Here are some reasons your va-voom may have left the room and how to get it back.
Drinking more than 4 glasses of alcohol per week can suppress a woman’s libido. It’s thought alcohol mimics oestrogen and can delay or prevent ovulation, a time when a woman’s sex drive peaks. A 2008 Australian study showed women’s libido increases in the days leading up to their period. “If you don’t ovulate, libido takes a nosedive, as the hormones aren’t providing your body with what it requires at the right time,” explains Chinese medicine practitioner Natalie Kringoudis.
To cut back on alcoholic drinks during the week, swap alcoholic drinks for spritzers. Or drink tonic lime and soda without the gin to give your tastebuds a good kick, suggests Kringoudis. Tonic water also contains natural body relaxant ‘quinine’.
2. TV in the bedroom
A 2006 Italian study of 523 couples found those who had televisions in their bedrooms had half as much sex as couples who didn’t.
“The bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex,” agrees sex therapist and author of Where Did My Libido Go? Dr Rosie King. “With so many couples lacking quality time together, a TV in the bedroom allows partners to tune out from each other and remain disconnected.”
Other bits King recommends clearing from the bedroom include laundry, computers, exercise equipment, unsexy lighting, work documents, bills and dirty bed linen.
3. The wrong diet
Refined, junk, sugary and processed foods negatively affect your hormones, glands and organs and deprive your body of libido-friendly nutrients.
The best foods for increasing sex drive include chilies, avocados, dates, licorice, mangoes, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cardamom, chives, oats, nutmeg, pomegranates, strawberries, sauerkraut and wild salmon.
And the sweetest aphrodisiac? Nutritionist and author of Inspiring Ingredients Lola Berry recommends halva: a middle eastern treat made from potent female-libido-enhancers crushed sesame seeds and honey. Most store-bought halva contains sugar instead of honey, Lola shares her recipe, below.
Aphrodisiac halva balls
2 cups honey
2 cups hulled tahini
Roasted sesame seeds for rolling
Optional: ½ cup dry-roasted almonds (roughly chopped).
Mix honey and tahini together until smooth. Stir in chopped almonds. Roll mixture into little balls; then roll each once in the roasted sesame seeds. Refrigerate to set.
4. Lack of exercise
Exercise releases the feel-good chemical serotonin in your brain and gets blood circulated to the vital areas around the body. Researchers from the University of Texas studied 35 women aged 18 to 34 and found those who cycled vigorously for 20 minutes were 169 per cent more sexually excited when presented with sexual imagery than when they didn’t exercise beforehand.
And get your man in on the action too. A Harvard School of Public Health study shows 20 to 30 minutes of daily vigorous exercise cuts men’s risk of erectile dysfunction by up to 50 per cent.
5. The contraceptive pill
“It suppresses testosterone levels central to sexual desire in both sexes,” explains Kringoudis. “This can continue for up to four years once a woman stops taking it.”
The pill also alters our attraction to the opposite sex. Researchers from Emory University, Atlanta, studied 30 women and found those taking the pill saw the opposite sex in a more platonic manner than those who didn’t take it. “It was also noted that those who were on the pill were far less charmed at seeing pictures of babies – hinting that the pill influences reproductive interest,” Kringoudis notes.
What’s more, the pill suppresses pheromones or ‘copulins’ which stimulates men’s sexual interest and behaviour. They can also increase men’s testosterone production by up to 150 per cent.
Five ways to boost your libido
- Take a big whiff: Researchers from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found women’s sexual desire increased after smelling licorice, cucumber or banana-nut bread. While cherries and barbequed meat were turn-offs in the bedroom department.
- Try tantric sex: An ancient Indian art that uses all five senses for a full body, attentive, mind-body-connected and intense lovemaking session. It involves keeping your eyes mostly locked on your partner, breathing in sync, and ditching the ‘quickie’ mindset – tantric sex can last for hours.
- Seek something new: Studies show doing new or challenging things with your partner boosts brain chemical dopamine, which improves sex drive.
- Try eating maca: Maca is an herbaceous plant from Peru that you eat like a vegetable. It’s high in nutrients and mood-boosting phytochemicals, and studies have shown it can have a powerful impact on boosting libido, sperm production and fertility.
- Try feel sexy: Do whatever makes you feel sensual. It might be wearing sexy lingerie or red lipstick, sleeping on silk sheets, lighting candles, essential oil – try any of these to help spark the mood