Libido Lifters

Find out how to shift your sex drive into high gear

Three Steps to Reviving Your Va-Va-Voom

1. Address the Physical If you’ve noticed a libido dip since being on antidepressants, ask to switch to another medication, like bupropion, which has been found not to dampen desire. Kent Holtorf, M.D., who specializes in libido issues at his Torrance, Calif., practice suggests asking your doctor about drugs that can boost desire. He also recommends women have their hormone and thyroid levels tested, since low levels can deaden desire and cause exhaustion--a mood killer in itself. Exercise can help, too, by lowering mood-killing cortisol levels and improving your body image. If you’re avoiding sex because it’s painful, don’t be embarrassed to mention that to your OB/GYN. Hormonal changes during menopause, after childbirth and while breastfeeding can cause painful intercourse. Additional lubricants or prescription estrogen creams can help.

2. Mend the Relationship Any problems and resentments between you and your spouse must be ironed out in order to have a healthy sexual relationship, Rapini says. Once you’ve passed that hurdle, break out of your sexual rut. Be intimate in different rooms of the house or get a babysitter and book a hotel room for the night. Buy sex toys and masturbate regularly so you get to know your own body better. “When a woman knows that she can make herself feel that good, it really does make her more confident in bed,” Rapini says. It also makes her less likely to blame her partner for her inability to respond sexually. Also, don’t just wait for intimacy to just happen; schedule” date nights.”

3. Change the Environment There’s nothing that will kill the mood quicker than the fear that a child will walk in on your private moments, so buy a lock and use it. And take the TV out of your bedroom so you’ll find other ways to spend that time before you fall asleep for the night. Buy new, more sensual bedding and a red lamp. "It’s incredible what happens when you turn on a red light," Rapini says. "First, everybody looks good in red light. And, second, it increases your sexual appetite."

If after making all these changes, sex still seems like a chore, it might be time to seek out a sex therapist. “If you’re not having much sex, but the husband and wife are in agreement that, `We’re so busy. We’re so stressed out,’ and it’s okay with them, then it’s not a problem,” Rapini says. “But if one person is always complaining and is angry, it’s time to see a therapist.”

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