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Libido refers to an individual’s sex drive or the desire to have sex. This is influenced by sex hormones and their respective centres in the brain. But, as simple this may seem, sex hormones are not the only thing that control libido. It is influenced by several other factors, including your diet and even your affection towards your partner. Hence, disturbances in the relationship are likely to affect your sex drive.

Libido is also influenced by certain medical conditions, like vaginal dryness or painful sex in females. Depression, lack of self-confidence, disturbed sleep and certain medications also have an effect. Most of these conditions are manageable by taking the right measures and doing sexual intercourse.

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However, you should know that there is no ‘normal’ when it comes to sex drive. Some individuals are naturally more driven than others and experience a higher desire to have sex. But, you can definitely influence this by taking certain easy measures. This article will explain a few home remedies to enhance libido for both males and females, with a special focus on aphrodisiacs.

So, what are aphrodisiacs? Read on to know.

  1. Sex drive foods
  2. Managing factors associated with low libido in men and women
  3. Home remedies to increase libido
  4. Tips to increase libido in men and women
Doctors for sexual disorders and issues

Aphrodisiacs refer to certain foods and drugs, which have the potential to improve sexual desire and enhance sexual performance in males and females. They do so by arousing and inducing the sexual instinct of an individual. While this may sound quite complex, you may be surprised to know that these ‘drugs’ are naturally present in an array of foods that you consume each day, including pomegranates and coffee. Others, you can easily incorporate in your diet to boost your sexual performance. Let’s have a look at a list of these foods and acknowledge which ones are the best for women and men.

Read more: Foods to increase sexual stamina and performance

Evidence to support the aphrodisiac effects of these foods

  • Chocolates are a known aphrodisiac and have been known to enhance sexual desire and improve sexual pleasure in women. A study conducted on women found that a HIGHER female sexual function index (FSFI) was reported in women who consumed chocolate as compared to the women who did not.
  • Oysters, meat, chicken and fish are zinc-rich foods, a deficiency of which has been associated with delayed sexual maturation and impotence in males. So, they may have an indirect effect in boosting libido by improving male sexual functions.
  • Meat, milk and cheese are high in carnitine, a compound which has been closely related to fertility and sexual desires in men. Carnitine is a constituent of seminal fluid, a higher content of which is further associated with greater sperm count and motility. So, it may help in improving libido and sexual drive, particularly in men.
  • Red wine is a potent aphrodisiac, with several studies hinting at its potency in women. These studies found that moderate intake of red wine is associated with a higher FSFI score, which is indicative of better sexual desire and function in women. Research evidence has further suggested that consumption of red wine has a high potential for better sexuality.
  • Avocado and dry fruits including raisins, dates and apricots are rich sources of boron. Research evidence has suggested that supplementation with boron is likely to increase the levels of sex steroids in both men and women. However, a substantial relationship has been observed in men, particularly among ageing men, who are the most likely to be benefitted by boron supplementation.
  • Green leafy vegetables and bananas are rich in magnesium, which plays an important role in sexual activity. A deficiency of magnesium is associated with erectile dysfunction and reduced libido, so increasing its levels may have a positive effect.

There are several reasons for low libido, which vary among men and women. Some of these factors have already been listed above, let us discuss how this can be managed independently.

Increasing testosterone levels in men

In men, sex drive is largely influenced by the male sex hormone testosterone, which infers that increasing the levels of this hormone has a direct effect on their sex drive. Men have been consuming natural foods for better sex since the historic era, whether to enhance drive, improve performance, increase the duration of sex or to improve sensitivity.

Read more: Testosterone deficiency symptoms

Most of these foods are already present in your daily diet and others are special ayurvedic ingredients, which will be discussed ahead. One such food having immense potential for improving testosterone levels in males is ginger. Due to its distinct taste and fragrance, as influenced by its chemical composition, ginger has libido-enhancing effects in males.

It has been evidenced to increase sexual energy and the levels of testosterone in men, which may lead to a better sex drive. GingerIt may also increase semen volume, and have a role in increasing the sperm count, facilitating better viability and motility of the sperm. So, it is a good idea to include ginger in your diet.

Read more: Natural remedies to boost testosterone levels

You can have it in the form of ginger tea, ginger water or can use it as a food flavouring.

Reducing vulvar pain in women

Some women experience dyspareunia or pain during sexual intercourse, which may naturally reduce their sex drive, making sex a painful experience. Identifying the problem, whether psychological or syndrome-related is essential before treating the cause in women.

Generally, a hot water bath after sexual intercourse and use of a lubricant during sex may ease the pain. Ginger extract can also be given as a herbal remedy, which will help in reducing pain. In addition, ginger is a natural aphrodisiac and has no side effects with long-term use.

Read more: Types of vulvar pain

Reducing vaginal dryness in women

Dryness of the vagina is a common problem in women, which may cause painful sex, reducing their libido. This dryness may be due to underlying infection or hormones. While it is essential to determine and treat the cause of dryness, the use of vaginal lubricants during sex and general use of vaginal moisturisers may help.

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Childbirth causes reduced libido in women

Women often face reduced sexual desire after childbirth, particularly during the period of breastfeeding, due to added responsibilities, which causes fatigue. Other than this, women are often hesitant about sex during this phase and may also experience pain in the breasts upon stimulation. So, it is important to be immensely gentle and caring towards your partner during this period. Even during sex, gentle movements, particularly while touching the breasts are recommended.

