14 Natural Ways To Boost Your Sex Drive

An active sex life is an important part of your overall health. As explained by the Cleveland Clinic, having regular sex can improve self-esteem, strengthen your bladder control and pelvic muscles, burn calories, support a healthy heart, and boost your immune system. Also, your body releases oxytocin and endorphins when you have an orgasm, which can lower stress levels, promote better sleep, and aid in many other bodily functions.

In addition to physical benefits, sex can also strengthen romantic relationships. Dr. Kia-Rai Prewitt, a psychologist at the Center for Adult Behavioral Health at Marymount Hospital, tells Cleveland Clinic, "[sex] also helps to connect with your partner and develop emotional intimacy."

With so many advantages linked to a healthy sex life, you might wonder why people aren't having sex all the time. Survey results published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that the frequency of sexual activity actually went down in the United States across several age groups between 2009 and 2018. While researchers are still working on identifying the reasons for this decline, finding ways to boost your libido can help you not miss out on all the benefits of sex. Here are some natural ways to improve your sex drive.

Lose weight

It's no secret that carrying extra weight is not great for your health. Being overweight or obese can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, and a slew of possible mental health issues. However, it turns out that those pounds can also put a damper on your sex life in many ways.

For one, there are societal pressures and expectations tied to a person's body. Struggling with weight issues and beauty standards can negatively affect how you feel about yourself, making you less likely to want to be intimate with another person. In a WebMD article, Dr. Martin Binks, a clinical psychologist at Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center, explained, "Unfortunately, people are internalizing society's definition of what it takes to be involved in sex, particularly the body shape — there are clearly societal biases out there that are influencing us on an individual level and not in a good way."

Moreover, higher levels of body fat can impact sex hormone levels. Those with a high body mass index (BMI) produce more sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which is a chemical that binds testosterone and lowers sexual desire (via National Women's Health Network). Shedding those extra pounds and focusing on a healthy weight for your body may go a long way toward a healthier sex life.

Eat chocolate

You may have heard that chocolate is a type of aphrodisiac that can jump-start a person's sexual desire. Although more research is needed to confirm the link between chocolate and increased arousal, some studies show there may be some connections. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who ate chocolate daily reported higher scores on the female sexual function index (FSFI) when compared to women who did not eat chocolate.

One reason for this connection may be that chocolate contains phenylethylamine and serotonin, which can help to improve your mood (per WebMD). However, these happiness-inducing chemicals can also act as a sexual stimulant by making you feel good and possibly more open to sex. In an article for Well+Good, sex therapist and neuroscientist Dr. Nan Wise shares, "If you're feeling better mood-wise, and you're feeling more energetic, sexual possibilities may become more [desirable] to you."

Chocolate is also a highly sensual food, with strong tastes, smells, and textures that melt in your mouth and create a pleasurable experience. It's also possible that consuming chocolate can stimulate the senses enough to produce a type of physiological arousal that can lead to sex (via WebMD).


Chronic stress and anxiety can definitely take a toll on your mental and physical health. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), ongoing stress can put you at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory issues, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and more.

The APA also shares that the body releases a hormone called cortisol when experiencing stress, which can reduce sexual desire and impact reproductive health for both men and women. A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who were under high levels of stress reported lower levels of genital arousal due to increased cortisol levels and mental distractions.

With that said, reducing stress may help improve sexual desire and drive. An article in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy shared findings that women who meditate have improved sexual function connected to better mental health. Psychology Today also mentions that mindfulness meditation can help men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. People who feel calm and relaxed after meditating are able to focus more on pleasure without feeling nervous or judged.

Try a ginkgo biloba supplement

If you're looking for a supplement that may rev up your sex drive, there is some evidence that ginkgo biloba can help. Ginkgo biloba, commonly referred to as just ginkgo, is a very old tree species that has powerful antioxidant and healing qualities that people have been using for centuries. While most people may be familiar with ginkgo as a supplement that can help with memory and brain function, ginkgo biloba extract may also improve sexual function.

A review published in the Journal of Phytomedicine looked at the effectiveness of ginkgo on sexual function in both men and women. The results showed that postmenopausal women who took ginkgo biloba extract did experience positive effects on their sexual function. This may be linked to improved blood flow and muscle relaxation that often comes with taking ginkgo supplements, as explained in an Archives of Sexual Behavior article. However, the data shows there may be a placebo effect linked to ginkgo intake and improved sexual response in women who suffer from sexual dysfunction.

For those who want to try a ginkgo biloba extract supplement to boost their sexual health, it may be worth talking to your doctor. Ginkgo can possibly interact with medications or aggravate certain conditions you may already have. Your healthcare provider will evaluate whether ginkgo is a good option for you.

