• Monica Bell

Libido Crushers

Updated: Dec 16, 2021


Libido is the desire for sexual activity and varies greatly among individuals. You can think of your libido as an individual baseline of the need for sex. But what is that baseline, and why does it change, and does it matter?

 

The Benefits of Sex


Both men and women benefit from sex and sexual intimacy. There are physical, emotional, and mental health benefits from sex, even if you don’t have a partner. Masturbation counts too! Here are the benefits of regular sexual activity:

  • Improved bonding between partners

  • Your body releases the hormone oxytocin and endorphins during orgasm, which leads to better sleep. Better sleep means more energy, improved focus, and a better immune system.

  • Research has shown that sexually active adults between 50 to 90 years old had a better memory.

  • Studies have also shown decreased mortality for men who had regular sex and for women decrease incontinence and increased bladder control.

  • A decrease in prostate cancer for men who have regular orgasms

So, over time libido tends to wane, and sex becomes less frequent. There are many modifiable reasons for this, and with some effort, you can get your libido back.


 

Reasons for Reduced Libido and What to Do About it


Hormonal Changes:

Aging brings some significant hormonal changes in men and women. Hormones are one of the driving forces of libido. Perimenopause, menopause, and andropause are all naturally occurring conditions that zap your desire for sex. The hormones testosterone and estrogen gradually decline in women as they age, and testosterone drops for men. A decrease in hormones for women can cause painful penetration along with decreased desire.


What To Do About It:

Have your hormone levels checked by a qualified healthcare provider who specializes in hormone treatment. Consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy after discussing any risks with your provider. Hormone replacement may rejuvenate your sex life while providing lots of other benefits like improved bone density and muscle mass.


Stress:

Where to begin? Stress is a significant health hazard. Right now, there is a pandemic, kids are doing remote learning, people are working from home, older adults are in quarantine and can’t receive visitors, and our usual social network is constrained. Who feels like having sex? Even in “normal” times, stress can play a significant role in libido. Even though sex is a great stress reliever, it can be challenging to initiate sex when you are stressed.


What To Do About It:

Stress relieving strategies should be a part of your daily life. Once they become a habit, stress can be managed, and your libido will return. Some tried and true suggestions:

  • Exercise. We aren’t necessarily talking about high-intensity aerobics or running a marathon. A daily walk can have significant physical and mental health benefits beyond stress relief. Yoga, weight lifting and biking are all great stress reducing activities.

  • Meditate. Deep breathing decreases blood pressure, improves digestion, relieves pain, and increases energy.

  • Eat and Sleep Well. Focus on a plant-based diet and get plenty of sleep.

Medications:

Commonly prescribed medications can lower testosterone levels for men and women. Anti-depressants, opioids, and blood pressure medications are just a few culprits.


What To Do About It

Talk to your health care provider about alternatives to libido crushing medications. Consider lifestyle changes to eliminate the need for certain medications.


Alcohol Use:

Excessive alcohol consumption, which for men is considered more than 14 mixed drinks a week, has been linked to lower testosterone levels. For men, increased alcohol intake can lead to problems with maintaining an erection and ejaculation. For women, moderate drinking may increase testosterone levels, but too much will make orgasm more difficult.


What To Do About It

Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with all kinds of short- and long-term health risks. The CDC recommends one drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men. Cut back on your drinking and use other stress-reducing techniques. Your libido and your body will thank you.


Depression and Self-Esteem:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the U.S. There are many types of depression and women are twice as likely as men to have had a depressive episode. The reasons can include hormonal changes due to perimenopause and menopause, postpartum depression, and low self-esteem. Also, work overload, unequal power, status and pay, and sexual and physical abuse history have an influence.


What To Do About It

Depression is treatable. The first line of defense for may people are anti-depressant medications, but we know that some of these medications adversely affect libido. Talk with your doctor about that concern if you decide to take medications. The other option is psychotherapy which has been shown to be very effective in treating depression and there are no side effects!


Vitamin D Deficiency:

Research has shown a direct correlation between vitamin D deficiency and lower testosterone levels in both men and women. Vitamin D deficiency is estimated to affect approximately 42% of the U.S. population, and that number is much higher for people of color. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many more medical problems than just testosterone, so treating this condition will have lots of other benefits as well.


What To Do About It

We get most of our vitamin D from the sun. That is a challenge on several levels. First, too much sun exposure can increase skin cancer. Second, you may live in a northern climate where sun exposure is limited. The solution is vitamin D supplementation based on your levels.


 

A Healthy You is a Sexy You


You may notice a common theme in our recommendations to combat libido crushers- an improvement in your overall health. A healthier you is a good first step towards feeling better, looking better and getting your libido back.



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