We asked Nancy Simpkins, M.D. and an internist and medical consultant for the state of New Jersey who works with libido issues in women during pregnancy, menopause and depression, what to know about sex drive.
1. The more testosterone, the higher the libido
“Men have larger amounts of testosterone than women, but interestingly, younger women have large amounts of circulating testosterone compared to older menopausal women, which is thought to contribute to women’s decreased sex drive with age.”
2. Women’s sex drives peak later than men
The generalization that women peak around age 32 and men around 18 is true, according to Simpkins. “Libidos are personal to each person but it does appear that men peak at a younger age than women due to hormones.Women of childbearing age have conflicts in libido based on ovulation,pregnancy, post-partum. Young men with large amounts of testosterone are indeed peaking with their sexual desire.”
READ MORE: 9 Ways For Men to Improve Sexual Performance
3. There’s no such thing as aphrodisiac foods
No food has been proven to increase libido, so you can skip the oysters, although “perhaps it’s the idea of a nice dinner out and relaxing that helps,” she says.
4. But a diet of foods that increase your circulation increase your libido
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Incorporate heart-healthy and antioxidant-rich foods like salmon, strawberries, blueberries, asparagus, beans and legumes.
5. Keep to a two drink minimum
“Alcohol is bad for libido, in that it functions as a depressant to the nervous system.Having said that, if anxiety is negatively impacting your sexual health, a small amount of alcohol may help.” And anything that decreases blood flow, like smoking, is counterproductive—but you already knew that.
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6. Your libido peaks during ovulation
A combination of high estrogen and testosterone during ovulation leads to a higher sexual desire, which is great if you’re trying to get pregnant, not so much otherwise.
7. Pregnancy increases libido in most women
“The basis of this increase is due to high levels of hormones in the blood. In addition, psychologically there is no worry about getting pregnant and therefore women relax and enjoy sex.”
8. Your antidepressants aren’t helping
“Most medications do not affect sexual desire with the exception of anti-depressants and there are few conclusive studies on the effect of oral contraceptives on sex drive. Some of the studies show that the pill increases sex drive and some say it lowers the sex drive. More research needs to be done and definitely speak with your doctor about all side effects.”