I’m sure most of us must have felt at some other time in life that the sexual drive differs from person to person, and indeed you can feel so even for your partner. Surprisingly, it is not false.
All humans have a different way of operating and their libido is influenced by different factors. The factors will vary from woman to man, individual to individual. So, let us understand more about how these factors come into play and how our brain controls them.
1. Men, Women, and Sex Drive
Let us start with the difference between women and men. Primarily what we need to understand is that the sexual arousal process in men is comparatively faster than in women.
If we actually go into the science of it, the women have a very complex system mechanism and not surprisingly it actually requires them to turn off their brains, to turn themselves on.
Well, let’s make it a little simpler. The women’s libido actually is affected by stress, anxiety, fear or angriness, and other strong emotions; so much so that these can actually lead to deactivation of the sexual feelings.
So, when the amygdala in a woman along with the Cingulate Gyrus are turned off, they can actually feel the libido rising, which is also known as the anxiety and fear center of the brain.
2. Understanding the Brain’s Role in Sex Drive: What Part of the Brain Controls Sex Drive?
The whole process of arousal in general is very complex as it involves many parts of the brain like the hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, and limbic system. When you see something or someone that attracts you, it eventually turns you on.
What happens here is that the cerebral cortex initiates a series of events that finally lead you to have sexual arousal due to the chemicals released. As we read above strong emotions can lead to inhibition as well, so we can not say it is only the physical stimuli that will help.
We need to make sure that the people involved are not under any kind of major stress, depression, or anxiety for a better libido and a better performance. This is because due to strong emotions, the amygdala gets activated.
We also can experience a low libido when we are consuming certain kinds of medications like antidepressants as these lead to a hormonal imbalance in the body.
3. The Science Behind Sexual Arousal and the Brain
What basically happens in our body when we are sexually aroused? There is a gush of blood flow into the genitals of both men and women and when this happens, men experience an erection and women experience lubrication in the vaginal area.
Along with the blood flow, the nerve fibers alongside the genitals also send signals to the brain to release certain neurotransmitters like dopamine. When dopamine is released by the brain it gives you a sense of pleasure and in turn, increases the sex drive.
So, we can now actually see that a lot of the brain areas are involved right from the point where a person gets turned on to achieve the pleasure feeling. The amygdala is responsible for the emotional aspect of it, the prefrontal cortex for the impulse and decision-making processes.
4. How does the Brain Processes Sexual Stimuli?
It is not any different than any other stimuli for the brain, so it perceives the sexual stimuli just like the other stimuli from the environment.
It is literally as simple as you see it in the movies, when you see someone whom you find attractive, the brain processes their features in a manner that eventually makes you think if or not they can be or sexual partner.
But scientifically looking at it, the organ involved in the working of sex stimuli is the amygdala. So, any person who has a more active amygdala is comparatively more receptive to sexual cues and, hence has a more active libido.
5. Neurotransmitters and Hormones that Influence Sex Drive: What Part of the Brain Controls Sex Drive?
Other than the sexual cues and the brain parts that are involved in sexual arousal, there is also another aspect which is hormones and neurotransmitters. Dopamine, estrogen, and testosterone are the three most important ones.
Although testosterone is associated with the male libido, it also affects the female sex drive. Estrogen is the women’s primary sexual hormone, it regulates the menstrual cycle as well as the libido, and serotonin is another hormone that helps enhance the sex drive when the levels are optimal.
Sex drive is strongly influenced by several neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain and dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward, plays a significant role in regulating sexual desire.
You should also understand that these are internal factors that affect the body’s functioning sexually but there are other factors to include along with this like stress, lack of sleep, and your diet.
If you have good and healthy habits that you maintain regularly it improves your libido like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and good sleeping habits.
6. Strategies to Boost Your Sex Drive Naturally by Targeting the Brain
You can actually enhance your sex drive naturally by using some strategies like regular exercise which improves testosterone levels. You can also work on your mental health to make your sexual desire better and practice meditation.
Mindfulness as a whole helps you with stress and anxiety and makes you more relaxed for a better sexual experience. Consumption of alcohol should also be reduced to improve sexual functionality.
Eating right and at the right time is also very important; include healthy foods in your diet like oysters, dark chocolate, and avocados as these help increase blood flow and stimulation.
There are also some herbs and other supplements that can be used to enhance the sex drive like ginseng. But before you start consuming anything new make sure you are not allergic to it and also consult your doctor if there is anything peculiar happening.