If your libido’s been a little quiet of late, it can be easy to feel like everyone else is swinging from the chandeliers while you’d rather curl up with a good book. However, it’s important to understand that regardless of what others seem to be doing, the only thing that matters is how often you feel comfortable doing it, and there’s no right or wrong answer to that.
First up, it’s normal for your libido to fluctuate at various points throughout your life, and it can even be impacted by temporary factors, such as your menstrual cycle or sleep habits. That being said, if you are experiencing ongoing low libido and it’s troubling you, there are a few things you can consider trying to help get the oomph back into your life.
Manage your wellbeing and stress levels
Female sexuality is personal and complex, and how you feel about sex is often influenced by your surroundings and situation. With the best of intentions, a sudden intrusive thought about your overdraft or that upcoming presentation can quickly quash desire in the heat of the moment. In fact, research shows that increased stress levels can result in lower sexual desire in women. Similarly, exhaustion – especially for those juggling jobs, children and aging parents – can lead to neither the time nor inclination to get between the sheets except to….well, sleep.
Therefore, being in the right headspace is a really important foundation for desire. While there may be a bigger piece of work involved in tackling workplace stress or family commitments, research suggests that mindfulness therapy can greatly improve sexual desire in women. For some simple exercises you can try at home, consider the following from Headspace:
Throughout your day, practice being in the moment by focusing on your breath, to bring your attention back to the body. Then, when you’re in bed with your partner and you feel your mind start to wander, you’ll be more adept at bringing your mind back to the here and now. It can also help to focus your attention on the physical sensation that’s occurring in that moment, to enable you to switch off from distractions and anchor yourself to the present.
Be mindful of your relationship
How your feel about your relationship can have a huge impact on your libido. It is key that you communicate with your partner about what you want and how they can help make you feel valued. According to Jean Hailes, we all have different ways in which we feel loved – for some people, it may be when their partner does things for them, while for others, it may be when their partner buys them gifts. Communicating about what makes you feel loved and valued, and working on this together, can help improve intimacy and potentially spark feelings of desire.
How your feel about your relationship can have a huge impact on your libido. It is key that you communicate with your partner about what you want and how they can help make you feel valued.
Choose your aphrodisiac
Certain foods have long been celebrated as having desire-sparking properties (fortunately we’ve moved on from the ancient Greek’s predilection for sparrow brains as a passion enhancer). While there is little robust evidence to support nutrition as an aphrodisiac, the following foods have been shown to have some impact on libido:
The luxurious and vibrant spice saffron is often recommended as an aphrodisiac, with a study showing that women taking antidepressants, who also took saffron for four weeks, experienced an increase in sexual arousal.
Red wine is a widely reported aphrodisiac, with one study showing that it may improve sexual function (although the findings were self-reported and from a small sample size). However, it’s worth remembering that too much alcohol consumption can have the opposite effect on desire, so be mindful when it comes to intake!
A herb commonly added to South Asian dishes or taken in a supplement format, a small study revealed an increase in desire amongst women who took fenugreek for an eight-week period, compared to a placebo group.
As for oysters, Casanova was said to have started each day by eating 50 raw ones. Given his name has been synonymous with love and seduction for over 200 years, maybe that’s all the peer-reviewed evidence we need?
Above all, it’s important to remember is that female sexuality is extremely complex and one of the biggest factors that influences your experience is how you feel about it. It can often be a combination of elements, such as stress, mood, trust and body image, that can impact a women’s desire. While the advice above can give you food for thought with regards to your libido, if it’s an area where you feel you are really struggling, consider consulting a health professional to help get your groove back on track.