Many people associate a diminishing libido with a fading attraction to their partners. But perhaps it’s not them, it’s you. Is the way you live causing a lack of interest in sex? Several lifestyle factors can contribute to a diminished sex drive. If you find your libido needs a jumpstart, there are changes you can make in your life that may help.
Here are 10 of the most common lifestyle habits that can zap your sex drive and what you can do about it.
Stress is one of the biggest libido killers. A 2010 study from Switzerland demonstrated that women with a high level of stress also had a low level of sexual activity and satisfaction. 1 The same effect occurs for men: To sustain an erection, a man’s blood vessels need to dilate to allow blood flow to the penis. Stress can cause erectile dysfunction, because the blood vessels necessary for an erection can’t dilate. 2
To rev up your libido, try stress-relieving techniques, such as yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation.
2. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Some people find they’re more in the mood for sex after a few cocktails. But, as they say, too much of a good thing can be bad. Several studies have found that alcohol intoxication decreases in testosterone in men, which can result in a lowered libido. 3 In women, too much alcohol may cause vaginal dryness. 4
Bottom line: If you don’t want to cross the line between sexy and sleepy, drink in moderation.
3. Smoking Cigarettes
An estimated 21 percent of adults in the United States smoke. 5 In addition to the many negative effects of smoking on your health, it can also lead to a low libido. Studies have shown that smoking significantly increases your risk for erectile dysfunction. 6 A study of non-smoking women also showed that nicotine intake makes women feel less sexually aroused. 7 Quit smoking now for a better libido – and a healthier body.
4. Poor Diet
Junk food is a libido killer. A diet loaded with processed foods, sugars, and excess carbohydrates may lead to less amorous feelings. For example: A study from Massachusetts General Hospital showed that consuming glucose, a sugar, led to a reduction in testosterone. 8
For better health and a livelier libido, eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and lean protein.
An estimated one in three adults in the U.S. are considered obese. 9 Numerous studies support the idea that excess weight negatively affects libido. In men, obesity can lead to low testosterone and erectile dysfunction. 10 A study published in the British Journal of Urology International demonstrated that as a man’s waist size increases, so does his risk for erectile dysfunction. 11 Another study found that obese women also had a lower sex drive. 12
For the sake of your sex life, and your health in general, start taking small steps to reverse obesity. Dropping even a few pounds could rev up your libido.
6. Not Sleeping Enough
Sleeping is possibly the easiest thing you can do for your sex drive. Research from the University of Chicago shows sleeping fewer than five hours per night can reduce testosterone levels for healthy young men. 13 A 2015 study showed that women who slept longer had greater sexual desire the next day. 14
Adults should try to sleep seven to nine hours per night. If you aren’t getting enough shut-eye, make it a priority.
7. Exercising Too Little – or Too Much
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to erectile dysfunction. A study of 18- to 40-year-old men found that physical activity leads to better erectile function. 16 This is even true as men age: a study of men with an average age of 62 also showed that moderate exercise led to less erectile dysfunction. 17 A 2012 study of women who had less sex drive because of taking antidepressants showed that regular exercise could increase their libidos.18
However, too much exercise can also be a turn-off. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that intense exercise lowered libidos in men. 19
8. Poor Self-Image
A poor self-image can zap libido, particularly in women, who may have concerns about their weight and other aspects of their bodies. Several studies have found that women who are dissatisfied with their bodies have lowered sexual interest and desire. 20
Not feeling sexy? To foster a positive self-image, wear clothes that make you feel good, surround yourself with positive influences, and talk to your partner about your concerns.
9. Not Communicating
Communication is key – not just to a great relationship, but to a great sex life. A study by researchers at the Medical University of Vienna found that communication about sex between partners significantly increased sexual interest and satisfaction for women. 21 Talking with your partner about what you want sexually can be difficult, but it can bring you closer together. That intimacy can encourage a stronger libido for both of you.
10. Illegal Drug Use
Illegal drugs are harmful to every aspect of your life, including your libido. A study of people who used illegal drugs, including heroin, amphetamines, and MDMA (Ecstasy) reported decreased sexual desire. 22 Erectile dysfunction is also common for male drug abusers. Stopping the use of illegal drugs can bring back libido and good health.
Boost Your Libido By Upgrading Your Lifestyle
Lifestyle changes can mean the difference between a healthy, satisfying sex life, and the frustration of a diminished libido. Many people find that embracing a healthy lifestyle of the body and mind helps them regain their sex drives. If you find that you’re not feeling it very much, see if you’re engaging in any of these libido-diminishing habits.
For more tips on having a healthy, well-balanced life, keep reading here:
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