Don't skimp on the garlic

Garlic is so much more than a popular aromatic ingredient used for cooking. While it does add a pop of flavor to many dishes, garlic also has medicinal and anti-inflammatory qualities that can support your health. A review published in Antioxidants shared that garlic can help lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Another benefit of garlic may be a boost to your sex drive (via Healthline). Because garlic increases blood flow and improves blood vessel function, it can possibly help men with erectile dysfunction. Also, a study found in Molecules showed that the S-allyl cysteine found in garlic could increase testosterone levels, which can positively affect male fertility.

Lastly, garlic is also a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body. A study published in Food Science and Biotechnology confirms that aged garlic is particularly potent when it comes to antioxidative and antibacterial properties. By blocking free radicals and other harmful compounds that can develop in the body, garlic may help boost fertility and support an active sex life by promoting overall health.

Try fenugreek extract

If you're familiar with fenugreek, you may know it as an herb that helps nursing mothers increase their breast milk supply (via Healthline). It's also been used for centuries to treat skin conditions and control blood sugar levels. However, fenugreek is another natural supplement that may improve sex drive and function — especially for women.

According to a study in Phytotherapy Research, fenugreek extract may be effective at increasing sexual desire and arousal. Compared to the placebo group, the women who took oral doses of fenugreek seed extract saw an increase in free testosterone and estradiol levels, which is a form of estrogen. These women also reported improved sexual arousal and desire by the end of the study.

Some research also explores the effects of fenugreek on sexual function in men. One study in Phytotherapy Research found that men who took an oral fenugreek extract supplement helped maintain healthy testosterone levels and positively impacted libido. While these results support fenugreek as a sex drive booster, more research is needed to fully understand the impact of this herb on male testosterone levels and sexual function.

Practice yoga

Having a low sex drive can affect your quality of life and put a damper on the connection you have with your partner. In many cases, the stress of busy schedules, demanding jobs, and a hectic family life can have a negative impact on your libido. Chronic stress increases levels of cortisol, which suppresses sex hormones and decreases testosterone (via Women's Health Network).

One way to combat stress and help boost your sex drive is to practice yoga. According to a review in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, yoga is effective at improving sexual function in women, including desire, arousal, lubrication, satisfaction, and orgasm. Also, yoga and other mindfulness practices can help remove distractions and improve self-esteem, leading to a better sex life.

In an article in Men's Health, sex therapist Gracie Landes shares, "Because yoga helps people develop a sense of calmness, strength, stamina, agility, knowledge of their own bodies, and the ability to remain in the present moment, and make small adjustments, it can greatly enhance sexual performance and confidence." Some yoga poses that can boost your libido include the cat-cow pose, bridge pose, one-legged pigeon, and happy baby pose (via Healthline).

Get the right amount of sleep

Quality sleep is essential to overall health. Getting the right amount of rest helps to boost energy levels, mood, and cognitive skills. You'll also benefit from a stronger immune system, reduced stress levels, and lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity when you clock the recommended hours of sleep every night (via the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).

While good quality sleep can improve your health, sleep deprivation can be linked to poor health and lowered sexual desire. The Sleep Foundation explains the connection between a healthy sex life and improved sleep. Not getting enough sleep is a significant risk factor for sexual dysfunction in women and erectile dysfunction in men. Likewise, sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea have also been linked to sexual problems.

In addition, poor quality sleep or insufficient sleep can hurt your mental health. Many people who don't sleep enough suffer from anxiety or depression, which can negatively impact their sex drive (via The Sleep Foundation). For adults over 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seven or more hours of sleep per night.

Moderate your alcohol intake

While an occasional drink may help you relax and feel more open to intimacy, too much alcohol can actually have a negative effect on your sex life. A review published in Urologia Internationalis confirmed there was a connection between regular alcohol consumption and erectile dysfunction. Chronic alcohol use can also lead to vascular damage, which can increase your risk of developing erectile dysfunction.

Another study found in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry also concluded that alcohol dependency in males is associated with sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction, unsatisfying orgasms, and premature ejaculation. Also, the amount of alcohol consumed and the duration of the alcohol dependency significantly impacted the severity of these sexual issues.

However, women also experience detrimental effects on their sex lives with the consumption of alcohol. An article in Alcohol Health and Research World explains that high blood alcohol levels decrease blood flow to the vagina and lower sexual responsiveness. To help avoid the sexual problems that come with drinking too much alcohol, it's important to moderate your intake of alcoholic beverages and talk to your doctor if you think you may have developed a dependency.

