How to increase sex drive in women? There have been a lot of interest for nutritional supplements that have human evidence for increasing sex drive in women. But are there any? We’ll find out now.
“This site has a lot information how to improve man’s sex life, and at least for my husband, they work too well and I no longer keep up. I’ve have already tried a few things mentioned here, for example as maca seems to be working great. Do you have other good tips on how to raise a woman’s sex drive? Thanks in advance!”
Women’s libido and sex drive are naturally more complex than men. Women’s sex drive begins more between the ears than the genitals. For example, nitric oxide boosters won’t work in women as well as they do in men.
Women’s menstrual cycle also affects women’s sexual desire. Usually, women experience increased sex drive a few days before ovulation (the most fertile time) when women’s testosterone levels are at highest.
That is, women’s sex drive can be increased by affecting mind and hormones. For example, “female Viagra” Flibanserin affects the brain and increase neurotransmitters levels in the brain, but unfortunately it’s price (+$800 per month) and the side effects make it almost unusable for a normal woman.
Exercise: It’s been well-studied that exercise is one of the best natural libido booster for women. For example in this study a simple 20 minutes exercise on treadmill significantly increased physiological sexual arousal in women.1 Another study showed that exercise increase vaginal pulse amplitude and vaginal blood volume.2 Exercise improves sex drive even with women who take anti-depressant. 3 Even simple exercise like yoga can increase arousal in women.4
Fix vitamin deficiencies: Certain vitamin deficiencies can be disastrous for sex drive. For example, vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with female sexual dysfunction.5 Fortunately that can be fixed by moderate sun exposure or by with a simple vitamin D supplement.
Avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals: Like with men, these things that you get from plastic bottles, food cans, food, toys, cosmetics, and detergents can seriously affect you hormonal health and sex drive. For example this study found that phthalate exposure is associated with low-interest in sexual activity.6 Make sure your plastic containers are on the safe side, or even better replace them with glass containers. Learn more about endocrine disrupting chemicals here.
Get enough sleep: It’s well studied that lack of sleep raises cortisol levels.7 And as we know, high cortisol levels are not the best thing for sex drive of women.8 Even small improments in sleep can do a lot, as this study showed that 1 hour more sleep increased sexual desire and likelihood of sex by 14% on the next day.
Don’t smoke: Despite the other negative health effects that smoking provides, nicotine also seems impair physiological sexual arousal in women and men.9,10 American Institute of Andrology researchers also discovered that smokers have less sex and enjoy it less.11
Licorice root: Like with a man, a very common libido killer also for a woman. The licorice root contains glycyrrhizinic acid, which raises cortisol and effectively lowers testosterone levels. Studies have shown that 5-7 grams of licorice extract or candies containing it (500mg glycyrrhizinic acid) halve testosterone levels in 4 days.12,13 Halving testosterone sounds like cataclysm for men, but it is also a disaster for women, because the woman’s sex drive is linked to testosterone (see this).
Common drugs that slash sex drive: Many women use antidepressants without knowing that they are very likely to cause sexual dysfunction.14 Also using birth control pills decrease libido in some women.15 If you think medicines could be your problem, you have to talk with your doctor about it.
How to Increase Sex Drive in Women
Is there foods or supplements that can increase sex drive in women? Yes, there are some. Here I will list popular foods to improve sex drive in women.
Is celery good for increasing sex drive in women?
One of my female friends always says “fucking celery” when she wants sex for the fifth time in the evening. She curses celery, because it makes her want more, even “her places” are already far too sore.
Why celery makes women horny?
Celery cytoplasm contains androstenone (Mammalian pheromone) which has similar odor corresponding to testosterone metabolite which is called androstadienone. Celery also also includes many “sex vitamins” such as magnesium and zinc, as well as amino acid arginine which is often called natural Viagra. In addition, celery is one of the best sources for natural nitrate, which increases the production of nitric oxide.
In my experience celery often works too well. However, nobody seems to know actually why and how celery actually works.
Probably the biggest impact of celery is based on the smell, that apparently equates to pheromone androstadienone. In studies it has been found that the smell of this ingredient increases Feelings of well-being, sexual and physiological arousal in women.16 Nonetheless, celery is also high in vitamins that are connected to sex drive and good source for nitrate, which increases blood flow to “strategic locations”.
Basically when celery is eaten by a man, his sweat starts to smell more to androstadienone which makes women more horny. Also increased nitric oxide production might play a part why celery drives women wild.
