Has your sex life hit the bucket since you received the title of mummy or daddy? It’s a well-known fact that many parents of young children are frankly too tired to care about their own or their partners satisfaction and are utterly exhausted and de-sexualised by a 24hr round of baby and toddler needs. As the effects of exhaustion take hold so do the relationship troubles. Without that connection of love making to smooth out all the bitter resentments, and unwind the frustrations of being overwhelmed and out of control, the bickering and misery set in. It’s often the sexual chemistry that holds a relationship together, when two human beings attempt to live together and share their lives it can be an essential factor to success. However, just when this bond of life and love is most needed, the sex life of parents with young children can dwindle to a sum total of never. So that’s the bad news, what’s the good news?
You are not alone - 43% of parents with young children in a relationship haven’t had sex in the last month!
Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship support, confirm this trend in their report The Way We Are Now - “Having children is also associated with changes in frequency of sex. Of those in a relationship, those with children were much more likely to report they hadn’t had sex in the last month (43%) compared to those without children (26%). While this can be extremely difficult, it may help for parents to know this is not unusual. Tiredness, stress and lack of interest in sex were reported as some of the most common causes of sex problems for men and women by relationship support practitioners, and yet these problems are hard to avoid as a parent.”
Ok so it looks like this could be a common problem.
Reasons for a limp libido could be exhaustion, tiredness and lack of sleep. That’s total lack of sleep, broken sleep and almost awake sleep. A friend recently commented that she was quite possibly a health and safety hazard and wouldn’t be allowed to operate machinery in her state due to lack of sleep but here she was in sole charge of a baby! A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 76% of parents have frequent sleep problems. REM sleep only kicks in after 90 minutes of the sleep cycle and not only do we need this dream time to support the brain processing, we also need the completely uninterrupted deep sleep part of the cycle too. The ongoing effect of not reaching these deeper sleep states can lead to depression, loss of cognitive ability, and total lack of interest in sex. Additionally anxiety, hormone imbalance, stress, the contraceptive pill, poor body image, grief and depression can also contribute to not feeling like it tonight darling.
So what did our ancestors reach for in the days before Viagra? Named after the ancient Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, an Aphrodisiac is a food or drink that stimulates sexual desire. If procreation is a natural thing and there is a sophisticated wisdom to our universe then you’d expect Mother Nature to provide a natural solution to stimulating the mood of love. So the good news is she did! Here are some of the best herbs found in nature’s medicine cabinet with thousands of years of traditional use as aphrodisiacs by cultures around the globe. Could this be a natural solution to a common global problem?
The Top 5 Herbal Aphrodisiacs
If stress is the reason why -
Try Ashwagandha – this herb, Withania Somnifera has been used for thousands of years in India. In Ayurvedic Medicine it is thought to balance hormones for woman and men, so this is a great place to start on the road to sexual health and satisfaction. It’s also thought to calm the nerves and is the No 1 Ayurvedic herbal remedy for stress. Taking care of yourself when you are a parent is often challenging and sometimes impossible, so starting by getting the bio-chemistry back into balance is essential if you are ever going to feel in the mood again. Ashwagandha root is dried and powdered and can be encapsulated or added to water, fruit juice and milk, it has a mild taste so could also be added to a smoothie. Ashwagandha tincture can be taken directly. Take the recommended amount daily and give it a go over a longer period of time to reap the benefit.
If emotional trauma is the reason-
Try Damiana – native to Central Mexico this herb, Turnera Diffusa has a long history of use as an Aphrodisiac and is traditionally infused in hot water and drank as a sweat tea. This is the herb to reach for if the lack of sex has a strong emotional content and an inability to reach orgasm or get an erection are problems in the bedroom. The emotions of guilt, disappointment, anger and despair can end up getting in the way when the moment finally comes. Talking about it with each other is essential but Damiana is a calming and uplifting tonic which is thought to help at getting things going again. Damiana leaves are dried and sometimes powdered. The leaves can be prepared traditionally as a tea, or the powder can be encapsulated, added to water, fruit juice, milk or even a smoothie. The tincture can be taken directly. Again this is a herb that can be taken over a longer period of time for maximum effect.
If exhaustion is the reason -
Try Guarana – the tribes of the Brazilian rain forest have used this herb, Paullinia Cupana for thousands of years as a natural stimulant. So if you are just too tired and low and you can’t stay awake to even consider getting in the mood for love then this herb is for you. It’s known to increase physical endurance so be prepared for a late night if this herb is in your cup. The Guarana berries are dried and powered, and this powder can be added to a hot or cold drink, and the tincture can be taken directly. Whilst having a bitter taste, Guarana can be added to a drink to enjoy for pleasure such as a hot chocolate, smoothie or even sparkling wine or water (think angostura bitters). Guarana’s effects are fairly immediate so this is one to take directly before getting in the mood for love.
If lack of libido is the reason -
Try Tribulus Terrestris – the Chinese have turned to this herb, also called Gokshura, to help boost sexual performance and it has a popular reputation amongst athletes for building muscles. This is because it is known to stimulate the production of the all-important testosterone so it can boost libido in men and women. As well as getting things going it is also thought to speed up sexual recovery rate, so this is the herb on hand to help if satisfaction is an issue. The berries are dried and powered and can be encapsulated or added as a powder to water or fruit juice. It has a very strong taste so it’s better to not make a song and dance about it. It can also be taken directly as a tincture.
If libido, stress, exhaustion are ALL the reason -
Try Muira Puama – the Brazilians have used this herb for generations and it has earned the name of Potency Wood. This herb is a good all-rounder as it is also thought to be a tonic for the nervous system as well as boost sexual desire and libido. This is most helpful for exhaustion, frayed and argumentative parents of young children who can well do with a bit of relief from stress and trauma. The roots of the plant are dried and powered or made into a tincture. It can be taken daily over a period of time and is more likely to have an accumulative effect. The powder can be encapsulated or added to a liquid and the tincture can be taken directly. It has quite a strong taste so getting it down with a little honey to sweeten is not a bad idea.
Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet has it covered.
The benefits of herbal Aphrodisiacs are completely natural and relatively affordable. Our sexual function is not just an on or off switch, it’s a holistic part of us. When our sexual energy is flowing this can contribute to a positive, creative and sociable outlook on life. Equally when we are not feeling so life embracing our sexual energy can be effected. These natural remedies can help by readdressing that balance and bringing the body back to the natural state of healthy sexual interest and wellbeing.
It’s worth being aware that these herbs could have personal side effects and checking that there are no contraindications with medication you are taking is a smart move, try the free tool on medscape.com http://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker . It’s also worth consulting a Herbalist if you have an existing health condition or you’d like support over a series of treatments on these issues. However all of these herbal remedies are safe to try. Medical Herbalist Helen Rideout says ‘ I advocate getting professional advice when you need it, but we should also feel empowered to treat ourselves and train ourselves as lay herbalists, and sometimes that does require some experimentation to find which herb suits you.’