Work on your self-esteem

For many people who struggle with a decreased sex drive, there may be a correlation between self-esteem and libido. Having a poor body image and comparing yourself to unrealistic societal expectations of what you think you should look like can cause a lot of pressure and stress in the bedroom. As explained by Harvard Health Publishing, a negative self-image or a preoccupation with how you look can prevent you from initiating sex or being responsive to your partner during the act.

According to Psychology Today, feeling self-conscious can significantly impact your sexual desire and arousal. Women who are worried about their weight or the size of different body parts may be unable to reach orgasm. It may also lead to avoidance of sex altogether — even in partners who have been together for a long time.

While it's not always easy, focusing on your self-esteem and improving your confidence can help you find your sexual groove. Practicing self-compassion and mindfulness can go a long way in your journey to becoming more sexually confident (via Psychology Today). It also helps to know you're not alone in these struggles and others have successfully overcome their insecurities for a healthy sex life.

Exercise regularly

Getting regular exercise is an excellent way to stay healthy. An active lifestyle will help you manage your weight, strengthen bones, improve cognitive function and mood, and lower your risk of developing certain diseases. Exercise also increases your endurance and ability to be more active throughout the day.

Getting regular physical activity may also boost your sex drive in several ways. For one, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, promoting a positive self-image that is crucial for intimacy (via Psychology Today). Exercise also reduces feelings of anxiety and depression in adults almost immediately following a workout. Because depression and anxiety have been linked to sexual dysfunction and lowered sexual desire (per Johns Hopkins Medicine), a post-workout mood boost can help support a healthier sex life.

A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that women on antidepressants who exercised regularly experienced increased genital arousal and activity in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Another article in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shares that moderate exercise in men helped maintain high or normal libido. However, more intense endurance training had the opposite effect, reducing men's sex drive. Overall, moderate physical activity may be the most beneficial type of exercise for boosting your libido.

Quit smoking

Smoking is incredibly detrimental to your health. Even light smokers have significantly higher risks of developing cancer, lung disease, coronary heart disease, and damage to the skin, bones, and reproductive organs (via the American Cancer Society). With so many harmful effects on the body, it's not surprising that smoking can also negatively impact your sexual function and drive.

A study published in BJU International found that smoking cigarettes was linked to decreased sexual health and a higher prevalence of low libido compared to non-smokers and former smokers. The research also shows that former smokers had a better sex drive and erectile function than current smokers.

Quitting smoking for good can be challenging, especially for those who have been smoking for a while. Because nicotine is an addictive substance, you may likely need help or guidance from a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking to improve your sex drive to get tips on how to approach it and recommendations on how to kick the habit for good.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Prioritize foreplay

If you're one of the many people who struggle with low sexual drive and arousal, you may want to shift your perspective on what sex can be. While penetrative sex is what people generally associate with intercourse, it doesn't always have to be the star of the show. Sexual foreplay is an excellent way to connect with your partner, build intimacy and anticipation, and release essential feel-good hormones, including oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, to help you get in the mood (via Healthline). Foreplay can be as simple as leaving a sexy note in your partner's pocket or sending a playful text or picture.

Research shows that foreplay can significantly increase sexual desire and arousal, especially for women. A study published in Sex & Marital Therapy found that more women were able to reach orgasm when their genitals and clitoris were stimulated during foreplay than during basic penetrative intercourse alone. These results may be connected to increased blood flow to the genitals, vaginal lubrication, and increased heart rate from sexual arousal.

If you're unsure how to get started with foreplay, it's important to communicate with your partner about what you need and want. Psychology Today recommends guiding your partner's hand with your own, providing simple instructions during the act, and using positive feedback to encourage satisfying sex for both of you.

Consider sex therapy

A low sex drive can be difficult for you and your partner. Because there are so many elements that go into having a healthy sex life, it can feel overwhelming and confusing to try and work them out on your own. If you want to improve your sexual function and get to the bottom of what is causing your sexual issues, it may be time to consider sex therapy.

According to Medical News Today, sex therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps you work through your challenges in the bedroom, including decreased libido, painful sex, or an inability to have an orgasm. Sessions will typically involve talking about your concerns, emotions, and any issues that may be preventing you from enjoying sex. While some couples choose to do sex therapy together, it's also beneficial for individuals who want to work through their own sexual struggles.

Sex therapy may be incredibly beneficial for those with sexual dysfunction linked to psychological issues, such as low self-esteem, performance anxiety, or a history of sexual abuse. Some interventions that may help during sex therapy are cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, and focusing on communication techniques for couples (via Cleveland Clinic). Discuss the idea of sex therapy with your doctor to see if it may be a good option for you.