Read more: Nipple pain causes

As discussed, low libido is differently experienced by both men and women due to several reasons. It may have a significant impact on your sex life and that of your partner. While natural aphrodisiacs and foods mentioned above have a role in enhancing libido, it may not be possible to go overboard with their consumption to achieve the desired effects on your sex drive. So, we have listed a few remedies and herbs, which have been tried and tested in Ayurveda and herbal science for their effects on libido. Being specific in their actions, use of these remedies may offer better results for your sex drive.

Fenugreek for libido

Fenugreek or methi is a common ingredient of the Indian diet with both its seeds and leaves used for cooking. It is also known to possess medicinal properties. As per a recent study, supplementation with this herb boosts male libido by 28%. This can be ascertained to the presence of ‘saponins’ in fenugreek, which enhance the production of sex hormones, particularly testosterone.

Instead of including fenugreek in your diet (say if you have an aversion for its taste), you can opt for its supplements. A study conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of supplement Testofen, found an overall positive effect on the male sexual drive. It helped to maintain normal levels of testosterone, thereby maintaining libido.

Fenugreek is also equally beneficial for women. It enhances breast size and maintains the best health of the breast tissue, which may have a role in female arousal.

Maca increases libido

Native to Peru, maca is available as supplements and powders, which can be easily blended in your shakes and smoothies. It is used as a sexual enhancer and has been traditionally used as a supplement to treat fertility disorders. Being a fertility promoter and a harbinger of sexual desire, maca is also known to enhance sperm production in males.

Read more: How to increase sperm count

Ashwagandha improves libido

Ashwagandha is a herb that is commonly used in India due to its immense health benefits, the major ones catering to your sexual life. Ashwagandha has the potential to balance male and female hormones. It also governs sexual desire, libido, performance and pleasure. This is achieved by raising the levels of sex hormones in the blood and ensuring their balance.

In men, ashwagandha is used to enhance sexual power, which helps them last longer. Ashwagandha also has a role in maintaining the quality and quantity of semen and has thus been used to treat impotence in men.

In females, oral administration of ashwagandha extract has been known to improve sexual functioning, which may aid in improving libido.

Ashwagandha is available in dried and powdered form, as well as fresh roots, which you can use under the supervision of your Ayurvedic doctor.

Catuaba bark for better libido

Catuaba is the most sought-after herb to enhance sexual desire and heighten sexual arousal in Indian men. It has a stimulatory effect, which helps to enhance sexual desires. This herb also improves the blood flow to genital organs, which increases the duration of an erection and improves sexual excitement leading to better orgasms in men. Catuaba can be extracted directly from tree barks and used as a supplement after taking your doctor’s consult.

Cordyceps improves libido in elderly men

Cordyceps is also known as the ‘Himalayan viagra’ due to its commendable benefits for sexual arousal in males. It is a fungi species growing in the mountain areas, and helps to enhance libido and performance, particularly in elderly males, as their fertility reduces with age.

By enhancing the production of testosterone, it aids in improving the quality of sperms and sperm motility, so it is used as a popular home remedy in India for libido-related problems.

Cordyceps is also a folk medicine and has bused by ancient people in India for enhancing sexual desires and libido.

Traditionally it is recommend to take cordyceps extract with a glass of milk for both the sexes. This may help to enhance sexual potency and desires.

Depression and anxiety are common disorders that occur due to the modern day stresses. This may negatively affect your sexual desire and lead to reduced libido. This occurs due to low levels of DHEA (hormone influencing sexual desire) associated with stress and affects both men and women equally. 

DHEA levels may also fall with an advancing age, which is responsible for the lower sex drive in the elderly. Additionally, poor body image and low self-esteem are common concerns which affect libido. This section will give you some tips to manage these issues.

Meditation to improve libido

Meditation will help to reduce stress and improve your mindfulness. Researchers have demonstrated that mindfulness-enhancement techniques may help in the management of lower libido, particularly in women.

Meditation may also aid in reducing psychological pain related to sex in some women, which may help in enhancing their libido. Other than this, meditation helps in forming a better self-image, which is likely to have beneficial effects on the sex drive of the individual.

The release of endorphins or 'happiness hormones' by the process of meditation may also be helpful.

While practicing yoga for a better sex drive, breathing exercises for relaxation and imaginative exercises visualising sensations and touch are recommended.

Read more: Benefits of anulom vilom pranayama

Psychotherapy to improve libido

Psychotherapy, which is a non-pharmacological approach to determine and treat emotional and behavioral disorders, is often used for the treatment of desire disorders. Psychotherapy will help in determining the exact cause of low libido in the person, which can then be treated.

Read more: Treatment of mental illness

Weight loss to improve libido

An increase in weight and BMI causes a disturbance in the hormonal balance of the body, which may also affect sex hormones. To prevent this, a healthy diet and lifestyle is recommended. This will ensure normal levels of sex hormones and may have a positive effect on your libido.

Another way this may help your sex life is by enhancing your self-confidence and body image, catering to a better sexual experience with your partner.

Read more: Weight loss diet chart

Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Sexology
10 Years of Experience

Dr. Tarun

Dr. Tarun

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

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