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Libido 101

Libido 101

February 18, 2015

Author: Lily Mazzarella
Our body is an intricate network of systems designed to keep us alive and keep our genes proliferating. When any of these systems are taxed too heavily our body responds by preserving self above all else. What this means for us is some of our more “pleasureable” aspects of life get sacrificed like – sex, sleep, energy and mood, in favor of pure survival.

The first step to recovering these treasures is to run a mental inventory; discover which of your systems may have slipped into imbalance and learn how to plug these libido drainers. At Farmacopia, we recommend starting with these key areas:


Here are some great reasons to start exercising, or to ramp up your existing routine:  exercise increases circulation to the brain (your largest sexual organ!), and enhances the production of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and other feel-good, mind-altering chemicals. It also balances cortisol levels (a potential enemy of libido), and increases testosterone levels! And in case you need more convincing: exercise decreases stress, enhances sleep, effectively treats depression, and improves self-image. The perfect sexy package.


Inflammation in your body can rapidly deplete sexual energy, and leave you so physically and mentally lethargic you won’t even care. One of the biggest pieces of feedback we receive at Farmacopia about being on an anti-inflammatory diet is that folks feel, well, frisky again. We often recommend Mark Hyman’s UltraSimple Diet, or the 21-day Sugar Detox, as well as plans customized for vegans and paleo folks alike. In the Spring, Farmacopia will be offering its first Community Seasonal Cleanse to reset your system, drop inflammation levels, and get your mojo back.


When you’ve been chronically stressed, your adrenals shunt steroidal resources AWAY from sex hormone production in order to make more cortisol, one of the body’s long-acting stress hormones. Depletion and fatigue wreak havoc on everyone’s sex drive, but women in menopause are particularly hard hit:  it’s up to the adrenals to pick up estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone production after menopause. How to support flagging adrenals? Specific nutrients (B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C), herbal adaptogens (eleuthero, rhodiola, ashwagandha), and getting regular protein in the morning and mid-day all are a good start!


We have 2 main arms of the nervous system, the Sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and the Parasympathetic (“rest and digest”). The Parasympathetic is involved in arousal, while Sympathetic activity allows for orgasm. A healthy alternation between these two states is necessary for arousal and sexual release to occur. What happens when we’re stuck in sympathetic overdrive—an unrelenting stress state? We can’t come down! Desire, arousal, and sensory pleasure get edged out. Anxiety, overwhelm, irritability, and physical symptoms like insomnia, high blood pressure, shallow breath and heart palpitations can signal that your stress levels have gone unchecked for too long. Exercise, meditation, supportive dietary shifts, and asking for help/getting support all help balance the stress response. Herbally: nervines help support the transition to the Parasympathetic, and adaptogens help you become more resilient in the midst of your busy life.


Constipation is associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of sexual satisfaction. And did you know that we excrete our broken-down hormones via the bowel? When things aren’t moving as they should, hormones (and toxins) are re-absorbed into the blood stream, contributing to PMS, pain, acne, inflammation, and other libido-killing woes. Our guts are connected to our brains in a myriad of ways—if our guts aren’t happy, neither are we. Gas, intestinal pain, bowel discomfort, and reflux kill the mood fast. Embark on a gut-healing protocol and anti-inflammatory diet to help your gut—and hence the rest of you—thrive.

Related article: 5 Herbal Libido Boosters

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