We’ve all been there: last minute projects or work related crisis have you putting in long hours at the office. Add to this a spouse, children or caring for ailing parents and you get the picture. Sex is the last thing on your mind! Sleep, the illusive manna of the overworked and stressed out, becomes the focus. For some, this experience is temporary. But for many, being over worked is the norm, flooding the body with stress hormones that over time decrease libido.
Chinese medicine understands that emotional and physical stress stagnates the flow of Qi through the body. Alternately, Qi stagnation can contribute to stress. When Qi stagnates hormonal fluctuations are affected. Levels of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone become imbalanced relative to each other. Women may experience extended periods of PMS symptoms, thinning hair and decreased sexual desire. Men may experience increased aggression, emotional fluctuations, exaggerated or very low sexual desire, and erectile dysfunction.
The good news? We can do something about it. Here are a few suggestions for improving libido:
- You are not alone. As many as 43% of women and 31% of men experience decreased sexual desire. Accepting that you are not alone will take some of the pressure off, and hopefully quiet negative thoughts associated with low libido.
- Breath! Our breath becomes shallow when we’re stressed, contributing to emotional and physical tension. Try one of the following meditations to improve relaxation and the flow of Qi through the body (and the genitalia!)
- Improve Qi flow with simple dietary changes. Decrease consumption of animal protein to around 3-4 servings per week. A diet high in animal protein and saturated fats can contribute to hormone imbalance and digestive issues. This might seem impossible, but it’s a great opportunity to explore tasty vegetable protein recipes. Try the Sexuali-Qi tea, a delicious tea that targets Qi flow to the sexual organs.
- Consider a professional therapist if past (or current) relationship struggles are contributing to decreased libido. Resentment, lack of trust and anger can dampen our ability to connect intimately with our partner. Check with your health insurance provider for therapists near you.