Does your libido need some va-va-voom? We talk to top holistic health experts for the best advice to send your sexual energy soaring.
1. Pump those PCs!
You know the muscles that help you hold on when you’re dying for a wee? They’re also imperative for a healthy and physically receptive sex life. “Practicing Kegels throughout the day is a good way to boost your sexual energy,” says Isiah McKimmie, a certified Somatic sex therapist who specialises in Tantra, somatic sexology, and Gestalt psychotherapy. “Regularly practising Kegels also leads to stronger orgasms and helps you avoid post childbirth challenges, like poor bladder control.” Clench your PC muscles, hold for a few seconds, and then relax. Repeat 12 times. Then accelerate so you’re contracting and relaxing every few seconds; do 12 of these, too. This ancient Tantric technique is guaranteed to get you in the mood. Clench and relax your PC muscles a few times, as you gently rock your hips.
2. Have some ‘m’ time
“Yes, I am talking about masturbation,” says McKimmie. “Sex is a bit of a catch-22; often the more we have, the more we want it. Masturbation is a great way to get your sexual energy flowing, and to find out what your body likes and responds to. Regular masturbation keeps sex on your mind and helps you release lots of feel-good hormones and endorphins so you feel happier, calmer and more loving. And you’ll have a glow that others won’t help but notice!”
3. Make time to talk
“Talking about our emotions helps us feel bonded, so we’re more likely to want to have sex,” says McKimmie. “Many women who come to see me say they’ve lost interest in sex, but in fact, they’ve lost the feeling of connection to their partner.” Make time to sit down and talk things through. Address issues and make a point of telling your partner often how great he is: this helps him open up, too.
4. Take time to chill
Life’s busy. There are never enough hours in the day for all that we need to do, let alone what we want to do. “I see many clients who report a lack of sexual energy because life has a tendency to get in the way,” says Christina Spaccavento, sex therapist and relationship counsellor. “Work, family commitments, poor diet, lack of exercise, illness, grief, depression, hobbies and general life stress all lead to a lack of sleep, and a reduction in physical and sexual energy. Take time out for sleep, relaxation, exercise and leisure so that you unwind from your commitments and allow your body to rest, replenish and rebuild. It is important to maintain lifestyle balance so that our life energy and in turn our sexual energy is enriched, not depleted.”
5. Go play
“A sex toy will give a great boost to your excitement levels,” says Lloyd Perry, owner of Afterglow. “Vibrators stimulate and enhance blood flow, creating a powerfully heightened state of arousal and the potential for stronger, longer orgasms. Using one is also a good way to learn what your body does and doesn’t like, and also gets you in the mood.”
6. Fatten up
“Sex hormones are dependent on fat and cholesterol, and in this age of low-fat everything, our sex drives have shrivelled in response,” says nutrition expert and author Christine Cronau. “We also eat too many carbohydrates so we become fatigued, which extinguishes the fire completely! For great sex, go back to eating good old-fashioned fat: butter, bacon, and eggs. Enjoy! In more ways than one.”
7. Harness flower power
Flower essences rebalance the emotional side of your spirit, which may be damping down your sexual drive. Leonie Sinclair, a certified flower remedy practitioner from Triple Tranquillity Therapy Centre, suggests Bach Olive flower essence (to boost sexual energy, and extinguish exhaustion and fatigue), Australian Bush Flowers She Oak (to balance hormones), and Wedding Bush (to strengthen your relationship).
8. Charge up your kidneys
According to traditional Chinese Medicine, sexual energy arises from vital qi or energy stored in the kidneys. “Reduce stress to keep your kidney qi vibrant, as there's nothing more draining on the kidneys than if they’re constantly running on adrenalin,” says acupuncturist and herbalist Wesley Smith, director of Live Well Spa and Wellness Centre.
9. Find your raw appeal
“Bananas are a rich source of B-group vitamins and potassium, which are both needed for sex hormone production, while avocadoes are naturally rich in essential fatty acids that increase male and female libido,” says Maz Sadhana of Sadhana Kitchen, Sydney’s first organic, raw superfood cafe.
10. On the whole
“Whole foods provide all of the nutrients and energy we need for optimum wellbeing,” says Amanda Powell, an accredited practising holistic nutritionist. Her top foods to kick-start your sex drive are: pumpkin seeds (they provide zinc, which enhances sexual drive and fertility), maca root (a study in the Asian Journal of Andrology showed that taking it daily resulted in increased sperm production and motility), and figs (rich in amino acids, which support sex drive and stamina).
11. Apply some pressure
“The main acupressure point for our sex drive is Liver 4, which is at the top of the foot, in the middle,” says kinesiologist Claire Tait. Press down firmly on the point on both feet, holding for about 30 seconds then let go; repeat for 10 minutes. “This stimulates movement of qi along the meridian and clears blockages. I also suggest putting Australian Bush Flower’s Sexuality essence on the point first.”
