Feeling a little lackluster in the libido department? You're not alone. Americans' sex drives are plummeting, thanks to many chemicals and ingredients added to our food, medicines, shower gels, and even sex toys! Get your hormones back on track and rev up your sex drive by eliminating the top sex-drive killers that lurk in your home.
Have you heard the gross fact about many sodas? Some, like Mountain Dew, list brominated vegetable oil—or BVO—as an ingredient. Bromine products are linked to male infertility, impotence, and decreased libido. (Check out this soda infographic to see how the drink impacts your entire body.)
For that same reason, it's also a good idea to avoid other sources of brominated flame retardants, including one found in some carpet padding. That means wet-mopping and vacuuming with a HEPA-filter-enabled vacuum cleaner often so flame retardants don't accumulate in your household dust.
Industrial waste chemicals that build up in fish, dairy, and meat products could be erasing sex drive in women, according to Michigan State University researchers. Although banned in this country, hormone-mimicking polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, can remain in the environment for decades. To protect yourself, eat lower on the food chain, try Meatless Monday dinners to cut back on meat consumption, and make smarter seafood choices. Definitely avoid the 12 fish you should never eat.
About 40 percent of receipts today are coated with the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to fertility problems and heart disease. A recent study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility discovered that men with higher BPA levels in their urine experienced low sperm counts and lower sperm quality than men with lower levels. To keep your sperm—and sex drive—levels healthy, turn down unnecessary receipts and avoid another huge source of BPA, canned foods, including soup.
A 2014 study published in PLOS Genetics found when baby boys are exposed to small amounts in utero or early in life, BPA can permanently disrupt the delicate DNA interactions needed to create healthy sperm.
A Harvard study published in the journal Human Reproduction found a strong association between men's consumption of soy foods and decreased sperm counts. In the study, men who ate a variety of soy-containing foods and then underwent semen analysis had poor sperm quality. Animal studies also found connections between males chowing down on soy and erectile dysfunction. Since genetically engineered soy is found in the majority of processed foods, eat non-soy-containing foods made with whole ingredients as much as possible.
Certain sex toys and other vinyl-containing products can harm both male and female libidos. The chemicals in vinyl products—everything from that plastic vibrator to your shower curtain—can disrupt hormones and lower testosterone, killing the urge to have sex in both men and women. Look for glass or medical-grade silicone vibrators, not vinyl ones, to heat up your foreplay without slowing your desire.
Nonstick chemicals that are used in the inner lining of microwave popcorn bags and in nonstick pots and pans often contain perfluoroalkyl acids; common types include PFOA or PFOS. And these common chemicals can really do a number on a guy's manhood. Small doses of them are linked to testicular tumors, male infertility, and lack of sex drive. To protect yourself, opt for untreated stainless steel or American-made cast-iron cookware, and use this brown-bag trick to make safer microwavable popcorn.
You'd think candles would help set a sexy mood, but if you're using the most common kind on the market—artificially scented ones—you're unleashing sex-drive-killing chemicals into the air. (Scented candles have also been shown to prematurely age you.)
A 2008 South Carolina State University air-quality test found petroleum-derived, artificially scented candles polluted air with benzene and toluene, toxic components of tailpipe exhaust. These can spark asthma attacks. The fake fragrances in candles and air fresheners also act as fake sex hormones, which can put a damper on testosterone levels. Choose beeswax candles. Not only do they have a mild, pleasant (but not overpowering) scent, but the negative ions they emit also help clean the air.
Birth control pills have the ability to tamper with a woman's testosterone production by putting the ovaries to sleep. (Yes, women create this male hormone, just in smaller amounts.) The testosterone that your body is able to create is rendered useless, thanks to the potent fake estrogen in the contraceptive. (Your liver sees this excess wave of estrogen from the pill and sends out sex hormone-binding globulin to neutralize many sex hormones, including testosterone.)
Atrazine, a common weed-killing chemical, can drastically suppress a man's sex drive. Scientists were tipped off to this fact when they noticed that male frogs exposed to trace levels of the chemical suffered a decrease in male sex hormones and fertility.
Worse yet, about 10 percent of the frogs actually turned into females. Many other pesticides are considered to be hormone disruptors, so eat organic as much as you can to avoid feminizing chemical exposure.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men with better blood sugar levels enjoyed better sexual health. Studying about 800 men with type 2 diabetes, researchers compared blood sugar levels to sexual health questionnaires. Men with higher blood sugar were more likely to report erectile dysfunction. To help regulate your sugar intake, opt for safer sweeteners, such as organic liquid stevia or raw honey, and avoid more harmful ones like agave and aspartame, and follow these 19 easy ways to give up sugar.
Chronic stress can throw a woman's hormones into a tizzy and kill libido. During high-stress times, the female body actually converts progesterone, the precursor molecule to testosterone, into the body's "stress hormone," cortisol, instead of sex hormones that make you crave your partner. Tap yoga or a few minutes of mindfulness-based stress reduction to regulate your whacked-out hormones. (Are you showing any of the six weird signs you're way too stressed out.)