Low libido can happen to any woman or person with female physiology at any time, and it can happen for a variety of reasons.
So if you look around you and all you seem to see are women with high libidos — characters on TV shows, women in magazine articles, or your sassy friend who is always talking about her boudoir adventures — you might wonder if something is wrong with you.
Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing is wrong with you. That’s worth repeating: if your sex drive is low, nothing is wrong with you!
For starters, everyone’s sex drive is different. Some people have a naturally higher sex drive; some people have a naturally lower sex drive. This is true of people with both male and female physiology. You may simply be a person with a naturally lower sex drive. Or maybe you are experiencing increased stress, like being postpartum or caring for a sick family member or having more responsibility at work. In any of these situations, it is normal for your libido to be lower.
BUT maybe you have a hormone imbalance that is interfering with your libido — and, if so, you can use food and lifestyle strategies to bring your hormones back into balance and reclaim your sex drive.
If you feel like your libido has disappeared entirely or has gone down significantly, despite your life being relatively harmonious, there are simple steps you can take to balance your hormones and reclaim your libido. Whether you are 25 or 45, you can bring back that lovin’ feeling!
What About “Libido Enhancing” Drugs for Women?
If you’ve followed FLO Living for a while, you know that I teach a food– and lifestyle-first approach that helps women erase period problems with fewer pharmaceuticals in their lives. Drugs can have their place, of course, but there is SO much women can do with food and lifestyle to help limit the need for prescription drugs.
For example, I’ve helped many women get off birth control pills. Birth control pills can help women feel better in the short run by tamping down on symptoms (though not always! Check out my personal story about going on the birth control pill to manage PCOS symptoms as a cautionary tale), but the danger with the pill is that it PAVES OVER the root causes of symptoms instead of addressing them.
I’m similarly leery of drugs for boosting female libido. BUT there is one thing I have in common with the drug companies (!!), and it is this: I believe that there IS a fix for women who feel their libido is lower than it should be, or that their once-strong libido has disappeared. I do NOT think the answer is the drugs these companies are slinging, however. I think the answer to reclaiming our libido is in better understanding our female physiology — and specifically in understanding the infradian rhythm that each woman in her reproductive years experiences every month.
Your key to reclaiming your libido is knowledge, and that is what I’m going to give you in this blog post.
You’re Not Alone: Low Sex Drive is Common in Women
Studies suggest that one in four women of reproductive age have low libido. Other research shows that Americans are having less sex now than they did a decade ago, and that fewer heterosexual women are having orgasms than any other demographic. And the worst news – a survey conducted by Healthy Women in 2015 found that 60% of women are sexually unsatisfied.
Not to sound alarmist but…many women are living in a sexual state of emergency!
At the same time, many women with chronic low sex drive—and many of the doctors they talk to about it—don’t treat the issue with urgency. That’s a mistake because a missing sex drive can be a sign of hormone imbalances that contribute to period problems and other health issues. What’s more, a low libido can mean fewer orgasms. Why does that matter? Because orgasms help balance hormones and improve hormone health!
So it is a real bind many women find themselves in…you need orgasms to improve hormone health, but you need good hormonal health to want to have orgasms. What is a girl with a missing sex drive to do?
The first step is to understand the underlying factors that contribute to low libido.
How to Get Your Sex Drive Back
You can take some simple but powerful steps to reclaim your hormonal health and rediscover your sex drive. Here’s what I recommend:
- Start practicing The Cycle Syncing Method™. You can use certain lifestyle strategies to bring your hormones back into balance naturally, and one of the most important is syncing your life to your 28-day menstrual cycle. When you start to eat, move, and live according to your unique hormonal needs each week, you can experience a profound and positive shift in your hormonal symptoms, including low libido. I consider cycle syncing the first, best thing you can do to balance your hormones and bring your sex life back to life. If the idea of even tracking your cycle is new to you, use the MyFLO app to track your natural hormone shifts.
- If you’ve ever taken birth control, run some labs. Consult with your healthcare provider about running some blood tests. Specifically, I suggest looking at your testosterone levels and your SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). The pill can wreak hormonal havoc in general, but it is especially rough on these two biomarkers—both of of which are important for having a healthy sex drive.
- Do a detox.The pill can cause a flood of excess hormones in the body. And even if you don’t have a history of taking HBC, you might be estrogen dominant, which can cause system-wide symptoms including low libido. So you will also want to do a gentle, natural detox in order to get excess hormones movin’ on out—and your sex drive movin’ on up!
- Embrace healthy fats. Healthy fats—like the kind found in avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and small oily fish like sardines—help support healthy levels of good cholesterol in the body. You need good cholesterol to manufacture sex hormones—and you need healthy levels of sex hormones to… want to have sex!
- Consider taking Maca. Studies suggest that the South American plant maca may be beneficial in boosting libido, perhaps especially for women who take a selective serotonin uptake inhibitor.
- Get moving. Make healthy movement a part of your everyday life. Exercise can be helpful in boosting libido. Just don’t forget to match your movement to where you are in your cycle. When you move can be just as important as how and how often you move.
