There are countless articles that tell us that if we eat certain foods or dress a certain way, it will immediately increase our sex drives. Because we thrive on instant gratification, we end up buying into it. But sex, casual or not, is more complex than we would like to admit.
"The most courageous thing we can do, and not just about sex but about anything, is to want something," says sex therapist Wendy Strgar. "You know, wanting to want is a profoundly courageous space." Strgar doesn't believe in quick tips and tricks in increasing your sex drive; she believes in looking at the root of your wants and desires.
"Most often low sex drive is a result of imbalanced hormones or the presence of anxiety and depression," says yoga instructor and pelvic floor guru Karly Tracey.
So we're not going to give you a list of what foods will turn you on or what herbs to put into your tea to instantly get you in the mood. We're looking at the bigger picture here. We're looking at the emotional weight behind it all (yes, even in casual sex, our emotions can mess with our libido). We asked both Strgar and Tracey to break it down for us.
Scroll down to see all the ways to increase your sex drive naturally.
Look At Your Emotions
While it sounds cliché or even old school, Strgar believes everything is tied to our emotions. "You could actually say that the libido equals sexual freedom. If that equals sexual freedom, and sexual freedom was defined as the ability to be responsible for your own sexual needs, what if libido equaled the ability to be responsible for your own sexual needs?" she says.
Being responsible for own sexual needs means confronting our emotions, whether we like it or not. If we're not wanting to have sex with our partner or someone we just met, it could say more about how we feel toward that person and might be worth exploring further.
When you and your partner don't have the same sex drive, the only thing you can really do to be on same page is find a time that's good for both of you to do it. "Everybody in a long-term relationship will have the problem of 'I want to have sex and you don't want to have sex,'" says Strgar. "So instead of making it a rejection, you make a plan and compromise. You learn how to be kind to each other and try to please each other’s sexual needs in different ways." She believes this will also make both of you stronger partners, which in turn makes you more sexually attracted to your S.O.
According to Tracey, stress inside the body (caused by alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and too much exercise) and outside of it (caused by external factors like work), release the hormone cortisol, which is a known libido killer. "Choosing workouts that don't leave you feeling depleted, limiting caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, and starting a 10-minute meditation practice are all ways to help the body minimize stress," she says.
Change Up Your Birth Control
"Sex drive is a hormone-governed response," says Tracey. "When the hormones are out of balance, so is the libido." She says because the pill prevents ovulation, the natural boost of libido that a woman would normally get at this time is missed. All pills are composed of synthetic estrogen and progesterone, and each body handles these hormones differently. If you notice a significant dip in your sex drive after you start the pill, talk to your doctor to see if you need to change to something else.
Eat Healthy, Exercise, and Sleep Well
Tracey believes that getting plenty of exercise, being well rested, and eating healthy are the easiest things anyone can do to increase their sex drive. "These three things will keep you ready for anything," she says.
Next up, read up on the health benefits of having sex.