Natural Ways to Boost Your Libido

Human sexuality is tricky business. Sex involves the brain, blood vessels, hormones, and nerves and muscles. Romance and relaxation, as well as other factors, affect libido and sexual fulfillment. We have drugs like Viagra and Cialis, but they do nothing for libido and don’t always lead to successful sex. A surprising number of people want suggestions to dampen desire. Sometimes a natural approach can help.

  1. MUIRA PUAMA

My husband and I are in our 70s and have been married forever. I have had a problem with vaginal dryness. My husband read about muira puama and bought some online. I take it as directed twice a day, and we make love at least five times a week.

According to one report, this Amazonian herb has a reputation for treating sexual difficulties, including low libido and erectile dysfunction.1 However, there is very little scientific data about its safety and effectiveness. Side effects may include headache, digestive upset, and nervousness. We could find no research on the use of muira puama for vaginal dryness. Your experience is certainly intriguing.

  1. TESTOSTERONE

What do you know about compounded testosterone cream? I am a 64-year-old woman with low libido. A friend of a friend uses this cream before sex by applying it to the inner thighs. She has great results with desire and orgasms, but my gynecologist says it is not approved by the FDA and won’t prescribe it.

Low testosterone levels in men and women are associated with diminished sexual interest, arousal, and enjoyment. Some studies suggest that testosterone therapy may boost libido, even in women.2 The dose is important: Too much of this male hormone can cause facial hair growth, acne, deepening of the voice, and clitoral enlargement. Your doctor is correct that the FDA has not approved testosterone for improving women’s sex drive. But a physician specializing in sexual medicine may be able to assist you.

  1. VITEX

I have a sex drive more intense than my partner’s. He is in his late 30s, and I am in my mid-20s. I would prefer to have sex every couple of days, while he is fine with having sex once every week and a half. I find it difficult to deal with this situation. I worry that I might make sex seem like a chore to my partner. I often wish that I could take medication to diminish my sex drive so that I could be happier.

We consulted two leading sex experts about the concerns you raise. Dr. Ruth Westheimer suggested your partner could help you achieve satis faction even if he isn’t in the mood for intercourse. Irwin Goldstein, M.D., editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, pointed out that you are not unusual. In focus groups, 25 percent of women report having a higher sex drive than their male partners. Your partner may want to have a medical workup and have hormonal levels checked. However, the herb vitex (chaste tree berry) may reduce sex drive.

  1. YOHIMBINE

I am a 66-year-old male in very good health. My wife and I have relations twice a week. My problem is difficulty in reaching orgasm. I satisfy her just fine but not myself. This is frustrating. I am in good shape, work out regularly, take supplements, and am on natural testosterone replacement. I do take Diovan daily for hypertension. Could this be the problem? Do you have any suggestions?

It doesn’t seem likely that the Diovan is to blame. The only study that addressed this question found that Diovan improved sexual function.3 An old-fashioned herbal remedy may be helpful. Yohimbine is derived from the bark of an African tree. In a recent study, this herbal extract restored orgasm in about half the men treated.4 A doctor familiar with its use should supervise treatment, especially since yohimbine can raise blood pressure. Other potential side effects include palpitations, anxiety, dizziness, and digestive distress.