- Patch up micronutrient deficiencies. Getting enough iron can be especially important for sex drive, but you’ll want to make sure you have healthy levels of all the key micronutrients that support hormonal health. If you think you’re low in essential micronutrients, ask your doctor to run some labs and consider taking a high quality supplement.
- Don’t discount the emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions to low libido. Remember that it isn’t just physical factors that affect sex drive. If something else is weighing on you—relationship dissatisfaction, an intensely crazy workload, unremitting stress, etc.—carve out time for self-care and consider talking with a therapist or other professional. In our crazy-busy mody culture, stress recovery can take a village.
It’s also important to prioritize beauty and pleasure as part of your daily life. To that end, I recommend:
- Make pleasure part of your job. Don’t just survive through your day, thrive within it. Adding pleasure to your day in simple non-sexual ways can greatly improve your ability to feel pleasure in the bedroom. Try bringing flowers to your desk or playing music you love during your morning commute. Indulge in body lotions or perfumes (organic, of course!) that make you feel beautiful. Get regular massages. Check out the ideas of our favorite pleasure revolutionary, Mama Gena. You can bring more feminine energy into your working day in some easy, simple ways. I have 4 daily practices I use to ground myself in my feminine energy and make my busy schedule work for me.
- Take matters into your own hands. You need to ask for what you want, but first you need to know what you want. Make time to research your sexuality and the underlying causes of your low libido. Read tasteful erotica and see what turns you on – take a wander around Literotica.com. Once you know yourself better, don’t be shy to ask for assistance or experimentation from your partner. No partner? No problem. Then you can really take matters into your own hands more often, if you know what we mean. But give vibrators a pass. They can limit your pleasure.
Best Foods for Your Sex Drive
You need to nourish your body for hormonal balance and food is the best way to do that. I recommend eating specific foods during specific phases of your infradian rhythm:
Follicular phase (before you ovulate, after your period)
Food: Honey. Here’s a food you can actually use in and out of the bedroom. An ancient aphrodisiac, honey contains boron, which helps regulate your hormones, plus nitric oxide, which is released naturally during arousal.
Bonus: If you have a partner with male physiology, have him eat celery at the start of each day. Celery can boost a specific type of pheromone that will make you much, much more interested in him!
Sex: You’ll want to amp up the touching, massaging, and non-penetrating foreplay during this phase to get mentally and physically ready for sex. Right after your period, your sex drive will be low, so you’ll need a lot of extra attention. This is also a good phase for trying new things.
Ovulatory phase (when you ovulate)
Food: Strawberries and figs. Indulge in strawberries, the symbol of Venus, the Goddess of love, at this time. They contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that support hormone health, plus their symbolic power can get you mentally in the mood. Try dipping figs in honey for a sensual treat. The fiber and potassium are great hormone balancers, plus they’ve been associated with sexiness since the times of Ancient Greece.
Sex: Your testosterone and estrogen levels are at their highest, so you’re likely to feel most in the mood during this time. You are at your most fertile and your body is primed to procreate (so stay safe if you don’t want a baby!). You won’t need a lot of foreplay, so this is the right time for quickies and spontaneity.
Luteal phase (after you ovulate, before your period)
Food: Right after you ovulate, try some recipes involving asparagus and artichokes. Asparagus contains aspartic acid, which can help prevent fatigue as well as low libido. In ancient times, artichokes were connected to increasing sexual interest, so lean into ancient wisdom and give these healthy foods a try!
As you get closer to your period, try raw dark chocolate, which is full of magnesium. Magnesium is relaxing and nourishing, which can help put you in the right frame for sex.
Sex: As you move towards menstruation, your testosterone, estrogen and progesterone begin their descent to their lowest levels. You’ll be needing more stimulation now to climax. This is the time to utilize any toys that help you to increase sensation.
Menstrual phase (when you are bleeding)
Food: Avocados can help support a healthy libido during this time by helping support healthy testosterone levels. The Aztecs believed avocados had the power to incite sexual passion and they were on to something!
Sex: Low pH levels in your vagina at this time can make you more susceptible to infection — and we know there’s nothing sexy about a UTI! So it’s okay to abstain from sex for a few days right now. If you suffer from period-related cramps or migraines, however, then solo or partnered orgasms can really help as a pain-reliever. Finally, some women feel very turned on during this week due to the increased fluid pressure in the pelvic and pubic area. Go with your FLO and choose to do whatever is right for you.
For extra support all month long, try eating spicy foods. Spicy foods are vasodilators (they open up the veins and get the circulation going in your body). Anything with chilis (capsaicin) will make your heart beat and your blood run a little faster, which can help get your body in the mood.
When you’re eating these foods, whether alone or with your partner, I want you to really try to enjoy the experience. Slow down and focus on the pleasure and sensuality of eating. Make the meal a meditative process; you can even consider it as part of your extended foreplay. This will bring more awareness to your body and relax your mind. Think about how you can make the most of these libido-boosting foods with your partner and involve your partner in this new way of engaging in sex.
Remember: the potential sexual powers of these foods can only be activated if you are already living in your FLO and building a hormonally-balanced internal ecosystem. Only then will you really feel that buzz!
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