Category: Libido

International Libido week! Time to get some snogging in.

Bake a big cake — Nov. 18 to 25th is Libido Week

Ottawa event a fun, informative way to talk about sluggish sex drives, expert says

Sex therapist SueMcGarvie’s book links weight loss and sex.

Photograph by: Chris Mikula, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Citizen

“Sex is like chocolate cake,” says sex therapist Sue McGarvie. “When you don’t see it, you don’t want it. You’re not going to get in your car to go get it. But when you see it you want it, and you want it bad.”

McGarvie is on a mission to help people see that proverbial chocolate cake, and on Nov. 18, she’s teaming up with pharmacist and health advocate Kent McLeod of NutriChem Pharmacy for Libido Day, an event that aims to bring the topic of sluggish sex drives out of the bedroom and into the classroom.

McLeod will kick off things with a presentation about the science behind sexual desire, and, after a comedic interlude by local funny girl Carrie Gaetz, McGarvie will take the stage with anecdotes from her 17 years as a registered sex therapist — as well as wisdom gleaned from her own (very personal) experiences.

Billed as a fun, informative session for people of all ages, the event will also serve as the launch of McGarvie’s new book, Lean and Lusty: The Libido Diet, in which she details, with trademark humour and irreverence, her experiments with dieting, hormone testing, weight loss, and, of course, sex.

Part self-help, part diet guide, part sex manual, McGarvie writes in the introduction that the book “was designed to give you an understanding of your body, your sexuality and help you lose weight in the process.”

Think weight and libido have nothing in common? Tell that to McGarvie, who spent more than a year testing out the connection on herself.

She lost 140 pounds, and, as she writes in her new book, “I lost the weight, got much, much hornier, and rediscovered my missing health … sometimes becoming so much more turned on was damn distracting, and I want to thank God I was born in the technological age, after the invention of sex toys. It wasn’t quite a Sex in the City rabbit intervention, but let’s just say I used up my share of batteries since I’ve increased my libido.”

But while sex can be a great motivator for weight loss, it isn’t just about instant gratification, says the therapist and former radio host of Sunday Night Sex with Sue.

“It’s about saving marriages,” says McGarvie, calling low libido the “silent epidemic” because so many women suffer from a low sex drive, and often no one talks about the situation.

“Abstinence is not an option,” says McGarvie. “It’s all men think about as it is, let alone when they’re not getting any.”

McLeod agrees that the effect of low libidos — on marriages, and society at large — is devastating. “I see women for a variety of health issues, and low libido is one of the top four complaints,” says McLeod, “and yet it’s not something that’s well understood or addressed.”

McLeod illustrates the widespread acceptance of low sex drives with the story of a man he recently met who complained of a drop in his sex drive. This man had rightly determined his prescription medication to be the cause of the problem, but said it wasn’t really affecting his married life because his wife was on the same drug — and was similarly affected.

So if no one is complaining, is there a problem? What’s wrong with a life without sex?

“Sex is a function of vitality,” says McLeod. “Low libido is associated with not sleeping, not having any energy, feeling depressed. Is that really how you want to live your life?”


More about kickstarting female sex drive and the wonders of sprouts and Pomegranate

Techniques Sprouts Pom My sweetie thinks I'm a bit cracked. No more than usual, but since I am reading everything I can get my hands on about women and hormones, I've taken to making jars of sprouts all over the kitchen. The more I understand both medically, clinically and personally about estrogen receptors and phytoestrogen, the better I'm eating.  And sprouts are one of the best thing you can eat to fight estrogen dominance, keep your weight down and your sex drive high. So I now sprout with the best of them.

Here's why it is important to me, and it may be relevant to a woman in your life. Belly fat is a source of estrogen. Lots of belly fat means you are sluggish, cuddly, lots of vaginal secretions,sleep alot, have irregular periods, and become naturally less sexual and sexy. Since I am a woman with curves (and there have been times when I've had lots of curves and belly fat), this is my problem. It may be yours as well. I'm combating the problem with lots of the aforementioned sprouts, as much exercise as I can fit in, and pomegranate juice.

