Have you found yourself saying, "Not tonight," more than usual? It might be something you ate.
These days more men suffer from a decreased sex drive, and some of the major culprits are as simple as what they’re putting into their mouths. Foods can negatively affect your libido, especially as you age, so it’s important to find those ingestible perpetrators and cut them down, or out, of your diet.
Testosterone levels affect sexual desire, so anything that depletes these hormones in men can eventually zap their desire for sex.
We talked to several experts to sort out what foods to steer clear of if you want your bedroom mojo in top form.
Don’t worry about developing “man boobs” if you have small amounts of soy in your diet, but excess amounts of the legume-derived products (soy milk, tofu and sauce) can reduce the levels of testosterone in the blood and decrease your love drive, according to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers found that men who consumed 120 mg of soy a day had a decrease in testosterone. And if you’re working on becoming a dad, make sure you cut down or delete it entirely from your diet; a 2008 study in the journal Human Reproduction found that soy can lower a man’s sperm count.
When Sylvester Graham created Dr. Graham's Honey Biskets in 1829, he believed the graham meal would suppress any carnal desires (i.e. masturbation). Although this was never proven scientifically at the time, Graham may have been on to something.
Any refined carbohydrates, such as those loaded into graham crackers, can still wreak havoc on a man’s intimate time. Excess refined carbohydrates (bleached white flour) can zap testosterone levels. Sugars from refined carbs will not only make a man gain weight but can raise the level of estrogen and deplete his testosterone levels.
Alcohol in moderation never hurt anyone’s lust, but overindulging can bring things down by the end of the night. “Alcohol can take a toll on your sexual prowess causing erectile difficulties, trouble achieving orgasm and premature ejaculation,” says Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure. “If you have one too many, you're likely going to feel less inhibited.” Work on having two to three drinks max if you want to be ready to go later.
“Too much alcohol, too much rich food—too much food in general—is going to make the person sleepy and not that interested,” says David Yarian, sex therapist. “The general guidelines about being healthy are what we need to know about sexual desire.”
Foods that contain added hormones or antibiotics, such as some red meats, are a huge sex offender by unbalancing a man’s natural hormones when consumed in excess. For some, certain foods can even affect secretions like semen, sweat, urine and breath, according to Levine. Some smelly culprits are asparagus, garlic, certain spice and dairy products, which can all lead to some not-so-pleasant scents and tastes. “Sweet citrus fruits like pineapple and flavors like vanilla, tend to make men and women tastier, although you may have to ingest a significant amount to notice,” says Levine.
Overall, though, red meat has its pluses when consumed lean and in moderation. It’s a great source of protein and zinc, which is key to muscle-building and zapping fat. Opt for leaner cuts with round or loin in the name or a classic filet mignon.
Consumption of any food in excess leads to weight gain, which is the number one sex drive killer for any man, according to Corey B. Schuler, functional medicine nutritionist at the Metabolic Treatment Center. “The worst food that a man can have for his sex drive is too much of it,” he says.
“Diet accelerates the aging process. Anyone carrying extra weight from ages 35 to 60 is accelerating the aging process—anyone living a high stress, poor diet and no exercise lifestyle. Midsection increase is probably the number one reason for lost sex drive.” A good diet equals good sex. “People ask if there’s some magic to it, but it’s nothing like that,” says Yarian. “The better the person’s diet is, the more healthy their sex drive.”