How to Naturally Increase Your Libido

Last updated on by Helen Nichols

Your libido, or your sex drive, changes over time.

Many different factors can affect it, and there are ways you can improve your appetite for sex.

Knowing what affects your desire is essential, as is identifying the natural solutions you have available to you to increase your drive.

Our guide can help you determine what might be causing your decrease in appetite for sex and offers helpful tips on how to improve your libido with natural remedies.

A waning libido affects women more than men, but a significant portion of both sexes experiences this problem periodically.

As many as one in three women and one in seven men regularly lack the desire for sex (1).

Low libido affects people of all ages for many different reasons, including psychological problems and physical disorders.

Hormone levels, stress, problems with your relationship, and lack of physical wellness impact your desire for sex, regardless of your gender.

You are not alone if you are experiencing low libido.

You can start today to increase your sex drive naturally with effective and safe home remedies and treatments.

Making simple lifestyle changes can greatly enhance your sex drive.

We’ll teach you how adding more aphrodisiacs to your diet, reducing your stress, and getting better rest and exercise can all enhance your libido without medications that have adverse side effects.

Keep reading to learn all the secrets for libido-enhancing natural treatments.

 

Understanding Your Libido

Your desire to have sex is connected to your physical, as well as your psychological, health.

While similar factors can cause lowered libido in men and women, men and women also have their own, gender-specific problems of which you need to be aware.

Men’s libido gradually decreases naturally with age as testosterone levels normally diminish over time.

While each person is different, men often experience a decline in their libido later in life and may have very little desire for sex in their 60s, 70s, and beyond.

Other common causes of reduced libido in men include depression, high amounts of stress, side-effects from medications, sleep apnea, or an endocrine disorder.

Most people often associate lowered libido with erectile dysfunction (ED), but these are different problems.

The desire for sex is not always connected to the ability to have sex.

ED is the inability of a man to get or maintain an erection, and while this can be caused by low testosterone, which also lowers libido, other factors can cause ED but not impact desire at all.

Most men with ED have normal sex drives but lack the ability to maintain an erection (2).

For women, the cause of lowered libido is also varied.

For many women, a decreased sex drive is caused by psychological influences, such as too much stress, problems with their relationship, and issues with their own body image and sexuality.

Women’s lowered libido can also be caused by physical forces such as hormone imbalances from birth control methods, endometriosis, thyroid disorders, and fibroids.

Both men and women have testosterone, and for women, low testosterone can also impact sexual desire, just as it does for men.

Women’s testosterone levels reach their highest in their 20s, and levels steadily decline until menopause.

After a woman goes through menopause, her testosterone levels decrease significantly, and often, her libido will plummet, as well (3).

Birth control methods that involve hormone manipulation can severely influence a woman’s libido, affecting as many as one in five women who use some form of contraception (4).

 

Biological Issues

For both men and women, the biological chemicals dopamine and prolactin can impact your libido.

While dopamine is known to enhance your sexual drive, prolactin can diminish it.

Examine any medications you may be taking to determine if they impact either the release of dopamine or prolactin in your body.

Medicines with this effect will often have a substantial impact on libido or may have other sexual side effects (5).

Chronic diabetes plays a role in lowered libido, as does obesity.

Men who are overweight or obese are more likely to have erectile dysfunction, and both men and women who are overweight tend to have lowered sexual appetites.

In fact, one in four people who are obese report sexual problems (6).

Losing just a small amount of weight can improve your overall sexual function, though.

 

Psychological Issues

Not all issues with libido are caused by physical problems.

Your mental health is just as important when it comes to your sexual drive.

Factors such as depression, relationship issues, chronic stress, and substance abuse can lower the drive for sex in both men and women (7).

Stress is a particularly common libido-lowering cause for women (8).

A healthy sex drive is therefore dependent on a healthy body and mind.

 

Increasing Your Libido through Diet

Changing your diet can have an impact on your libido.

We share many foods to add to your diet that are libido-enhancing, and we also let you know which foods in your diet may be causing problems and which you should therefore eliminate.

 

Helpful Foods for All

  • Water

Water is so vital to overall health and libido that you cannot ignore it.

Dehydration can lead to fatigue, vaginal dryness, headaches, and other side effects that put a damper on your libido.

Be sure you drink at least 64 ounces of water each day, and more if you are active or spend a lot of time outdoors.

  • Iron

When your iron levels are low, you become lethargic, depressed, and lose your sex drive.

For women, being anemic also affects arousal and lubrication, which can affect your ability to have an orgasm.

Grass-fed beef and dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are good sources of iron.

