Marriage/Relationship/Sex Advice

The Complete Herbal Guide / Marriage/Relationship/Sex Advice

Sex & Health: How To Stoke The Fires

I think it’s safe to say that for the vast majority of adults, having a healthy libido is vital to a happy life.

How about for those not in an active sexual relationship, you may ask? A robust libido is not just great for sex; it plays an important role in our mental health, fuels creativity and passion, and can make us feel younger and more alive, even in our later years.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that affect the libido (sex & health), and many of the choices you make on a daily basis can either stoke the fire or douse the flames.


What we eat plays a huge roll in our lust for life (and for each other)!

Eating clean

Cutting out refined sugars and processed foods, loading up on veggies and whole foods, sourcing quality protein sources, and choosing heart-healthy fats – will benefit your health, mood and sex drive in innumerable ways. Even when, how much, and how often we eat can affect our libido.

Clean eating = improved cardiovascular health = better blood flow to the various parts of our bodies involved in sexual arousal. Enough said.

There are also a number of foods that affect the balance of sex hormones in men and women, directly impact our energy levels, and that therefore play an important part in healthy sexual energy and performance:

Stoke the Fire: 

  • Good-quality grass-fed beef in moderation;
  • Wild salmon & tuna
  • Oysters
  • Nuts and seeds, especially walnuts, pumpkin & chia seeds
  • Watermelon
  • Organic apples
  • Garlic
  • Avocados
  • Warming spices like ginger, chili peppers
  • Oats
  • Dark chocolate

Douse the Flames:

  • Sugar & refined carbohydrates
  • Heavily processed foods
  • Diet Sodas
  • Bottled water
  • Soy products
  • Licorice
  • Mint
  • Flaxseeds
  • Certain medications, particularly anti-depressants & birth control


Exercise & Body Weight

Getting regular exercise will help boost your libido in a number of ways.

For starters, exercise improves our overall heart and cardiovascular health, which is directly linked to improved stamina and blood flow for bedroom activities.  Along with a clean and healthy diet, it can also help to reduce excess body fat, which physically frees us up to enjoy other physical activities with more ease. And because excess fat disrupts the healthy balance of hormones, including those involved in sexual health, anything that maintains a healthy body weight will go a long way towards helping you maintain a healthy libido.

But there’s also the positive benefits of exercise on our mood and our overall self-confidence, both of which can significantly impact our sexual desire. It also improves our mental health, making us feel happier and more confident both in and outside the bedroom.

Douse the Flames

A sedentary lifestyle

Stoke the Fire

Frequent physical activity

Bonus Fire-Starter

Try exercising with your partner!


Sleep & Stress

Reducing stress and getting a good night’s sleep is not just important for our mental and physical health – turns out it may also weight heavily on our ability to feel sexual desire, particularly for women.

According to author and Psychology Professor Laurie Mintz, a lack of sleep coupled with increased stress has the effect of decreasing testosterone, a hormone which plays a major role in the libido of both men and women. Since men have naturally higher levels of the hormone, women will feel the effects of the decrease more than their male counterparts.

Douse the Flames: poor sleep habits

Stoke the Fire: regular, good quality sleep



We all know by now that smoking negatively impacts cardiovascular health, which in turn wreak havoc with our blood flow and sexual stamina.

But nicotine also messes with hormonal balance and can decrease levels of testosterone in the body. Lower levels of testosterone = lower levels of sexual desire in both men and women.

For men, smoking cigarettes is a double whammy – decreased sexual desire and an increased risk of impotence.

Douse the Flames

Smoking cigarettes / Tobacco use



While a small quantity of alcohol can help us in the bedroom – by lowering our inhibitions and making us feel more relaxed and in the moment – in larger amounts it does the exact opposite.

When we drink too much, really anything more than one or two servings, alcohol can cause poor erectile functioning, and also dehydrates a woman’s vagina, making sex uncomfortable or even painful. Being drunk also prevents us from really understanding or responding to our partner’s sexual & emotional signals.

Stoke the Fire

A glass of red wine

Douse the Flames

Two or more servings of alcohol, especially beer.


Herbs & Supplements

Sometimes, life factors outside of our immediate control can dampen our ability to feel aroused, and suppress our libido.

Menopause (and Manopause!), hormonal imbalances, and chronic illness can all wreak havoc with our libido, leaving us feeling less than lusty and passionate.

There are a number of safe, natural options for herbs and supplements that help to balance hormones, improve circulation to the sexual organs, and increase libido and sexual desire. Some that might be worth investigating if your libido needs a little outside help include:

Stoke the Fire: 

  • Ashwagandha (men and women)
  • Shatavari (women)
  • Horny Goat Weed (men)
  • Maca (men & women)
  • Red Clover (women)
  • Iron (for women low in this important micronutrient)
  • Tribulus terrestris or puncture vine (women)
  • L-arginine (men and women)
  • Damiana (men and women)



Spending too much time on social media, and watching too much television can have an injurious effect on our sexual energy and our relationships.

Aside from the time wasted on either as a form of passive entertainment, which could be put to better use exercising or connecting with your partner, media also has a profound influence on the ways in which we view sexuality, our bodies, and our partners.

If the quality of your sources is poor, or even outright damaging (such as porn, stereotypical sitcoms, judgemental talk shows etc.), you may want to rethink your entertainment choices.

Stoke the Fire

Unplug and spend more time with yourself and your partner

Douse the Flames

Poor quality media sources such as porn, social media, television


Intimacy and Communication

Where there is fear of judgement or criticism, or when we feel closed and disconnected from ourselves, our passions and our partners, our sexual desire can shut down almost entirely. When we feel comfortable with ourselves, and with being vulnerable and open in our relationships, we naturally desire greater physical and emotional intimacy.

Intimacy is something that can be practiced and exercised, just like our muscles. Learning to accept and appreciate yourself and your partner, practising open and non-violent communication, letting go of judgement and criticism, and being vulnerable within your relationship are all ways to build intimacy, and increase your feelings of sexual desire.

There are also physical practises that help to build intimacy and increase desire, such as breathing exercises, tantra, sensual massage and eye-gazing. Even something as simple as setting the stage by lighting candles, scenting the air, or choosing a sexy soundtrack can make your libido sing.

Stoke the Fire

Set the stage; build intimacy with communication, sensual touch and vulnerability

Douse the Flames

Judging and criticizing, disconnection



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