How To Use Hormones To Improve Your Sex Life
Simple tips from a doctor to help you improve your libido.
It must be the hormones! This cliché phrase is often used to explain the erratic behavior, odd cravings and the impulsive “tantrums” that adult women throw. In reality, though, hormones rule both women and men. They influence our actions and choices. What’s more, aging and poor lifestyle choices cause an imbalance of hormones that leads to a lack in energy levels and even sexual dysfunction.
It’s clear that, when it comes to dating and sex, hormones are omnipotent forces that are impossible to resist. They tell us who, when, where, and even HOW to date and have sex. They are even responsible for the excitement and sensational rush we feel when dating and/or making love with our romantic partners.
Are we going to let waning and imbalanced hormones put an end to our sexual prowess? Hell, no! We deserve to experience and enjoy our sexuality regardless of age.
To further enlighten us on the topic, Urbanette consulted Dr. Jennifer Landa, MD. As the Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, she specializes in helping men and women balance their hormones, restore their energy, and replenish their sex drives. She is also the author of “The Sex Drive Solution for Women”. Combining both her experiences as a woman and a medical practitioner, Dr. Landa comes to help us achieve sexual empowerment.
Read and learn, soul sisters. This is a free medical consultation we are privileged to get.
Urbanette Magazine: To what extent do hormones control our dating and sex life?
Dr. Jennifer Landa: Dating and intimacy, in general, are all about hormones (and a few neurotransmitters.) Hormones control energy levels, desire and mood. Beta-endorphins, testosterone, adrenaline, oxytocin – these chemical messengers get your heart racing and boost your libido. That sensational rush you feel on a first date, with a first kiss or the endless butterflies in your stomach in a new relationship are all fueled by secretion of these hormones – when levels run low (like with aging) your sex drive suffers. Secretion of these hormones is also heavily linked to novelty – that is why, in a long-term relationship, you often have to get creative to keep that “rush” alive.
“Aging and certain adverse conditions lead to an imbalance of hormones – so keeping an eye on your levels can make all the difference in your interest in dating and sex.”
Urbanette: Is there a way to make our hormones work for us?
Jennifer: Yes! Maintaining control of stress will maximize hormone balance naturally. Of course, when I say stress, I don’t simply mean controlling your emotions… Eating processed and fast foods, staying up late to meet deadlines or not getting enough sleep, all cause inflammation and cause undue stress on the body. Stress also increases the secretion of the notorious “stress hormone” – cortisol. When cortisol is produced in excess, it causes other hormone levels to suffer. Cortisol is made from the same precursors as other vital hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone – when less of these hormones are being pumped out immunity, sleep and mood suffer. Not to mention, the attractive consequences of high cortisol, include advanced aging and thinning of the skin, hair, muscle and bones, increased blood pressure, blood sugar and abdominal fat.
“Choosing to live a better lifestyle, by improving nutrition, staying physically active and getting sufficient sleep, you can make your hormones work for you.”
Urbanette: Can you describe how women’s relationships with sex change as we age?
Jennifer: In their twenties, women have what I like to call the “urge to merge”. Sex is an imperative part of life – during this time, it is a basic drive, like eating and sleeping. As women age, from a natural point of view, they often lose that automatic urge and may need to figure out ways to revive a lost libido. Poor lifestyle choices and declining hormone levels play a big role and are among the things women can change. Again, lost novelty comes into play. All too often, men and women go through life having sex with the same partner, in the same way and expect to have that same excitement that existed at the beginning of the relationship. You have to shake things up – novelty enhances the secretion of hormones and brain chemicals that kick sex drive into high gear.
Many studies have revealed that women enjoy sex more as they age, but the common factor among these women was the effort they put into their sex lives – communicating with their partner and embracing their sexuality throughout all stages of life.
Urbanette: Is there one particular “secret” to improving sex at any age?
Jennifer: I think mindfulness is a big key to sex drive in women. Mindfulness is the concept centered on being present in the moment.
“Women must learn to focus on where they are in any moment rather than the classic multitasking women are notorious for – making a mental grocery list while having sex – you know what I am talking about!”
Women must learn to harness the power of their senses. Learn which senses are dominant for you. If you are very into visuals, make sure the candles are lit. If you are all about the auditory, put on some great music to engulf yourself in the experience. This practice includes mindfulness and can extend beyond sex, like when you eat a great meal, concentrate on how the food feels on your tongue, how the food smells and really taste it. Too often, we barely even notice all the sensual experiences that occur around us all day long. Tuning into these and the moment while you are having sex will make your sexual connection deeper and you will derive greater satisfaction. When you make mindfulness a part of your daily life, it becomes a habit and evolves into something as easy as flipping a switch.