  • Aphrodisiacs

Aphrodisiacs are foods or drinks that can increase libido or sexual desire.

While some aphrodisiacs may be just old wives’ tales, others are known to work.

Increase your intake of bananas, figs, and avocados, which are loaded with minerals and vitamins that encourage blood flow, and you might see an upswing in your libido.

  • Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes could be another powerful libido-enhancing food.

Loaded with Vitamin A and potassium, sweet potatoes can lower blood pressure.

For men with ED, this is good news, as high blood pressure can contribute to erectile problems (9).

  • Watermelon

Watermelon is another food to keep on your list for libido enhancement.

The phytonutrients lycopene (an antioxidant), cucurbitacin E (an anti-inflammatory), and citrulline (an essential amino acid) mean eating this fruit can help improve blood flow and lower inflammation, both of which can enhance libido.

  • Dark Chocolate

Your body depends on mood chemicals to assist with libido, and dark chocolate can help with this.

Serotonin and phenylethylamine are both present in dark chocolate and can enhance your mood.

Select dark chocolate that is low in sugar (10).

  • Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body.

Your body’s natural production of it steadily decreases with age.

Because collagen keeps skin firm and elastic, loss of this protein means men have more difficulty maintaining an erection and women lose vaginal wall elasticity (11).

Eating collagen-rich foods, like bone broth, or taking a collagen supplement can help your skin stay firmer, and avoid some of these libido-lowering problems.

Getting enough Vitamin C is also essential for collagen production.

  • Vitamin C

Getting enough Vitamin C can ensure proper blood circulation, which is needed for libido.

Women’s sex drive especially can benefit from getting enough Vitamin C in your diet.

Guava, red peppers, oranges, and broccoli are all high in this potent and essential vitamin.

  • Spices

The antioxidants found in spices like cloves and nutmeg are excellent for your overall health, as well as your libido.

Extracts of these spices have been shown to enhance libido in animal trials, which offers promise for humans, too (12).

And since they are also tasty, you can’t go wrong including them in your diet.

  • Nuts

Several types of nuts are good sources of the necessary minerals, vitamins, and trace nutrients you need for a healthy body and strong sex drive.

Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which helps maintain healthy levels of testosterone.

Almonds improve sexual reproduction and overall libido, with high levels of selenium, Vitamin E, and Zinc.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Be sure to eat enough omega-3 fatty acids.

These powerful components help your body function normally and help regulate hormone balance.

Adding sources of wild-caught fish, like salmon, as well as chia and flax seeds, or an omega-3 supplement like fish oil to your diet can increase your levels and boost your libido.

 

Harmful Foods for All

Some foods affect your body’s overall health and wellness and may impact your libido, as well.

Avoiding these foods can help increase your sex drive, as well as you to feel better and live healthier.

Here are the foods you should eliminate from your diet now.

Over-consumption of alcohol decreases sensitivity, arousal, and desire.

You can enjoy a glass of red wine for its polyphenol benefits, but limit yourself to just one.

While the antioxidants in red wine can boost arousal and increase blood flow, more than one glass can have negative effects.

  • Meat and Dairy

Animals raised on factory farms produce meat and dairy that is high in antibiotics and hormones, neither of which your body needs.

These meats can contribute to hormonal imbalances in both men and women, and avoiding them can help you boost your sex drive.

Dairy products from these animals also contain high levels of hormones, which can negatively impact testosterone levels in both men and women.

  • Sugar

Sugar can profoundly impact testosterone levels.

High sugar consumption lowers testosterone levels by as much as one-fourth.

These levels remain low for hours after eating a lot of sugar and affect healthy individuals as well as those with diabetes and prediabetes (13).

  • Sodium

Foods high in sodium are likely to raise blood pressure, which decreases blood flow to sex organs.

High blood pressure can also cause other negative effects that impede your libido.

Avoiding processed and canned foods will be helpful in lowering your overall sodium intake.

  • Fried foods and Trans Fats

Not only are trans fats and fried foods bad for your heart, but they can hurt your libido and reproduction, as well.

Greasy foods high in trans fats can lead to cardiovascular issues, which hamper blood flow and lower libido.

Diets high in trans fats can also affect sperm production in men, and can negatively impact children born from women with diets high in these types of fats (14, 15).

 

Supplements to Increase Your Libido

Adding nutrients and minerals to your diet can help your body operate well, keep your hormones in balance, manage stress more effectively, and promote overall better health.

The following are supplements that may be helpful to increase your libido when used as a part of a healthy diet.

