Sex: men think about it up to 388 times a day, and we gals aren’t far behind – it crosses our minds up to 140 times!*
So why have 35% of women and 15% of men lost interest in it?
From stress to hormones, there’s a variety of reasons that you or your partner may feel your sex drive declining
It seems our libidos have left the building, with almost one in 10 women admitting they don’t have sex with their partner at all any more.
“Libidos fluctuate depending on what’s going on in our lives, and personal and external influences have an impact,” says relationship expert Dr Becky Spellman.
Stress, kids, body image and hormones are factors for you and him. And with so many causes, there’s not one magic solution, but here are our top libido lifts.
Consider your contraception
Getty – Contributor The generic pill that millions of women take for contraception can actually cut your sex drive
Ironically, the Pill – you know, that tablet you take to not get pregnant from all the sex you’re having – can actually lower your sex drive.
Synthetic oestrogens increase levels of a substance called sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the body, which is associated with low libido.
Swapping to a progestogen-based contraceptive may help, or you could choose a non-hormonal method like condoms. You could also consider a fertility planning app.
Natural Cycles, from £5.99 per month, is the first app certified as a contraceptive device in the EU. It has a lower success rate than the Pill, though – around 93% – so it’s not for everyone.
Balance your body
Getty – Contributor Your everyday herbs can help manage the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands
Stress kills libido, but if you can’t stop it, fight it with the hottest health trend of the moment: adaptogens.
These herbs can help manage the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. One such adaptogen is the Ayurvedic herb shatavari, which may also help improve sex drive.
“Its name translates to: ‘she who has 100 husbands’,” says Pukka herbalist Katie Pande.
Try Pukka Womankind supplement, £16.95 for 30 capsules.
Do more things on your own
Getty – Contributor Independence is known to boost your sex drive, so hit the town with just your girl pals more
A University of Southampton study found interest in sex waned in relationships over a year old.
And according to relationship expert Lyn Smith, one reason for this is the idea of “us and them” that happens as you become loved-up.
Independence will help create the space your sex drive needs – have a night out every week with the girls.
Anything that makes you feel like you rather than part of “us” will revive this part of your life.
Take the sex vitamin
Getty – Contributor With lack of natural light in winter, a lack of vitamin D could be to blame
If your libido has dipped over winter, a lack of vitamin D might be to blame.
You naturally make this from sunlight, but no rays mean no vitamin D and low levels equal a low sex drive, according to a study by Istanbul’s Sisli Etfal Training And Research Hospital.
Take a supplement of 400iu daily, and get your partner on it, too, as low vitamin D levels have also been linked to erectile dysfunction in men.
Getty – Contributor Studies have found that a man’s saliva passing into a woman’s mouth can boost libido
Saliva passed from men during kissing contains testosterone, which raises women’s libido, researchers at Rutgers University have found. And snogging gets your head into a sexier place.
“Most therapists agree that sex begins in the head and your body’s physical reaction follows,” says hormone expert Dr Marilyn Glenville. Masturbation also piques your interest.
“It can be a way to reconnect with your body’s sensual pleasure. Once you’re back in touch with your desires, it can be less daunting to connect with your partner’s,” adds Marilyn.
Check out couple-friendly sex toys at We-vibe.com, or channel your inner Anastasia with the Fifty Shades range at Lovehoney.co.uk.
Go easy at the gym
Getty – Contributor While exercising at a regular level can improve your sex drive, overdoing it at the gym can decrease it
While moderate exercise raises sex drive, the University of North Carolina found that excessive working out lowers testosterone – taking libido with it.
Professor Anthony Hackney, who led the research, says: “Right now, research findings don’t indicate the exact threshold of training that might affect libido.”
But if you’re always in the gym, try easing off to find the level that works for you – and your sex drive.
Drink like a South American
Getty – Contributor Add Viridian Organic Maca Root to your everyday smoothie and juices because it’s known to boost sex drive
The herb maca is a traditional aphrodisiac in Peru – on a Friday night couples make their way to the maca stall to order their drinks.
