With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the topic of libido/sex drive might be on your mind!
Libidos are complex and multi-faceted, and many different factors can influence how high or low our libidos are. If you’ve been feeling like you want to get your mojo back, we’ve broken down what contributes to your libido and how to improve it!
Peak sexual health is all about balanced hormones, managed stress, and a healthy heart.
Libido Hormones 101
All of the ovarian steroid hormones (estrogen, testosterone and progesterone) play a role in libido/sex drive. Estrogen and testosterone have larger influence on libido, as both of their mid-cycle peaks correspond to an increase in sex drive. The most influential hormone involved in libido is testosterone, which is an androgen hormone that is produced in women’s ovaries in small amounts. When it’s in an optimal range, testosterone contributes to bone health, muscle gain (which is essential for metabolism and maintaining a healthy weight), and libido in women. Therefore, an imbalance of testosterone can have a damaging effect on sex drive.
A decrease in sex drive while on hormonal birth control is a commonly reported and unwanted side-effect. Combined oral contraceptives, which contain estrogen and progestin, have been shown to reduce sexual desire, arousal, pleasure scores, and incidence of orgasm in some women. They have also been linked to decreased lubrication, vulvo-vaginal atrophy and increased risk for painful bladder syndrome (previously known as interstitial cystitis). This may be because hormonal birth control, especially combined hormonal contraceptives (e.g. the pill, the ring), reduce circulating levels of estrogen and testosterone and increase levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). In short, decreased testosterone = decreased libido.
Birth control is known to deplete a variety of key nutrients that impacts our mood and energy levels, which in turn influences sex drive. Top Up Tonic contains everything you need and more to get your groove back. COQ10 is an antioxidant-like compound that plays a key role in improving energy and fatigue. Another nutrient with major libido impact is Zinc, as it helps boost testosterone for both men and women. Unfortunately, these are depleted with the use of hormonal birth control. Fortunately, you can easily build up your stores with daily supplementation!
The Sex Drive & Stress Connection
Did you know that your biggest sexual organ is your brain? Getting turned on is truly a mind-body experience. Nothing is less sexy than reaching the bedroom after a night of anticipation to get thoughts of work, kids, or tomorrow’s pressing to-do list flooding in.
Managing your daily stress can have a HUGE impact on your libido. Practicing mindfulness daily, even for just 5 minutes, is a great way to reduce stress. Activities like deep breathing, guided meditations, journaling, walking outside, or doing yoga can effectively lower stress. If the thought of tackling your stress stresses you out, speaking with a therapist (or sex therapist!) may be a great approach.
A Healthy Heart = A Healthy Sex Life
What does your heart have to do with libido? A healthy cardiovascular system is key to sexual health and function. When we are aroused, there is an increase in blood flow to our genitals (this is what creates an erection for those with penises). Often left out of discussions around libido, taking care of our hearts (and blood vessels) is necessary!
3 ways to improve heart health:
- Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables daily. Try to eat one extra serving with every meal.
- Reduce processed foods (premade or take-out food). These foods contain high levels of sodium, which is particularly harmful for the cardiovascular system.
- Move your body for 20 minutes everyday. This can be as simple as going for a walk or dancing around your living room.