SmartParents expert and Gleneagles Hospital consultant ob-gyn Dr Christopher Chong explains, “Work- and family-related stress are the biggest culprits, as well as a person’s age, because your sexual desire will fall as you grow older.”
Incidentally, if the stress is managed well, this might lead to more severe health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and heart problems in both men and women. The resulting meds you take to treat these conditions will only further damage your sex drive.
Dr Joe Lee, a consultant and director of andrology and male reproduction medicine in the department of urology at the National University Hospital, adds that your relationship with your spouse will also affect your sex drive.
“When one is so tired, the S-word on their minds is not ‘sex’, but ‘sleep’.”
As intimacy is an important aspect of a fulfilling sex life, you can stop your sex drive from dipping any further if you:
1) Get at least eight hours of shut-eye every night
Testosterone is usually produced when a man sleeps, states Dr Lee. “A lack of sleep contributes to low testosterone, which can affect sperm quality.” As a result, he will also have less interest in sex and have issues with sexual arousal and erections.
Fatigue is also known to affect a woman’s general energy levels and well-being negatively and hence, their sex drive, too. Dr Chong says, “When one is so tired, the S-word on their minds is not ‘sex’, but ‘sleep’.”
2) Pencil in more date nights
Spending more time with your significant other such as doing activities together can boost your emotional intimacy, which is another way to enhance your sex drive. But, it doesn’t mean you need to splurge on expensive date nights.
Cuddling while you watch your favourite movie works just as well. Otherwise, sign up for activities you can do together with your spouse. Dr Lee advises, “Participating in hobbies that help to reduce stress and maintain a good and loving relationship with your partner [will help].”
3) De-stress before sex
If you’re still fuming mad about something that happened earlier in the day at work — chances are — sex will be the last thing on your mind. Likewise, if your mind is preoccupied with household chores and your kid’s school performance — your sex drive will suffer.
On a hormonal level, such stress-inducing thoughts causes your body to produce more cortisol, a hormone which suppresses libido. So, find ways to clear your mind before you begin any baby-making activities. Whether it’s taking a long bath, reading, meditating or going for a jog — just do what you need to reach a Zen state of mind.
4) Complete 150 minutes of exercise a week
While exercising regularly can power a flagging libido, don’t overdo it. Excessive exercising can deplete your body’s nutritional stores, break down its muscles and cause physical fatigue. Dr Lee explains, for men, this added stress on the body leads to low testosterone levels, which affects your sexual appetite and even the quality of sperm.
In women, excessive exercise increases endorphins, creating a hormonal imbalance. This leads to an irregular or infrequent menstrual pattern and even an absence of ovulation. Dr Lee advises that you both to work out at least 150 minutes every week and at a moderate intensity.
“Excessive intake of caffeine has been shown to reduce the rate of conception and prolongs the time needed to conceive successfully.”
5) Drink no more than three cups of coffee daily
Some studies have shown that caffeine can have a negative impact on a couple’s fertility. Dr Lee notes, “Excessive intake of caffeine has been shown to reduce the rate of conception and prolongs the time needed for men to conceive successfully.”
Caffeine may harm a woman’s ovulation patterns and your libido, which will lower your chances of conceiving successfully, notes Dr Chong. Both the experts recommend taking no more than three cups ― or 750ml ― of coffee (no more than 200mg of caffeine) a day.
6) Consume alcohol in moderation
Drinking alcohol may lower your inhibitions in the bedroom, but it can also diminish your sexual performance. Liquor acts as a depressant, so the more alcohol you consume, the more likely you’ll have less sexual desire.
Dr Chong notes that it is difficult to know the optimum level of alcohol to consume as different individuals have different tolerance levels. But a study published in a British medical journal showed that consuming less than 14 servings of alcohol a week did not have any adverse effects. One serving of alcohol is about 354ml of beer, 147ml of wine or 44ml of spirits such as rum, vodka, gin and whiskey.
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