“Maca is known for its ability to boost energy and stamina.
It also directly improves the quality and quantity of sperm,” says Katie.
Try adding the contents of a capsule such as Viridian Organic Maca Root, £12.40 for 60, to a smoothie or protein shake.
Do your bit around the house
Getty – Contributor Studies discovered that men who helped with chores around the house tended to have a more active sex life
Men who pull their weight with chores had sex more often and were more satisfied with their sex lives than those who didn’t do their fair share, according to the University of Alberta.
The research didn’t explore why, but as tiredness is the main reason women don’t want to have sex, maybe it just gives your partner a bit more time to recharge.
Or maybe it’s “choreplay” – the name Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gives to the sexual buzz women get from watching men do housework!
Keep your hands off your bits
Getty – Contributor Men who refrain from masturbation as much as possible tend to find they have a higher sex drive with their partner
Recent masturbation is one of the main habits associated with lowered interest in sex for men.
According to experts, the more you DIY it, the less interested you are in doing the deed with a partner as sexual tension doesn’t get a chance to build up.
Cut back on sugar
Getty – Contributor Men’s libido is fuelled by testosterone but sugar is known to cut it, so keep an eye on what your eating and drinking
Male libido is fuelled by testosterone, but the sweet stuff depletes it for a whopping two hours after you tuck in.
It’s not a small dip, either – just two cans of cola cut testosterone by 25%.
And while you’re overhauling your diet, up your levels of healthy unsaturated fats – such as walnuts, oily fish, eggs and seeds – which are necessary to produce sex hormones.
Did you know the shape of your face can predict your sex drive?
A Canadian study found the rounder and wider someone’s face (think Leonardo DiCaprio or Chrissy Teigen), the higher their sex drive, because face shapes are linked to testosterone level.
Camera Press/Jalag (image posed by models)
Ohio State University at Mansfield, University of Southampton, International Andrology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Nipissing University
Pukka (Pukkaherbs.com), Viridian (Viridian-nutrition.com) The Cupid’s Bow Technique by Lyn Smith (£4.99, CreateSpace) Visit Marilynglenville.com Stacey Solomon discusses her sex drive and being intimidated by sex surveys on Loose Women
‘diabulimic’ Terrified Of Needles Risked Her Life Weightlifting Instead Of Taking Insulin Injections To ‘try And Manage Her Diabetes’
A DIABETIC terrified of needles admits she diced with death by using weightlifting to control her condition instead of taking her insulin injections.
Despite knowing the grave dangers, Hollie Smith admits she used exercise to try and manage her type 1 diabetes.
PA Real Life/Mike Tennant Weightlifter Hollie Smith diced with death skipping her insulin injections to control her type 1 diabetes, in favour of exercise
The 23-year-old said she didn’t start skipping her injections to lose weight, but admits that looking back she had some form of “diabulimia”, dubbed a “hidden eating disorder” by experts.
The weightlifter, who has won several bikini competitions, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 17.
It destroys cells that produce insulin, leaving the body unable to produce the vital hormone.
It’s treated with daily insulin injections, or an insulin pump, but Hollie resorted to substituting some of her insulin injections with punishing workouts in the gym.
PA Real Life Despite the dangers, which can prove fatal, the 23-year-old was so scared of needles she said she could not inject herself
“I especially did this after eating carbs, which are broken down into glucose quickly and can increase blood sugar levels,” she explained.
“I know it was dangerous to hit the gym, rather than using insulin, but that didn’t stop me.
“I’d do two hours of cardio every day instead of taking all my insulin.
“I didn’t do it to consciously lose weight, but, looking back, I do think I might have had some form of diabulimia, where you deliberately give yourself less insulin to lose weight.”
PA Real Life The 23-year-old said she didn’t start skipping her injections to lose weight, but admits that looking back she had some form of “diabulimia”
“I was terrified of needles and was told I’d need insulin injections after food,” Hollie, from Wimbledon, added.
“I’d had a needle phobia since childhood and it was always a joke in my family that it was lucky I wasn’t the one with type 1 diabetes like Lucie, who was diagnosed aged eight.”
