Our health greatly impacts every part of our lives, including sex. But there’s a lot more to health than just organs and blood.
What is The Endocrine System?
Our bodies depend on hormones to grow, react, and regulate processes like sleep, metabolism, and mood. Hormones are chemical messengers that tell your body what to do, and when to do it.
The glands that help produce and regulate these hormones make up what’s called the endocrine system.
Here are the glands that make up the endocrine system:
- Ovaries (and testes): Create sex hormones, initiate and regulate menstruation, and support pregnancy
- Pancreas: Helps regulate blood sugar and creates enzymes to digest food
- Adrenals: Affect heart rate, metabolism, stress response, oxygen intake, and sexual function
- Thymus: Creates white blood cells and helps build a child’s immune system as they grow
- Parathyroid: Help regulate bone health
- Pineal Gland: Produces melatonin to help you sleep
- Thyroid Gland: Helps control growth, metabolism, and energy levels
- Pituitary Gland: Tells other glands what to do, aka the master gland
- Hypothalamus: Connects the endocrine and nervous systems
How Hormones Influence Your Sex Life
What exactly does the endocrine system have to do with your sex life? Well, everything!
So much of what we understand about arousal and sexual function comes down to the tiny messengers that make up the endocrine system, aka hormones.
First off, you wouldn’t have gotten to the sexually mature being that you are without the help of the endocrine system and the role it plays in sexual maturation, aka puberty.
While people of all ages experience pleasure, sexual development is necessary to bloom into the thriving sexual beings we’re all capable of being.
The Nervous System
The endocrine system also impacts your nervous system. Nervous system arousal and regulation are essential for being able to feel safe and present during sex.
Sexual intimacy can elicit a stress or “fight, flight, or freeze” response in some cases. If this is you, you might feel like you’re in your head instead of in your body while having sex. When you don’t feel present in your body, it can be difficult to feel the nuances of pleasure and communicate and set boundaries.
Regulating this and the hormones that help to control it are essential for feeling safe and comfortable during sex.
When you feel depleted and low on energy, your libido might be one of the first things to go.
The thyroid gland is one of the main factors that affect your energy levels. Thyroid disorders are also incredibly common amongst women and people who were assigned female at birth.
Given that about one in eight women will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime, it’s important to be aware of the many ways these conditions can affect your life. Low thyroid hormones can lead to a decrease in nerve sensitivity as well as vaginal dryness.
Thyroid conditions can also lead to depression and mood disorders which can also impact libido.
Improving Hormone Health for Better Sex
Our hormones fluctuate and change with age, ailments, environmental factors, and depending on our needs. Supporting your hormonal health can not only help you feel better overall but help to improve your sex life!
If fluctuating hormone levels are affecting your sex drive, hormone replacement therapy may be able to help increase it.
Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is a process that is supervised by a doctor. People who may benefit from it include those who are peri or post-menopausal, as well as those who are dealing with a thyroid condition.
These are different treatment plans, but they both fall under the category of hormone therapy.
Herbal medicine has been used for ages to support female-bodied health.
Not only are there incredible herbal tools that can help balance your hormones, but there are also ones that are natural libido enhancers, like the Chinese medicine herb Dong Quai Root.
There are plenty of gentle herbal formulas out there that can be bought at a store or made at home, but it’s always recommended that you work with a trained practitioner to help you find the right herbal formulas for you. This is especially true if you have a medically diagnosed hormone condition.
The food that you eat has a huge impact on your hormonal health, and thus your sex life.
Everyone has different dietary needs, but some of the best foods for regulating hormone health are:
- Fatty fish like sardines and wild-caught salmon
- Leafy greens
- Antioxidant-rich fruits like pomegranates and cherries
Yummy food for better sex? Count us in!
Looking for Support?
If you feel like your sex life is being greatly impacted by your hormonal health, it is recommended that you seek support from a trained healthcare practitioner.
Your hormones are an integral part of who you are, and how you relate to your sexual self. If you’ve experienced an unexplained drop in libido, getting your hormone levels tested is a great place to start to help you get the answers you need.