 

Libido Supplements for Men

  • Ginkgo biloba – Taking 120 milligrams twice a day can enhance blood flow to your genitals.
  • L-arginine – Taking 1,000 milligrams twice a day can assist with blood vessel dilation, which improves blood flow to your genitals.
  • Maca – Taking 500 milligrams three times per day can increase your overall sexual drive and enhance your mood (16).
  • Tribulus – Taking 85–250 milligrams three times a day of this traditional Chinese medicine, which works as an aphrodisiac, can increase your libido (17).
  • Niacin, or Vitamin B3 – Taking 250 milligrams three times a day can improve blood flow, which can enhance libido.

 

Libido Supplements for Women

  • Iron – Taking 25–30 milligrams a day of iron chelate, along with a source of Vitamin C, can combat anemia if you are iron deficient.  Iron deficiency can impact your libido.
  • Yohimbine – Taking 15–30 milligrams a day can improve the ability to have an orgasm in women (18).
  • Panax Ginseng – Taking 1,000 milligrams per day for just three weeks increases sexual desire for women during menopause (19).
  • Maca – Taking 500 milligrams three times a day can regulate hormones, increase sexual desire, and promote fertility in women.
  • Ashwagandha – Taking 500 milligrams up to two times per day is helpful for women with sexual dysfunction (20).

 

Essential Oils to Increase Libido

For many, essential oils are a pathway to better health, and this is also true of your libido.

Essential oils can boost your mood, enhance your outlook, and promote feelings of relaxation, which are helpful for some when combating stress and other libido-reducing factors.

Jasmine, rose, and sandalwood are excellent essential oils for both men and women to try.

Sandalwood is effective at regulating hormone levels for both women and men.

It is commonly used to scent perfumes and colognes because it is a natural aphrodisiac.

Adding just a few drops of this essential oil to your deodorant can help men boost testosterone levels, and improve overall hormone balance and libido.

Ladies, try adding it to your lotion.

For men struggling with ED or other sexual dysfunction, cinnamon oil has natural enhancing powers.

Cinnamon is known to increase blood flow, and the enzymes in cinnamon oil are particularly effective at increasing blood supply to the genitals.

 

Additional Natural Remedies

In addition to changing your diet and using natural, essential oils, you can also make some critical changes to your lifestyle that influence your sex drive.

You may not even realize how your habits or lifestyle choices may be contributing to your lack of sexual appetite, but making a few simple changes can often lead to dramatic improvements.

While changing your lifestyle can be a natural and low-risk way to improve your libido, as opposed to medications or other medical interventions, it also requires the most self-discipline.

When trying to enhance libido, results may not be readily apparent or happen as quickly as you like.

You must learn to be patient, as some remedies take longer to have the effect you may desire.

But that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Keep working to improve your libido, and gradually, over time, you will notice a positive change in your sex drive.

Here are our favorite lifestyle choices that can enhance your libido naturally.

  • Moderate Exercise

Make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.

When you don’t exercise enough, you are not producing needed endorphins, and when you exercise too much, you lower your testosterone levels.

Exercise can help you stay strong, which also enhances your enjoyment of sex.

Regular exercise is imperative for a healthy heart, which helps you have adequate blood flow, a key component of libido.

  • Quit Smoking

Yet another reason to quit, smoking lowers your libido as well as your overall satisfaction with sex.

Men and women who smoke have reduced fertility.

Smokers also report having sex about half as much as their non-smoking counterparts (21).

And smoking impacts blood flow and overall health, so quitting can improve how you feel about yourself.

  • Reduce Your Stress

Living with chronic or elevated stress not only affects your heart but also your head.

When you are stressed, you are less likely to have interest in sex or feel desirable to others.

Stress reduction can come from removing the source of the stress, or finding healthy coping strategies.

Ways to cope with stress include yoga, meditation, exercise, spending time outdoors, engaging in a hobby or pastime, or learning a new skill.

Lowering stress can have a profound impact on libido, particularly for women.

  • Focus on Quality Sleep

When you are exhausted, the last thing on your mind is sex.

Getting sufficient, quality sleep is essential for a number of critical metabolic functions, including your libido.

Make sure you are able to dedicate enough hours to sleep, and that your sleep leaves you feeling restful.

You may need to eliminate things from your life that prevent you from getting enough sleep.

Without a focus on yourself, your libido and other healthy body functions will suffer in the long run.

Balancing all the demands of life can be hard, but neglecting yourself and your partner is not a productive way to live.

  • Improve Your Body Image

If you are feeling poorly about yourself, you are unlikely to want to engage in sex with someone else.

