How can you actively boost your low libido?

There are several things both men and women can do to actively boost low libido, according to research.

couple kissing in bed
  • Low libido, or sudden changes in your sex drive, can be overwhelming and cause embarrassment or shame, but this is a common problem that could have many different solutions.
  • According to research, managing your anxiety/stress levels, maintaining a healthy diet and proper sleeping habits, and cutting down on things such as alcohol or smoking can all boost your libido.
  • Low libido can have many causes (physical, emotional, medical, etc). If you find you are struggling with this and are not able to find a solution, consider consulting a doctor and/or sex therapist to discuss your concerns.

Low libido (a low sex drive) is something that can happen to both men and women for a variety of reasons. It could be a medical, physical, or emotional issue (or a combination of the three) that prevents you from actively seeking out and engaging in sexual activities.

Individuals who are experiencing a low sex drive experience reduced sexual interest and few sexual fantasies or thoughts. As a result, you can't actively engage in sexual intimacy with your partner, as much as you may wish that you could.

If one person in the relationship is struggling with a low sex drive, it can impact both people (and the relationship), causing emotional distance and sexual frustration on both sides.

However, there are several steps (set out by experts) that you can take if you or your partner are experiencing this struggle.

    How to boost low libido in men

    man sitting on couch frustrated

    Properly managing your stress and anxiety can boost libido in both men and women.

    Photo by G-Stock Studio on Shutterstock

    Struggling with low libido can feel isolating and embarrassing. However, according to a study linked in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 19 percent of participants reported a low libido at the baseline of this testosterone study.

    If a male is experiencing low libido, there are several things that could be causing it:

    • Physical issues such as low testosterone, prescription medications, alcohol, and drug abuse
    • Psychological issues such as depression, stress, relationship tension
    • Outside factors such as problems at work, a death in the family, emotional turmoil

    Talk to your partner about what you're experiencing.

    Low libido can be incredibly difficult to talk about with your partner, especially if it's causing problems in the relationship, but it could give you support and help you find alternative ways to connect until you find an answer.

    Check your hormone levels and your health with a doctor.

    According to WebMD, around 28 percent of men with low testosterone also struggle with low libido. Having low or decreased testosterone levels can impact more than just your sex drive, as testosterone plays a few important roles in the body. Testosterone has also been linked to bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, and strength.

    Completing a physical and bringing up low libido concerns with your doctor can help you rule out any physical things that could be causing your low sex drive. Perhaps a medication that you're on is giving an unwanted side effect. Medications such as morphine, opioid pain relievers, corticosteroids, and certain antidepressants can impact your libido. You may have the option to be moved to another, or your doctor may insist on checking your testosterone levels.

    According to the American Urological Association (AUA) guidelines, adult men are considered to have low testosterone (or low T) if their levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter. A simple blood test will be able to tell your doctor your testosterone levels.

    Consider meeting with a sex therapist or counselor about any relationship struggles that could be impacting your libido.

    Manage your anxiety.

    High levels of anxiety and stress are extremely common barriers to sexual functioning for both men and women. You can manage your anxiety by practicing good sleeping habits, exercising regularly, working to improve your relationship(s), speaking with a therapist, or consulting a doctor about anti-anxiety medications.

    Regular exercise could be key to maintaining proper hormone levels and boosting sexual function.

    Strength training, walking, and swimming may all work to improve sexual function and libido (in both men and women). In fact, one-time acute exercise sessions have been linked to boosted sexual arousal because of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

    How to boost low libido in women

    woman running on pavement in city

    Creating a healthy lifestyle (healthy eating and exercise habits) can help boost libido in both men and women.

    Photo by lzf on Shutterstock

    The sexual desires of women naturally fluctuate over the years for various reasons (pregnancy, menopause, illness, life events), and navigating the lows can be incredibly difficult.

    If a female is experiencing low libido, there are several things that could be causing it, such as:

    • Physical problems, including medical diseases, medications, where you are in your menstruation cycle, hormone changes, etc. can all be causes of low sex drive in women.
    • Many women experience severe changes in their hormones and sex drive during and even years after pregnancy or breast-feeding.
    • Lifestyle habits including alcohol or drug consumption or smoking can also dull your sex drive.
    • Fatigue or exhaustion are commonly reported problems that impact sex drive among women.

    Communicate with your partner about what you're experiencing.

    According to a survey from the National Women's Health Resource Center, 59 percent of women report that low sex drive has had a negative impact on their relationship, with up to 66 percent of women reporting the low sexual desire impacted communication in their relationship.

    Struggling with low sex drive and being unable to find an immediate fix can feel embarrassing and bring up a lot of insecurities - but talking openly about it with your partner can allow you to both understand what's happening and work together to solve the problem.

    What you're eating could also impact your libido.

    According to a 2015 review study, adding things like maca, tribulus, gingko, and ginseng to your food could help improve sexual function. Additionally, maintaining a healthy (low sugar/high lean protein) diet can boost your sex drive by promoting proper circulation and heart health.

    Could a good night's sleep help?

    According to a small-scale study, many women explained that a good night's sleep helped increase their sexual desire and arousal the next day. Women who reported longer sleeping times also reported better arousal levels the next day compared to those with shorter sleeping times.

    When should I consult a doctor about low libido? 

    Aside from open communication with your partner and lifestyle changes like a healthier diet, proper sleeping habits and managing stress, communication with doctors, sex therapists and counselors can all be extremely helpful in getting to the root of the problem.

    You should consult a doctor about low libido if/when:

    • Your libido suddenly drops without any explanation
    • Additional symptoms appear, such as high blood pressure, pain, etc.
    • Your libido suddenly drops after a surgery, or when you switch to a new medication
    • Your low libido is causing relationship problems or psychological distress on you and/or your partner

    Enhancing your sex drive will take time, but it is possible to do if you and your partner are committed to trying new things to boost your libido and keep an open line of communication.

    ‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

    How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

    Surprising Science
    • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
    • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
    • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
    Keep reading Show less

    Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

    A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

    Jupiter's moon Europa has a huge ocean beneath its sheets of ice.

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
    Surprising Science
    • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
    • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
    • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
    Keep reading Show less

    Astrophysicists find unique "hot Jupiter" planet without clouds

    A unique exoplanet without clouds or haze was found by astrophysicists from Harvard and Smithsonian.

    Illustration of WASP-62b, the Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its atmosphere.

    Credit: M. Weiss/Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
    Surprising Science
    • Astronomers from Harvard and Smithsonian find a very rare "hot Jupiter" exoplanet without clouds or haze.
    • Such planets were formed differently from others and offer unique research opportunities.
    • Only one other such exoplanet was found previously.
    Keep reading Show less

    Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

    Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

    Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois)

    Credit: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr
    Surprising Science
    • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
    • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
    • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
    Keep reading Show less
    Politics & Current Affairs

    FOSTA-SESTA: Have controversial sex trafficking acts done more harm than good?

    The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.

    Scroll down to load more…