The Betterment Project

Covid and Sex Drive: Can Covid Affect Your Libido?

Aside from feeling amazing, sex is great for your health. 


Studies show that having regular sex can boost your endocrine and immune systems, reduce stress, improve intimacy with your partner, and dramatically boost your mood. 


On the other hand, sexual dysfunction is associated with various chronic health problems, such as hypertension. And it goes without saying that having less sex is not the greatest thing for your overall well-being. 


Unfortunately, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, it took a serious toll on our sex lives and daily life in general. We had many reasons for a low libido between emotional stress, social distancing, and relationship tension. Even with the world slowly coming out of lockdowns, our libido may not be where it used to be. 


If you’re still experiencing a post-pandemic drop in your sex drive, then COVID may be to blame. 


In this guide from ASYSTEM, we’ll explain the relationship between COVID and sex drive. And to help you get your libido back, we’ll give you six evidence-based ways to improve your sexual health and function. 


Read on to get your pre-COVID sex drive back and potentially improve your overall quality of life. 

 

How Does COVID Affect Sex Drive?

COVID is associated with various physical and psychological factors that can affect your sex drive — whether you had a COVID-19 infection or not. 


Here are some of the reasons you may experience a low sexual desire after the pandemic: 

 

Increased Fatigue 

Following a COVID infection, many people report feeling fatigued for weeks or months — which is one of the most common symptoms of long COVID. 


Also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, this symptom can make it difficult to feel the energy needed to engage in sexual behavior — this includes going on dates, initiating sex with partners, and engaging in the act.


Studies show that up to 50% of those infected with COVID report fatigue as one of the long-term effects. If you battled the virus, your body might need some time to bounce back. However, your lower energy levels can lead to low libido during recovery. 

 

Hormonal Changes 

For those who were infected with the virus, hormonal changes may be to blame for a lowered sex drive. Researchers think a dysfunction in ACE2 (Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) — an enzyme attached to cell membranes in the intestines — can explain this relationship. 


Studies found a relationship between men infected with the virus and a decrease in testosterone levels. Because testosterone plays a significant role in sex drive, this change can explain a lowered libido in those who recovered from the virus. 

 

Increased Inflammation 

The virus can drive inflammatory responses in the body, such as an increase in inflammatory proteins, damage to blood vessels, and even an increase in the risk of blood clots. This can lead to poor cardiovascular functioning. Because good circulation is important for sexual arousal, dysfunction in this system can be linked to a lowered sex drive. 


Studies show a relationship between swelling brought on by COVID and the progression of sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction in men. In addition, there is a relationship between inflammatory conditions — such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis — and sexual dysfunction. 

 

Psychological Stress 

Along with the pervasive fear of being infected with the virus, we had many reasons to feel stressed out. 


We all experienced uncertainty about the future, financial strains, job insecurity, reduced social support, and a general sentiment that the world wasn’t doing so well. When you add social isolation to the equation, it’s no surprise that there was a 25% increase in rates of stress, depression, anxiety, and various other mental health problems. 


Physically, stress releases fight-or-flight hormones. This shuts down our body’s non-essential functions, which include reproduction. As a result, we experience less blood flow to the genitals and have a harder time getting aroused. 


Psychologically, feeling stressed out means that you can’t be in the present moment and enjoy the sensations of sex. Besides, when you have pressing issues on your mind — such as the possibility of losing your job — sex doesn’t exactly seem like the most appealing thing. 

 

Changes in Body Image

Many fail to talk about the effect the pandemic had on our bodies. Being stuck at home for months on end caused many people to put on weight. About 40% of adults reported weight gain during the pandemic — with an average increase of 30 pounds!


Body confidence is important at any weight. However, such drastic changes to body composition — which is not necessarily for the better — can seriously affect body image, which is linked to sex drive

 

How Can You Get Your Sex Drive Back After COVID? 

Fortunately, many of the changes we experienced due to the pandemic are temporary — this includes changes to our sex drive. By following certain strategies, we can be well on our way to getting our regular sex drive back. 