Pomegranate seeds have been used in Middle Eastern countries to treat menopause and hormonal issues for milleniums. Pomegranate contains compounds like punicalagin, antioxidants, flavonoids, and coumestrol.  But it is the only plant currently known to contain estrone. Pomegranate's medicinal ingredients alter the way estrogen receptor cells respomd to the body's own estrogen, which is important for North American women who are overloaded with estrogen from their environment. (source: Vanderhaeghe, and Sexy Hormones).

So, while I manage my body, my crazy hormones, and my life I take a moment to drink some Pom and eat some seeds. All I can say is that I feel good and stay sexy. It's seems to be working for both me and my patients, and I would be happy to field emails about your sex drive issues at  

Sex Drive, sugar cravings, hormones and blood PH

Cravings I struggle to resist the call of chocolate on a daily basis. Most days it is a continuous battle (during the PMS days I generally lose the war). It has only been through an understanding of my hormones (as it relates to sexual desire) in both myself and my patients that allowed me to pull through of the crazy spiral of hormonal fluctuations. I was at Walmart last week and standing in front of the dark chocolate choosing my particular poison. I looked around and saw five other women doing the same thing. We all hear the  call of mood management. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh are documenting what women have always understood innately.

Chocolate puts us in the mood.

I tell men that the two greatest pantieremovers out there are red wine and dark chocolate. They bump up our dopamine levels move the serotonin to where it needs to be. It also affects our blood PH and starts cranking up the furnace. Unfortunately, those medicinal  time's start the cravings as we become more acidic. And so the cycle begins again.  And men wonder why we get crazy. I'm learning a great deal more about how our body PH can affect cravings, sex drive and mood.  Hormones

Here is my understanding of it in a nutshell.

Your blood is naturally a PH of 7.3. An optimum range is between 6.2 and 7.4 depending on the time of day. You can test it by licking or peeing on the little PH strips they sell at the health store for about $12. My kids always get a kick out of watching the paper go from orange to yellow to green or purple.  You need a balance of alkaline and acid foods (usually 75% alkaline and 25% acid). If you are too acidic it causes you to get agitated, your energy is good, but it causes a "burn out" as aging is accelerated and minerals from your bones are leeched out to "cool the fire". It is then that you may be craving sugar.

If you are too alkaosis (between 7.5 and 8) you may be sluggish and lumpy.  Dramatically fluctuating PH level results in mood swings and the "crazy" hormonal behavior  women (and those who love them) understand.

So, here is what I do to manage the acidic levels. I drink  a teaspoon of chlorophyll (green plant juice) or lemon juice (it may seem acidic but the body processes it as an alkaline food), and take a couple more Omega 3 fish oil capsules. It keeps me feeling sexy, manages my blood sugar and keeps those happy feelings flowing. I'm up to 8 or so Omega 3's (along with megamagnesium, and Vitamin B6), and some dark chocolate daily to keep my moods level, the weight under control, and my sex drive exactly where I want it. High.,,  

Why sexual repression ( or worse no sex) is a bad thing

Betty Not that I'm quoting Martha Stewart (actually she says "it's a good thing"), no I'm quoting Bettie Page the 1940's pinup queen.

"Women who don't express themselves sexually become repressed,"and that causes them to suffer." Bettie Page


It stands to reason that repressing yourself wouldn't be that great for your overall equilibrium. I'll go one step further. I think good sex is one of the top five things you can do for health behind whole food, clean drinking water, minimizing the toxins you are exposed to, and exercise. I mention to my patients that when I started as a sex therapist, I used to say that sex felt great, and was good for your relationship, but now I talk about how important it is for your overall health. Dr. Daniel Amen claims that "if your partner is denying you sex, they should be charged with attempted murder". A little extreme, but the benefits of regular sex, and orgasms should not be minimized. Here's the quote from Forbes magazine:


"Having regular and enthusiastic sex,  confers a host of measurable physiological advantages, be you male or female. (This assumes that you are engaging in sex without contracting a sexually transmitted disease.)

In one of the most credible studies correlating overall health with sexual frequency, Queens University in Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study was designed to compare persons of comparable circumstances, age and health. Its findings, published in 1997 in the British Medical Journal, were that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the laggards." They list fifteen significant positive findings of good sex.