12. Dabble in damiana
“Used by the Aztecs for impotency and the Mayans as an aphrodisiac, this herb balances hormonal responses, strengthens the nervous system, boosts frame of mind and promotes wellbeing,” says Kelly Roberts, from Nature Care College. “It also stimulates blood flow in sex organs and enhances sexual pleasure.” Take as a tea - one to two heaped teaspoons in one cup of boiling water.
13. Have a date night
When was the last time you took the time to be romantic together? “Make time for dating rituals,” says Manisha Lee, a yoga and Tantra teacher. “Get dressed up and go out together to a party. Work the room separately, and enjoy watching your partner be admired by others. Savour the anticipation of knowing you get to go home with each other at the end of the night!”
14. It’s essential to use oils
The hypothalamus is your brain’s hormonal control centre, releasing chemical messengers that affect everything from sex drive to energy levels. “Essential oils—via their fragrance and unique molecular structure — directly stimulate the hypothalamus,” says scent expert Doug Holt. He recommends myrrh, black pepper, ylang ylang, ginger, nutmeg, pine, and ocotea to boost a man’s sex drive, and geranium, ylang ylang, rose, clary sage, nutmeg, and Idaho balsam fir for a woman.
15. Horny herbs
“I use the following in a herbal formula for my patients and have found they provide great results, especially in menopausal women,” says naturopath Laura Burton: ginkgo biloba (has a synergistic effect with the traditional libido herbs), Korean ginseng (traditionally used for male impotence and infertility) and tribulus (an aphrodisiac for impotence and lowered libido). Consult a naturopath or herbalist for a personalised formula. Then there is the herb ashwagandha, which helps the body handle stress and is said to confer the sexual strength of a horse!
16. Sex on a plate
“The most effective strategy to boost sexual energy is to eat aphrodisiac foods,” say Dr Alex and Marie Ryan (aka The Love Doctors), authors of Spicy Bedroom Recipes. “Foods that look like sex organs - banana, avocado, oysters - stimulate sexuality through the mind. There are also the positive, nutritional properties of aphrodisiac foods, which improve circulation and energy in the body, so you get a double benefit. Use food as foreplay to get you and your partner in the mood.”
17. More sex, less stress
A study published in Biological Psychology found that men and women who had recently had intercourse responded better to stress than those who abstained. “An intense sensation of euphoria, calm and relaxation follows orgasm, due to the release of the hormones oxytocin, which helps us bond and creates the urge to nurture, and prolactin, which plays a role in lactation, but also an important role in regulation of the immune system,” explains naturopath Tim Altman.
18. Bust a move
“Pole dancing makes you feel confident, you perform moves you never thought you would, and master moves that initially may have frightened you. Confidence is sexy and has a ripple effect into many other areas of your life, including your sex life,” says dance teacher Sarah Thompson.
19. Put your runners on
“A fit, healthy body is not only more primed for sex, but exudes a higher level of sexual and body confidence,” says personal trainer Chris Van Hoof. Aim to walk at least 30 minutes every day. A University of Arkansas report found that women were more sexually responsive following 20 minutes of vigorous exercise. Short intense exercise is also linked with increased testosterone levels in men, which stimulate sexual interest and behaviour.
20. Kiss. Every day
“Kissing is the ultimate aphrodisiac, relaxant and peace-maker,” says Vivienne Cass clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and sex therapist. “Kissing bridges conflicts, brings people closer, and makes both the ‘kisser’ and the ‘kissee’ feel better about themselves. When we kiss or are kissed, we relax, put aside our worries for a while, and feel more open to letting the other person know us better. We also experience greater intimacy and connection, which may lead to romantic and sexual feelings.”
21. Increase your X-factor
“Healthy people are bathing in sexual energy, and they radiate it,” says Radley Spring, from Spring Wellness. “When one is out of balance, unhealthy or in dis-ease, one will experience a plethora of symptoms. Most people won’t even notice the majority of them, but sexual energy is one that is not easy overlooked! If you’re not feeling vital, potent, attractive, or sexy, your body is not well.” To emanate sexual energy, Spring advises: “Eat, move, be, love … holistically! Eat organic, free range, fats, and avoid all processed food. Add spice to your meals and indulge in a little hormone-heightening raw organic chocolate. Move your hips. Do squats, deadlifts, sprints, and dance. Be – believe – practise an air of confidence and happiness in yourself. Float and bask and glide in your own sex appeal. Love – start with yourself. Rest enough and find your own ways to decrease stress hormones. Care for yourself and treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you.”