Here are six ways to increase your post-pandemic sex drive and support your reproductive health: 

 

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can help to improve many of the negative changes we experienced during the pandemic. For instance, fatigue — a common complaint amongst those who were infected with COVID — can be improved by increasing your intake of nutrient-rich plants and healthy fats. On the other hand, diets high in sugar are associated with increased fatigue


Your diet can also improve health markers related to sexual health. For instance, a diet low in sugar is linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular problems. Healthy circulation is important for getting blood flow to the genitals, which improves arousal, sensitivity, and even the ability to orgasm.  Thus, a healthy diet can help support both male and female sexual function. 

 

2. Get Plenty of Exercise 

Exercise is another lifestyle factor that can improve circulation. To reap its benefits, follow official recommendations for exercise: This includes about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (or 75 minutes of high-intensity) exercise per week. 


In addition to improved blood flow, exercise can also boost your mood and energy levels. As a bonus, you experience a change in your body composition — for the better — which can improve your body image and, thus, your sex drive. 


3. Reduce Emotional Stress 

Emotional stress can wreak havoc on your health, including many aspects of your sexual function. While getting rid of the stressors in your life would be ideal, this isn’t always possible. 


Instead, you can improve your response to stressors with mind-body practices, such as meditation or stress-reducing supplements. ASYSTEM’S De-Stress Gummies contain a blend of ingredients clinically proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety, increase focus, and balance mood. 

 

4. Increase Nitric Oxide Levels 

Nitric oxide is a molecule produced by your body that relaxes the inner muscles of blood vessels, which causes them to widen. This can increase circulation. 


If you are experiencing a reduced ability to get aroused, poor circulation may be to blame. Supplementing with ingredients that increase nitric oxide production — such as S7®, which is found in ASYSTEM’s Libido Gummies — can promote blood flow to the genital area and boost your libido. 

 

5. Balance Your Hormones 

An imbalance in your sex hormones — such as testosterone — can directly contribute to a lowered sex drive. Thankfully, there are natural ways to balance and support your body’s hormone levels.


Studies show that a group of herbs known as adaptogens may support healthy testosterone levels and aid the body’s stress response.

 

6. Boost Your Body Image 

You can boost your body image in two ways: improving your appearance or improving how you think about your appearance. 


Regular exercise and a healthy diet should do the trick for healthy body composition. Remember: It’s important to give your body some time after the pandemic to bounce back. 


However, if you feel like you experience a low body image despite achieving a healthy body composition, it might help to talk it out with someone. A counselor can help you get to the bottom of your negative self-image and find ways to improve it. 

 

Takeaways 

If your sex drive took a hit during the time of COVID-19, then you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to boost it. Improving your diet and exercise, reducing stress, and boosting your body image can go a long way in boosting your libido.


For added help, natural supplements — such as ASYSTEM’s Libido System — contain a blend of ingredients to boost libido and improve your sexual life. ASYSTEM’s Libido Gummies contain the clinically proven ingredient S7® to increase nitric oxide, L-Citrulline to support blood flow, L-Theanine to manage stress and anxiety, and Boron Citrate to help regulate hormones. 


When you need some extra support, ASYSTEM can help.


Our Sources: 

The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities | Wiley


Erectile Dysfunction and Hypertension: Impact on Cardiovascular Risk and Treatment | PMC 


The Double Edge Sword of Testosterone's Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic | Frontiers


Sexual Health Concerns in Patients With Cardiovascular Disease | Circulation 


Tip of the iceberg: erectile dysfunction and COVID-19 | International Journal of Impotence Research 


COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide | The World Health Organization 


The extra weight of COVID-19 | The American Psychological Association 


The Relationship Between Body Image and Sexual Function in Middle-Aged Women | PMC 


Carbohydrate Consumption and Fatigue: A Review | Nevada Journal of Public Health


Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health | AHA Journals 


How much physical activity do adults need? | CDC 


A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males | PMC 

Meet our Experts

This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

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