Behind Closed Doors: Oddly Enough, Your Sex Drive Has a Lot to Do With Your Gut Health

Things that are inextricably linked to your sex drive and ability to orgasm: Whether or not you left the stove on, a nearby screaming baby, the amount of sleeping you're getting, your general tolerance for your partner, how often you visit McDonald's (sorry McDonald's), and oh yeah - your gut flora. 

I know, I know, "gut health" seems like the latest catch phrase to over-saturate Click Bait World, but there is enough merit to the role it plays in your sex life to earn real consideration. It is, as they say, the second brain, and it produces a whopping 95 percent of your serotonin. (!!!!!)

Anatomy of a Sex Drive

So why is serotonin so important for your sex life, pray tell? Besides toning your vagus nerve, which is largely responsible for being able to feel things during sex both physically and emotionally, it's one of the key neurotransmitters that put you in the mood. (Bow chica wow wow.) Serotonin also regulates blood flow to your genitals, which is, you know, kind of important. When your gut isn't healthy, it's not making enough of the stuff - or it's losing a great deal of it before it can be used.

You can think of your gut like a net. It has tons of bacteria inside it to help with one of its primary purposes: Letting nutrients through the net and blocking toxins, pathogens, and larger chunks of food. When you consume inflammatory bullshit or treat it like a dumpster, the holes in the net widen and the protective bacteria soldiers inside it die off, while menacing bacteria thrives. (Dun dun dun!) All of that, friends, is no bueno. 

See, your gut works so efficiently is because it's filled with millions of neurons that send and receive impulses from the brain. Your bacteria soldiers (the good ones, that is) produce hormones, neurotransmitters, and digestive enzymes from you, free of charge. When you're not making those things correctly, not only do you have low libido and poor sexual response (via shitty levels of serotonin and testosterone), but you also have a hyper inflamed body due to the ensuing immune response that doesn't exactly work properly anywhere else, either. Don't even get me started on the perils of having sex with IBS. Oh yeah - and about that vagus nerve. Your gut bacteria are responsible for stimulating it, which is especially important for female orgasm and sexual sensation. 

The role that bacteria in the gut (and gut health in general) is so crucial that doctors are now beginning to think it's the predominant source of many mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch - there is ten times more microbial cells in your body than human eukaryotic cells, which means the quality of your commensal microbiome is 50 shades of important. So how does one maintain optimal gut health for optimal sexy time? 

How to Have a Happy Gut: 101

As we all know, I'm not a doctor, but I do know how to do my research. If you want the net that is your gut to be tight (AKA, inflammatory things not passing through it and making your body freak out, your nutrients actually getting absorbed) and your microbiome to do its thang (making your sexy time hormones and neurotransmitters) you need to:

1) Cultivate healthy gut flora

2) Not create gaping holes 

The general consensus among doctors and researchers is that a high-quality probiotic (particularly one that promotes mental health, called a psychobiotic) and fermented foods will help achieve objective numero uno. The second, on the other hand, is a little more difficult in our culture. Alcohol, caffeine, conventional (not grass-fed) meat, dairy, grain, gluten (I know, I know, but here's a study to back this one up), sugar, chronic stress, and caffeine all contribute to an angry gut. Foods containing collagen and gelatin help heal it immensely, along with cooked vegetables, healthy fats, omega 3s, and bone broth. Again, I'm not a doctor - a well-cultivated Google search will render you plenty of good information, though. 

I didn't say it would be easy, but I hear nothing worth having is, or something like that.

Anyways, the Big Takeaway here is that a great deal of your psychology and physiology is responsible for your sex drive, and a great deal of your psychology and physiology is determined by how you take care of your body. I've said it before and I'll say it again - but they won't teach you this stuff in Cosmo, people. 

Tagged in: sex drive, orgasms, libido, behind closed doors, gut health

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