Read the rest of the article at  I could go on and quote over a hundred other studies siting good research about why it's so good for you, but you get the picture.


As for sexual repression, the argument becomes even more pronounced. Denying yourself, your pleasures (providing they are safe, of age, and consensual) diminishes who you are to a large extent. I have never been as sad as counseling someone who has lived her life trying to live up to her family's expectation and deny her sexual orientation, and in the process made herself miserable and sick.  Take a chance sexually, and live a little. Hell, if Bettie Page could step out in outfits like the one above in the late 40's, then you can take a chance on love and lust well into the new millennium. Go ahead, I'm cheering you on.

Libido drugs for women, coming soon to a pharmacy near you

In my ongoing research to actually see if I can fix female libido issues, I struggle (like most other sex therapist, doctors, and women themselves), to find something that works. I swear by huge doses of Omega 3, Couple dark chocolate, zinc, coral calcium, and a good cleanse.  If your body’s natural state in optimal health is a great sex drive, then get it back to optimal health, with an emphasis on great serotonin and dopamine levels.

The pharmaceutical community has taken a different slant.  They are all racing towards a female Viagra, a magic bullet that turn women into raging nymphomaniacs.

Nobody had any real answers (much of the medication like testosterone supplements doesn’t work or puts hair on your chest – literally).  A few new drugs are just coming on the market such as Bupropion hydrochloride SR, PT-141, LibiGel or Intrinsa. Some are testosterone patches, some gels, PT-141 is a spray, and Bupropion is an anti-depressant that claims to increase the sex drive in women.  The Food and Drug Administration in the US is sceptically they work as yet, and I for one am concerned about the long term side effects of adding testosterone to women’s hormonal mix.

For many of my patients, adding the birth control pill has had a huge, prolonged effect on their libido.  So adding more pharmacological medicines didn’t seem like the best idea. If every cell in your body is poised to survive and reproduce, then being a frisky thing should be your natural state. Without using controversial medications that are as yet, unapproved, how do we increase sex drive in women?

I was reading a report about the PT-141, and as interesting a drug as it seems, there was as many significant results from social issues experimenting with this drug on rats as there were from the effects of the actual drugs themselves.

Here’s the quote:

"The funny thing is, it appears there’s a certain human like subjectiveness to the sex life of lab animals as well. When Jim Pfaus tested PT-141 on his female rats, he based his experimental design partly on the work of Raul Paredes, a fellow rat sexologist testing the effects of something more elusive: personal autonomy. That’s a tricky thing to measure, but it can be done. Paredes did it like this: first, he looked at rat couples living in standard, box-shaped cages and recorded the details of their sexual behaviour. Then, he altered the cages in only one particular: he divided them into two chambers with a clear wall broken only by one opening, too small for the males to get through but just right for the females. Architecturally it was a minor change, but what it did for the females was huge. It let them get away from the males whenever they chose to, and thereby made it entirely their choice whether to have sex. Paredes then observed the rat’s behaviour in this altered setting. Here’s what he found: the effects of giving a female rat greater personal control over her sex life are essentially the same as those of giving her PT-141. Autonomy, in other words, is as real an aphrodisiac as any substance known to science.

This doesn’t surprise Leonore Tiefer, who sees evidence for it every working day, in sex lives that suffer in direct proportion to her client’s ignorance about desire in general and their own in particular. For Tiefer, striving to understand yourself is the sexiest sort of autonomy there is, and nothing betrays that autonomy like handing over the job to someone else, whether it’s your lover, your doctor, or, worst of all, big pharmaceutical companies.

Jim Pfaus, not surprisingly, sees things a little differently. As it happens, Pfaus and Tiefer are friendly acquaintances, and he’s sympathetic to her critiques of the industry.

‘She’s on a roll, and I think she has some valid points,’ says Pfaus. But all the same: ‘What do we tell post menopausal women who have lost their desire, despite being in a loving and caring relationship? "Sorry, there’s nothing we can do," or worse, "Sorry, but you shouldn’t be having sex anyway"?’

