A loss of sex drive or a big or small drop in libido has complicated roots, from depression to low self esteem, to tiredness or stress, excessive alcohol use, medications or other illnesses, and more. No food, herb or drink will counter such serious underlying issues.
Research has also found that no food will directly cause arousal, though there can be a legitimate placebo effect if you think that a delicious piece of chocolate or a hearty ginger stir-fry will turn you on.
However, if you are feeling generally okay, there are a range of delicious and healthy foods that can help stimulate extra hormone production and blood flow, or promote the relaxation, well being and happiness that are part-and-parcel of a wonderful sex life. To fully benefit from these foods, we recommend you eat them daily, or at least multiple times a week.
This incredibly refreshing and gentle fruit contains citrulline amino acid, which helps to relax the blood vessels that increase your sex drive.
Cacao contains a range of wonderful compounds and chemicals, including phenylethlamine, which can provoke a sense of excitement and well being, and cannabinoid-like fatty acids that may increase serotonin levels and hence also your body’s pleasure response.
Honey is sexy just to look at, but it also promotes testosterone production in men, while aiding women’s estrogen use. Studies have found that honey increases nitric oxide levels — which the blood needs during arousal.
Rich in vitamin E, asparagus promotes testosterone production in men and estrogen in women. The amino acid asparagine it contains can protect against urinary tract infections, which are renowned for lowering sex drive.
The intense flavor of ginger alone is enough to stimulate anyone, but while ginger doesn’t directly affect your libido, the gingerol in it is known for increasing sperm count.
This is another one that won’t directly increase your libido, but its ability to help you sleep and relax could in turn help out your sex drive. With high levels of it in almonds, spinach, cashews, soy milk, black beans, edamame, avocado and peanut butter, magnesium is an important nutrient for stimulating your GABA receptors (that is, helping you to relax), reducing stress hormones, lifting depression, combating anxiety and giving you energy and concentration.
Not everyone’s favorite, they may just be worth it for their ability to increase serotonin levels and for their zinc, which is important for testosterone and sperm production. Oysters have the bonus of being full of nutrients and minerals that are great for your brain and heart.
The maca root, a turnip-like vegetable from Peru, has been found to improve women’s sexual function and also help with male erectile dysfunction.
Chinese Panax ginseng is used as a sex stimulant in traditional Chinese medicine because of its nerve-stimulation properties. Meanwhile, Korean red ginseng (the most potent form of ginseng with six times the strength of Panax ginseng) can boost sexual arousal for menopausal women due to its effects on hormone imbalance. To consume ginseng, try health-food stores, which often have it in liquid, powder, or pill form.
And of course, there are other natural, affordable and fun ways to boost your libido (apart from the obvious foreplay). Yoga and meditation can be great, and exercise more generally ensures proper blood vessel and heart function and decreases stress, while increasing your energy levels. And most importantly, an emotional connection with your partner and a strong self esteem that lets you lose control are vital things to cultivate.
What works for you? Let us know in the comments!
— Tamara Pearson