After I have seen how effective celery is, it’s not a surprise why one of the most famous porn stars in the world known as Peter North has been said to tuck away celery stalks before filming. Also the world-famous ladies man Casanova liked to eat a lot celery, though his number 1 aphrodisiac was actually chocolate.
Effective Tip: Eat a pair of raw celery stalks about 4 hours before the date (nutrients are released into the bloodstream about 4 hours after eating).
When I read Giacomo Casanova’s biography, I learned that he believed that cocoa is the best aphrodisiac that you can give to women. Does cocoa really work for sex drive? As it turns out, Casanova was a wise man… According to the current studies cocoa ingredients affect the brain, improving mood and well-being, which usually leads to increased libido in women.17
New research has noted that flavanol rich cocoa also boost vasodilation, nitric oxide, lower blood pressure, improve endothelial function, etc which of course are important for sexual health.18–24
However, it’s worth to realize that the cocoa drinks in the era of Casanova were considerably different from current sugar chocolate drinks floating in supermarkets.
Chocolate was at that time non-alkaline, very bitter, genuine stuff bloated with healthy flavanols. Nowadays almost all chocolate, even raw cacaos are alkalized with Dutch process. Of course it makes chocolate taste better, but it also removes some of the flavanols and antioxidants that are healthy part of cacao.
Here is really informative video about cocoa:
So if you want the full benefits of chocolate, don’t choose that weird milk chocolate mix with 80% sugar or high corn fructose syrup.
You can identify non-alkalized cocoa by its shocking bitter taste, which means that there are still those healthy flavanols left.25
The raw cacao should not be mixed with non-alkaline cacao, because many raw cacao products are alkalized.
The most sensible choice is always a product where reads non-alkalized, non-dutched, etc. The raw cacao in the label does not tell anything really, and even the organic cacao can be alkalized.
Of course, the benefits of flavanol-rich cocoa are not limited to boosting sex drive and health. New study have shown cocoa to reduce wrinkles and make the skin more elastic. Therefore, it is advisable to choose non-alkaline cacao containing flavanols even if it tastes a little bitter.26
If you want as little processed non-alkaline chocolate, then the best product I have used is CocoCardio, which contain 100% Non-Alkalized cacao.
This product is epic for increasing sex drive, as it also contain beetroot powder and hibiscus extracts. Beetroot is one of the best sources for natural nitrate, as we learned in beetroot article.
The taste of CocoCardio powder is bitter, like a real cocoa. If you like sweet taste, I suggest to get some stevia also. I personally like add some French vanilla stevia with cococardio sometimes.
Are there supplements for increasing women sex drive?
The problem with supplements is that most of the libido related human studies are made with men suffering from ED (erectile dysfunction). Really, there is not many studies which are made with women suffering from low libido.
Here I will list popular supplements that are being touted to increase sex drive in women and science behind them (if there is any).
Ashwagandha – is one the best general health supplements out there which almost everybody should be using. Ashwagandha is well-studied to improve sex drive in men and women, lower serum cortisol levels, and even reduce stress and anxiety.
Does ashwagandha have actual studies were women sex drive has increased?
Yes, which I mentioned in ashwagandha article:
“In this 2015 study healthy women were given KSM-66 extract 300mg twice daily for 8 weeks or placebo. Sexual function was tested using the FSFI and FSDS questions before and in the end of study. In the end it was found that ashwagandha KSM-66 improves sexual function in healthy women, according to FSFI and FSDS scores. Scores for desire, arousal, lubrication, satisfaction and orgasm all improved in ashwagandha group. Also successful sexual encounters rise in ashwagandha group, however number of total sexual encounter did not improve.” – Experiences on Ashwagandha Benefits
Vitamin C – A high vitamin C dose (3000mg) can greatly increase the sex drive (at least in the couple’s relationship). In this vitamin C (3000mg daily) study the frequency of having sex increased from 4 times a month to up to a 14 times a month (placebo resulted sex times falling from 6 to 4 times).
Scientist figure that this might be caused because vitamin C reduce stress, and improve blood circulation and oxytocin release. These processes are related to sexual behavior and mood in women. Also depressive symptoms decreased with vitamin C which of course can lead to more sex.27
Yohimbe – is extracted from yohimbe tree (Pausinystalia johimbe) which grown in Central Africa. Yohimbe is being marketed improving sex drive for men and women. In studies yohimbe have show beneficial effects in men that suffer erection dysfunction.28
But does it have any evidence improving women’s sex drive?