The argument is a strong one. But so is Tiefer’s. Each defends a vital sort of autonomy – the power of self-knowledge on the one hand; on the other, the freedom to grasp whatever tools of self-improvement are available to us. And if, after all the trials are done and the prescriptions are filled, PT-141 diminishes the former as much as it expands the latter, who’s to say which matters more? Add up all the pluses and minuses, and in the end the sum may be zero.

Fascinating research, but not great news for women. My advice? Stop beating yourself up, get more sleep, and pass out the dark chocolate. My kind of medicine.

Size 4 girls, low sex drive and birth control pills

Blonde3 I’m seeing a trend in my patients over the last little while. A a few patients a correlation does not make, but I’m seeing a group of young, (under 30) female patients who’se sex drive has gone south for the winter. Given how common low libido is, this isn’t that unusual. What is surprising is how much they resemble each other. They all tend to be tiny, super petite girls, all on the contraceptive pill, and all who should be boffing their brains out with loving, charming partners. And are not.

Despite changing brands of birth control pills, these women find their sexual desire almost non-existent. I’ve been trying a few things to kick start their drives, since the doctors aren’t offering up any reasonable solutions. Testosterone isn’t the answer (besides it lowers your voice, and gives you hairy chins, and then who wants to have sex with you?), unless your blood test for free testosterone is unbelievably low. I’m suggesting large amounts of Omega 3 (10 pills a day),  4 oz of very dark chocolate (85% or more cocao), a little red wine, exercise, doing keegal erecises like mad, charting their cycles and sexual moods, getting off the pill, and increasing the amount of semen they ingest. Yup, you read correctly, I encourage them to swallow. The prosteglandin in semen is significant, and if you are using condoms, and don’t taste your partner often you may be missing out on an excellent source of dopamine that can help kick-start your desire. So pucker up, it’s an aquired taste and possibly, the more you get the more you want. 

Women, lube, libido, and chocolate

I know I’ve written about the sexual wonders of chocolate before, but I think chocolate is as necessary as lubricant when having sex with women. I think all women need lube regularly – different times of the month, or stage of life will present a different type of wetness – no matter how turned on she is. FYI I am juiciest when I’m ovulating and the ten days following ovulation to my period. But women who are nursing, over 48, or simply bathing frequently may be a bit dry.  I’m reading the new book Orgasmic by Marrena Lindberg called The Orgasmic Diet. I should have written this book- it’s everything I’m recommending to my patients around libido, but she wrote it first.  Bully for her, and I’m not petty because she actually did a great job of it. She talks about taking massive doses of Omega 3 fish oil tablets to increase women’s libido. I suggest 10 a day, (she goes higher than that so that will have you burping fish pills all day), a supplement of cold primrose oil, magnesium and calcium, and my personal favourite 8 to 10 oz of very dark, chocolate. Yum. You can always tell I’m heading into PMS time when I start writing and craving chocolate. What dark chocolate does is increase dopamine levels, and help steady the levels of serotonin. Chocolate (and a little red wine) is the ultimate panty remover. Deliver it a half hour before sex, and her orgasmic receptors all start firing, and you can do no wrong. At least she is most likely to climax with the minimal amount of stimulation. If you’re a women who isn’t in the mood, or reaching orgasm as frequently, then a combination of herbal medicines – including regular chocolate will keep you in peak sexual form. Oh, and if you are following the above diet, you are less likely to need the lube. However, Oh My now makes a delicious chocolate flavoured lubricant. How sexy is that? A naked man, feeding you chocolate, covered in chocolate lube….hmmm

Why not having sex with your partner should be considered attempted murder

Brain Another monday morning and another book. Today it’s Daniel Amen’s (a psychiatrist and neuroscientist) book called Sex on the Brain.  He starts with a study by Dr. Dean Ornish about a study where ten thousand men were asked one question: "Does your wide show you her love?" (aka sex, for those of us who hate speaking in sexual platitudes) The men who answered no, all died much earlier, and in very significant numbers.

Armen goes on to state emphatically that "withholding physical affection is actually bad for you, and you miss out on its many benefits; and two, it puts your partners health at risk." I think we are just finding out, just how at risk, but all these studies are continually surprising the researcher on how important sex is for your health.

