual problems.