EXPERT WARNING: NEVER SKIP YOUR INSULIN INJECTIONS
PEOPLE diagnosed with type 1 diabetes should never skip their insulin injections, experts warned.
Douglas Twenefour, deputy head of care at Diabetes UK, said neglecting to use insulin can be fatal for type 1 diabetics.
“People who have type 1 diabetes rely on insulin to live,” he said.
“If you omit insulin it can be potentially fatal and some people, who were undiagnosed, have died doing that.
“Managing type 1 diabetes can be a difficult task, but with the right access to education and support many people are able to manage their condition and live a normal life.
“Consistently high blood glucose levels can lead to a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, also known as DKA.
“DKA happens when there is a severe lack of insulin in the body, which means it cannot use glucose for energy and ketones – poisonous chemicals which cause the body to become acidic – are produced.
“DKA always needs to be treated in hospital and can lead to death if not treated quickly.
“Having high glucose levels for a prolonged period of time can also put people with diabetes at a higher risk of diabetes-related complications, such as kidney damage, amputation and diabetic retinopathy.
“We would strongly recommend that anyone who is finding injecting insulin difficult to talk to a doctor or nurse who can support them to find more manageable ways of injecting their insulin.”
All types of diabetes cause blood glucose levels to be higher than normal, but the two different types do this in different ways.
Type 1 is far less common, affecting around 10 per cent of adults who have the disease.
The disease can be inherited and Hollie’s sister, 19-year-old Lucie, also has it.
PA Real Life The weightlifter, who has won several bikini competitions, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 17
PA Real Life Hollie with sister Lucie, who is also type 1 diabetic
If left untreated type 1 diabetes can cause large amounts of glucose to build up in the body and damage its cells.
This can also lead to organ damage, amputation or a diabetic coma, but this wasn’t enough to convince Hollie to use her injections.
As a result of skipping her injections and excessive exercise Hollie’s weight plummeted from a size 10 to a size 6.
I didn’t do it to consciously lose weight, but, looking back, I do think I might have had some form of diabulimia, where you deliberately give yourself less insulin to lose weight
“Looking back, I feel embarrassed that I treated my body like that,” she said.
“I would never recommend anyone to live like that, but it was a part of my journey, and being in the gym got me into the competitions.”
While studying law at the University of Reading Hollie began training for bikini competitions after seeing photos of models on Instagram.
PA Real Life Hollie said despite knowing how dangerous it was she would do two hours of cardio at the gym instead of taking all her insulin
“I thought they just looked amazing and realised how much I would like to look like that, and not like the thin woman I was,” she said.
“So, I started weight lifting at the gym – just small weights to start off with – but I began to feel amazing.
“It was my turning point with insulin too as I realised I had been so stupid not injecting properly before.
“I realised I would probably kill myself if I didn’t look after my diabetes properly. I could lose a limb, develop heart disease or even have a stroke.”
PA Real Life As a result of skipping her injections and excessive exercise Hollie’s weight plummeted from a size 10 to a size 6
Hollie began injecting her insulin after every meal and controlled her diet to make sure she was managing her blood sugar properly.
She also trained five times a week, bench pressing with 10kg and squatting with 15kg at first – but raising this to 40kg bench presses and 100kg for squats.
What Is High Blood Pressure, What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Hypertension And What’s A Normal Reading?
WHEN your heart beats it moves blood around our bodies and as it flows, the blood pushes against the sides of the blood vessels.
The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. Here is what a normal reading should be and what to do if yours is too high or too low…
Getty – Contributor Blood pressure can be measured using a sphygmomanometer
What is a normal blood pressure reading?
The ideal blood pressure should be below 120 and over 80 (120/80) and most UK adults have blood pressure in the range 120 over 80 (120/80) to 140 over 90 (140/90).
The higher number is the systolic pressure, which is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body, and the lower number is the diastolic pressure, the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
You can request a blood pressure reading at your local GP – it only takes a minute or so.
Blood pressure is measured with an instrument called a sphygmomanometer, where a a cuff is placed around your arm and inflated with a pump until the circulation is cut off.