Work on setting goals and making progress in ways that can help you improve your self-esteem and body image.

If you are overweight or are unhappy about your physical fitness, start slowly and make a plan for how you’d like to feel and look.

If you are unhappy no matter what you try, it may be time to seek professional help to deal with your image issues.

Body image can have a significant impact on libido, so if yours is lowering your sex drive, focus on ways to feel better about yourself.

  • Focus on Your Relationship

When there are problems in your relationship, it is unlikely you will be in the mood for sex.

Women especially equate sexual intimacy with emotional closeness.

If you have problems in your relationship, focusing on these can help enhance your libido over time.

Be sure you and your partner are open with one another about issues you are experiencing.

Keep the lines of communication open, especially about matters of sex and intimacy.

Don’t allow resentments or other negative emotions to build up and block the feelings of trust you want with your partner.

By focusing on your relationship with the person you love, together you can build intimacy and enhance your sexual drives.

 

Medical Treatments for Low Libido

There are many physical and psychological reasons why your libido is low.

For men, the most significant contributor to lowered libido is low testosterone, while women tend to experience sexual dysfunction for more psychological reasons.

Seeking medical treatment to help increase your libido or treat underlying problems that may be contributing to its decrease is a valid choice for many people, and should not be overlooked.

While most think of prescription drugs like Cialis or Viagra when they think of sexual problems, most men with ED don’t experience a lowered libido.

Taking erectile enhancement medications is not necessarily going to solve your problem if you are a man with low libido.

Because these medicines can have severe adverse side effects, take them with caution if prescribed by your doctor.

Other therapies, such as testosterone replacement, are more controversial but could be targeting the cause of your decreased libido.

If you aren’t sure what is causing your lack of sex drive, talk with your doctor first to determine the root.

You may be surprised to learn that women are more likely than men to have sexual dysfunction (22).

If you are a post-menopausal woman who is experiencing lowered libido, vaginal dryness may be contributing to your lack of sex drive.

A typical treatment is vaginal estrogen creams, which can decrease dryness.

Women frequently are lacking the necessary testosterone for libido, so testosterone pills or patches may also be beneficial.

If you are a woman, talk to your doctor to rule out other medical issues, such as fibroids.

Surgery may be necessary to remove these growths and restore your libido.

Birth control pills and their essential hormones can also affect libido.

Talk with your doctor about other, non-hormonal forms of birth control.

Changing medications can often increase libido.

If your problems stem from mental health issues, taking an antidepressant may help you feel better and improve your sexual appetite.

Be cautious, as some of these medications can actually lower your libido, so talk with your doctor before selecting one that may be right for you.

Other effective treatments include sex therapy and relationship counseling to help deal with any psychological issues that may be contributing to your lack of libido.

 

Precautions

If you think your lack of sexual desire may be connected to a more extensive medical problem, talk with your doctor.

While natural approaches can be quite useful, they work best when underlying issues are addressed as well.

It may seem like a lot of natural libido enhancers are related to becoming a healthier person.

That’s because lack of libido is often a sign that your body is struggling to function properly.

Changing your lifestyle to include healthy foods, plenty of exercises, and healthy habits will go a long way toward improving your sexual appetite in the same way that they promote your overall health.

Many cases of low libido or sexual dysfunction originate from nutritional deficiencies and medical issues that affect blood flow, hormone regulation, heart health, and mental state.

Focusing on healthy habits that improve your body’s natural functions will lead to increased libido because it is one of those natural functions.

 

When to Talk to Your Doctor

If you are experiencing low libido and the natural remedies we recommended here aren’t seeming to help, you should talk with your doctor.

You want to be sure there aren’t more serious problems that could be causing your lack of sexual desire.

Talk with your doctor about all medications and supplements you take, as the side effects of many drugs include a lowered libido.

Medications to enhance sex are often designed to treat the side effects rather than the cause of the problem, so don’t just accept drugs as the ultimate treatment for your lowered drive.

It is important to address the cause of your problems, or they will never truly improve.

While it may be uncomfortable to talk to someone about your sexual drive, low libido can be a symptom of serious issues, so don’t be afraid to mention it to your physician.

Besides, ignoring low libido because of embarrassment can have long-term adverse effects on your relationship, as well as your self-image.

Don’t let a problem that can be solved continue unnecessarily.

By focusing on eating the right foods, getting exercise and rest, quitting some bad habits, and improving your overall physical and psychological health, you can increase your libido and enjoy your sex life more.

While none of our solutions will work overnight, they can make a significant impact when you focus on making these healthy changes and improving your drive.

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