Urbanette: How does nutrition affect sex drive? Are there really “foods for sex”?
Jennifer: In general, hormones maintain better balance if we avoid unhealthy foods. There are certain foods that can boost sex drive like:
- Watermelon. This summer favorite is loaded with an amino acid, known as citrulline, which is used by the body to synthesize arginine, another amino acid, essential to vascular health. Guys and gals can benefit from biting into the juicy melon – for men, it means a healthy erection and for the ladies, studies have shown a boost in libido.
- Eggs. The incredible edible egg – it has a multitude of benefits for your health, including giving your sex drive a nice boost. Eggs from healthy chickens that were raised outdoors are a reliable source of L-arginine, which when acted upon by enzymes in your body increase production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide has a dilating effect on the blood vessels. Many drugs used to treat impotence and high blood pressure work by raising nitric oxide levels, and many herbs and foods that enhance arousal work through the same mechanism.
- Peaches. Sex and fertility go hand in hand. The high vitamin C content in frozen peaches has been shown to improve sperm count and reduce sperm clumping. Plus, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant boosting immunity for you and your partner.
- Chocolate. Save the best for last. A chocolate a day ensures desire will stay… or something like that. Researchers have found countless benefits linked to the consumption of chocolate, in moderate portions, including their high PEA (phenylethylamine) content. PEA fuels the release of endorphins and serotonin – natural mood-boosters – that will improve your longing for a little one-on-one time with your lover.
Urbanette: “Sexercise” Are there particular exercise routines that help boost sexual drive?
Jennifer: Definitely. Here are a few good ones:
- Yoga. Certain yoga positions and yoga breathing intensify libido and orgasm: check out this article on my blog that gives the full details.
- Cardio. You can spend hours pumping iron in the gym, but pounding the pavement with your partner will make you race to the bedroom for a whole other type of sweat-session. Running and other cardio workouts increase your levels of beta-endorphins (think runner’s high.) As your heart begins to race and you experience that feeling of overwhelming freedom, you might also feel a burst of sexual desire – odds are – your partner is too. Next time your libido needs a pick me up, head out the front door for a jog, get those beta-endorphins flowing and guarantee you will leave a trail of sneakers and spandex straight to the bedroom (or get steamy in the shower.)
- Wrestling. If heart-pumping cardio workouts make you cringe at the mere mention, there is an alternative – break out the moves from your high school gym-class! A wrestling session with your lover can induce a spike in testosterone, awakening arousal for both partners. And, who knows, you might even discover some new positions while you’re at it.
- Resistance training. A little “pre-season” solo action can also take your sex-life from fizzle to sizzle. Adding healthy habits to your regular routine, like strength training, adequate consumption of protein and plenty of sleep, can give a boost to your testosterone level.
Urbanette: What is hormone replacement therapy? How can this procedure replenish sex drive and what are the risks?
Jennifer: HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is replacing hormone levels as they decline to keep hormones within the optimal range. I consider the optimal range to be similar to the hormone levels of the average 25-30 year-old. In my practice, I replace and balance hormones in this manner – achieving functioning hormone levels and balance just as my patients had in their younger years. Achieving hormone balance leads to increased energy, improved sex drive and a renewed zest for life, generally speaking.
As far as the risks of HRT – traditional HRT has been associated with risks of breast cancer and heart disease. Replacing hormones with using bio-identical hormone therapy has been associated with reduced risk of disease, including and especially heart disease, breast cancer and osteoporosis.
Urbanette: How important is it for women to be sexually empowered, and how can we get there?
Jennifer: Women are in need of a new sexual paradigm. Within just the last 100 years, women’s lives have been dramatically transformed from sexual oppression and repression: the right to vote, the invention of birth control, the era of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” claiming careers outside the home and financial independence – women have achieved political and sexual freedom in such a short span of time. Yet women are not embracing a new sexual paradigm. In fact, according to an article published in the American Economic Journal, “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” women are less happy now than at any time during the past 40 years, which can be primarily attributed to high levels of fatigue and stress caused by working outside the home, while also maintaining the primary “emotional responsibility” for home and family.
Although a woman’s libido declines with age due to waning hormone levels, her sexual prowess doesn’t have to end there. The female sex drive is woven into her thoughts, dreams, sensory experiences, creativity and feelings toward her partner – for women to achieve and truly embrace this new sexual paradigm, she has to claim her value not only as a daughter, sister, girlfriend, wife or mother, but as a woman who deserves to experience and enjoy all of these things from her very own personal perspective.