How many times have you had sex with your partner after a drought and then thought, “We really should do that more often”? No matter how busy we are with work and the kids, we need sex, intimacy and closeness for our overall well-being. Consider sex a vitamin; I like to call it Vitamin “S." Make sure you take a weekly, or perhaps even daily, dose of Vitamin S. The more you do it, the more you will feel like doing it. Here are a few all-natural remedies (and strategies) to increase your sex drive, up your dose of Vitamin S, and help you and your partner say “let’s get it on” more often.
1. Hit the sack. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling anything but sexy. All parents can empathize with the struggle to get enough zzzs during the child-rearing years, and chronic sleep disturbances go hand in hand with stress and low desire. While staying up late after the kids have gone to bed may help you finish some of the day’s work and prep for tomorrow, it will ultimately leave you tired and un-refreshed, creating a cycle of constant catch-up and dissatisfaction in all areas—including intimacy. Instead, go to bed earlier, setting a bedtime for yourself that allows for enough total hours of sleep needed to be on your A-game—and perhaps even a session between the sheets. It also helps if you and your partner go to bed at a similar time so that you’re both in bed and still awake should the mood arise....
2. Take your vitamins. There are many different libido-enhancing formulas or supplements on the market. It is most important to get the right recommendation for you. In the meantime, here are some safe starters available at most health food stores:
• Vitamin C increases circulation and gives you more energy by fueling your adrenal glands. • Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, is one of eight B vitamins, all of which help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. B5 specifically assists in the production of sex and stress-related hormones. Bring on the Bs!
3. Try libido-enhancing botanicals: Plants are where conventional medicines began. So, get back to your roots to enhance your natural sexual desire and activity. My favourite libido boosting botanicals are as follows:
• Rhodiola is a plant grown in high-altitudes and other cold Northern regions. The healing benefits of plants often mimic the needs of their environment. So, for a plant to grow in very cold climates, the plant must have stamina and strong resistance to the elements. Hence rhodiola’s ability to enhance focus, cognitive function, mental and physical stamina and relieve symptoms of fatigue. • Schizandra is also known as a libido tonic. It increases resistance to disease and stress, as well as energy, physical performance and endurance—it's also been shown to benefit erectile dysfunction. In Chinese Medicine, moreover, schizandra is called “the five flavoured fruit." You can chew on these small berries, which are available at health food stores, and try to taste all five flavours on different areas of your tongue. Tuning in to these different tastes can also be a sensual exercise. Try it out! • Ashwagandha is known as Indian ginseng. It is a powerful aphrodisiac and helps maintain an erection, last longer in bed, increase feelings of desire and improve energy. It's also been shown to promote a restful mind and better quality of sleep. Try ashwaghanda for overall body rejuvenation.
4. Eat your greens. Vegetables might not sound sexy, but in fact, following a healthy, whole-foods diet with lots of greens (spinach, kale, bok choy, asparagus, broccoli) can help get you get in the mood. Green foods are chock-full of Vitamin C—indeed, they have more vitamin C than oranges, so eat your greens!
Read more: Kale recipes your kids will (actually) love>
5. Explore aphrodisiac foods: Are they a myth or the real deal? The answer is a little of both. If you are exhausted and run down, no amount of oysters or chocolate will put you in the mood—that is, until you address the root cause of your libido lull. Basically, shortcuts are never the best answer, and aphrodisiac foods fall into this category. While chocolate may boost dopamine and serotonin initially, it also causes a sugar high, followed by a crash, and may contribute to weight gain—which will likely not help you feel sexier in bed. The best “aphrodisiac” is a whole-foods diet that will make you love the skin and body you’re in. Other specific examples of aphrodisiac foods include hot chili peppers, bananas, avocados, almonds, and asparagus, among many others. These coupled with a whole-foods diet could help get you in the mood. Eat up!
6. Get moving (and grooving!): Exercise will keep you moving and grooving in all ways. Feel sexy and toned in your own skin, while increasing blood flow, detoxifying your body, and boosting your feel-good neurotransmitters, hormones and endorphins (serotonin, adrenaline, testosterone). Weight loss through exercise will also assist with decreased abdominal fat, increased muscle tone, increased stamina, endurance and circulation, which all lead to better orgasms, stronger erections and increased performance. Whether it is running, weight training, gym workouts, group boot camps, yoga, or joining a sports team, make exercise a priority. Key question: What is holding you back from exercising more today?
7. Check in with yourself: Try consulting with a mental-, spiritual- or holistic-health practitioner you resonate with. Actually meeting with a health practitioner and discussing all aspects of your own health or mental state is incredibly empowering. You may not be aware of the unconscious processes lurking in the background such as negative self-talk or low self-esteem. Recognize these negative voices and clear them, then move on to the healthier, happier you who truly loves and enjoys intimacy. When you let certain things go unspoken and fester (both in your own mind or in your relationship), it can be difficult to keep the intimacy alive and well. Learning individualized coping strategies and stress management techniques will help you take control of your emotional and mental well-being.
Read more: 6 signs you need couples therapy>
8. Value your time: Make sure you set aside some personal time just for you. You’ve heard of regular date nights with your partner. But don’t forget to schedule dates with yourself for some solo self-care time. As a parent, you are a caregiver, and often your children’s needs overshadow your own. Giving yourself the gift of regular "self dates" will allow you to feel accomplished, independent and ready to support your loved ones. Plan for a spa day, an afternoon at the bookstore, a picnic-for-one in a favourite park surrounded by nature or simply a bubble bath at the end of the day.
9. Ignite your creativity: Tune in to your natural instincts to fuel your creative side. See what comes out of this intention. What do you want to create (both in and out of the bedroom)? Creation in the bedroom does not mean more children. It could mean different positions or trying new things you haven’t done before…. What have you always wanted to do? Talk to your partner about their fantasies and anything they might like to try. Get creative!
10. Know you're not the only one: Lots of parents struggle with low libido—just check out Today's Parents' The sex lives of Canadian parents survey. So, you're not alone. Take action today with these simple strategies and open up to exciting possibilities.
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