Let’s talk about your libido. Libido is just a fancy word for sexual desire or your sex drive. Why talk about it? Because it’s not only a fun and titillating topic, but also an important part of maintaining good health.
Let’s first jump into a bit of history to better understand your libido, because its meaning has changed slightly over time. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, defined it as an instinctual component, while his disciple, Carl Yung, viewed it as a psychic energy. Before Freud and Yung put forth their psychological theories about libido, this drive was recognized—and still is—as a key force in the Darwinian evolution of natural selection. In other words, our sexual desire prompted us to have sex—a desirable activity—so we would pass on our genetic material. Voila! The next generation of humans came into existence and our species survived!
Today, libido is broader than an evolutionary necessity. We, modern physicians, identify libido as one of the important indicators of general health and quality of life, one of the necessary biological metrics of well-being. While we are keenly aware that it can be influenced by developmental, cultural and psychological context in a person’s life, the human sex drive is also deeply mental with roots in reaction to your surroundings.
Sex drive indicates good health, as well as supports it, because sex hormones don’t perform in isolation in the body. They’re tied to other hormones and a plethora of physiologic processes that you need running well if you care to live a quality life. And who doesn’t want a quality life? No one wants to live a long life full of incapacities, infirmities and restrictions. That’s just existing. You want to live a full life of wholesome activities, abilities, and enjoyment.
Here’s just one example of how libido is tied to other hormones. The neurotransmitter Dopamine helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. You probably guessed it. Dopamine goes up with sexual activity and gives a wonderful result. It also acts as a motivational hormone, helping you see and pursue goals, which then activates the reward system in your brain.
Here’s an important differentiator to remember. Sex drive or desire is different from physical arousal in the genitals upon direct stimulation, since genital sensitivity can be totally normal even in low-libido individuals. Some of my female clients say they have no libido whatsoever, but they can have a normal physical arousal in their genitals upon proper foreplay; however, they do find it extremely difficult to have passion and desire (i.e., libido) for having sex in general.
It is also important to appreciate that there’s no universal number of times per week you should have sex. I strongly believe in and advise a healthy sex life, but by no means do I ever encourage you to have sex all the time or at the expense of your other activities. In fact, studies demonstrate that happy couples can be equally happy on a daily or once-a-week or bi-weekly schedule. Each couple works out what makes THEM both happy.
So, let’s get down to brass tacks. How do you support or boost your sex drive? I’m not going to go into emotional connection, social challenges or relationship issues today, because I want to give you hard-core biological pieces of advice on how to keep your hormones at healthy levels. Once your hormones run abundantly, you’ll start thinking about “doing it”.
Here are 5 steps to take to boost your libido to healthy levels:
Eating healthy fats is crucial. I don’t just mean from plant sources like avocado and coconut oil; I also emphatically mean saturated fats from animal sources, such as grass-fed quality meats, real full-fat organic butter and high quality sour cream. These saturated fats contain molecules to help build your sex hormones, like testosterone. Vegans often come up with lower levels of sex hormones on lab tests unless they’re genetically lucky or doing other things to boost their hormones.
Zinc-rich foods also support a healthy libido because of their part in sex hormone production. Studies confirm that a zinc-rich diet consistently raises sex hormone levels within just a few weeks. Good dietary sources of zinc are quality meats, fish, seafood, but also raw cheeses, beans and homemade yogurt made from farm-bought milk. Many supermarket yogurts are full of sugar and mostly dead (with no real live bacteria) nowadays.
Although it may be tough because it’s so addictive, limit your sugar consumption. Here’s a good motivator. Sugar acts in an inhibitory fashion towards sex hormones, suppressing your sex drive. Personally, I admit if you put a tempting dessert in front of me, I’m going to eat it. 🙂 So, you don’t have to be fanatical about cutting out sugar completely. Just lower your sugar intake. If you eliminate all the sodas and sugary drinks, you’ll be making big steps to better libido straight away.
Getting out in the sun also amplifies your libido. Vitamin D is fundamental for you to produce healthy amounts of sex hormones, and scientific experiments prove that people with low libido show marked improvement after a year of Vitamin D supplementation. Therefore, in the wintertime, it is vital you take a proper Vitamin D supplement.
Intense exercises, not long exercises, cause a chain reaction in your body that leads to production of sex hormones. To reach the proper intensity, incorporate into your routine slow exercises that work many muscles in your body simultaneously, like squats or deadlifts.
If you do these five things, you will soon feel the difference in your libido! Then, we can discuss your other romantic dilemmas like commitment vs. hot sex; security vs. excitement; continuity vs. novelty; safety vs. adventure; and, comfort vs. passion. These are all interesting and real dichotomies, but we can work them out, together. 🙂
As always, give me a shout if you have questions. No question is ever weird or strange when you’re talking to Dr. Inna!
So very truly yours,