Libido, or sex drive, is a natural process that operates according to biological, social, and environmental inputs. A strong libido can be evidence of good health, whereas the opposite can be true of a low libido. Healthline identifies low testosterone; medications; restless leg syndrome; depression; chronic illness; sleep problems; aging; stress; too little (or too much) exercise; low self-esteem; alcohol and drug use, as common causes of low libido. On the other hand, a strong libido, in the right context, can motivate, connect, and fulfill.
So, then, why would anyone ever want to lower libido?
This desire is actually quite common. People who are not in a place to pursue a serious relationship, may not see the upside of having a strong sex drive. A strong sex drive, with no healthy or acceptable outlet, can become a source of temptation to watch porn, masturbate, or hook-up. At best, people may see it as a distraction. Independent of relationship status, they may feel that their sexual interest and desires are not in balance with other areas of life.
According to Healthline, libido is a function of three major causes—biological (testosterone, overall health, etc.), psychological (stress, mental health, self-esteem), and social (relationship status and cultural sexual norms).
In this section, I’m going to address three natural ways to reduce libido, and the pros and cons of each approach.
3 Natural Ways To Lower Libido:
1. Take An Anaphrodisiac (?)
You may have heard of aphrodisiac, a word derided from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. An aphrodisiac is a food, herb, or substance that people consume to increase their libido. An anaphrodisiac functions precisely the opposite way. Aphrodisiacs and anaphrodisiacs are intended to address the biological factor of libido. These substances work by influencing total and/or free testosterone levels, and manipulating other biological parameters that influence sex drive.
The problem is that biological parameters serve more than one purpose. For example, lowering a man’s testosterone levels in order to control libido can have side effects, including reduced energy, reduced drive, lowered self-esteem, diminished athletic ability, and, yes, even feminization. Yikes.
Just because a substance is “natural,” that doesn’t mean its consumption isn’t artificial. Most powerful herbs on the market have been highly concentrated from their natural source. And just because a substance is “natural,” that doesn’t mean its consumption is healthy or side-effect-less. Any substance, for example, that alters the stress hormone cortisol, without altering the stress that regulates it, can create chemical imbalances; these, in turn, can trigger a host of mental, physical, and emotional side effects.
Another thing to keep in mind is that high testosterone is often not the culprit of an out-of-control sex drive. Many people who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior have normal, or even lower-than-average testosterone levels. If you really care to know, then get your levels checked. However, what this means is that the psycho-social factors often play an outsized role in the process.
2. Change The Way You Think
#2 is the most natural way to reduce an out-of-control libido. In the first place, we have to ask ourselves, when did it become out-of-control? And, what were the contributing factors? Many people with an out-of-control libido have a history of compulsive sexual behavior. Pornography is often a huge culprit here. Pornography leads people to think in hyper-sexual terms, and images/videos in the subconscious mind can influence psychosocial activity. Modern western culture is sex-crazed. We are bombarded with sexual stimuli from morning to night in the form of ads, jokes, social media, and innuendo. If you don’t think culture is a factor of dysregulated sexual interest, then you have probably never spent anytime in a country where this is not the case (see reference below).
Eliminating pornography and insulating oneself from hyper-sexual cultural influences can go a long way toward reining in an out-of-control libido. This requires some discipline, but, more importantly, it requires creating an environment that facilitates the objective (things like accountability, going off the grid, spending time in nature, powering off salacious media etc.)
How we think, as it turns out, is as much a function of our environment as it is internal processes.
When scientists analyze people who appear to have tremendous self-control, it turns out those individuals aren’t all that different from those who are struggling. Instead, “disciplined” people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.James Clear in “Atomic Habits”
3. Practice Abstinence For An Extended Period Of Time
This one is not relevant for everybody, and no two people’s bodies respond exactly the same. When you abstain from PMO, you may find that your libido progressively increases in the following days and weeks. However, that build-up eventually flatlines, and can stabilize, at much more manageable levels.
A drop in libido associated with abstinence is twofold: psycho-social sexual interest positively correlates with the consumption of sexual stimuli. Take away the latter and the former is likely to decrease. Second, going a long time without sexual stimuli / climaxing may motivate the brain to divert sexual energy. If we aren’t “getting any action,” the brain may redirect this energy into non-sexual biological markers and non-sexual social pursuits.
See, for example, this study that found that fertility decreased [temporarily] with an extended period of abstinence. Or this study, which found that fertility negatively correlated with secondary male sex characteristics. As fertility went down, other desirable biological markers went up.
Bottom line: you have to experiment for yourself; these are just some possibilities to keep in mind. The sad fact is that many people who grew up in the digital age have never gone weeks without watching pornography or masturbating. They simply have no reference for how their brain, body, and emotions will respond. Oftentimes, libido management gets easier over time, even if it gets harder, first, before it gets easier.
Finally, I leave you with a notorious quote from Napoleon Hill in Think And Grow Rich on the possibilities of sexual transmutation. Libido is a kind of sexual energy; his premise is that when it isn’t being used for sex, it can be channeled into other constructive pursuits.
Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times. So strong and impelling is the desire for sexual contact that men freely run the risk of life and reputation to indulge it. When harnessed, and redirected along other lines, this motivating force maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc., which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling, including, of course, the accumulation of riches.Napoleon Hill
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