Find out surprising causes of low libido and what you can do to boost itBy Madonna Behen
Is your marriage's passion meter a little on the low side? Libido zappers come from unexpected places, but there are easy ways to get back in the mood. Read on to learn what you can do in and out of the bedroom, straight from the pros. Photo by Getty Images
Related: Learn 10 marriage rules you should break.
The ob/gyn says…Check your stress
Ask yourself, Am I feeling anxious? Am I sleeping well? When you're tense or sleep-deprived, you produce too much of the hormone cortisol, which impacts the balance of other hormones that affect libido (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone-yes, women have it, too!). Regular exercise, such as walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, can decrease cortisol levels and also help keep hormone levels in check. And don't forget to bring up your concerns with your physician. Low libido can be a sign of various medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and depression.
STACY TESSLER LINDAU, MD, associate professor of obstetrics/gynecology and medicine, University of Chicago Medicine
Related: Try these yoga poses that improve your sex life.
Mindfulness exercises-which help you stay in the moment-can enhance desire and arousal. Outside the bedroom, you can practice being mindful by doing a walking meditation. As you walk, pay attention to how your feet feel as they touch the ground, the pattern of your breathing, the color and smell of the trees and sky. During sex, notice how your partner's hair smells, how it feels to kiss his neck or to have your own body touched. You may find that it also helps to start kissing and touching your partner even if you're not totally in the mood. Often, the desire will follow.
DEBBY HERBENICK, PhD, research scientist, Indiana University, author, Sex Made Easy
Related: Discover 8 secrets of sexually satisfied couples.
The nutritionist says…Eat chocolate
Research shows that compounds called flavonoids, which are found in dark chocolate as well as blueberries, strawberries and citrus fruits, can help dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. This will in turn make sex more enjoyable. And the more you enjoy sex, the better your libido! Also try cutting back on saturated fat and added sugar (look for packaged foods with no more than 6 g sugar or 3 g sat fat per serving). Too much of these ingredients can affect the production of hormones that fuel your libido.
JULIE UPTON, MS, RD, co-owner, Appetite for Health, San Francisco
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