What does a healthy mind have to do with a healthy sex life? Quite often, hormones are in balance, nothing is physically wrong, but people are still not interested in sex. Could it be in their heads? Yes, and it may be a chemical imbalance.
Serotonin and dopamine are chemicals found in the brain called neurotransmitters. They are part of the complicated communication system of the brain and they can affect your ability to enjoy life. A healthy balance of serotonin and dopamine supports healthy cognitive function, moods, and emotions.
Serotonin has been linked to a variety of functions including sleep regulation, body temperature, pain perception, and hormonal activity. Low levels of serotonin are associated with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anger management issues. It can also prevent you from enjoying sex, which can lead to disinterest. Too much serotonin can inhibit your libido and this is a common side effect of the class of drugs called SSRIs.
Dopamine has been linked to motivation, interest and drive. It is increased during times of positive stress such as falling in love, exercising, and having sex. Low levels of dopamine are associated with social anxiety and often lead people to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, and food. Very high levels of dopamine are associated with schizophrenia.
What causes these imbalances? Definitely alcohol and recreational drugs are major disrupters of our neurotransmitters. Drinking alcohol can temporarily raise your serotonin levels and make you feel good. However excess alcohol intake actually lowers serotonin levels. This often motivates people to drink more alcohol because they are chasing that first “high” or that “feel good” sensation they had with their first drink. Many recreational drugs flood the brain with dopamine, and this is one of the main reasons that these drugs are so addictive. Furthermore, these drugs lower serotonin production over time causing people to lose interest in sex.
A poor diet will also disrupt serotonin and dopamine levels. Eating junk food actually depletes your body of nutrients that are used in the production of neurotransmitters. Diets rich in good quality proteins, vitamins and minerals support healthy neurotransmitter functions. And don’t forget to exercise! Exercise is a wonderful, natural way to increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin. Just make sure your body has the basic ingredients it needs from a good healthy diet.
The body loves balance and moderation. You can always get too much of a good thing, as far as the body is concerned. Talk to you doctor about testing your neurotransmitters and the steps to balance them if necessary. You will notice how much more you enjoy life!