Low libido? Get back your sexual mojo

You would think that with being trapped inside this winter, that your sex life would bene­fit, right?

On the con­trary. Tonight for those on the Rogers net­work in Mississauga, I’m on Health Matters with Dr Lana and we dis­cuss women’s health issues and sexual health. For those of you not on the net­work, I thought you may want to hear a few things we discuss. rosepetals

Women: Little to no interest in sex is common

Low sex drive or libido is an issue that many women struggle with for short peri­ods of time, or for many years. It’s a really sens­it­ive topic, and most women feel embar­rassed, or ashamed to dis­cuss their exper­i­ences. Recently, when dis­cuss­ing with a female patient how com­mon it actu­ally is to have a low sex drive, she exclaimed, “but why don’t we dis­cuss it with one another?”. Great ques­tion. Let’s start discussing. 

Getting your mojo back is possible

Low libido has many sources, and identi­fy­ing the sources are crit­ical in get­ting it back.

Physical

Hormone imbal­ances are one of the major places that sex drive can take a hit. However, it’s often not where you think. I see sex drive take a hit in women because of the adrenal glands, respons­ible for the pro­duc­tion of stress hor­mones in the body like cortisol and adren­aline. Doing, doing, doing and busy, busy, busy is the man­tra of many women, jug­gling so many tasks and not tak­ing time for them­selves. If you’re exhausted, do you feel like run­ning 5k? Probably not, and that’s what the body decides on your behalf with respect to your sex drive, mean­ing that if you have no phys­ical resources to get through the day, it’s unlikely that your small amount of energy will be spent want­ing to get busy!

Mental and Emotional

We have a wor­ry­ing thought (mind). This makes us feel anxious (emo­tion). We freeze up (action). We aren’t in the mood for sex (life sen­tence). A small example, but if this hap­pens 10,000 times daily, then no, we aren’t going to feel frisky. This also applies to how we feel about ourselves, our body image, our self-​love (which I prefer to the word self-​esteem, which I will blog about very soon), and how we feel on a moment-​to-​moment basis about our sig­ni­fic­ant oth­ers (if we are in a rela­tion­ship). These spin­ning thoughts and emo­tions to fol­low can really make our desire to have sex plum­met, espe­cially when they are negative.

Getting out of your sexual rut

Physical Libido Boosters

A lot of this is com­mon sense:

  • Sleep
  • Eat a bal­anced diet but include lots of green leafies
  • Drink water and less coffee
  • Natural lub­ric­ants like CalaGel should always be avail­able, as they help to take the pres­sure off of the body in pro­du­cing all of the neces­sary tools to have a pleas­ur­able sexual exper­i­ence when it is not always present
  • Lingerie (if you so choose)
  • An appro­pri­ate time of day that works for you to explore your sexu­al­ity, but be open to pos­sib­il­ity and spontaneity

I’m also a big fan of herbal medi­cine. Adrenal ton­ics, or adap­to­gens, are pretty awe­some at giv­ing that tired body a boost, but in a nutrit­ive way. Here are some excel­lent choices:

  • Schisandra: A nutrit­ive adrenal tonic known to sup­port pro­ges­ter­one and is also thought to increase libido both in women and men.
  • Tribulus: A true boost to the libido both in women and men, Tribulus boosts testoster­one in men and sta­bil­izes and sup­ports hor­monal pro­duc­tion in women. It needs to be the right kind how­ever; not all Tribulus is the same.
  • The gin­sengs: In Chinese medi­cine, Panax gin­seng is a boost­ing, ener­giz­ing adrenal sup­port, giv­ing life essence to a sys­tem even when it does not have much to start out with and is often used as a male adrenal tonic because it does give so much heat or fire to the body. However, this can be too much for some women (too much energy can feel like 4 cups of cof­fee, which can be anxiety-​provoking), and so Panax quinque­fo­lius (American gin­seng) or Ashwagandha (Indian gin­seng) are also beau­ti­ful options that nour­ish the sys­tem without mak­ing you feel wired.
  • Rhodiola: A calm­ing adap­to­gen, sup­port­ing adren­als without stim­u­lat­ing. Especially bene­fi­cial to calm a busy mind but also help­ing you to feel res­ted. Great for gen­eral anxiety.
  • Licorice: A nour­ish­ing adap­to­gen that really gives the adren­als a break (but not for those with high-​blood pressure).
  • Shatavari: Very nour­ish­ing adap­to­gen, often used in fer­til­ity cycles to sup­port hor­mone bal­an­cing and low sex drive. Where fer­til­ity exists, so does libido. This can also be used in men.

Mental/​Emotional

This is a slightly more murky explan­a­tion of how to help your­self, and this may also involve see­ing someone (like me, or a ther­ap­ist, or both) where you can tease out what you are feel­ing com­pared with what you are think­ing. Those are sep­ar­ate things, but they do like to inter­twine. The thing is, low libido or low sex drive is a symp­tom of a greater issue. Is it that you are with the love of your life, but you hate your job, and you can’t dis­con­nect from your crazy boss at the end of the day? Or is it that you feel really unat­tract­ive after a recent weight gain and feel not as a beau­ti­ful in your­self? Perhaps you and your sex part­ner are not as con­nec­ted as you once were, or you have dif­fer­ent ideas about what is a sat­is­fy­ing sexual exper­i­ence. These things do need to be ironed out. Once you know the issues, then there is a place to move for­ward. These can also be the more root issues of lower libido, and yes, they can be harder and ‘scar­ier’ things to address. I guar­an­tee that they will be the most worth­while of discoveries.

The import­ant thing to point out how­ever is that just because you may address an issue that is poten­tially dif­fi­cult (e.g. you real­ize you are not in love with your part­ner the way you once were, and you need a divorce), get­ting in touch with your­self in a healthy way IS the best way to rehab­il­it­ate your sex drive. Sometimes that is an entirely non-​physical solution.

Get real with your­self, and every­one else

Above all ladies, start to con­fide in one another about your troubles. I abso­lutely guar­an­tee that you have great advice to share that you all have in com­mon, includ­ing myself, as a women. The female sex drive is a won­der­ful thing that can be cher­ished and nour­ished into some­thing that really works for you.

About Dr Aoife

Dr Aoife Earls is a naturopathic doctor whose passion is in improving skin conditions and supporting gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel diseases and irritable bowel syndrome.
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