You would think that with being trapped inside this winter, that your sex life would benefit, right?
On the contrary. Tonight for those on the Rogers network in Mississauga, I’m on Health Matters with Dr Lana and we discuss women’s health issues and sexual health. For those of you not on the network, I thought you may want to hear a few things we discuss.
Women: Little to no interest in sex is common
Low sex drive or libido is an issue that many women struggle with for short periods of time, or for many years. It’s a really sensitive topic, and most women feel embarrassed, or ashamed to discuss their experiences. Recently, when discussing with a female patient how common it actually is to have a low sex drive, she exclaimed, “but why don’t we discuss it with one another?”. Great question. Let’s start discussing.
Getting your mojo back is possible
Low libido has many sources, and identifying the sources are critical in getting it back.
Hormone imbalances are one of the major places that sex drive can take a hit. However, it’s often not where you think. I see sex drive take a hit in women because of the adrenal glands, responsible for the production of stress hormones in the body like cortisol and adrenaline. Doing, doing, doing and busy, busy, busy is the mantra of many women, juggling so many tasks and not taking time for themselves. If you’re exhausted, do you feel like running 5k? Probably not, and that’s what the body decides on your behalf with respect to your sex drive, meaning that if you have no physical resources to get through the day, it’s unlikely that your small amount of energy will be spent wanting to get busy!
Mental and Emotional
We have a worrying thought (mind). This makes us feel anxious (emotion). We freeze up (action). We aren’t in the mood for sex (life sentence). A small example, but if this happens 10,000 times daily, then no, we aren’t going to feel frisky. This also applies to how we feel about ourselves, our body image, our self-love (which I prefer to the word self-esteem, which I will blog about very soon), and how we feel on a moment-to-moment basis about our significant others (if we are in a relationship). These spinning thoughts and emotions to follow can really make our desire to have sex plummet, especially when they are negative.
Getting out of your sexual rut
Physical Libido Boosters
A lot of this is common sense:
- Eat a balanced diet but include lots of green leafies
- Drink water and less coffee
- Natural lubricants like CalaGel should always be available, as they help to take the pressure off of the body in producing all of the necessary tools to have a pleasurable sexual experience when it is not always present
- Lingerie (if you so choose)
- An appropriate time of day that works for you to explore your sexuality, but be open to possibility and spontaneity
I’m also a big fan of herbal medicine. Adrenal tonics, or adaptogens, are pretty awesome at giving that tired body a boost, but in a nutritive way. Here are some excellent choices:
- Schisandra: A nutritive adrenal tonic known to support progesterone and is also thought to increase libido both in women and men.
- Tribulus: A true boost to the libido both in women and men, Tribulus boosts testosterone in men and stabilizes and supports hormonal production in women. It needs to be the right kind however; not all Tribulus is the same.
- The ginsengs: In Chinese medicine, Panax ginseng is a boosting, energizing adrenal support, giving life essence to a system even when it does not have much to start out with and is often used as a male adrenal tonic because it does give so much heat or fire to the body. However, this can be too much for some women (too much energy can feel like 4 cups of coffee, which can be anxiety-provoking), and so Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng) or Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) are also beautiful options that nourish the system without making you feel wired.
- Rhodiola: A calming adaptogen, supporting adrenals without stimulating. Especially beneficial to calm a busy mind but also helping you to feel rested. Great for general anxiety.
- Licorice: A nourishing adaptogen that really gives the adrenals a break (but not for those with high-blood pressure).
- Shatavari: Very nourishing adaptogen, often used in fertility cycles to support hormone balancing and low sex drive. Where fertility exists, so does libido. This can also be used in men.
This is a slightly more murky explanation of how to help yourself, and this may also involve seeing someone (like me, or a therapist, or both) where you can tease out what you are feeling compared with what you are thinking. Those are separate things, but they do like to intertwine. The thing is, low libido or low sex drive is a symptom of a greater issue. Is it that you are with the love of your life, but you hate your job, and you can’t disconnect from your crazy boss at the end of the day? Or is it that you feel really unattractive after a recent weight gain and feel not as a beautiful in yourself? Perhaps you and your sex partner are not as connected as you once were, or you have different ideas about what is a satisfying sexual experience. These things do need to be ironed out. Once you know the issues, then there is a place to move forward. These can also be the more root issues of lower libido, and yes, they can be harder and ‘scarier’ things to address. I guarantee that they will be the most worthwhile of discoveries.
The important thing to point out however is that just because you may address an issue that is potentially difficult (e.g. you realize you are not in love with your partner the way you once were, and you need a divorce), getting in touch with yourself in a healthy way IS the best way to rehabilitate your sex drive. Sometimes that is an entirely non-physical solution.
Get real with yourself, and everyone else
Above all ladies, start to confide in one another about your troubles. I absolutely guarantee that you have great advice to share that you all have in common, including myself, as a women. The female sex drive is a wonderful thing that can be cherished and nourished into something that really works for you.