Low sex drive is a common problem that can affect both men and women. There’s no such thing as having ‘normal’ libido and everyone’s sex drive is different. Somethings as little as stress and tiredness can have a direct impact. So what can you do to boost libido?
Dr David Edwards, a GP specialising in sexual health, has a number of tips, including taking rhodiola rosea extract.
Scientific research led by Dr Edwards and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine and also the journal Phytotherapy Research, has shown that rhodiola rosea extract – a herb used for centuries to relieve stress and boost energy, can also help boost low sex drive in both men and women caused predominantly by stress.
Dr Edwards said: “Available on the high street in the form of Vitano Rhodiola tablets, it is a natural herbal supplement which can help with the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress such as fatigue, exhaustion, and low sex drive and has been used for over 30 years as a traditional remedy.
“In fact, Rhodiola rosea was used by the Vikings and also given as a wedding gift to couples in Siberia.”
Dr Edwards has some other recommendations, from finding time for romance to getting some shut eye.
Find time for romance
“I often recommend couples trying to achieve some protected time away from the factors causing stress – even if it’s just for an evening,” said Dr Edwards.
“Taking a bath or shower together, a home prepared candle lit dinner – it can really make a difference. Or, if you want to get away, it’s a good idea not to travel too far from home, as travelling to the potential ‘love nest’ can be stressful particularly on a Friday evening.”
Boost body confidence
“Both in the workplace and in the mirror, how you feel about your body affects how you feel about sex,” notes Dr Edwards.
“An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise may cause you to have a poor self-image, so improving these is a good place to start. Even taking a 30-minute walk around the block at lunchtime increases your daily activity levels, which in turn can boost mood and self-esteem.”
Eat your way to a better sex life
“When people are time-poor their diet is often nutrient-poor,” explains Dr Edwards. “This creates a vicious cycle: increased stress levels, low energy and flagging libido.
“Therefore, increasing foods that naturally boost levels of the so-called ‘happy’ hormone, serotonin, also helps to create feelings of calm and better mood. Breakfast on oats with some berries and cinnamon, have some salmon with your salad for lunch and a stir-fry with turkey strips for dinner. These foods help to increase the amino acid tryptophan which boosts serotonin in the body.”
Communication is key
“If a deadline is looming working late might be a must, but it’s important to prevent resentment creeping in from your partner. Sending the occasional cheeky text message from work can often be all it takes to help maintain the sense of emotional closeness that is so important to sustaining a healthy sex life,” adds Dr Edwards.
“In fact, a quarter of people surveyed said that receiving a saucy text message would get them in the mood. In addition, making an effort to say something extra special to your partner can help; 12 per cent of the survey respondents said that receiving a compliment would make them feel more like having sex.”
Ditch the drink
“Alcohol is what’s known as an ‘anti-nutrient’ as it can actually deplete the body of essential nutrients, especially those needed for energy production and stress reduction”, explains Dr Edwards.
“So over time, drinking can become a vicious cycle which will inevitably impact libido. Frequent alcohol consumption can also lead to lowered testosterone levels, and in turn lower libido.”
Get some shut eye
A recent survey by Aviva Health found almost four in 10 Britons don’t get enough sleep – in fact, we’re the worst sleepers in the world. Prolonged nights of poor sleep lead to irritability and low mood – and tiredness will also suppress sex drive.
“If your sleep is poor quality, there’s lots of truth in the old wives’ tale of having a milky bedtime drink before you hit the pillow to encourage the release of melatonin, our sleep hormone,” said Dr Edwards.
“Also, rather than asking your GP to prescribe sleeping tablets which can make you feel groggy in the morning, try a natural herbal alternative ideally containing Valerian and/or Passionflower.
“A licensed natural sleep supplement uniquely combining Valerian and Passionflower is available on the high street in the form of Bonuit Sleep Aid, a traditional herbal medicine used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety, based on traditional use.”