I'm A Licensed Acupuncturist: How The Practice Can Support A Healthy Sex Drive
If you've found yourself turning away your partner's advances in the bedroom over and over again, and can't remember the last time you prioritized self-pleasure, you may be dealing with a low sex drive. While scheduling time for sex or trying to create the right context can be helpful tools for some, they don't necessarily work for everyone. If your changes in desire go deeper than lack of time or not being "in the mood," there are alternative practices you may not have tried. Enter: acupuncture.
What causes low sex drive?
There are many different reasons someone may be experiencing dips in their sex drive. While it's not exclusive to this age group, Sian James, DACM, LAc, LMT, RYT, lead acupuncturist at ORA, says, "It's very common, especially for people ages 35 and older."
Along with thinning hair, menstrual changes, and low energy, James says women who are tired or overworked may experience low libido. For men, it's usually low energy and not being active, she adds.
How can acupuncture enhance sexual well-being?
According to James, "acupuncture is an alternative medicine practice that uses traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory to understand health and the human body." Its main intent is to bring the body's systems into balance, she adds, and can support digestive, cardiovascular, hormonal, and of course, sexual well-being—depending on your needs.
When it comes to improving sexual well-being, James focuses on both the outward manifestations and the root cause. "If someone is stressed, tired, or irritable, they usually do not have a healthy sex drive," she explains. "You need to be in a balanced and relaxed state to promote sexual health." That's where the energy-balancing effects of acupuncture can come in handy.
"By balancing hormones, decreasing stress, and regulating the nervous system, acupuncture reduces the body's stress response," she notes. And since lack of sleep is one of the most common reasons people skip out on sex, acupuncture can also be used to promote sleep and enhance energy levels.
What to expect:
When helping clients with sexual wellness concerns, James selects acupuncture points across the kidney channel, liver, and heart channels. "In TCM, the heart is related to emotions, the kidney is associated with hormones and adrenal health, and the liver regulates the nervous system," she tells mbg. In order to see changes, she also recommends going once a week, starting at four to six weeks.
Along with acupuncture appointments, James suggests stress-management tools like talk or sex therapy, exercise, a balanced diet, and proper rest. Having a supportive partner can go a long way, and more importantly "self-love, self-acceptance, and having a healthy body image promotes confidence and being comfortable with yourself," she adds.
By balancing the body's chi (or energy) and tending to other underlying causes like stress or poor sleep, acupuncture may help support a healthy sexual desire—especially when paired with other stress-management tools. If your sex drive is not improving and you're concerned, consult with your doctor.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.