That fourth drink
A Bellini or two can be a libido booster, sure, but there’s also a tricky tipping point that sets the opposite effect in motion.
“A small amount of alcohol enhances blood flow, which makes you feel aroused,” says obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Alyssa Dweck, co-author of V is For Vagina. “But alcohol is a depressant, so too much eventually puts your body in a fog.”
Find your drink threshold – or stick to no more than one per hour and a limit of three per night, says Dr Dweck. After that, alcohol will drain your erotic energy.
Cycling can leave you with more than just jelly legs. A study from The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that female cyclists who rode with their handlebars lower than their seat developed diminished sensation where it counts.
“When the handlebars are positioned below the level of the seat, you’re forced to lean forward, which puts pressure on the pelvic floor,” explains Dr Marsha K Guess, co-author of the study and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. Over time, your vagina could become less responsive sexually, adds Dr Dweck.
Whether pedalling at the gym or on the pavement, make sure your handlebars are level with your seat, which should be wide. If your bike has a narrow seat, hit up a bike shop for one that’s female-friendly.
Medication, such as antidepressants and the Pill, can kill your sex drive. But there’s another pharmacy offender: antihistamines. They dry up the nose’s mucous lining, which is why they’re found in cold and allergy formulas.
But they can also decrease secretions in your vaginal lining. “When you’re unusually dry, you think your body is not aroused,” says sex therapist Pepper Schwartz. Next time you buy allergy pills, get a container of lube, too.
Taking a drag
Smoking is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces blood flow through your body, including the blood that heads to your private parts when you’re in the mood. “Without that rush of blood you won’t lubricate as much, and your odds of having an orgasm may go down,” says Dr Dweck. You might think you have a good reason for needing a cigarette, but we doubt it’s worth losing an O over.
A doctor’s appointment before work, your boss’s daily status meetings, a full load of classes before noon… Knowing that you have a jam-packed morning to contend with can make you feel wired the night before, and that sinks your desire.
“When you are stressed, your body pumps out cortisol in response to the anxiety,” says Schwartz. “Managing stress is a more pressing demand on your system than getting turned on.”
So the night before a busy day, write yourself a to-do list to give you a sense of control, says Schwartz. And if possible, bump up getting down with your guy to an earlier time in the evening, before you’re too wound up to enjoy it. Casey Gueren