By David Blyweiss, M.D.,
September 24, 2014
- An unusual lack of interest in nature’s most primal urge
- Is stress stealing your sex drive?
- Balancing a hectic lifestyle with date night fun
Over the past several years, something unusual has been happening. More and more of my patients are telling me they seem to be losing interest in sex.
And I’m not just talking about older couples that have been married for years and years. Even some of my younger patients are experiencing a loss of libido.
I find this perplexing. Sexual activity is one of nature’s most primal urges. And it does all sorts of good things for your health.
It’s a natural form of exercise that raises your heart rate and pumps more oxygen-rich blood through your body. This is great for your heart health. It boosts your immune system, relieves depression and can even help you live longer.
So, what’s causing the curious lack of interest in healthy sexual activity? And, what can you do to get your mojo back?
I attribute much of the problem to today’s hectic, stress-filled lifestyle. Some patients say they’re just too busy to have sex. Others are too stressed to even think about it.
But guess what? Getting frisky on a regular basis is a proven cure for stress.
You see, when you have sex, it releases a rush of endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin. These are all feel-good hormones that improve your sense of well-being. When levels of these hormones are high, it leaves you feeling stress-free and peaceful.
It’s a little bit of a catch-22. You’re too stressed out to have sex. But sex might be exactly what you need to relieve that stress and get all of the other health benefits that come with a good old-fashioned romp in the hay.
The first step, then, is to set aside time for romance. Plan at least one date night a week, and follow through.
But, a word of caution…
If you go out to dinner, don’t head to the local steakhouse for a juicy steak, baked potato and dessert. These foods will zap your libido. Other foods – like sugars, processed foods, dairy products – will also send your sex drive plummeting. Plus, they’ll throw your hormones out of balance and add to your stress levels.
Instead, clean your body up by eating Mediterranean-style foods. This type of diet improves both your mental and physical health. Better yet, it increases sexual function in both men and women.
- Get plenty of fresh, wild-caught fish and shellfish. Crab, shrimp, lobster and mollusks are great for the libido, because they boost your levels of nitric oxide. This helps get your blood flowing to all the right places.
- Spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale and artichoke can also help boost nitric oxide. Some of these veggies, like cauliflower, Brussels, collards and kale, have the extra benefit of helping to balance hormones.
- Add chili peppers, turmeric (the active ingredient you’re looking for is known as curcumin and curry), and garlic to your meals… maybe not so heavy on the garlic without a great breath mint!
There’s also one more thing you can do…
I don’t know if you remember, but there was a time when the bedroom was a special place. It was reserved for two things: a frolic in the bed or a good night’s sleep.
Today, our bedrooms are loaded with distractions. TVs, DVRs, smartphones and iPads have all invaded this space where the magic used to happen. And, believe me, I hear about it all the time from my patients. One partner is ready for a little action, while the other one is texting, fiddling with his or her tablet, or wrapped up in a TV show… when real life is right next to them.
With all of these distractions, it can be difficult to “get in the mood.” It can also cause a rift between partners that might be hard to overcome.
So, it’s a good idea to make your bedroom a technology-free zone. Once you’re ready for bed, shut down all of the devices in the house and spend that last hour or so of the day sharing one-on-one quality time with your significant other.
Have some date night fun. Eat sexy foods and enjoy a romp in the bed. In no time at all you’ll reignite that primal urge – and you’ll be healthier and happier for it.
Hall SA, et al. “Sexual activity, erectile dysfunction, and incident cardiovascular events.” Am J Cardiol. 2010 Jan 15;105(2):192-7.
Davey Smith G, et al. “Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly Cohort Study.” BMJ. 1997 Dec 20-27;315(7123):1641-4.
Esposito K, et al. “Mediterranean diet improves sexual function in women with the metabolic syndrome.” Int J Impot Res. 2007 Sep-Oct;19(5):486-91. Epub 2007 Aug 2.
Esposito K, et al. “Mediterranean diet improves erectile function in subjects with the metabolic syndrome.” Int J Impot Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;18(4):405-10. Epub 2006 Jan 5