Is sex with your partner important and what to do if your love life is suffering
The first thing I ask when someone is having relationship troubles is, ‘well when was the last time you had sex?’ or ‘how often do you make love’. Because think about it; what is the very difference between you and your partners relationship compared to you and your friends relationship? It is that you make love with your partner. If you are not doing such, it doesn’t mean that you have fallen out of love with them, it may just mean that you or the two of you have some work to do, which is what I will share with you here.
Making love, to me, is crucial to a relationship, and too many relationships today are suffering because they don't see it as an importance, or they can't control the way they feel possibly due to a few imbalances or the toxicity that can occur in this world today. It re-sparks your love, reminds you why you are spending your life with that person, and builds an incredible and irreplaceable connection that only you both share.
I have been with my partner for twelve years, a long time, I know. We are getting married soon and I cannot remember the last time our spark was dimmed. It freaks me out how long we have been together, and it took me a long time to accept that I met my soulmate at such a young, immature age. Yet we still share an incredible connection, and both know how important intimacy is and how much the lack of self care can have an impact on your libido. I see this in clients, friends and have seen it in my twelve years of being with my precious loved one.
Every organism’s role on this planet is to reproduce more healthy organisms, right? Therefore, nature has designed us to be attracted to those that are healthy enough to create another healthy organism. This is why we are attracted to those that are a healthy weight, glowing skin, fit, energetic and happy. These are all signs of someone you can create another healthy organism with. I am not saying we all have to be perfect, and I am certainly not saying that I am all of these things, though this is what nature has intended. We are all a work in progress, hopefully striving to be the best version of ourselves.
Factors that can influence your libido;
- The balance of your sex hormones: Pregnenolone is the master of all hormones in the body – it’s the precursor to adrenal and sex hormones, and by the way we need cholesterol to produce pregnenolone so cholesterol is also crucial. Testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone are just a few sex hormones that are the main drivers of your libido, all of which require pregnenolone. When these are out of balance, this is when problems occur. Gut flora and an array of nutrients (below) are crucial for the production and balance of these hormones.
- Being stressed and overworked: When we put our body under stress, energy is shunted away from the reproductive system as there are other body parts that are of more importance in this time. Therefore, reproduction is not a priority when you’re highly stressed, overworked or have adrenal issues. ‘Pregnenolone steal’ is a process where the pregnenolone we produce is instead used to produce cortisol to assist us with the stress and produce more adrenaline and so on. SO, this makes a little difficult to produce those crucial sex hormones.
- Gut infections and imbalances in gut flora (otherwise known as dysbiosis): We know that the gut has a profound impact on how we think and our behaviour, though what about our libido? Not only do gut infections pose stress on the body, our gut microbes actually determine if we are attractive to someone, and also if we are attracted to someone. We are naturally attracted to those that have a healthy microbial balance as well, as this means they will have a robust immune system. If your partner has a bacteria, parasite, or yeast overgrowth, then your microbial makeup may be encouraging you to stay away so you are naturally turned off. We don’t even realise this, though we do this through smell! This is why it is crucial to ensure any infections are cleared in order to be attractive to our partner, though also for us to boost our libido. Gut infections also have the potential to dramatically alter your hormones. Oestrogen may rise, testosterone may lower, and serotonin and dopamine may also lower. These are all regulated within our gut, so it is crucial to always look into your gut health and one way to do this is via a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (a poop test!).
- A congested liver: Liver disease has been proven to lower your sex drive. If you are overloading your liver with inflammatory foods, alcohol, chemicals, and other various toxins, then you are going to be at high risk of sexual dysfunction.
- A low fat diet: Saturated fat in particular is crucial to produce your sex hormones, therefore if you are on a low fat diet, your body is missing the fundamental building blocks to create a healthy balance of hormones.
- Inflammation: This damages adrenals, your gut flora, puts your body under stress and raises your blood sugar levels, all of which can alter the balance of your hormones.
Nutrients and foods that can lift your libido;
- Zinc is absolutely critical for testosterone production in both men and women, which enhances our libido. Many of us are extremely low in zinc, therefore I ensure that many of my clients have sufficient zinc levels by performing a zinc taste test in clinic. More often than not, they are deficient. I therefore get them to either supplement with liquid zinc or eat copious amounts of liver, or even better, both! Zinc, I must say, changed my life in many ways when I corrected my own deficiency.
- Saturated fat provides essential building blocks to your hormones and is required to protect your immune system from infection and absorbs vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Maca powder assists in balancing the sex hormones and allows you to adapt to stress.
- Cacao is a mood enhancer and can act as an aphrodisiac.
- Liver, yes, liver! It contains crucial B vitamins that are required for the production of your sex hormones and gives you energy.
- Fermented foods contain an amazing amount of probiotics, and probiotic therapy has been shown to increase sex drive. These will assist in maintaining healthy gut flora, reduce gut infections, assist in the production of hormones, produce nutrients, reduces stress and enhance your happiness. I use Kultured Wellnesses starters to make my fermented foods. You can find out more about these here and if you enter SHERIDANWILLIAMSON, you can treat yourself to 10% off if you want to get fermenting and increase your happy bugs.
- Magnesium is crucial for regulating your stress levels and balancing hormones. Have regular Epsom salt baths, eat real cacao with no sugar, and eat plenty of greens such as spinach.
- Ashwagandha is a beautiful and powerful herb that helps your body adapt to stress, reduce cortisol levels and assist with energy.
- Avoid inflammatory foods. This is the most crucial point out of them all. Today's modified wheat, gluten, soy, corn and refined vegetable oils are all highly inflammatory in most individuals as they have been manipulated by man and are not found in nature.
- Eat to balance your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels raises insulin, which raises inflammation and throws other hormones out of balance including your sex hormones. Sugars also feeds pathogenic microbes in your gut, so make sure there are none of those before you start downing some sugar-laden ice-cream. Therefore, reduce your carbohydrate consumption and eat plenty of proteins and fats to assist keeping your sugars in balance and reduce cravings.
Although there is plenty of information here to get you started, there can also be plenty more to one’s story of why your libido is low or love-making is not occurring in your relationship. Psychological factors, lack of movement, lack of sun, hydration are also things to consider. This is all here to simply plant the seed, and allow yourself to begin questioning why your love life may be suffering.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, questions, or experiences with any of the above!
Happy hormone balancing!
Sheridan Williamson xx
Qualified Nutritionist and GAPS Practitioner