Studies suggest that anywhere between 30 to 50 per cent of women experience prolonged periods of little or no sex drive. So what can be done to revive a flagging libido? Here are 10 tips to help you get in the mood.
See also: Natural alternatives to Viagra
See also: Six bizarre libido zappers
1. Drink red wine
If you're going to enjoy a tipple, make it red wine. A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who drank a glass of red wine each day reported higher levels of sexual desire, compared with those who drank a different kind of alcohol or who were teetotal.
Experts believe that the high levels of polyphenols in red wine help to widen the blood vessels, which can increase blood flow to the main arousal areas. Just stick to one glass of red. A little alcohol can help get you in the mood, but drinking too much is a libido zapper.
2. Try yoga
Yoga isn't just good for keeping you supple, it may help give your libido a boost too. A review published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy suggested that becoming more familiar with your body could help you get more in touch with your sexuality. Not only that, but yoga may help to improve your orgasms by increasing blood flow to the pelvic region.
Putting pressure on yourself to have sex is a sure way to extinguish desire. Agree with your partner that you will not have sexual intercourse, and instead just enjoy cuddling. Encouraging non-sexual intimacy can help you relax, and that makes it easier to feel aroused.
4. Eat a handful of walnuts
Testosterone isn't just important for male sexual desire – low testosterone can effect women's sex drive too. Studies show that people who have a diet high in mono-unsaturated fats, found in walnuts, peanuts and almonds, have higher levels of testosterone than those who don't. So get snacking.
5. Go for a power walk
Getting your heart pumping will increase blood flow to every area of your body, including the all-important pelvic region. Aim to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, the kind that leaves you out of breath, three times a week.
If you manage to drop a few pounds, that could be good for your sex life too. Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina, US, found that men and women who lost excess weight felt more comfortable and enthusiastic in bed.
6. Scare yourself
Forget strolls along the beach and quiet romantic meals. If you want to supercharge your desire, do something scary together. A study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that men and women find the opposite sex more alluring after being in an adrenaline-pumping situation. If you don't fancy going paragliding, watch a thriller or horror movie together.
7. Change location
Sticking to the same routine can become dull. Instead of always making love in the bedroom at bedtime, start kissing during the afternoon in the living room. A change of scene can make all the difference – and you can always make your way to the bedroom later. Better still, book a night away.
8. Take a whiff
Sniffing his smelly socks may not sound like a turn-on – but a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found that the scent of your man's sweaty workout clothes may boost arousal.
9. Beat the blues
Depression is a notorious libido killer. If you're feeling blue, exercise outdoors every day – studies show that brisk walking for just 15 minutes can significantly improve your mood.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and make sure you include Brazil nuts (good for increasing serotonin levels), and walnuts and oily fish (sources of mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids) in your diet. If your mood is persistently low, you feel tired and hopeless or have lost interest in life, speak to your GP as help is available.
10. Have a cup of cocoa
It might not sound particularly sexy, but having a cup of cocoa before bed could help put you in the mood. Dark chocolate contains methylxanthines, which are stimulants that increase your skin's sensitivity to touch.