If your sex drive has taken a hit recently, you’re not alone: it’s common to go through waves of either having an irrepressible or a simply non-existent libido over the years, whether it’s related to your health—like going through menopause—or just a result of dealing with everyday life stressors. But don’t worry: decreased sexual desire is something that’s fixable.
Whether it’s making changes in your relationship, eating some all-star aphrodisiac foods, or working on bettering your overall wellbeing, there are plenty of ways to get back on track. Try out some of these 40 methods of boosting your sex drive and you’re sure to feel like your old self in no time. And for more sex hacks, don’t miss the 13 Surprising Ways Your Sex Life Changes after Having Kids.
Get Your Vitamin C Fix
You know taking in plenty of vitamin C is good for you. What you might not have known, though, is that it’s also great for your sex drive. It turns out stocking up on foods like oranges, kiwi, green peppers, guava, and strawberries can really get you in the mood. A study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry found women who have high intakes tend to have more (and better!) sex. And for more ways to eat your way to better sex, learn the 20 Best Foods for Your Libido.
Quit Any Bad Habits
If you’re still smoking and drinking in excess in your 40s, it’s time to stop—not just for your health and overall well-being, but also for your sex drive. According to the Mayo Clinic, those bad habits are causing your libido to plummet, and once you ditch ‘em for good, you’ll experience a nice boost in the bedroom.
Have a Cup of Coffee
Coffee wakes you up, gives you energy, and boosts your sex drive? (What can’t this magical substance do?) According to researchers at Southwestern University, caffeine tends to make you want to get it on—and will even give you a better experience once you do. So grab a cup or three tomorrow morning… then text your partner to come back from work early. And if you don’t like coffee but want to reap all (or most) of the benefits, learn the 25 Non-Coffee Ways to Boost Your Energy Levels.
Get More Sleep
There are plenty of reasons you should always make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye, from keeping your stress levels at bay to boosting your mood. When it comes to your sex drive, some sleep can help, too: A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found women who got more sleep had higher levels of sexual desire — so much so that it increased the amount of sexual activity they had after a restful night by 14 percent. And for more ways to maximize your sleep, check out the 40 Tips for Better Sleep on Summer Nights.
Do Some Yoga
Yoga isn’t just great for increasing your flexibility in the bedroom. It can also increase your sexual desire. According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, doing three poses in particular—triangle pose, the snake, and half spinal twist—helped increase women’s desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and overall satisfaction. About 75 percent of women’s sex lives improved greatly at the end of 12 weeks of exercise—especially those ages 45 and up. And if you really want to make the most of the practice, learn The Yoga Moves That Will Transform Your Sex Life.
Grab the Massage Oil
If natural methods aren’t doing anything to increase your sex drive, it might be time to bring out the big guns. According to the Mayo Clinic, the botanical massage oil Zestra can be applied topically to your nether regions to heat things up—and it works so well that a small study found it can increase both arousal and pleasure.
Drink Some Red Wine
Drinking red wine to help increase your sex drive sounds way too good to be true. But no, you’re not dreaming! In a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine of nearly 800 women, researchers found treating yourself to a moderate intake of the antioxidant-packed beverage could help increase sexual desire, lubrication, and overall sexual function.
Meditate Every Day
Just like you make time to brew your morning coffee and scan through Facebook at night, you’ve gotta make time for meditation. According to a review published in the Journal of Sex Research, mindfulness-based therapy can help improve sexual function. So spend even just 10 minutes—yes, that’s all it takes—a day zoning out and taking nice, deep breaths: it’ll help you in life and in bed. And for tricks on making the most of the practice, don’t miss the 10 Ways to Focus Better During Meditation.
And Exercise Every Single Day, Too
Scheduling in a daily workout can help lower your stress levels, boost your mood, help you stay in shape, and, as a result, boost your sex drive. In a study published in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews, the changes in your metabolic rate, muscle activation, and blood flow when you exercise can also improve sexual function, making you more aroused and satisfied overall.
Try Something New
Sometimes your sex drive starts to fade over time simply because you’re not that excited about sex anymore. According to a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, all it takes to boost your sex drive is to be more open with your partner: set the mood, try new things, and do some experimentation together. After igniting the passion again, you’ll hardly be able to wait for round two. (And three, and four, and five…)
Flavor Your Food with Saffron
Saffron—a fancy red spice you’ll find in plenty of different dishes—doesn’t just give your dishes some flavor. In a study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology, researchers found it could also improve your sex drive, as well as lubrication and any pain you’re experiencing in the bedroom.
Consider Vaginal Estrogen
As you get older, it’s common for your vaginal tissue to become dryer due to the lower levels of estrogen—particularly when you go through menopause. According to Judith Volkar, MD, that’s when vaginal estrogen might come in handy, which helps increase moisture. “Your vaginal tissue needs estrogen to function properly. Without estrogen, the tissue gets very thin and dry, and sex becomes very painful. You could even have bleeding during intercourse because the tissue is so thin and fragile,” she told The Cleveland Clinic. “Vaginal estrogen can help plump up the cells again and make it no longer painful.”
