“I’m almost never in the mood for sex anymore. Is it my partner or maybe something else?”
Having trouble getting in the mood? You’re not alone. Loss of libido (sex drive) is a common problem affecting up to one-fifth of men -- and even more women -- at some point in their life. It’s just like the Check Engine Light on cars, which keep coming back on sometimes even though we’ve been taking good care of the car.Sometimes, despite the fact that you know how mind-blowing orgasms can be, even the thought of having sex feels so...meh. Not to be discouraged! If your sex drive has been tanking of late, there are usually some things in your life under your control that could make a difference! One thing to note in this list of controllable factors: Almost everything that you do to boost your sex drive, also helps reduce your blood pressure - and visa versa.
Alcohol and sex
A glass of wine may make you feel amorous, but too much alcohol can spoil your sex drive. More than 3 drinks in one sitting, causes a transient increase in your blood pressure. Repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases. What’s more, booze (especially whiskey) is a depressant, and it can interfere with your sexual function.
Antidepressants and sex
Speaking of depression, taking antidepressants can also wreak havoc on your libido. Antidepressants change your body's response to the brain chemicals that affect your mood. These chemicals may also cause your blood pressure to increase and your libido to drop.
Prescription drugs and sex
Anti-depressants aren’t the only drug that can lower your libido; other everyday meds – hormonal birth control, pain medications, acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) decongestants, and high blood pressure medications -- can do it, too.
Sleep and sex
You probably know that not sleeping enough (less than 5-6 hrs per night) can lead to weight gain, poor work performance or put you at risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening already high blood pressure. But there’s another place lack of sleep rears its ugly head: the bedroom. And it’s not just that you’re too tired to have sex, if you skimp on sleep, you may lessen your libido and also have a harder time climaxing in bed.
Body weight and sex
Carrying extra pounds may impair your sexual functioning, too. As body weight increases, blood pressure rises, sex drive decreases. Studies show that having a body mass index (BMI) that’s too high or too low messes with your mojo. When you gain or lose body fat, a slew of hormones affecting your libido are thrown out of whack.
High blood pressure and sex
It’s not just men whose sex life is impacted by hypertension, women with this problem have lower libidos and less interest in sex as well. They regularly find difficulty with vaginal dryness or in achieving orgasm. When was the last time you recorded your BP (iOS, Android)? Have you tracked trends (iOS, Android) to see if BP levels correlate with your interest in sex?
Stress and sex
Having to go out and meet new people is great, and it’s really healthy to have a strong social network. But doing so can lead to fatigue, exhaustion, stress, and lack of intimacy with your partner -- meaning sex takes a backseat. Stress and fatigue left unchecked can contribute to other health problems, not least of which is high blood pressure. So find ways to destress - yoga, walks in the park, sex!
Take back control of your sex life and heart health
Taking control of any one or all of these sets you on the track both to get back in the mood and lower your BP. It’s easier than you think to get revved back up again. Hold off on the horny goat weed or sexual enhancement drugs (e.g. Viagra, Cialis, Levitra) and try adjusting these factors first -- little changes can amp up your sex drive, reduce your blood pressure and leave you feeling sexier and healthier all day long.
Hello Heart does not provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor about your individual care.
1. Gazit T, Gutman M, Beatty AL. Assessment of Hypertension Control Among Adults Participating in a Mobile Technology Blood Pressure Self-management Program. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(10):e2127008, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.27008. Accessed October 19, 2022. (Some study authors are employed by Hello Heart. Because of the observational nature of the study, causal conclusions cannot be made. See additional important study limitations in the publication. This study showed that 108 participants with baseline blood pressure over 140/90 who had been enrolled in the program for 3 years and had application activity during weeks 148-163 were able to reduce their blood pressure by 21 mmHg using the Hello Heart program.) (2) Livongo Health, Inc. Form S-1 Registration Statement. https:/www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1639225/000119312519185159/d731249ds1.htm. Published June 28, 2019. Accessed October 19, 2022. (In a pilot study that lasted six weeks, individuals starting with a blood pressure of greater than 140/90 mmHg, on average, had a 10 mmHG reduction.) NOTE: This comparison is not based on a head-to-head study, and the difference in results may be due in part to different study protocols.
2. Validation Institute. 2021 Validation Report (Valid Through October 2022). https://validationinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Hello_Heart-Savings-2021- Final.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. (This analysis was commissioned by Hello Heart, which provided a summary report of self-fundedemployer client medical claims data for 203 Hello Heart users and 200 non-users from 2017-2020. Findings have not been subjected to peer review.)