6 Lifestyle Changes Women Can Make to Increase Their Sex Drive

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jennifer Larson on February 10, 2022
  • couple-relaxing-outside
    Take Action to Boost Your Sex Drive
    You may have so many things on your mind that a low libido doesn’t even make the top 10 list. But maybe it should. Taking action to boost your sex drive might improve your intimate relationships and your quality of life–and it might even enhance other aspects of your health, too. You don’t necessarily have to take medicine, either, as certain lifestyle changes might make a difference for you.

    Before you get started, however, check in with your doctor to make sure your low libido isn’t the result of some other factor, like an underlying health condition or a physiological problem with sexual arousal. You may need to address those first. If you can rule those conditions out, that’s when you might start considering some of these lifestyle changes.
  • woman-stretching-leg
    1. Add exercise into your life.
    Stress can be a major contributing factor to low sexual desire in women, also known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD. Anxiety can kill your libido, too. One effective way to burn off some of the stress and anxiety that’s dragging you and your sex drive down is exercise.  Research suggests that acute exercise can drive physiological sexual arousal and chronic exercise tends to enhance sexual satisfaction. In other words, you might feel a boost in sexual energy after a good sweaty session at the gym, but making exercise a habit you practice on an ongoing basis can improve your sexual satisfaction over the long haul.
  • Close-up of African American woman meditating with eyes closed
    2. Try mindfulness meditation.
    Exercise might have helped you reduce your stress levels, or perhaps you’ve already found another stress reduction strategy that resonates. Stick with those if they’re working for you. But if you’re looking for a way to decrease your stress levels and (hopefully) boost your libido, consider mindfulness meditation exercises. These are simple activities designed to ground you in the present, focusing only on what and how you are feeling in the moment. You spend some time, sitting or lying down, while quietly taking stock of how your body feels and paying attention to your breathing. When your mind wanders, you simply try to refocus on the moment. There are many apps and videos online that can guide you through a meditation, so don’t feel like you need to figure it out on your own.
  • variety-of-breads
    3. Commit to dietary changes.
    Can your diet affect your libido? Could you possibly eat your way to a more active sex drive? Maybe. There’s an association between metabolic syndrome and sexual function in women, especially in younger women. People with metabolic syndrome typically have a cluster of symptoms like excess belly fat, high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels. If you have metabolic syndrome, you have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. By tailoring your diet to get a little healthier, your libido may benefit, too. Start with a few simple changes like reducing the amount of red meat you eat, cutting back on your salt intake to prevent high blood pressure, and swapping out white breads and pastas for whole grain versions that can help lower your cholesterol and insulin levels.
  • Young couple hike in California
    4. Find time for non-sexual intimacy.
    When your sex drive is low, do you find yourself pulling away from your partner, even if sex isn’t involved? That might be a mistake. It might take some of the pressure off if you and your partner find some time to enjoy each other’s company without the prospect of sex. Schedule some time for an activity that you both enjoy. Maybe it’s a quiet evening on the sofa watching TV, or maybe it’s a hike in a nearby park. Whatever you choose, take the time to reconnect with each other. It might just help boost your desire later on.
  • Young Caucasian woman talking to counselor in office
    5. Turn to therapy or counseling.
    Your relationships, past and present, can greatly influence your sex drive. So can trauma from events you’ve experienced in the past, as well as your feelings about your body and appearance. And while all women are different, research shows emotional stress and insecurity play a bigger role in female sexual satisfaction than for men. A trained counselor or therapist can help you unpack some of the psychological weight that you may be carrying around, so you’re more likely to desire and enjoy sex. Additionally, you and your partner might consider couples counseling, with the goal of focusing on enhancing your sexual relationship by addressing any obstacles or other issues you may be facing.
  • white oval pills spilling out of prescription bottle
    6. Consider changing current medications.
    You may not know some commonly prescribed medications can have “sexual side effects,” which means they’re known to reduce sex drive and even interfere with your ability to orgasm. These side effects are frequently a frustration for people taking medications for depression and anxiety, like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and duloxetine (Cymbalta). Some blood pressure drugs like atenolol (Tenormin) and heartburn medications like famotidine (Pepcid) can also cause these issues, as can hormonal birth control. If you think your meds are impacting your sex life, talk to your doctor about your options. Some antidepressants like bupropion (Wellbutrin) have been shown to effectively treat depression and anxiety without affecting libido. Plus, new medications have been recently approved to treat HSDD in premenopausal women, including flibanserin (Addyi) and bremelanotide (Vyleesi). Your doctor will help you weigh the benefits against any potential side effects of changing your medication or trying something new.
Natural Ways to Increase Female Libido | Increase Sex Drive Women

About The Author

Jennifer Larson has more than 15 years of professional writing experience with a specialization in healthcare. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and memberships in the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Education Writers Association.
  1. Davis SR, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Testosterone in the
    Management of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in Postmenopausal Women. The
    Journal of Sexual Medicine. April 2012: 9; 4. 1134-1148.
  2. FDA approves new treatment for hypoactive sexual desire
    disorder in premenopausal women. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. June 21,
    2019. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-treatment-hypoactive-sexual-desire-disorder-premenopausal-women
  3. Goldstein I, et al. Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder.
    International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH) Expert
    Consensus Panel Review. January 2017. 92; 1. 114–128. https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(16)30596-1/fulltext#sec1.5
  4. Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. American Sexual Health
    Association. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/hypoactive-sexual-desire-disorder/
  5. Ishak WW, et al. DSM-5 Changes in Diagnostic Criteria of
    Sexual Dysfunctions. Reproductive System and Sexual Disorders: Current
    Research. 2013; 2:2.
  6. Kingsberg SA. Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder:
    Understanding the Impact on Midlife Women. The Female Patient. March 2011; 36.
  7. Kirkpatrick K. Lost Your Libido? 6 Smart Diet Choices to Get
    It Back. Cleveland Clinic.
  8. Low sex drive in women: diagnosis and treatment. Mayo
  9. Low sex drive in women: symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic.
  10. Nappi RE, et al. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder in
    postmenopausal women. Journal of Gynecological Endocrinology. 2006; 6. 318-323.
  11. Nappi RE, et al. Management of hypoactive sexual desire
    disorder in women: current and emerging therapies. International journal of
    women's health, 2, 167–175.
  12. Overview - HSDD. Sexual Medicine Society of North America.
  13. Sexual Desire Disorder. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/sexual-desire-disorder
  14. Stanton AM, et al. The Effects of Exercise on Sexual
    Function in Women. Sexual Medicine Reviews. 2018 Oct;6(4):548-557.
  15. Suttie J. Can Mindfulness Treat Sexual Dysfunction? Greater
    Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. 2013.
  16. Towe M, et al. Diet and Female Sexual Health. Sexual
    Medicine Reviews. 25 October 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2050052119300988
  17. What Should Women Know About Testosterone Therapy? Sexual
    Medicine Society of North America. https://www.sexhealthmatters.org/news/what-should-women-know-about-testosterone-therapy
  18. Whole grains. T.H. Chan
    School of Public Health. Harvard University.
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2022 Feb 10
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.