How to Boost Your Libido Naturally
If you are experiencing low libido, know this: You are normal, and you’re not alone. One common (and very antiquated) belief about libido is that it is solely a byproduct of aging. Not true! Low libido is affected by a variety of factors, some of which include: Medications Stress Depression Lifestyle (diet, smoking, alcohol) Hormone imbalance Underlying conditions (diabetes, chronic pain) Sleep disturbances Most likely, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in your orbit who isn’t experiencing one of those situations. The ongoing lack of interest in sexual activities and fantasies often causes additional stress, because people with low libido often think something is wrong with them. The truth is, we just don’t talk about it enough, and are usually left to navigate it alone, or in silence. Ways to boost libido Scientists are discovering that desire is not a static or binary phenomenon, and it is influenced by various brain systems that interact with each other. There are a variety of techniques, tools and practices to help low libido, from both a mental and a physical approach. Here are two ways to naturally boost your libido: 1 - Psychological Reflecting on past sexual experiences can be a valuable exercise in understanding what triggers your sexual arousal, and what might hinder it. Take a moment to recall encounters that effortlessly ignited your desire, as well as those that initially showed promise before hitting a roadblock. By recognizing the cues from your surroundings, emotions, and experiences that either rev up or halt your libido, you can intentionally include more of the arousal-inducing elements, and minimize the rest. 2 - Herbal Aphrodisiacs Throughout history, naturopaths and Chinese medicine practitioners have trusted a variety of plants and herbs including Muira Puama (Amazonian) and Epimedium (Chinese, aka horny goat weed) to arouse, lighten inhibition and prolong duration; heart-opening Rose helps one to embrace connection; and tonifying Tribulus regulates hormone balance and libido over time, making it increasingly effective when used regularly. Bonus tip: always be generous with a high quality personal lubricant to intensify pleasure and sexual satisfaction, whether you’re alone or with a partner. Discover more sexual health resources and information on our blog. Shop our body-safe, vegan condoms and pleasure.
A Slick Guide to Shopping for Body-Safe Lubricants
So many reasons to use lube! It's safe for use with most condoms and sex toys, it's good for people with sensitive skin or allergies, and it can be a great way to help the body generate its own natural lubrication. There are a galaxy of options when it comes to shopping for personal lubricants! Flavored, warming, "organic", silicone, water-based…it can be overwhelming! Not to mention, it can be confusing to read a lube label! When you add different types of condoms into the mix, the lube shopping process gets even more complex. Which lubes are compatible with various condom materials? Knowing what ingredients are in your lube can help you make the most informed decision, so we put together a slick reference guide to help you shop for the best lubricant for your body! 😉 The skinny The first thing to keep in mind when shopping for lubes: not all lubricants are created equal! And we aren't just referring to silicone vs. a water-based lube. We are referring to the different formulas in each lube category - for example, Brand A's silicone lube vs. Brand B's silicone lube. Personal lubricants are used to help with dryness and chafing among other things, but they can also be contaminated with chemicals that may cause irritation. These include: Parabens - can disrupt your hormones Fragrance - can contain allergens Phthalates - can disrupt your hormones Most common types of lubricants Water-based - Compatible with all sex toy and condom materials Silicone - Longer lasting and thicker than water based lube. Compatible with all condom materials Hybrid - Oil-free. Can contain a mixture of ingredients including silicone, water, or aloe vera, etc. Oil-based - I.E. coconut oil, lotions, vaseline. Oil-based lubes ARE compatible with Polyurethane and Lambskin condoms. Oil-based lubes are NOT compatible with latex or Polyisoprene condoms. Lube ingredients to avoid 1: Glycerin Glycerine is a sugar alcohol that can cause yeast infections. If you see "water-based" or "natural" on the label and don't see any other ingredients listed, it's likely that your lube has glycerin in it--so skip it! It's important to note that not all lubes contain this ingredient; it tends to be found more often in water-based lubricants than silicone-based ones. 2: Propylene glycol AKA Propanediol (Plant-based) Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in many personal lubricants, including those labeled as "sensitive" or "all natural." It's also used in many other products--from skin creams to toothpaste. However, propylene glycol has been linked with irritation and allergic reactions. Polyoxyethylene (Synthetic) is also toxic and is referred to as the "cousin" of Propylene glycol. 