Many people wish to improve their sex lives, and there are a wide variety of reasons for this—not to mention a myriad of ways to go about it. Before you undertake the endeavor to kick things up a notch, you first should gain a good understanding of what libido really is, how it works and what things influence it.
1. Testosterone Influences Libido
Although it’s certainly not the only factor that goes into determining how often you’re in the mood, testosterone levels have a big impact on libido for both men and women. In general, men have much higher testosterone levels than women, which explains why the average male libido tends to be so much higher than the average female libido. (Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to this generalization among individuals.) Both men and women experience a drop in testosterone levels as they get older, leading to decreased sex drive.
2. A Better Diet Can Increase Desire
Health is created from the inside out and the libido is one aspect of your overall health that is not an exception. A diet high in omega fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants can help optimize your circulation, making it easier to get aroused. Some great foods to include in your diet are asparagus, blueberries, strawberries, beans, legumes and fatty fish like salmon.
3. Men and Women Use Sex Differently
Men and women often find that they have different motivations behind lovemaking. While many men use sex to create feelings of intimacy and relaxation, women in turn use sex to express intimacy and relaxation that they are already feeling. In general, this explains why men are much more likely than women to be up for sex after a long, stressful day. Women tend to need to feel relaxed and connected to their partner before sex happens.
4. Men Have Sex Differently Than Women
Specifically, men are often more goal-oriented during lovemaking. This can lead to women feeling frustrated that their partner seems to rush through foreplay to get to orgasm. Men may also harbor other subconscious sexual goals, such as seeing if they can coax their partner into trying new sexual acts. Women tend to have sex in a more free-form, relaxed way, with no goals in mind but the pleasure of the present moment. Both genders can benefit from understanding the other’s point of view in this matter.
5. The Libido Can Be Very Complex
A huge variety of factors can influence your sex drive. This is especially true if you’re a woman, as female sexuality is usually much more complex than male sexuality. Work stress, children, social pressure, body image, hormones, energy levels, physical health, mood, age, emotional intimacy and the menstrual cycle are just a small sample of things that can make or break your sex drive in a given day.
6. The Libido Varies With Age
Many people experience one period of time in their life that turns out to be their sexual peak. For some, this might be the teenage years, when hormones are rampant. However, surprisingly, many women find that their libido peaks in their 30s or 40s. Nevertheless, others may find that their libido sees multiple peaks during their lifetime. Still others have no sexual peak at all, but rather a consistent level of sexual desire throughout their life. One of the facts about libido is that it’s important to remember that there’s no cut-and-dry rule about how horny you should be at any given age.
7. Getting Older Can Mean Having Sex Differently
Both men and women usually experience some decline in their libido levels as they approach their 50s, 60s and beyond. However, science has shown that most seniors report sex actually gets better with age. To get the same level of sexual arousal, older adults generally benefit from spending more time on foreplay than they might have when they were younger. The ways sexuality can change as you get older can be especially prominent for women, who in addition to needing extra foreplay may find that they need an even stronger sense of intimacy and romance in order to really feel like having sex.
8. The Menstrual Cycle Influences Libido
If you are a woman, the point you are at in your menstrual cycle has a bearing on how frisky you feel. Generally, your sex drive will peak during ovulation due to higher testosterone and estrogen levels. This makes sense in an evolutionary aspect because ovulation is the period in which you’re most likely to get pregnant, so you if you have extra sex during this time, you are more likely to reproduce and contribute to the survival of your species. After ovulation, the sex drive tends to go back to average.
9. Desire Fluctuates With Parenthood
Parenthood can affect libido in both positive and negative ways. Many (though not all) women find that getting pregnant makes them wildly horny. This is due to an increase in hormone levels; in fact, some women experience their first orgasm or first multiple orgasm while they’re pregnant for this reason. However, once the child is born, libido fluctuates the other way. Both parents often experience a decrease in sexual desire due to stress, lack of time and fatigue.