There is no such thing as a “normal” libido since everyone is different, but if you’ve noticed a big change in your sex drive and feel like its impacting your life, you’re not alone. About ¼ of reproductive-age women and half of post-menopausal women experience low libido . Approximately 15 percent of men struggle, too.
If you’re looking for a natural solution, it comes down to understanding the likely causes of your problem.
Stress is often an underlying cause of low sex drive. Besides being distracting and making it harder to connect with your partner, cortisol released in the body when you are stressed leads to a decrease in testosterone levels , one of the most influential factors in your libido.
At Parsley Health, we recommend meditation to almost every one of our patients. Besides the countless benefits meditation has for your overall health, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, it makes you more relaxed, alleviating stress and lowering cortisol levels .
To do this, you can choose whatever meditation suits you best—mindfulness, mantra-based, or body scan meditations are some of our favorites. Whether you’re trying to fall asleep, getting your morning started, or even in the middle of a hectic day at the office, try taking some time to calm your body and mind.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, fatigue and low energy levels can also lead to decreased sex drive. Make sure you’re getting a quality 8 hours of sleep a night to ensure everything in your body is functioning properly.
You can try fighting fatigue with herbs that boost energy through the dopamine system. Some of our favorites are:
Each has been shown to moderately increase sexual desire in study participants.
Testosterone levels can be a good indicator of sexual health, so ensuring your hormones are balanced is one way to increase libido. Specifically, making sure you’re producing enough testosterone is essential to restoring your sex drive. Advanced hormone testing can help you determine this.
Weight bearing exercise is one of the best ways to increase testosterone levels for both men and women. Though a single bout of exercise will raise your testosterone levels immediately after, in order to improve long term hormone levels you should incorporate strength training into your regular exercise routine.
Another great solution is adding herbs, minerals or nutraceuticals that regulate hormone production into your supplement routine. We recommend the following herbs and minerals that have all been linked to improving testosterone levels.
If you’ve optimized your stress, fatigue and hormones and you’re still not feeling in the mood, we recommend talking to your doctor to see if there’s something more going on.
Zandra Palma received her Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Harvard and her medical degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. Prior to studying functional medicine, she trained in internal medicine and anesthesiology. She has a special place in her heart (and practice) for environmental medicine, and hopes to use what she’s learned in this area to shift human health on a large scale.