There is no such thing as a normal libido. Some people have a high sex drive, others do not. An individual’s sex drive can increase and decrease over the course of a lifetime, affected as it is by so many things: anxiety, stress, depression, boredom, exhaustion, illness, loss of attraction, loss of self-esteem, poor diet, drug and alcohol addictions, or simply the aging process itself. But a weak libido is only a problem if you feel it to be so. As the years pass, many couples find their sex life diminishes. This need not doom the relationship. The problems arise only when one partner’s libido is out of sync with the other’s. Many couples enjoy long, happy relationships with little or no sex, and numerous surveys reveal that sex is rarely a priority. Most people, especially those over 40, value love, trust, intimacy, humor, and companionship just as highly. Nonetheless, sex, especially in a loving relationship, is one of life’s great pleasures. And much can be done to boost a flagging libido.
1) Deal with stress, anxiety, and depression: Many people pass through their life oblivious to a low-level depression or generalized anxiety disorder, even accepting constant anxiety, insomnia, and low mood as the norm. Yet anxiety and depression are the main libido killers. The modern world is overcrowded, fast-paced, and exhausting, while 24-hour news pumps us full of fear about everything from overpopulation to climate change. Write down the five top causes of stress and depression in your life. Change everything you can and learn to accept what you cannot. Exercise, meditation, and yoga can also help, especially when combined.
2) Change your diet: Nutrition plays a key role in maintaining a strong, healthy libido. Cut down on refined carbohydrates, sugar, salt, and processed food. Instead, eat a diet rich in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, oily fish, and unprocessed meat. And try zinc-rich foods like oysters, linseeds, and pumpkin seeds. Such a change will also improve your mood and lower your anxiety.
3) Cut down on, or eliminate, Internet pornography: Masturbation is perfectly natural and does no harm — unless it is taken to excess. The Internet provides countless sexual images and videos which become addictive for many. Some believe this numbs the pleasure response in the brain, training it to associate arousal and orgasm with watching, rather than with touch, smell, and intimacy.
4) Use herbs and supplements: Gingko biloba will improve circulation and erection strength. Some have found success with suma, a South American root, while others swear by damiana, an herb used in Mexico and India. Less exotic, but possibly more effective, is the humble multivitamin. If you suffer with anxiety and depression, a good quality multivitamin should be your first purchase. Stress depletes the body of vital nutrients, especially B-vitamins, and can lower libido.
5) Visit a doctor: Visit a physician and explain your problem. Ask them to test your hormone levels. They may also check to see whether you have an underactive thyroid, another common culprit. While there, discuss any medication you are taking. Antidepressants, for example, are notorious libido killers.
6) Try therapy: Although in most cases low libido can be traced to simple things like a poor diet or a stressful job, sometimes its roots lie deeper, such as in traumatic past experiences or repressed shame and guilt. If you have the time and money, it may be worth visiting a psychosexual therapist to discuss your problems.
The loss of libido can have a terrible impact. Many grow depressed, seeing it as the first sign of physical decay. Others fear it will destroy their relationship. But don’t despair. New treatments are under development to boost your sex drive, just as Viagra and Cialis boost erections. In the meantime, try following the aforementioned suggestions. You may be surprised by the results.
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