3: Benzocaine Benzocaine is a numbing agent - most commonly used at the dentist's office! And it's one of the most common ingredients in lubes- specifically lubes that numb a specific area (so, anal numbing cream specifically). While it can be great for people with sensitive genitals (like women with vulvas), it can also cause severe irritation, pain, and burning for others. Aside from the physical skin reactions, we do not recommend benzocaine to numb your body, because any accidental tears may end up being worse in the long run. 4: Petroleum Petroleum is found in common, everyday products like wax, gasoline, and kerosine. Petroleum oil can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions in some people. Petroleum oil is also found in products like Vaseline and some hand lotions, so if you're worried about having an allergic reaction, check all your products before applying them to your skin! 5: Sodium Hydroxide This is a base that's used to make soap, but it can irritate sensitive skin if it's left on for too long. Other generally safe lube ingredients that get the green light Primary Ingredients Synthetic Dimethicone or Vinyl Dimethicone (silicone polymer) Thickening Agents Plant-based Hydroxyethylcellulose Plant-based Carboxymethylcellulose Plant-based and Synthetic Xanthan Gum Preservatives Synthetic Potassium Sorbate Plant-based Citric Acid Sweetener Synthetic Sucralose / Sodium Saccharine Other Plant or Animal-based Tocopheryl Acetate Reading a lube label An example of an informative, helpful lube label is La Nua water-based lube. They list the purpose of each ingredient next to the ingredient name. (Not to mention, their packaging - glass and bamboo - is sustainable!) Their lubricant labels state: “Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Chondrus Crispus (Red Algae) Extract, Natto Gum (Natural Moisturizer), Propanediol (Moisture Retainer), Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Citric Acid (PH Balancer), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cellulose Gum, Potassium Sorbate (Antimicrobial), Sodium Benzoate (Antimicrobial), Natural Flavor.” Thankfully, lube brands are being more thoughtful when it comes to mindful, body-safe ingredients. Back in the day, this was not always the case! Today, there is a lube for every scenario, mood, sensitivity, and personal preference. Make sure to brush up on these ingredients the next time you need to re-up your lube supply! And, lastly:
Thanksgiving is undoubtedly the least sexy holiday of the year for some—would you agree? The endless hours of preparation, digestive discomforts, colonization celebration (seriously, why?), family anxiety, and general lethargy from gorging our pie holes- the ONE day a year we come together to “give thanks”. If you find yourself celebrating with friends or family, and inevitably someone insists on going around the table and stating what each of you are thankful for (real original, we know) try to swap out the eye roll (for a dinner roll?) *ahem*- for an honest example of gratitude! A few examples: gratefulness for modern medicine, the right to vote, your treasure trove of sex toys! Let your granny know you’re thankful for the closeness that pegging your partner brings to your relationship! Okay, okay, maybe some details can be spared, but let's talk about honest-to-goodness gratitude. GRATITUDE Practicing gratitude and rewiring our brains allows us to focus less on the negative and more on the positive! The implementation of which is scientifically proven to enhance aspects of our emotional, physical, and physiological lives. (Yes! This includes sexual!) Focusing on things you are grateful for before bed increases pre-sleep calmness, resulting in an easier night’s sleep. What?! A natural way to tame the bedtime beasts of worry?! It’s surely worth a try! Keeping a journal on your nightstand makes for an easy bedtime ritual of jotting down your daily gratitude. Keep it simple to start- one or two things you’re thankful for. Continual practice will prove easier, and your lists will effortlessly grow longer. Start your day with a positive affirmation or mantra. Science says repeating positive affirmations into the mirror is a sure fire way to strengthen your neural pathways, sparking changes to the parts of our brain responsible for happiness. A real Stuart Smalley approach to contentment! Another act of gratitude might be taping a love note-to-self on your mirror, leaving a billet-doux for your partner (just because), or expressing a genuine “thank you” to your neighborhood clerk. Acts of kindness and gratitude ought to be plentiful all year! SELF APPRECIATION Not all of us are partnered up, and that’s quite all right! There is so much societal pressure about finding a mate, and starting a nuclear family, and let’s be perfectly honest that is not everyone's cup of tea. That is perfectly “normal” and deserves its own celebration. Being single doesn’t mean you are any less desirable- you are worthy of love and affection just as you are- right here, right now! Flaws and all! Whether you’re partnered up, looking for love, or enjoying the wild freedom of the single life, it’s important to practice self gratitude. Cleansing face masks, pedicures, bubble baths, and vacations, are all acceptable forms of self-care, however, let us not forget the other ways of caring for ourselves! We are lucky to live in a time where sextoys (and the like) have been revolutionized. So many brands offer body-safe, rechargeable, non-porous toys. Lubes free