Your libido (i.e., desire for sex) exists on a spectrum and can be fluid over time. In other words: it’s perfectly normal to go through seasons in life where sex is the last thing on your mind. Still, normal doesn’t mean untroubling—especially when you feel that your struggle with erotic enthusiasm is negatively impacting your romantic relationship. Of course, while you’re under no obligation to have sex more than you want to, you may still wish to increase your sexual desire to meet your partner's needs. That's fine, too.
And a great place you could start from would be the following tips.
#1: Eat libido-enhancing foods
First, a disclaimer. There isn't one food (i.e., "magic bullet") that'll push your sex button. Instead, the following "aphrodisiac" foods are centered around key nutrients that play a role in regulating libido levels:
- Zinc-rich foods: Sexually speaking, zinc is a crucial micronutrient for men. According to a 2013 study, researchers found that sense of smell may be important to libido—especially in younger men (1). But wait. What does that have to do with zinc? As it turns out, zinc deficiency can reduce one’s sense of smell (2). In turn, highlighting the importance of getting enough zinc. To hit your daily recommended intake levels of zinc (11 mg for men, 8 mg for women), prioritize meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and eggs in your diet (3). Feel free to make up any shortfall with Dr. Danielle’s Elderberry Immune Assist whenever necessary, too.
- Antioxidants: According to a 2018 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, an increased intake of antioxidants helped reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction by a whopping 38%—and increased sex drive in women (4). So, what are some examples of antioxidant-rich foods? Berries, spinach, beans, kale, and artichokes are just a few healthful additions to add to your plate (5). Those looking for a little more "oomph" could also consider supplementing with either Dr. Danielle's Turmeric Curcumin or Alpha-Lipoic Acid. Both are potent antioxidants likely to put you in a frisky mood.
#2: Try natural remedies
Foods aren’t the only thing you could put in your mouth (ahem) to increase your desire for sex. Below, find a list of scientifically proven supplements that could light the sexual fire in you:
- Tribulus terrestris: Helps increase sex drive in both men and women. According to a 2014 study, for instance, 88% of women taking 750 mg of Tribulus terrestris daily reported increased sexual satisfaction after 90 days (6). Also, this 2016 study found that 79% of men taking 750 to 1,500 mg of Tribulus terrestris daily experienced improved sexual desire after two months (7).
- Maca: A root vegetable traditionally used to enhance sex drive; most studies find that taking 1.5 to 3.5 grams daily for at least two weeks is sufficient to boost libido (8, 9).
- Saffron: According to a 2019 review of five studies, this delicious spice significantly improved various aspects of sexual pleasure, desire, and arousal in men and women (10).
#3: Make time for sex
An important thing to note is that not everyone experiences desire, then arousal. In recent years, sexologists (i.e., scientists who study human sexuality) have found that some people need to be aroused first to experience desire (11). Although we commonly equate libido with spontaneous sexual desire—the feeling of wanting sex that happens out of the blue—there’s a second type called the "responsive desire". The latter refers to the kind of desire present only after a sexual encounter begins. So, if that sounds like you, don't just wait for the sudden urge to have sex.
Instead, set aside time to be intimate (e.g., put it in your schedule) and prepare to put yourself in the right mindset to connect physically with your partner. You could do so by thinking about sex during the day, masturbating, or watching a movie that arouses you.
#4: Take care of your gut
You’ve heard about the gut-brain axis (i.e., the links between your gut health, cognitive, and emotional functions). But did you know your gut could influence your libido too? A large part of it has to do with serotonin—the happiness hormone (12). Because your gut produces the majority of serotonin (roughly 95%!) in your body, an unhealthy gut could result in low serotonin levels, which, in turn, is associated with lower sex drives (13). And when you think about it, well, it makes sense. Who’s up for sexy time when they’re feeling down? Nobody, that’s who.
So, how do you take care of your gut (to promote healthy sexual desire levels)? It starts with feeding your microbiome and adding more good bacteria to the mix. Focus on eating more probiotic foods, like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut (14, 15, 16). And, of course, it wouldn't hurt to look into probiotic supplements (e.g., Dr. Danielle’s Probiotics) either. Going a step further to repair and protect your gut lining with Dr. Danielle’s Gut Assist—which comes in two delicious flavors: Berry and Orange—will also help provide the optimal environment needed for your good gut bacteria to thrive.
