Ahhh. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and those fuzzy bunnies that live under our back shed seem to be multiplying exponentially in front of my very eyes. You know what I am getting at, right??? SPRING FEVER:)
So in the ever profound words of Salt-n-Pepa, “Let’s talk about sex baby.” We’re all adults here (and hopefully have the responsible part down), so let’s delve right into the juicy stuff. Sex is important. It is one of our most fundamental biological functions, and in essence, it’s where we all came from. Regular romping promotes optimal well being, including enhanced immunity, improved cardiovascular health, stress and pain reduction, increased energy and hormonal balance …and its just plain fun.
Unfortunately, many of us aren’t enjoying this most primal act. Studies presented by the American Medical Association suggest that at least 40 percent of Americans are suffering from some type of sexual dysfunction or inadequacy. Low libido is the number one complaint. This is a tricky problem. Our sex-drive doesn’t have a on/off switch, rather it is intertwined in a complicated interplay of our physical and emotional health, and further influenced by such things as lifestyle, our relationship status, gender, age, and so on.
Some of the major offenders are:
Stress: Chronic stress raises our cortisol level, which in turn, squashes our libido. This is an evolutionary design. Stressed animals are in no position to reproduce, and mother nature ensures this with both decreased fertility and sex-drive.
Sleep deprivation: Aside from contributing to chronic stress (and accompanying hormonal effects) when we are tired, we often feel ‘less than sexy’. If a nap is more appealing than a role in the sheets, it is time to reassess your lifestyle, and make getting more restful hours at night a priority.
Obesity and related health concerns such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes: Again, these chronic ailments are related to reduced blood flow and non-optimal hormonal status.
Prescription medications (including some psychiatric medications and birth control pills): I am absolutely not suggesting that you stop your medications, but it is worth an honest conversation with your doctor about side-effects. Everyone’s body is different and there may be an option that doesn’t put out your fire.
I can’t claim to be a sexpert, but here are a few juicy bits that are sure to help:
Exercise!!!! I promise I am not just saying this because I am a fitness coach. Exercise rules for pumping up the heat:) Exercise increases dopamine levels (you know, that neurotransmitter that helps control our brain’s pleasure and reward centers). This in turn, upregulates sex hormones in our blood. (Interestingly, just having more sex has a similar effect.) In addition, exercise increases blood flow (to all the right places) and it helps us look and feel better naked. Who doesn’t want that?
Maca. This native Peruvian root has been used for thousands of years to enhance fertility and increase libido. It is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it has been shown to help “normalize” many of the body’s systems. I have used it in the past to help me get back on my feet after a long bout with illness/ adrenal fatigue and found the affects to be most pleasant.
An anti-inflammatory diet that focuses on nutrient-dense whole foods will supply your body with the tools it needs to function optimally. Some specific nutrients crucial for libido include, zinc (meat, oysters, pumpkin seeds, raw chocolate), L-Tyrosine (animal foods, avocado, bananas), omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish, chia seed, and walnuts) and L-arginine (animal foods, kidney beans, walnuts).