Then, a small valve slowly deflates the cuff, and the doctor measures blood pressure.
Getty – Contributor You can get a blood pressure reading from your GP – it takes minutes
What are the risks if it is too high or too low?
If your blood pressure is too high (know as hypertension), it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
For the most part, the lower your blood pressure the better.
However, if you experience symptoms of dizziness, nausea, fainting and dehydration, then low blood pressure may be a problem.
If you experience any of those symptoms, it’s best to see your GP.
Getty – Contributor Bloody pressure can be reduced with a healthy diet and exercise
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
High blood pressure can present a serious risk of heart attacks and strokes if left untreated.
Some symptoms can include severe headaches, fatigue or confusion, vision problems and chest pains.
Sufferers of high blood pressure could also experience difficulty breathing, an irregular heartbeat, blood in the urine and pounding in the chest, neck, or ears.
If you feel any of these symptoms, it’s best to get it checked with your GP.
Getty – Contributor Symptoms of high blood pressure include severe headaches and fatigue
What causes hypertension and how can can you reduce it?
The risk of hypertension is greater if you are over 65-years-old, are overweight, exercise rarely, and have a history of high blood pressure in the family.
You can take steps to lower your blood pressure by losing weight, which is helped by increasing exercise and eating a healthy diet.
Doctors also recommend reducing alcohol intake and cut out smoking.
Reducing the sodium in your diet is also a good step to reducing bloody pressure, so make sure you read the labels on food.
If you can’t reduce it by natural methods, your doctor can then prescribe you medication.
Fanny Farts Aren’t Just Embarrassing They Can Be A Sign Of Something Much More Serious
THEY can cause serious embarrassment, especially when they happen in the bedroom, but fanny farts shouldn’t always be laughed off.
Most of the time they don’t mean anything serious – it’s when they are joined by other symptoms that you need to see a doctor.
Getty – Contributor Trapped air down there can cause an embarrassing noise but can also be a sign something more serious is going on
A fanny fart is caused by trapped gas in the vagina, this is not flatulence.
The embarrassing noise is simply the air being released from your vaginal canal, also called queefing.
But since the farting sound isn’t being caused by waste gases and doesn’t smell, it is not actually a fart.
There are several ways air can get trapped down there, the most common being during sex.
Getty – Contributor The most common cause of air getting trapped in the vagina is sex
When you are getting down and dirty it is easy for air to become trapped down there.
That’s because the vagina expands and contracts when you’re aroused, allowing more air to enter.
Every time a penis – or whatever else you are using – enters your lady garden it pushed the air further up.
So when everything is over in the bedroom it eventually comes out in a farting sound.
Getty – Contributor Pelvic floor problems have been linked to vaginal gas
2. Pelvic floor problems
Trapped air can be a sign of more serious problems with your pelvic floor.
Some conditions, like incontinence and prolapse, have been linked to vaginal gas.
GIRLS…LISTEN UP! This is the one exercise all women should do EVERY day to boost your sex life and fertility
That’s why it is so important to do your pelvic floor exercises.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises help prevent the unthinkable – prolapse of a woman’s internal organs, that can happen after giving birth.
In severe cases a uterine prolapse can result in a woman needing to undergo a hysterectomy, leaving her infertile.
Training this key set of muscles will not only boost your sex life, it can prevent incontinence and makes life after childbirth an altogether more bearable time.
Getty – Contributor using tampons can also cause air to get trapped when you insert them
As discussed about, things being inserted into the vagina can cause air to get trapped.
It is no different when you are using a tampon.
Don’t worry though, the air will escape when you take it out.
Getty – Contributor Exams like a smear test can cause your muscles down there to tense up, which can also trap air
4. Tense muscles
If your pelvic floor muscles get tense they can end up holding air down there.
Your muscles can get tense for any number of reasons including stress, sex, holding in a wee and even gynaecological exams like a smear test.
Exercise can also cause your muscles down there to tense.
When this happens any air that might be you-know-where can get pulled in further as the muscles contract.
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