#5: Get good-quality sleep
When you're running low on sleep—and, thus, energy—your desire to get between the sheets is likely more PG-13 and less R-21. The solution to this is straightforward: you must prioritize sleep. Research agrees. According to this 2015 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, participants who got more sleep the night before reported increased sexual desire the next day (17). More specifically, those who slept for a more extended period experienced better genital arousal than those with shorter sleep times.
Find falling asleep an insurmountable challenge no matter how much time you spend in bed? Here's a secret. Good-quality sleep starts long before bedtime. Many of the things you do during the day—right up to the moment your head hits the pillow—will affect the quality of your slumber. So here are a few sleep-promoting habits to try (18, 19, 20). Wake up at the same time every morning, get at least 15 minutes of sunlight every morning, steer clear of caffeine after 2 pm, and put your phones and devices away before getting into bed. And if you're someone whose mind races at the speed of light at night: beyond Stress Lift, you could also consider Dr. Danielle’s Joy Assist. Its potent, mood-lifting capabilities could help calm the storm, helping you drift off to blissful sleep.
#6: Lower anxiety levels
Anxious feelings can suppress libido in several ways (21, 22, 23). When your mind is filled with thoughts like, "Will my next paycheck cover the rent?" and "Did the client like my proposal?" there's little headspace left for sexy ones—preventing you from being in the mood. The rush of stress-related hormones, like cortisol, also makes you feel on edge. And when your body can’t physically relax, reveling in sexual sensations is undoubtedly going to be a lot more challenging. Perhaps worst of all, when you have anxiety, you’re more likely to feel self-conscious about your body. This, in turn, holds you back from initiating (or engaging in) physical intimacy with your partner.
Now, the golden question is this. How can you be less anxious? Well, there are many proven anxiety-relieving techniques you could lean on (24, 25). Some examples include practicing self-care (e.g., getting a massage), meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. And for those seeking quick relief, supplements could help. One notable ingredient to look out for is ashwagandha (which, by the way, can be found in Dr. Danielle’s Stress Lift); according to this 2019 study, participants who took 240 mg of ashwagandha extract daily for 60 days experienced significant reductions in anxiety compared with those who received a placebo treatment (26).
#7: Limit alcohol
This may come as a shock to those used to using alcohol to chase those bedroom jitters away, but alcohol is a depressant. That means drinking too much interferes with your ability to feel sexual stimulation—which is never a good thing when you’re trying to get in the mood (27). Excessive alcohol consumption could also make it difficult for a man to achieve erections or reach an orgasm (28).
But what's excessive? Is it three drinks? Or when you're drunk? Moist experts recommend men drink no more than two drinks a day and women no more than one a day, so you'd do best by sticking to those guidelines (29). And on occasions you do drink, don’t forget to protect your liver (responsible for breaking down all that alcohol) with Dr. Danielle’s Liver Assist.
#8: Get more movement in
There's plenty of evidence showing that exercise is a major libido booster. For example, in this study, sedentary middle-aged men assigned to participate in an exercise program for nine months reported more frequent sexual activity, improved sexual function, and greater satisfaction (30). And it's not just men who benefit sexually from exercise, either. Physically active women also tend to report greater sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction than those who're sedentary. Researchers in this study, for instance, found that young women who cycled for 20 minutes, then watched an X-rated film showed greater physiological sexual arousal than participants who did not exercise before seeing the film (31).
Bottom line? Try to get moving more—at least hit the recommended exercise guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking, biking, and mowing the lawn) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (e.g., running, heavy yard work, and aerobic dancing) weekly—and you’ll likely experience an increase in libido (32). Just remember to stay adequately hydrated by replenishing lost electrolytes with, say, Dr. Danielle’s Electrolytes, for example. Wink.
Libido is very complex
Ultimately, multiple factors can affect your sex drive—from relationship factors to medical conditions to medications. If you experience a persistent drop in libido, it may be worth checking in with either a physician or a mental health provider. If everything checks out medically, and you're still struggling with a mismatch in libido levels with your partner, it may be worth initiating a conversation about increasing the frequency of sexual activities that do not involve penetration. And if that doesn't work, perhaps a couples sex therapy approach may be worth exploring.