Original Graphic by Stephanie DeAngelis
Aside from ensuring society's survival, sex is a natural part of the human experience that's as healthy for the mind as it is for the body and soul. Although it's no longer as taboo to discuss this titillating topic, when it comes having a low libido—and wanting a little boost without medicinal help—it's not uncommon for some to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about asking how to increase sexual desire naturally.
The reasons you might not be in the mood to get down and dirty? According to a study published by The Journal of Sexual Medicine, some hormonal contraceptives decrease the amount of testosterone, which can result in a lower sex drive. Another study published by BMJ Open reveals that women and men can blame lack of interest in sex on a variety of factors, including age and mental health.
Yes, you can turn the heat back up in the bedroom after a dry spell: Keep reading for ways to boost your libido naturally.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
No wonder chocolate is the most popular Valentine's Day gift: This decadent dessert is "a great aphrodisiac, and it contains magnesium, which can make you feel very relaxed," says Esther Blum, a registered dietician and author of Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous.
Upgrading to dark chocolate can also help rev up your sex drive. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association, this sweet treat contains phenylethylamine, a compound that releases the same endorphins triggered by sex.
Seek More Thrills
Pumping up your adrenaline has also been shown to get you in the love-making mood. Cindy Meston, Ph.D., co-author of Why Women Have Sex, explains that "when you're doing something exciting, your heart is racing and your nervous system is activated, much like they would be if you were sexually aroused."
Her research, which was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that subjects reported finding the opposite sex more attractive after partaking in thrill-seeking activities.
Sip More Vino
Surprise, surprise: Red wine isn't just a delicious social lubricant, but it can also increase sexual desire naturally and boost vaginal lubrication in women, says The Journal of Sexual Medicine. According to a study published in the medical journal, the increase in libido can be credited to vino's high antioxidant levels—specifically polyphenols, which can boost blood flow to important arousal areas. But don't use the findings as an excuse to keep the alcohol flowing: Researchers note that enjoying more than one glass might decrease your sex drive.
Forget Fried Foods
As if maintaining a healthy diet wasn't a good enough reason, avoiding fried and greasy dishes can also keep your sex life, well, alive. The trans fat contained in artery-clogging meals can also have a negative effect on the libidos of both women and men, says nutritionist Frida Harju. Trans fat increases "abnormal sperm production in men and interferes with gestation in women," she explains.
Got your own sage advice on how to increase sexual desire naturally? Share your top tips in the comments.