Your gut and your sex drive are more intimately connected than you think. Here’s what you should know.
Gut health is one of those things that affects much more than one area of your body. While your stomach is probably not the first thing you think about when you hear the word sex, it’s an important factor.
Studies have found links between probiotics and better sex, meaning that by improving people’s microbiome, people are often in a better mood for sex. Here’s what you should know about the link between sex and gut health.
Indigestion is not sexy
For starters, it’s pretty difficult to focus on having sex and good time if your stomach feels off. It’s tough to have pleasant sex when you’ve eaten too much, or are feeling bloated and with cramps. Conditions like IBS negatively affect people’s sex lives and libidos.
Higher odds of lower serotonin levels and higher risk of UTIs
Your serotonin levels, which regulate your mood and can help you feel happy and relaxed, are affected by what’s going on in your stomach. These levels can be altered by IBS, nausea, and more, making it more difficult for you to have fun while having sex.
In the case of UTIs, an unchecked gut microbiome could cause bacterial growth that results in vaginal infections.
It can cause stress
Your stomach has a strong connection with your brain. When people are hungry or experiencing indigestion, the feeling can be similar to that of anxiety, causing your brain to produce more cortisol and increase their stress levels.
Once your stress levels are increased, a variety of factors make it tough for people to have good sex. “During times of stress, we need to survive, not procreate,” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., told SELF. Stress puts your body in a different mindset, increasing blood flow for survival activities — like a faster heart rate — and putting sex in the back burner.