You might not know too much about Fenugreek. The medicinal herb is touted as a way to help lower blood sugar levels and increase breast milk production, but a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found taking a daily supplement of the powerful plant could also play a role in increasing sexual arousal and desire.
Get Creative in the Bedroom
After a while, it’s easy to get into the same routine every night—and that’s not exactly helping out your sex drive. To amp things up, simply get a little more creative with your partner, whether that’s switching up the time and location you have sex, or trying out new positions, says the Mayo Clinic.
Load Up on Asparagus
Asparagus is already worthy of being on your plate, but the fact that the delicious veggie could also increase your libido is all the more reason to amp up your servings. According to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, it’s actually considered a female tonic that doesn’t just make you want to have sex, but also keeps everything working efficiently down there as you age. Be wary, though: it’ll make your urine smell funky.
Get Sweaty with Your Partner
You might enjoy working out alone, but here’s a case for working out with your partner: A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found smelling androstadienone — a compound found in men’s sweat — can seriously arouse females, giving your overall sexual desire a boost. Weird, but effective.
Try Out Some Toys
Buying sex toys in your forties can feel super naughty. Braving it up and clicking that “buy” button can do a lot of good for your libido: Using them during foreplay is a sure-fire way to help get you in the mood and reignite that flame you might have lost along the way. In fact, Harvard University reports women in clinical trials experienced increased vaginal lubrication, orgasms, and genital sensation after just three months of using a vibrator.
Slice Yourself Some Watermelon
Eating watermelon is such a summer treat, but you might want to grab it year-round: Research out of Texas A&M University found the fruit might have Viagra-like effects on the body, giving your libido a solid boost due to the compounds it contains.
Schedule in Intimacy
It might feel weird taking the time to schedule in your rendezvous. In this day and age of lots of work and little play, it’s more than necessary. The Mayo Clinic says adding some time for intimacy can get your sex drive back on track—even if that means sending a calendar invite to your hubby with some eggplant emojis in the title.
Drink Pomegranate Juice
Aside from water, there’s one more important beverage to include in your diet—at least in terms of your sex drive: pomegranate juice. According to a study out of the Queen Margaret University in Scotland, just one glass a day not only helped boost participants’ mood and memory, but it also increased the amount of testosterone in their bodies, in turn increasing their libido. And for more ways to boost your testosterone, learn everything you need to know about low-T therapy.
Be More Open With Your Partner
Sitting down and talking about why your sex drive has taken a hit with your partner might feel uncomfortable, but it’s necessary—especially if you want to get back on track. The Mayo Clinic says communicating in an open, honest way can help you “maintain a stronger emotional connection, which can lead to better sex.”
Be Open About Your Likes and Dislikes
Some couples do the same old thing between the sheets for years—mostly because that’s what they’ve been doing since day one and haven’t bothered changing it. If your sex drive is getting stale, it might be time to reevaluate your routine: The Mayo Clinic says talking about what you like and dislike is super important for your sexual desire and can take your intimacy to a totally new level.
Nibble on Some Chocolate
A piece of chocolate a day keeps the sexual dysfunction away—at least according to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers found those who eat chocolate on a daily basis tend to have a boosted libido and better sexual function that those who don’t indulge in the dessert. For best results, stick to dark chocolate: anything with a 70 percent cacao rating or higher.
Stop Stressing So Much
It’s easier said than done, huh? Stress gets in the way of a lot of things, but keeping your levels to a minimum will keep your entire well-being in check—sexual well-being, included. According to the Mayo Clinic, decreasing stress can increase your libido: You just need to find ways to cope, whether it’s not checking your work emails after-hours or taking a nice long bubble bath every night. And if you need some help winding down, learn the 10 Secrets for Beating Stress in 10 Minutes (Or Less!)
Don’t Forget About Kissing and Cuddling
When you’re feeling frustrated about a low sex drive, it’s easy to just try and rush into sex to try and make some magic happen. Don’t forget about taking time to get cozy and experience some physical touch, though: According to Harvard University, something as simple as a little kissing and cuddling can strengthen your bond and help fix any sexual issues, especially in those moments you’re “tired, tense, or upset about the problem.”
Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats
Eating a well-rounded diet is crucial for your health—and loading up on healthy fats is especially good for your sex life. According to Anne Barbieri, MD, it’s a foolproof way to increase your drive: “Eat a diet that’s based on whole foods and rich in healthy fats—like avocados, olive oil, and nuts—while lowering your intake of refined carbs, trans fat, and sugar,” she told Women’s Health.
Try Going to a Sex Therapist
Going to a therapist of any kind can sound scary, but a sex therapist? For some, that’s on another level. It shouldn’t be, though: According to research out of Harvard University, sessions involve talking about your sex life, from the concerns you have to how to better have your needs met. In the end, that open and honest conversation can boost your sexual arousal and enjoyment.
