The not-so-sexy truth: It's not always easy to get excited about sex after working a nine-hour day and ferrying around three kids. It's not always easy even if you have only one kid and didn't step outside the house all day. In general, some 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men in the United States report sexual dysfunction. The numbers are even higher for those over 50. Indeed one study of menopausal women found that nearly half reported a decrease in sexual desire after menopause. Lots of issues contribute to the problem, including stress, smoking and hormonal imbalance.
The good news for those who have lost that loving feeling is that they can get it back. Although libido is far too complicated to be impacted by a single magical solution, here are seven natural ways recommended by various experts to increase your libido.
Have your own ideas? Let us know in comments.
1. Gaze at a photo of your significant other
A study by Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, found that when people look at a photo of their loved one for 30 seconds or longer, their brain begins producing dopamine, a libido booster. Of course, I know a lot of women who'd say that gazing at a photo of Ryan Gosling might be helpful as well.
2. Stay fit and keep the weight off
This one's mostly for men: Not only will you simply feel better about yourself, but body fat also inhibits testosterone production. And, apparently, it's really important for men to watch their waist size as belly fat absorbs testosterone more efficiently than fat cells elsewhere in the body. Both men and women will benefit from exercise, though, as aerobic workouts increase blood flow to sex organs.
3. Tickle your taste buds
Certain foods including tomatoes, broccoli and pomegranate juice are supposed to give you a boost in the bedroom. On the other hand, avoid processed baked goods and dairy products -- all libido killers.
4. Trade the bubbly for some red wine
No, you shouldn't drink to excess. And don't give up champagne completely. But studies show that moderate drinkers of red wine actually have a greater sex drive than those who don't imbibe, or who drink white wine. Researchers attribute this to red wine's ability to increase blood flow as well as its color. Women apparently find men a whole lot sexier when they are wearing red. And -- no surprise here -- men also are attracted to ladies in red.
5. Spook yourself -- or your partner
Studies show that people feel more amorous after enduring an adrenaline-pumping experience such as watching a scary movie or jumping out of an airplane. When you do something a bit daring, your heart will start pumping, same as if you were sexually aroused.
6. Give (or receive) a massage
There's no doubt that massage is a good idea for couples when one is feeling particularly worried or stressed. And, with a little soft lighting, one thing can quite easily lead to another...
7. Breathe in
Certain scents are known to put people in the mood immediately (stock up on cinnamon, vanilla and musk in particular). An interesting side note: A woman's sense of smell is actually stronger than a man's, especially when she's ovulating. When it comes to men, apparently they get turned on by the scent of pumpkin pie combined with lavender. Who knew?
What do you think of the above tips? Have your own ideas? Tell us in comments.