A hot topic - Libido
Valentines day is fast approaching and so I thought this was as good a time as any to talk about libido.
And as I sit here pondering how to get started on an article about libido I realised therein lies the problem with libido – how do you get started? There are so many factors affecting libido which cannot be changed such as menopause, pregnancy and childbirth. But the good news is that there are things that can be changed so we can have more sex and enjoy it.
Firstly eat well. Psychologically, taking care of your body by eating well leaves you feeling better about yourself which improves your self image and sexual attitude because you will want to share it. Remember not to over eat. Feeling bloated and full of wind is not sexy and nothing can ruin a moment more than an escapee fart!
Next as part of your new eating plan, reduce your alcohol. One drink may loosen you up for some action but two starts to impair your “looseness” eventually hindering your performance and response as it depresses your central nervous system. It makes it difficult for a male partner to get and maintain an erection, it can impact on vaginal lubrication and we all know how alcohol can hinder coordination making finding the right orifice a little trickier!
Certain nutrients can enhance your libido and as a general rule anything good for your heart is good for your libido. Just like the heart, the penis and clitoris are highly vascular areas. So a better flow means better sensation. Include in your diet essential fatty acids, lots of fresh fruit and veggies to lower triglycerides and increase dopamine production, all of which help libido.
Speaking of those vascular areas, arginine, an amino acid is the precursor of nitric oxide which increases blood flow to the genitals resulting in more intense sensations. Without nitric oxide men cannot become erect and “little woman in the boat” (the clitoris) cannot become engorged and lubricated. Foods high in arginine include almonds, walnuts and seafood.
Magnesium and Zinc counteract the effect of protein in your blood that binds with the hormone testosterone (and yes women do produce small amounts). Adding these minerals along with calcium to your diet may increase the amount of free testosterone circulating in your blood stream. And testosterone increases your desire for more sex.
After changing your diet and adding some supplements what about increasing your exercise? Exercise increases blood flow to the body including the genitalia. In fact research shows that anything that arouses your nervous system, hikes your heart rate and improves your cardiovascular system, can enhance sexual response. So you feel better and have better sex - winning all around.
Don’t forget to add an olfactory stimulus? Studies suggest the smell of lavender may increase feelings of relaxation and reduce mental stress in some people. Now whilst the smell of lavender reminds me of granny’s scented hankies, certain scents inspire different reactions so find the scent that works for you to help you unwind and get in the mood.
And finally, the biggest turn off of all – STRESS – no longer need be because sex has a positive impact on stress. Volunteers who had penile-vaginal intercourse were least stressed and their blood pressure returned to normal faster than those who engaged in other forms of sexual activity. Those who abstained had the highest blood pressure response to stress. Even other forms of affection can alleviate anxiety and stress so hug, kiss and hold hands to release some feel good hormones.
Now I am not a sex therapist. But sex is important and enjoyable. Make this Valentines day (or any other day) your day.
Shave your legs and tidy your bikini line so it no longer resembles a bush fire hazard. Put the kids to bed with earplugs or even better ship them off to lavender smelling granny. Have a plate of healthy aphrodisiac foods that vaguely resemble genitalia such as figs and oysters. Put on that sexy negligee (or that leather g-string if you are male) to show off your trim regularly exercised body. Then have some fun, lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress and make some mountains move.
“Sex is an emotion in motion.”
― Mae West
And some references for those interested....
“The effects of immediate and delayed exercise on sexual arousal in women” Meston,C.M., Gorzalka, B.B., Behaviour Research Therapy, 1996, Feb;34(2) 143-8
“Reduction of mental stress with lavender odorant” Motomura,N., Sakurai, A., Yatsuya,Y. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2001, Dec;93(3):713-718
“Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile-vagina intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity” Brody,S. Biological Psychology, 2006, 71, 312-315