of chemicals, parabens, phthalates, and so on. The age of treating a woman’s “hysteria” with a vibrator liken to an electric sander are long past, and now it’s as easy as a click of a mouse to deliver discreet packages to your doorstep. We finally have queer and feminist porn, casual talks of pegging appear on evening sitcoms, and OTC birth control is readily available and in most cases, accessible for many uterus-bearing folks. Take some time to feel yourself, to FEEL yourself! Dive into a hole of self-sexual exploration and feel the empowerment of embracing your solo-intimate curiosities. MASTURBATION Being present in our mind and body is the very foundation of creating a better world for ourselves. With all this talk of inflation, let us not forget masturbation is free! Rub. One. Out! Choke the Chicken (...er,turkey?), Give Yourself a Hand, Polish the Pearl, Make the Bald Man Cry! Humans have been self-pleasuring since the beginning of time- some even start in the womb! It’s cold and flu season, and we are still (arguably?) in the midst of the pandemic. Studies show masturbation can help improve white blood cell count, thus benefiting the immune system. Plus, it’s bound to ease some tensions and release endorphins, all of which have been studied and confirmed as beneficial for our health. Orgasms strengthen our pelvic floor muscles, enhance sexual performance, and burn calories (perfect post-meal activity. It’s suggested to wait 30 minutes after eating to avoid drowning). NON HORMONAL BIRTH CONTROL Societies have tried countless methods to prevent pregnancy, some dating back to 3000 BCE! Incredible! Folks choose non-hormonal birth control (NHBC) for a plethora of reasons. Thankfully, nowadays, there are many forms of NHBC: non-penetrative sex, condoms, suppositories, fertility awareness based methods, withdrawal (pull and pray, baby! Well…- more on the pray, less on the baby?); copper IUDs (the only NH form of emergency contraceptive), tubal ligation, vasectomies, etc. Socially (read religiously), legally, and politically, the topic of birth control and abortion have long been taboo. Let us show gratitude for the lawmakers and politicians working to protect reproductive rights. (And for the love of all, VOTE!) PARTNERED SEX / POLYAMORY If you’re someone that is sexually active, how do you give and receive gratitude with your partner(s)? Understanding each other’s love language(s) is a great place to start. Showing love and appreciation in, and out (and in and out, and in and out) of the bedroom is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship. Strengthen sexual communications and bonds by discussing your kinks and fantasies. Have an aftercare routine, express what you enjoyed about your experience, partake in a post-coital cuddle. Consider wearing FitBits to compare heart rates, and justify skipping cardio at the gym. The physical and psychological benefits of lower heart attack risks, better cognitive function, memory, neuron growth, stress relief, are all plenty of reasons to get busy this holiday weekend (and any day, for that matter). Show some thanks for S-E-X! After all, it’s where we all CAME from. (Pun intended). SAVE THE PLANET Going vegan (or eating more plant-based), riding bikes, carpooling, conserving energy and water, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Rihanna, are all positive impacts to our global climate crisis. Oscar Wilde said “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” While this is a lovely concept, and quite fitting in many aspects of life (more orgasms, more laughs, more dessert!), over-consumption runs rampant in modern society. It’s pertinent we start to make the switch to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle, individually and as a whole. Our planet literally depends on it. How can we make changes to our daily lives without sacrificing our quality of life? There are SO many brands offering eco-friendly solutions and alternatives to most anything you can think of. Whether it be a Tofurkey for your holiday spread, sustainable vegan condoms, biodegradable anything, or rechargeable sex toys, it’s each of our responsibilities to make conscious decisions when purchasing goods. With the pressure of Corporate Black Friday Deals around the corner, consider which eco-conscious small businesses to support instead! Caring is sexy! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Are we going to solve all of our problems and save the world simply by giving thanks? Probably not overnight. Will it help reshape our thinking, and strengthen relationships with ourselves and others? It’s a (scientifically-proven) great place to start! After all, great sex starts in the head - not in the bed - so having a peaceful mind can lead to satisfying sex! Win-win! Taking care of ourselves, each other, and the planet doesn’t need to be a chore. There are several fun and exciting ways we can opt for more eco-friendly and body safe products. Anything from what we eat, to what we put on and in our bodies. Cultivating gratitude every day of the year is a simple practice that we can easily incorporate into our lives. As we reimagine a better world, let us really remember that it is not only possible, it is in fact necessary. So, “What are you thankful for?” Tell us by leaving a comment below! With love, UNION