Hey, you can write these studies down on cue cards and leave them on your sweetie’s night table. More on this tomorrow.

female sexual desire and the rage of hormones

I’m talking to my gaggle of girlfriends, or out with the cool group of spinmamas the new "red hat society" for women in their 30’s and 40’s, and of course, the conversation turns to sex. Women approaching 40 seem to go one of two ways.  Either their sex drive increases (guess which way mine is going…), or decreases and sex becomes a chore on the list of things to do.

I’ve spoken to a number of men in the last week, whose wives hate sex. They lie back, look at the ceiling (or over their shoulder at the TV), zone out, or avoid it at all costs. These men are feeling rejected, frustrated, and are looking for solutions.  The option of continuing the same way has become intolerable.  These men love their wives, but have basic needs that aren’t getting met.

So if they don’t want to break up families, what are they to do? Mistress?  There is the difficulty in finding one. Escorts?  Ewww, rushed, legal issues, one of many, cleanliness and disease, ethics, ect.  Bars on business trips? Same problem -complications, disease, time in finding an outlet. So, I’m trying to ponder a solution. Mistress for rent?  Sex while you wait?  Toys?

I don’t know, all I hear is that thie is cruel and unusual punishment for kind and loving guys. There’s got to be a solution and I’m going to look for it. Think of the stories that will come out of that service…

women nymphomaniacs

She’s gotta have it.  The name of my favorourite Spike Lee movie, and the thoughts for today’s musings.

I see alot of sex addicts, but they are almost all men. Addicts, (who used to be called nymphomaniacs) are what one sex therapist described as the crack cocaine of the 21st century), are coming to see me in droves. Most of these guys are addicted to internet porn, escorts, video porn, and those massage parlours.  Spending too much money, and are using sex as a way to manage stress.  Guys that just like sex alot are seldome called addicts. if they just want sex, they are thought of as ‘players’ (if all guys want sex, and think about it every 6 minutes, where does the addiction start?  I would say when it satrts to interfere with everyday life, but I digress again.

Lately I’ve been seeing a women addicts.  These are nice women who are adrenaline and sex junkies.  picking up strange men on business trips, working as a teacher during the day, and escort at night, unbenounced to their boyfriends, husbands and co-workers.  I have heard of one woman who offers to work as a stripper for the night whenever she is out of town at the local establishment.  She says she uses the money to pay for sexy clothes, but it’s about the rush and she would do it for free. 

I’m wondering why the sexuality of my patients, and now the gender of my patients have changed so much?  I can treat these women, but most don’t want to eliminate the behaviour, just manage it.  I call it ‘boxing’ (or compartmentalizing if you’ld prefer…)  I’m doing some reading and will (with permission and anonymity) write more about the new kind of nymphomaniacs.

okay, my sex drive may be hibernating

So what do you do if you really would rather wash your hair than have sex?  I did my show tonight on low sex drive, and what to do about it tonight.   It still amazes me how many women do everything else but don’t spend the time making whoopie.  Hey, it triggers oxytocin, brings you closer together, improves your health, puts him in a good mood, brings out all those protective instincts in him, and helps keep your pelvic floor toned.

It’s a huge issue, and I can help.  Have a listen to the MP3 from my show outling a few suggestions.  Hell, even if you were having sex with the big wrench below, there is no way you are going to be hot and horny, all day every day.

My quick suggestions if you don’t want to listen to the whole questions is:
1. schedule sex.  Put it on the top of your list of things to do, and visualize all day how you would like it to go.
2. Make yourself a “I’m sexy, and I love sex” self talk tape, MP3, or goal sheet. I can help with a downloadable one.  Check out tomorrow’s rant for yours.
3. Have sex someplace exciting. Go parking, outdoors, someplace where you have a chance of getting caught, and crank up the dopamine.
4. Omega 3’s and CLA. Buy them from the health food store and take them religiously.  This from Kevin Trudeau, the guru on natural cures.  hey, he’s sold over 6 million copies of his book, so I think he knows what he’s talking about.
5. Chocolate helps, and a positive mental attitude, that if you start it, your body will quickly warm up to it.

more tomorrow.Bigwrench