Here’s a super common experience: feeling turned on, all of the time, down for sex 24/7 and bursting with erotic energy, starting with your sexual awakening and lasting your whole entire life.
Haha, just kidding! That’s not common at all. Here’s what is: experiencing peaks and valleys in your sex drive, depending on your stage of life. When we talk about “sex drive” (or its interchangeable term, “libido”), we’re talking about a multi-layered system of psychology, blood flow, your nervous system, and your hormones. So if yours is rather low at the moment, great news! You’re normal. This is a fluid system, not a fixed one, which means we can work with your mind and body to increase your sex drive.
Here are six ways you can coax and boost your sex drive back into gear:
1. Have a conversation.
When it comes to boosting your sex drive, the first step is talking to someone: either your partner, your doctor or (possibly) a therapist.
Why? Well, if a low sex drive is distressing you, suffering in silence only compounds the problem. So if you’re partnered, try having a gentle conversation with them about your experience. Note — this isn’t an indictment of them in any way, and it’s important to frame it as such. But by opening up a bit, you’re actually giving them something that could help your sex life greatly: emotional intimacy and communication is a great way to increase your sex drive.
Also, know that it’s OK not to have answers at the moment. You’re simply starting a dialogue so that the two of you can find answers together. Speaking of answers, now’s a good time to cover your bases, and get your health checked: your doctor can order blood work, to rule out anything with your hormones. And finally, consider seeking out a quality therapist who specializes in sexuality and sexual health. By having a conversation in a safe space, where you can explore your sexuality from multiple angles, you might discover some blocks that you didn’t realize were there…as well as strategies to improve things.
2. Embrace change.
…but don’t get defeated by it, and here I’m talking about hormonal change. If you’re a vulva owner and suspect perimenopause/menopause might be tanking your libido, help is here! We’ve talked about getting bloodwork from your doctor, and they can certainly suggest treatments. But you can also try supplementing your sex drive, with science-backed ingredients to help things along.
We suggest Womaness, a modern menopause brand whose Me.No.Pause. formula contains ashwagandha: an herb that has been shown to improve sexual function in healthy females. By stimulating nitric oxide production, ashwagandha helps increase blood flow to the genitals, improve arousal, increase your sex drive, and vaginal lubrication, boost mood, and all kinds of other lovely benefits.
And remember: sex begets sex. The more pleasure you give yourself, the more likely you are to WANT to pursue pleasure. Enter: a vibrator—specifically, Gold Vibes, also from Womaness. Discreet yet powerful, this vibe is perfect for turning yourself OR your partner on.
3. Love on your body.
Zooming out from sex for a moment, let’s talk self-care. Are you getting regular exercise, enough sleep, and good, quality food? Sometimes, a low sex drive is a signal that something else in your being requires care, whether that be physical activity that energizes you, sleep that refreshes you, or meals that nourish you.
For a crash course on this topic, I recommend the Sexually Fit w/ Mind Pump episode, which helpfully reminds us that sex drive is one piece in a larger mosaic of health. So if you’re having a hard time getting aroused, ask yourself: am I loving my body? Does my everyday routine leave me feeling vibrant and alive? If not, where can changes be made? By getting serious about your self-care, your energy and confidence are going to follow suit—making arousal about 10x easier. That’s because feeling sexy is a vibe, and it’s one we cultivate by nurturing ourselves.
4. Solo sex for self-care.
Speaking of self-care, let’s talk about masturbation. Because tapping into your sexual power is more than just the act itself: it’s exploring your body, getting to know your turn-ons, and experiencing a greater connection to the world around you, because you’ve taken the time to connect to yourself and a great way to increase your sex drive.
So, what does turn you on? Make a list of things you find arousing and think about those (or check out some ethical porn) in order to help yourself sink into the mood. Create a sensual environment for your solo play, with candles, a bubble bath, and/or your favorite bedroom music. And when you’re ready to actually masturbate, apply CBD between your legs to heighten arousal. Foria’s Sex Oil is a two-ingredient, clean lube that’s perfect for dirty thoughts, containing organic MCT coconut oil and 400 mg of active CBD.
5.Partnered sex = playtime.
Another way to increase your sex drive is to reframe partnered sex. Libido takes a hit when sex becomes an obligation, so instead, approach it as an opportunity to play. Novelty is the master key for most long-term couples, so here are a few fresh ideas to consider:
- Want to explore something a little more kinky? Download the Yes, No, Maybe List, and make a game out of checking off your interests.
- Want to explore different relationship models? That probably warrants a large discussion with your partner, but hey – monogamy isn’t for everyone. You don’t have to dive in immediately; just play with the idea, if it intrigues both of you.
- Want to get a new toy? The We-Vibe Bond is a stimulation ring that can be worn underneath clothes and can be remote-controlled over long distances via app. It’s also super quiet, so you don’t have to worry if you get “buzzed” during, say, a work conference call.
6. Prioritize pleasure, in and out of the bedroom.
Finally, honor your sex drive by making time for your non-sexual turn-ons. What do I mean by that? Here I’ll refer you to Esther Perel, who talks about cultivating an erotic sensibility with activities that make you come alive. I’ll quote her directly: “When times are good, eroticism is what converts the mundane into magic. When times are tough, eroticism is what inspires us to survive—and even to thrive—despite all odds.”
So what things conjure your erotic, inner world? Maybe it’s going out dancing. Maybe it’s listening to sexy music while cooking a sensuous meal. Maybe it’s making art or music, or spending time in nature. You know the things that grab your attention—and put you into an excited, almost mystical state. Do those things. And get in the habit of turning yourself on and before you know it you’ll increase your sex drive.
Tolly Moseley is a writer and content contributor for Sex With Emily. She is a storyteller and board member for Bedpost Confessions, has written for The Atlantic and Salon, and loves listening to all the sex podcasts. When she’s not writing, she’s doing aerial.