Staying sexually active:  How to Maintain a Healthy Libido

Staying sexually active: How to Maintain a Healthy Libido

Your sex drive is bound to wax and wane throughout your life. You’re probably familiar with some of the more obvious causes. When you enter a new relationship, you’re more likely to be humping like bunny rabbits, all day every day. When you’re not feeling great about yourself, the idea of engaging in coitus sounds less appealing. Or sometimes, it might sound more appealing! Everyone responds differently to different stimuli, and as long as all parties involved are enthusiastically consenting, then however you want to express the sexuality that feels right to you is valid.

If your libido feels unpredictable, it may be a comfort to feel like you have a sense of control over your sex drive. There is no “normal,” but a low libido can have underlying causes that deserve a deeper look and can damage your relationship with your partner if they internalize your lack of desire. A reduced sex drive is an entirely common phenomenon most individuals will face at some point in their lives. If getting (and staying) in the mood feels like an insurmountable chore, don’t give up. Like every part of your holistic health, your sex drive requires regular maintenance. Periodic tune-ups will keep that engine purring, if not roaring.

What are some reasons my libido could be low?

When you feel a general sense of malaise, it’s difficult to prioritize your sex life. Stress, anxiety, grief or just simply feeling down and out can make sex feel entirely unappealing. Low self-esteem and depression can be a snowball effect – you don’t feel great about yourself because you feel blue, and you feel blue because you don’t feel great about yourself. Your emotional well-being is symbiotic with your physical well-being, and caring for that can be a start to getting back on track with feeling better mentally.

On a physical level, sometimes a low libido isn’t just in your head. A reduced sex drive is a common side effect that comes with certain chronic illnesses, as well as the medications used to treat them. Talk to your doctor if you’ve noticed that a new medication correlates with a drop in your desire. They may be able to adjust the levels or prescribe a different medication. Hormonal fluctuations due to age, sleep problems and any number of physical ailments also can have a significant effect on your sex drive. Ask your doctor to check your hormone levels at your next check-up if you’re concerned.

As far as physical symptoms that can be controlled, did you know that studies have linked smoking to not only lower libido, but reduced stamina and satisfaction during sex? Time to cut that out. By way of vices, alcohol consumption can also lead to not only lessened desire, but an inability to maintain an erection for men, and an inability to achieve an orgasm in men and women both. And although some controlled substances can increase sexual desire in the moment, with extended use, certain drugs can negatively impact your sex life, lessening your interest and making it more difficult to experience arousal. If using substances is having a negative effect on your sex life, it may be time to talk to a counselor to help you kick the habit.

How can I raise my libido?

If you want to change your lifestyle in the bedroom, you gotta change it outside first!

Weightlifting is thought to encourage your body to produce more testosterone, the hormone that promotes sexual desire – yes, even for you, ladies. XX-chromosome-havers are also driven by testosterone; they just produce less than XX-peeps. If you don’t want to get super jacked, other forms of exercise have benefits of their own. Swimming, dancing and running all decrease cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and it has a definite impact on testosterone. Exercise can help you blow off steam, in addition to improving your mental health from those feel-good endorphin rushes. Or if aerobics isn’t your thing, get in touch with your tantric side in a yoga class. Above all, regular physical activity will help you feel more in touch with your body and boost that self-esteem.

Speaking of healthy living, certain all-natural supplements can be quite effective with repeated use. Ingredients commonly found at your local health food store like niacin, maca root and Yohimbe can promote blood flow, increase sensitivity, and naturally balance hormones. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have heart conditions or are taking any other medications. Truly, some of these supplements work so well that HUSTLER Hollywood sees customers returning every five days (the average amount of time that the supplement stays in your system).

As we touched on, stress manifests itself in many harmful ways from a multitude of sources. Taking time to de-stress as often as possible is essential to maintaining overall good health, as well as your sex drive. Whether it’s taking a long (and sexy) soak in the tub after a long day, reading and cuddling with your pets in sexy pajamas, or taking a long walk in nature with a friend, take a few minutes to decompress and find a little bit of joy. If you don’t feel great, invest a little time to pamper yourself. You’re so worth it, and the funny thing is, it works. Just putting on a kicky lipstick or a pretty bra for work can brighten your self-image ever so slightly. Your self-esteem is a muscle; you have to work it!

If you’re partnered, we don’t need to tell you that you have to keep things spicy. Unmatched libidos can cause strain, but it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. Communicating with your partner and making them feel valued is vital, especially when your sex drive is low. Let your partner know what you’re going through, ask them to support you as you work to identify various causes, and remind them that they’re loved and desirable. Seeing a sex counselor together can actually be extremely sexy as well as healing – you may learn all types of tricks and role-playing games from them! The truth is, your desire may or may not have anything to do with the quality of your relationship. Sometimes the most loving couples suffer from bedroom fatigue, and sometimes the most dysfunctional ones are the most passionate. It doesn’t always make sense, but if you’re committed, together, you can work to find a satisfying outcome for all involved. 

Often a lowered libido is a symptom, not the cause. You deserve to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and sexually. Once you begin to attend to one part of this trifecta, the others seem to fall into place.