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How to Increase Libido

Mark Tyrrell
Article by Mark Tyrrell
Therapist trainer of 25 years
Co-founder of Hypnosis Downloads

7 ways to help you fall back in lust

The 78-year-old man looked at me and sighed, "I'd give anything to have an erection again!" I'll speedily add that this was in a clinical setting, not a social one. He'd been depressed and had lost his libido in the bargain.

Depression and, to some extent (though less than you might think), age certainly do have a dampening effect on sex drive. If our energies are diverted by feeling sad or anxious, then we have little spare capacity to feel sexy.

Once his depression started to lift, so did something else ("age shall not wither them"). But everyone's libido can nosedive sometimes. What's to be done?

Try these tips to help pep up a flagging libido.

1) Take a long, hard look at your relationship

How to increase libido may be the wrong initial question for some couples. Because libido itself is often just a side effect of what is going on in the wider relationship.

It's been said that the quickest way to overcome a sexual problem (such as low libido) is to change sexual partners. Now that's not always the best option, of course! However, it's true that a build up of resentments, a history of unfulfilling sex with a particular person, and feeling that your partner doesn't find you attractive can all wreak havoc with your libido, which may miraculously revive once you find a new partner.

But before you decide to throw in the towel and move on to someone new, I'll add that lowered libido may also derive from work dissatisfaction or a loss of general fun in life. And most relationships can be improved, freshened up, and enlivened.

Ask yourself:

  • Does my relationship feel stale? If so, what can we do to inject some romance and excitement back into it?
  • Are there resentments that need clearing up?
  • Do you feel put down, disrespected, or even disliked by your partner?
  • Have you or your partner stopped bothering to make efforts with your appearance?
  • Are you distrustful of your partner?

If you answer yes to any one of these questions, then your libido may have taken a huge battering as a result - and not surprisingly. People often feel there is 'something wrong with them' when in fact they are responding normally to current circumstances.

So what if everything else seems fine but your libido appears to have taken an extended road trip?

2) Cut the stress and give it a rest

Stress is meant to lower libido in both men and woman. Stress is there to keep us alert and focused on threat and we can't be focused on threat and sex at the same time. The trouble is, the short-term stress response (great if you fear there's a lion outside the cave) can become long-term because of worries and concerns. And this long-term feeling of generalized stress can switch off libido.

Ways to lower stress and raise libido include:

  • Exercise, as long as you don't overdo it, will increase your energy levels, make you feel and look more attractive, and help relax you in the hours after the exercise.
  • Regular rest and relaxation. Do things you enjoy, socialize, partake in hobbies. And take some time to lie down, close your eyes, and zone out, as regular daytime relaxation will do wonders for your mental and physical health.
  • Eat regularly. Missing meals too often increases stress hormones within our bodies because we are now in 'famine mode' and need the stress energy to 'hunt'. This means less available energy for sex.
  • Don't overwork. Unless you have significant work-free periods and a proper 'wind down' time after work, your mind and body will still be in work mode instead of easily getting in the 'mood for love'.

Once you are properly relaxed and rested, it's amazing how your libido returns.

3) Set the mood

Sex in a stable relationship may become consigned to the 'last chore of the day', just after washing the dishes, putting the rubbish out, and clipping the toenails. What a prelude! Take time to set the scene - spend intimate time together before lovemaking just talking and sharing a meal (and leaving the washing up for once). Make your partner your sole focus for at least one evening a week so they don't feel like they're always squeezed in between your phone chat to your mother and gargling with mouthwash.

Set the mood with nice music, a favourite wine perhaps, low lighting; and make sure you won't be disturbed by other people making demands of you. And while you're at it (so to speak), take time to vary your lovemaking 'routine' so that it doesn't feel so, well, routine. Vary the times and nights that you make love and sometimes surprise your lover.

4) Watch the booze and gaspers

Of course, some alcohol can help loosen things up a little, but too much can lead to extreme drowsiness, which is counterproductive for passionate or even tender lovemaking. If you have got into the habit of knocking back more than the recommended limits everyday, then it's no wonder if your libido is diving quicker than late 2008 stock share prices.

Smoking too much is another big drain on sexual energy. Cigarettes restrict blood and oxygen flow not just to a man's genitals, but also to a woman's. Add in the bad breath and restricted sensitivity chronic smoking can produce in all parts of the body, and it's clear that smoking, which used to be commonly perceived as sexy, is no such thing. So ditch the cigarettes if you smoke.

5) Increase your libido with sexy foods

A healthy sex drive needs a healthy body to express it and one huge part of what makes us healthy is what we eat.

Some nutrients are extra-beneficial when it comes to regulating levels of sex hormones and getting you in the mood for sex. Here are some libido-injecting super-foods:

  • Oysters: Yes, I know this one's a cliché, but these little beauties contain copious amounts of testosterone-producing zinc, which increases sexual desire in both men and women. Men with sexual dysfunction often have lowered levels of zinc.
  • Avocados: Great for metabolizing proteins to help increase libido and sexual stamina in both sexes.
  • Celery: Boring it may seem, but this neglected salad stick boosts a male hormone called androsterone - a natural pheromone which may help attract the sexual attentions of women. And talking of the fairer sex, ladies will find that celery acts as a mood-booster when they eat it, which is also very good for libido.
  • Chocolate: Our favourite cacao treat (also a sexy gift) is packed full of antioxidants and produces the libido- and mood-enhancing chemicals serotonin and theobromine. And the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate supposedly triggers feelings similar to 'falling in love'. But go for quality high-cacao content choc.
  • Red wine: Not too much, of course, as it will stain your teeth and may cause drowsiness. ; ) The old vino tinto will open arteries to get your blood flowing.

6) Work those (PC) muscles

For men, working the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles is a simple way of strengthening erections, but these same exercises can also help increase sexual desire in women and increase the intensity of female as well as male orgasms...and no expensive gym membership is necessary. So how to do them?

Well, if you wanted to stop mid-flow whilst urinating, you'd need to tighten your PC muscles. Of course, you can also tighten them at other times. Practice tightening the PC muscles for the count of 5 seconds, then releasing them. Alternate in this way 20 times twice a day and work up to 70 repetitions twice a day. It will take a few weeks, but you'll soon notice a wonderful difference and start feeling sexier as a result. : )

7) Use fantasy to take a jaunt down memory lane

It's so easy to get stuck in a sexual rut (if that doesn't conjure up too many weird images!).

Sometime during the day, maybe a few hours before going to bed, take time to close your eyes and think back to vividly recall past exciting lovemaking sessions (preferably ones you had with your current partner) - times before life somehow got in the way.

Really focus on the feelings, sensations, and emotions of those past times to re-evoke those feelings again.

A wonderful, healthy sex life may not be the only key to happiness and love, but it will certainly help.

Need more help?

Try our hypnosis session to increase libido for women here, or for men here.

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Published by Mark Tyrrell - in Sexual Problems