Ever feel sluggish and uninspired after a dinner date? A lagging sex drive could be the result of what you’ve been eating. Previously, we covered the foods that can boost your libido, and now we turn to the ones that could be sabotaging your sex life. Of course, it’s not always about food. Low libido can be attributed to a number of factors, including sociological, psychological, and hormonal influences. Often, antidepressant medications are the culprit. Other times, stress or drug and alcohol abuse can play a role. In men, low testosterone levels often contribute to a low sex drive, and hormonal changes in women can have a similar effect.
Smoking, along with all of its other terrible health effects, can diminish sexual desire and satisfaction, especially in men. “Smoking has a direct, negative effect on the sexuality of a man on every level,” Panayiotis M. Zavos, PhD, told WebMD. Altering bad habits, like smoking and excessive drinking, in order to encourage better overall health, will no doubt be beneficial to your sexual health as well. And one of the most important ways we stay healthy is by eating right. Generally, any dietary choices that lead to excessive weight gain can kill a man’s sex drive.
“The worst food that a man can have for his sex drive is too much of it,” Corey B. Schuler, functional medicine nutritionist at the Metabolic Treatment Center, told Men’s Fitness. And smart food choices can benefit every gender and body type. Here are some of the specific foods that have the potential to kill your sex drive.
Dairy products like ice cream and cheese may be your favorites, but stay away from them if you want to get busy with your partner later. The lactic acid in dairy can squash libido levels, according to Fitness Magazine. Products derived from cow’s milk can also be loaded with synthetic hormones, throwing off the natural hormone production in men and women. Calcium, on the other hand, has been linked to better sexual health, so make sure you find it elsewhere, such as in a fortified milk alternative or some leafy greens.
2. Fried foods
Greasy foods definitely don’t do your sex life any favors. Trans fats found in fried foods dramatically decrease the male and female libido, according to Medical Daily. Consuming trans fatty acids can also cause abnormal sperm production in men and interferes with female gestation. You and your significant other would be wise to skip the french fries at dinner, since they could be at fault for more than one sexual problem.
3. Refined carbohydrates
Any refined carbohydrates, like those found in bleached white flour, are bad news for your sex drive. This includes many pastas, cereals, breads, and snack foods like crackers, cookies, and chips. Men’s Fitness explained that large amounts of refined carbs will cause your testosterone levels to decrease. The sugars from these carbohydrates can make men gain weight and raise estrogen levels as testosterone is depleted. Reach for good carbs like vegetables and whole grains instead.
OK, so we actually included chocolate on our list of libido-boosting foods, but in large quantities, it can have the reverse effect. While chocolate’s anandamide and phenylethylamine cause the body to release endorphins, some say chocolate also lowers testosterone levels. Methylxanthines in chocolate make the skin sensitive to touch but can also make people lethargic. “Most folks think of chocolate as an aphrodisiac but, for my female patients, chocolate makes them tired and I hear it temporarily lowers their sexual drive and libido,” Dr. Fran Walfish told Medical Daily.
Men can have small amounts of soy without worry, but because of its estrogenic properties, large quantities of soy products will mess with your libido. Research has shown that too much tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, or other soy products can lower testosterone levels and even sperm count. In a study, 120 milligrams of soy per day had negative sexual affects, so keep your soy intake to a minimum, otherwise you might regret it later in the bedroom.
6. Microwave popcorn
A quiet night in watching a movie is a popular precursor to an intimate night with someone special, but do yourself a favor and skip the microwave popcorn. The popcorn bags contain perfluoroalkyl acids, such as PFOA or PFOS, which significantly lower sperm counts, according to a 2009 study. These chemicals found in the inner lining of the microwave popcorn bag can cause a lower sex drive, so try your hand at homemade popcorn, cooked right on the stove top. You might impress your date as well as your taste buds.
You’ve probably heard of the infamous “sugar crash,” and it’s the last thing you want to happen when it’s time to get in the mood. After sweets first cause your blood sugar level to spike, both your energy and your blood sugar then fall dramatically, eliciting fatigue, food cravings, and brain fog. Not surprisingly, you might not have the focus and energy required for a dynamic sexual experience. Processed baked goods also contain trans fats, which can trap vital food glucose in the blood, raising blood sugar levels and reducing libido.
Reaching for a mint probably seems logical if you think kissing may be in your future, but the menthol in mint reduces testosterone, therefore lowering male libido. Mint can also allow more air to enter the body causing frequent burping, which isn’t exactly a turn-on. Mint tea is a better choice to fight bad breath, since it has a lower level of menthol. Alternatively, you could use other natural herbs or simply brush your teeth.
Candy is already a bad idea because of the sugar content, and if you are licorice fan, we’ve got more bad news. Too much of this candy will mean a significant hit to your libido. According to The Daily Meal, it’s because of a natural ingredient in licorice called glycyrrhizin that reduces testosterone levels in men. If you can’t live without your licorice fix, save it for when you won’t be having sex any time soon.
10. Diet soda
In addition to being addictive and horrible for your body in all kind of ways, diet soda could wreak havoc on your sex life. It’s the artificial sweeteners that are to blame here. Eating and drinking anything with fake sweeteners, especially aspartame, affects your serotonin levels, which are crucial to sexual enjoyment. Let’s be honest, no health-conscious individual should be drinking these beverages anyway. Let this be one more reason never to touch diet soft drinks.