Sex is a natural and pleasurable part of a healthy lifestyle, so when interest wanes or sexual difficulties occur, it can be confronting and uncomfortable for both you and your partner.
What are the symptoms of low libido?
Defining a lowered sex drive, or desire for sex, is tricky because each of us has different feelings and expectations regarding what's 'normal’ for us, ranging from being highly sexual to rarely interested.1
However, issues may occur when your own level of sexual interest and function changes, or isn’t aligned with that of your partner.
Sexual function changes include:
- Low libido or sex drive (causing reduced interest in or aversion to sexual intimacy)
- Difficulty becoming aroused
- Inability to perform sexually and/or achieve a normal orgasm
Some people also experience pain during intercourse. If you’re affected, talk to your healthcare professional to arrange further investigation and treatment if necessary.1
What causes low libido?
Among other factors, your libido and sexual performance are likely to reflect your personal preferences, relationship status and any other issues occurring in your life.1
Other issues that may cause or contribute to a lessened sex drive in both men and women include:
- Stress, feelings of overwhelm or time pressure
- Lack of privacy
- Reluctance to participate in sex due to previous problems with sexual function
- Sexual incompatibility (sex drive can be lowered if one partner regularly wants more frequent sex or different types of sexual activity than their partner)
- Familiarity (desire for sex may lessen over the duration of a relationship)
- Exercise (too much or too little exercise can both contribute)
- Cultural and religious attitudes to sex
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), low libido and sexual function are often seen as an imbalance of kidney Qi.
When the functioning of the kidney Qi is healthy, libido is also likely to be strong. However, deficiency of kidney Yang may dampen sex drive.
Herbal supplements for low libido
Horny goat weed, traditionally used to promote healthy libido
Horny goat weed is traditionally used in TCM to strengthen the kidneys, and in turn to enhance a healthy libido and healthy sexual function. Horny goat weed is included in Fusion Libido for its ability to act as an aphrodisiac, as traditionally used in TCM.
Tribulus: traditionally used as an aphrodisiac
In Ayurvedic medicine, tribulus has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac to maintain healthy sexual function in both men and women.
Schisandra: traditionally used to aid stress adaptation
Schisandra is a herb traditionally used in TCM to improve resistance to both physical and emotional stress.
In TCM, schisandra is also traditionally used to strengthen Jing, a type of life force energy that declines as we age, which is involved in a variety of functional processes.
When kidney Yang is decreased, the kidneys’ ability to store Jing declines too, according to TCM theory. That’s why schisandra is a key ingredient in Fusion Libido.
Diet and lifestyle recommendations for low libido
- In TCM, black-coloured foods are traditionally eaten to nourish the kidney organ-meridian system, support reproductive health and boost libido, so try to include foods like black beans, black sesame seeds, dates and seaweed in your diet
- Support kidney organ-meridian function by consuming foods that are regarded as warming and nourishing, such as beef, lamb, mushrooms and nuts
- In particular, walnuts are traditionally believed to enhance kidney Yang energy and support men’s sexual potency
- Regular exercise is an important part of maintaining vitality, and leading an active lifestyle may help to raise your libido
- However, over-training may be detrimental, ultimately reducing sex drive1
- If libido issues are caused by relationship difficulties, stress or mood problems, counselling may help to address the underlying issues and restore your sexual vitality
- Acupuncture may be beneficial for low sex drive caused by stress and low mood
- Victoria State Government. Last updated July 2018 and accessed August 2020 from betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/libido