Reevaluate Your Medications
Sometimes, the medications you’re taking can decrease your sex drive, even if it’s not something you realize at first—and antidepressants are the biggest cause of the issue, as well as everything from blood pressure to heart meds. According to Judith Volkar, MD, stopping what you’re taking isn’t a good move—but your doc can reevaluate your prescriptions to see if something can be done to help out your sexual function. “You shouldn’t quit your medications just because they cause this side effect. You should talk to your doctor, and you might be able to adjust the medications,” she tells the Cleveland Clinic.
Give Acupuncture a Try
Having little needles poked all over your body might seem scary, but the Chinese practice of acupuncture has been around for thousands of years for good reason: it works. Typically, it’s used to fight off pain and decrease stress, among other issues. One lesser-known benefit, though? It also helps boost your libido. In a study published in the journal Sexual Medicine, researchers found just two sessions a week for five weeks made a big difference, improving the participants’ sexual function and desire.
Share Household Duties
If you find yourself doing more household chores than your significant other, changing that could benefit your sex drive. In a study published in Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, researchers found sharing household work (particularly the dishes!) is related to better sexual intimacy and relationship satisfaction. When you feel more like equals and less like maids, you won’t resent each other or be as stressed, meaning more fun between the sheets. And for more ways to maximize your sex, check out the 10 Sex Moves That Will Save Your Relationship.
Relax on the Regular
When you take the time to relax, it might feel like you’re being lazy. That’s not the case, though, and spending some time unwinding can help keep your cortisol levels in check—something a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior says can lower your sex drive when it’s too high. So kick back, turn on your favorite Netflix show, and zone out: you deserve it.
Try Clitoral Therapy
If your doctor told you that you could increase your sex drive simply by getting a prescription for a device that costs $250, would you try it? According to Harvard University, the Eros Clitoral Therapy Device uses a gentle vacuum to increase genital flow to the area — and in clinical trials, women were super impressed: 90% felt more sensation in the area after using it, and 80% had increased sexual satisfaction.
Smoke Some Marijuana
If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, it might be worth trying it out for your sexual health. Not only can it help with stress, anxiety, and pain, but it can also boost your sex drive and make the experience that much more mind-blowing: “When couples smoke marijuana, they take more time to have a fuller sensual experience and slow down, which would allow more time for vasocongestion (blood flow to genitals) and myotonia (muscular tension),” sex therapist Ian Kerner told Mic.
Eat an Apple (or Two!) a Day
One thing your doc probably won’t tell you about apples? That they can benefit your sex life. At least according to a study published in the journal Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, which found those who ate at least one apple a day had a better sexual quality of life than those who didn’t. Hey, it’s worth a shot, right?
Don’t Overdo It at Happy Hour
While a little wine can increase your sex drive, overdoing it will likely do the exact opposite, making it harder to feel aroused or orgasm during sex, say researchers from Harvard University. So keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum to notice a difference between the sheets.
Try to Lose a Little Weight
If the scale has crept up on you in recent years, that could be the reason your sex drive has taken a hit. “If you’re insecure and you focus on the way your body looks or what your partner is thinking about it during sex, you’re not going to be in the mood,” Cindy Meston, PhD, told Fitness Magazine. Once you shed some pounds and feel more like yourself, you won’t even be able to wait to get naked.
Give Yourself an Acupressure Massage
If acupuncture sounds too scary, acupressure might be the way to go. The practice involves cueing into points on your body that can help boost your sex drive and increase sexual satisfaction, simply by spending 30 to 60 seconds on them on a daily basis. One of the best to start with? CV 6, or the Sea of Qi, which is located two finger widths directly below your belly button. “The abdominal muscles often tighten during lovemaking, which can block the flow of sexual energy. Pressing CV 6 and the acupressure points around it can relieve the abdominal tension, strengthen the urinary and reproductive systems, and increase sexual intimacy and pleasure,” says Michael Reed Gach, PhD.
Take Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba has been around for millions of years and has been used medicinally since ancient times. In the past, it’s been shown to have positive effects on the brain and memory, but a study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy showed some sexual benefits, too. Researchers found the herb had a positive effect on desire, excitement, orgasm, and resolution (you know: the afterglow), especially in women, where there was a 91 percent success rate, compared to a still-impressive 76 percent among men.
Build Your Relationship Outside the Bedroom
Experimenting in between the sheets is important for increasing your sex drive and satisfaction, but so is building your relationship in general. According to Jan Shifren, MD, that means scheduling a fun night out together or even spending time doing something you both enjoy at home. “Couples who have fun outside the bedroom have more fun in the bedroom. Try to remember how much fun it was to spend time together when you first met and recreate some of that excitement,” she says.
If you haven’t already started doing Kegel exercises on a regular basis, it’s time. By giving your pelvic floor muscles a workout, you can increase your sexual energy and stimulate your sex drive, all while tightening things up in the process. According to research out of Harvard University, it’s best to start by tightening your muscles—the same ones that stop you from peeing—for 2 to 3 seconds, then repeat 10 times at least 5 times a day. The best part? You can do them right at your desk at work and no one will even notice.