Well, while there is no direct studies which tells that yohimbe increased women sex drive. However, yohimbe is thought to improve other things that might affect women sex drive. According to studies, yohimbine can increase noradrenaline29 by suppressing adrenoceptor.30–34
This study demonstrated that yohimbe increased noradrenaline which lead to raise in arousal levels and lowered anxiety in humans. 35
Also there is study which tested how yohimbine and L-arginine affects vaginal pulse amplitude responses when women watch a porn film.
“Twenty-four women participated in three treatment sessions in which self-report and physiological (vaginal photoplethysmograph) sexual responses to erotic stimuli were measured following treatment with either L-arginine glutamate (6 g) plus yohimbine HCl (6 mg), yohimbine alone (6 mg), or placebo, using a randomized, double-blind, three-way cross-over design. Sexual responses were measured at approximately 30, 60, and 90 min postdrug administration. The combined oral administration of L-arginine glutamate and yohimbine substantially increased vaginal pulse amplitude responses to the erotic film at 60 min postdrug administration compared with placebo.”36
Due to the nature of the yohimbe (affecting noradrenaline) you have to be really careful when taking Yohimbe supplements. According to study (California Poison Control System reported cases) these are most common adverse effects of yohimbe: gastrointestinal distress, tachycardia, anxiety/agitation, and hypertension.37
If you overdose yohimbe accidentally or deliberately side effects can be life threatening like this particular bodybuilder.38
Panax Ginseng – is very popular Asian herbal plant that have gained popularity even in Western countries. Traditional Chinese medicine used it to increase Jing energy among other things. In Western countries Panax ginseng is used mainly to improve sexual health and general well-being (adaptogen). Panax ginseng is also said to be effective improving sex drive in women.
But does Panax ginseng actually have any human study that show it work on women?
This study tested how Panax Ginseng (same thing as Korean red ginseng) extracts would improve sexual function in menopausal women. Menopausal women were given 1 gram panax ginseng or placebo daily. After they were tested using FSFI (Female Sexual Function Index) and GAQ (Global Assessment Questionnaire). significant improvements were seen on FSFI and GAQ scores. Scientist concluded:” Oral administration of KRG extracts improved sexual arousal in menopausal women. Red ginseng extracts might be used as an alternative medicine in menopausal women to improve their sexual life.”39
Maca root – Studies have shown that Maca root is very efficient improving libido and erections in men. But does it work for women also? Well, don’t really need to read studies, because I personally know many women that use maca root for improving their sex drive and they all swear that it always improves their desire for sex. Heck, some of them even report bigger curves.
But are there actual human studies where sex drive of women has improved after maca root supplementation?
In this crossover trial 14 postmenopausal women were given 3,5 grams maca powder or placebo daily for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks they crossed the subjects maca to placebo and placebo to maca powder. Blood test’s and Greene Menopause Index test were made after 6 and 12 weeks. After study was over, there was no difference in concentrations of estradiol, FSH, LH or SHBG between starting levels. However, in Greene Menopause Index test maca won over placebo, showing lower scores for anxiety, depression and sexual dysfunction.40
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) – is popular sex drive booster that is advertised to work for woman also. Currently, Muira puama has really weak scientifical evidence for women. There is not really any recent double placebo controlled human study that would show muira puama to work for increasing sex drive in women. This of course does not stop marketers recycling old tales and people experiences with this herb.
There is one study where muira puama and ginkgo biloba was tested on women complaining low sex drive. This combo showed improvements in frequency of sexual desires, sexual intercourse, and sexual fantasies. However, there was no placebo group. 41
Recommended supplements for improving sex drive in women:
I only recommend supplements that I have personally tested to be effective. Unfortunately I can’t recommend any supplements for increasing women’s sex drive, because I am not a woman. However, if you want to test some supplements then I’d choose those which have the most scientifical evidence.
If you look at the studies then these supplement have the most evidence behind them:
As you can see, there are some tricks and even nutritional supplements that can increase sex drive in women. However, there are also supplements which have very little scientifical evidence and using them might cause adverse effects.
Like with a man, I’d first to get the basics down, this meaning: enough high-quality sleep, exercise and healthy diet. If you’re still lacking sex drive, experiment with perfectly safe and effective herbs like maca root, ashwagandha, and of course enjoy the real chocolate.
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