Aging, stress, emotional disconnect and even disease can contribute to low libido. Use this expert advice to treat the whole problem, not just the symptoms.
Mary Lake Polan, MD, PhD, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.
Bridge the emotional gap between you and your partner by strengthening communication, which is perhaps the greatest factor in a couple’s sexual relationship. Jump-start a connection with a romantic weekend getaway. Still experiencing problems? Consider expressing frustrations with a sex therapist.
Improve quality of life.
Eliminate stress to boost sexual desire and function. Aim for eight hours of sleep each night, eat a low-fat diet, and exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise makes your central nervous system secrete endorphins, promoting happiness and encouraging better sexual health.
Try herbal combinations.
Seek supplement ingredients that reduce anxiety while increasing arousal. Ginseng and damiana promote relaxation in men and women, respectively, and L-arginine stimulates arousal for both sexes. Women can try botanical oils like borage seed oil and evening primrose oil, or angelica extract, which may enhance sexual desire and pleasure.
Eugene Zampieron, ND, The Naturopathic Medical Center, Woodbury, Conn.
Many men experience sexual dysfunction because of high levels of sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that binds free testosterone. Even if your total testosterone levels are normal, free testosterone is the only type available for sexual function. Natural remedies such as nettle root decrease SHBG levels and make more free testosterone available. Take 3 to 6 grams dried nettle root daily.
Opt for herbal remedies.
A four-part herbal regimen can improve male hormone levels: An adaptogen balances endocrinological systems, a nervine controls stress, an aphrodisiac increases libido, and a blood-flow enhancer warms the body. Combine 1 ounce each ashwagandha, scullcap, muira puama (potency wood), and ginkgo extracts; take 1 teaspoon twice daily. As a secondary approach, take three to four 700-mg tablets of Lu Rong—an ancient Chinese formula with testosterone from male deer antlers and pine tree pollen, which contains isolated compounds identical to human testosterone—with herbs like ginseng and morinda.
The more weight men carry, the more estrogen and less testosterone they have. To maintain low estrogen levels, eliminate beer and refined foods like white flour and sugar. Choose fresh fish, lean meats like chicken and turkey, and omega-3-rich foods such as flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Load up on cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts and kale, high in indole-3-carbinol, a compound that helps the liver eliminate excessive estrogen.
Ellen Barrett, author, Sexy Yoga (Amorata Press, 2004), New Haven, Conn.
Channel the root chakra.
The root chakra is one of the body’s seven chakras, or energy centers, that guides your movements and physical well-being. Located at the base of the spine, it allows energy and blood to flow toward the genitals during yoga, stimulating libido. Stand in Eagle Pose on one foot, with the other foot crossed behind the opposite knee; hold 15 to 30 seconds, and then switch feet.
Center your emotions.
Your emotional life stems from the heart chakra, allowing you to express love and affection when open, but keeping you cold and distant when closed. Keep your heart chakra open with Camel Pose, knees on the ground, arms reaching back toward the feet, and chest stretching to the sky. Hold 30 to 60 seconds.
Challenge hips and groin.
Increasing flexibility, especially in the hips, allows for more advanced and adventuresome sexual positions. Hold Frog Pose for up to one minute, pressing the knees, pelvic region, and forearms against the floor with legs spread wide, focusing on blood flow to the root chakra.