Sex with a willing, consensual, and appropriate partner is one of life’s biggest delights with no downside. It is a necessary component of good health, doesn’t harm the planet, won’t give you a hangover, cause a business crash or divide the nation. It’s pure, free fun that can be exhilarating and make your day a little brighter. Occasionally, we need a little support in regaining a lost libido.
The term libido has been used since the early 1900’s when Sigmund Freud first starting using this Latin word to refer to our instinctual energy and drive for sex. While our sex drive is a necessary component of the human experience, it is also affected by so many mental, emotional, and biological factors. Sexual appetite can fluctuate from day-to-day to year-to year and the varying intensity of a sex drive involves our hormonal status, neurotransmitter levels, life stressors, physical health, and even medications and nutrition.
A functional medicine approach to optimal health not only includes factors affecting your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing but also includes placing importance on a healthy sex drive. Here is a list of just a few of the benefits obtained from a healthy sex life:
- Less stress;
- Better mental health;
- Healthy relationships;
- Boosted confidence;
- Better sleep; and
- Quality exercise.
The definition of a “normal” sex drive is really not appropriate because there is such a high degree of variation in how someone experiences lust and physical desire. It’s normal for our sex drive to go through ebbs and flow due to life’s stressors and surprises which impact our ability to feel amorous. However, a persistent lack of interest in anything sexual can indicate emotional or physical issues that may require addressing with your primary care physician.
Commonly cited symptoms of a lagging sex drive include the following:
- Loss of desire for a partner;
- Lack of interest in sex with a spouse;
- Disinterest in self-pleasure;
- Few or no sexual fantasies;
- Stress or concern about a lack of interest in sex and
- Lack of arousal when viewing sexual material.
Frequently, hormonal imbalances are the cause for a low or non-existent sex drive. A man’s sex drive is partially based on the hormone testosterone. Testosterone production typically decreases with age. According to the American Urological Association, about 2 out of 10 men older than 60 years have low testosterone. Women can also be affected by low testosterone levels but waning estrogen is the more common issue. About 26% of women experiencing perimenopause and 52% of menopausal women struggle with reduced sex desire.
One of the most common complaints that go with a reduced sexual desire is too much stress. Excess stress leaves you exhausted and irritable and the thought of sexual performance leaves you blah. It can also impact your hormone levels which usually decrease when the adrenal glands are in the “flight-or-fight” response mode. This may cause sexual desire to evaporate altogether.
Supplements to Health Boost Your Libido
Maca powder is derived from the root of a Peruvian plant that only grows in certain parts of the South American Andes mountains. It has become popular around the world for its ability to boost the libido in both men and women. Maca has been used for hundreds of years to boost sex drive and there is research to back it up. In a 2002 study, maca powder was proven to increase sexual desire in men and a 2008 study showed it decreased sexual issues in menopausal women. It is important to have a source of maca powder that has been tested for purity and lack of contaminants. Gaia Herbs Maca Powder is one of our favorite providers and each teas poon of powder contains 3.3 grams of libido-boosting maca.
Beets contain a natural source of nitrates and when ingested, the nitrates turn into nitrites. Those nitrites are further converted to nitric oxide by the stomach during digestion. Nitric oxide is a gas that helps boost circulation and assists in dilating blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction medications harness the nitric oxide pathway to cause blood vessels to open up and increase blood flow which promotes a healthy erection in men.
It can be difficult and often not that palatable to eat enough beets or beet juice to get the level of nitric oxide needed to enhance sexual performance. A good alternative is to take a beet powder supplement that is a concentrated form of the nitrates your body needs. Just one scoop of SuperBeets Apple flavored crystals give you the functional benefit of 40 teaspoons of fresh beets without the beet taste.
Herbal Formulas to Help with Stress and Sexual Desire
The Indian herb Ashwagandha has been in use for thousands of years for its ability to reduce stress and support balancing the adrenal glands. Ashwagandha is termed an ”adaptogenic” herb which means it helps you adapt to stress and mitigate the effects of life’s pressures. Like many ancient traditional herbs, Ashwagandha is enjoying a surge in popularity due to a large amount of scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness.
Recent clinical studies suggest that ashwagandha can reduce anxiety and stress when taken twice a day. One randomized, double-blind study that focused on 75 middle-aged adults who reported moderate to severe anxiety found that that ashwagandha could increase motivation and concentration through anxiety reduction. When anxiety is reduced, your body is more relaxed and thoughts of sexual desire can become more prominent.
It is very important when taking herbal products to make sure they are screened for purity to prevent getting metal and pesticide contaminants. Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha is an excellent source and each capsule contains 300 mg of purified ashwagandha. Typically, this product works best when taken twice a day for combatting the dreaded “21st-century syndrome” stress effects that lead to problems with sexual desire.
Rhodiola is another herb that is considered an adaptogen and it grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Asia. Rhodiola is a very complex herb that contains more than 140 active ingredients. The best use of Rhodiola is for the treatment of situational stress such as work overload or a family crisis.
As with Ashwagandha, Rhodiola has been used for investigational studies and in one trial, 101 people with work and life related stress were given 400 mg of Rhodiola a day for four weeks. The study found significant improvements in symptoms of stress, fatigue, exhaustion and anxiety, after just four days. Even better, the participants continued to improve for the duration of the study. Another study examined the use of Rhodiola for treating work burnout, which occurs when someone is working too hard for too many years and their body starts to show signs of adrenal stress, brain fog, and nervous conditions. The study reported that the participants began to recover from burnout with the use of Rhodiola and their symptoms of depression were decreased.
Gaia Herbs Rhodiola rosea is a top-of-the-market product for your source of this stress-busting herb. It comes in a liquid plant-based capsule and 2 capsules a day will give you the necessary support to bust down your stress. When you reduce your stress, feelings of lust and desire can return and your desire for a healthy sex life can be rejuvenated!
There are so many reasons to desire a robust sex life and sometimes we all need a little help keeping the “fire burning”. The Swell Score has put together this supplement bundle to help you relieve some of the symptoms that may be keeping you from enjoying the pure pleasure of sex. Let’s Get It On!
Don’t you know how sweet and wonderful
Life can be?
I’m asking you baby
To get it on with me (Marvin Gaye)