Has your–or perhaps your partner’s–sex drive been a little off recently?
With careers, children, social responsibilities, and television, it can be hard to make time for intimacy, or even yet, to get in the mood.
But don’t let a poor libido keep you from heating things up in the bedroom.
We’ve compiled a list of the absolute best ways to increase your sex drive…the natural way.
But First…Why Does Sex Matter?
1. It keeps you healthy
It’s common knowledge that sex can ward off illness, but did you know that having sex once a week can improve your immune function by 30 percent?
According to a study at Wilkes University, those who have sex once or twice a week have more illness-combatting immunoglobin in their saliva than their sexless counterparts.
Plus, sex is a workout. It burns calories – at least 85 an hour – and keeps your heart healthy. A 20-year study recently revealed that people who had sex more than twice a week were half as likely to have a fatal heart attack than those who got lucky less than once a month.
Related Article: 11 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy
2. It makes you confident
“One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves. Great sex begins with self-esteem. … If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it.”
So the next time you’re feeling down and out, the intimacy of sex may give you the turnaround you’re looking for.
3. It relieves stress
You may have already noticed that sex can alleviate the tension and anxieties associated with long and hectic work schedules.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to take your mind off of the things that cause you the most stress, and sex can give you that much-needed reprieve.
One study has found that diastolic blood pressure is often lower in people who live together and have sex often, and a Scottish report showed that sexually active people respond better to high-risk scenarios.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a catch-22–many of us don’t make time for sex because we’re so stressed, and as a result, our libido plummets.
Here’s how to fix that.
How You And Your Partner Can Get In The Mood
1. Get your beauty sleep
It may seem counteractive – you’re trying to play in the bed, not sleep in it, right? Well, sleep is actually one of the most important factors to consider if you’re trying to improve your sex drive.
Getting plenty of sleep is necessary in order to maintain normal stress levels and proper functioning of the body; if you don’t get enough sleep, then your whole body suffers, including the organs responsible for keeping your sex drive intact and working appropriately.
Getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night is ideal.
2. Get moving outside of the bedroom
If you’re confident about how your body looks, you won’t be as hesitant to take control and make the move in the bedroom.
3. Give or receive a massage
A massage is an especially great way to get the juices flowing for two reasons.
First, it involves intimate interaction with another person; all that rubbing and pressurizing can really be a turn on.
Secondly, it helps reduce stress and tension in the body, and it’s particularly helpful after a long day of work.
Whip out the oils, candles (see below), and some soft music to get your special someone in the mood.
Related Article: Health Benefits of Massage
4. Eat well
Much like exercise, healthy eating can lead to weight loss and allow you to feel good about your body; overconsumption and subsequent weight gain can lead to blood vessel diseases that can block or slow the flow of blood to the genitals.
In addition, there are certain foods that have the ability to the increase the production of enzymes that improve sex drive. Bananas, oysters, and avocados are just a few examples of foods that can spice up your sex life.
Meditate, listen to music, read a book – find time to relax in order to decrease stress levels.
High levels of stress increase the production of cortisol, a hormone that causes testosterone levels to plummet.
Try relaxing for at least 15 minutes a day to reduce cortisol levels and improve your sex drive – you might be surprised by the results.
6. Break out the candles
Sometimes the right smell can get people in the mood. Candles can be pretty romantic, too, so that’s always a great place to start.
Try different scents and see if any of them get you or your partner particularly hot and bothered.
If all those candles and essential oils seem too complex for you, perhaps it may help to invest in some nice cologne or perfume, instead.
Related Article: 4 Benefits of Aromatherapy
7. Experiment with herbs
It doesn’t get much more natural than this. Several herbal remedies exist that are rumored to increase sex drive.
Firstly, gingko biloba is an herb derived from the tree of the same name, and it’s known to increase blood flow to the brain and sexual organs.
There’s also ashwaganda, a supplement that can give you more energy and decreases the negative effects of stress.
Yohimbine is an African plant known as the natural Viagra, and it’s possible that it decreases the likelihood of impotence in men.
Finally, tulsi (holy basil) is a popular Indian herb that boosts stamina and energy levels, something that is particularly important when participating in strenuous physical activities.
8. Quit smoking!
Although cigarettes were once glamourized in films and magazines as a mysterious and sexy accessory, the smelly clothes, bad breath, dry mouth, and the assortment of negative ramifications associated with smoking are enough to turn anybody off.
Everybody knows that smoking can cause lung cancer, but perhaps if more individuals knew that it slows blood flow to sex organs and slashes energy levels, there wouldn’t be so many smokers.
Related Article: What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking
Sex matters to a lot of people, not just because it feels good, but because sexual intimacy keeps couples interested and happy. In addition, it can relieve stress, improve immune function, help your heart, and do a whole lot of other great things.
Even though it can be hard to find the time to engage in sex, let alone feel in the mood for it, there are ways that can help you increase sex drive naturally…without having to pop a libido-enhancing pill or avoid sex altogether.
Photo by dominiqueboivineau
Originally published February 2013 and updated by September 2014.