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These Foods Can Shut Down Your Sex Drive

When you’re ready to set the mood for a night of intimacy, you may try dimming the lights, putting on some soft music, and lighting some candles— but if you’ve indulged in certain foods throughout the day, your night could be over before it even begins. Check out these common foods that may be guilty of shutting down your sex drive.

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Deli Meats

You may find it convenient to grab deli meat from your local supermarket, but your sex drive wishes you’d stop taking that particular shortcut. Deli meat is often wrapped in a plastic that contains PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which can leach into the food itself. PVC has been shown to cause hormonal shifts—bad news for your libido. Skip the deli meat and visit your local butcher instead, who will likely wrap your meat in old-fashioned, sex-drive-friendly brown paper.


People seem to have only strong opinions about licorice— you either love it or you hate it. If your date hates it, it’s probably a good idea to pass on the distinctive taste and scent. Even if they love it, their bodies may disagree. One study found that healthy men who ingested 7 grams of licorice a day experienced a 35% drop in total testosterone levels by day four. Apparently, glycyrrhizic acid, which is responsible for that licorice taste, is to blame.

Canned Soup

The real culprit here is sodium, and canned soup has tons of it. Sodium can cause spikes in your blood pressure and diminish blood flow. Can you think of an area where you don’t want to diminish blood flow before sex? If you opted for this low-effort, high-sodium meal at lunchtime, reach for a bite of dark chocolate, which has flavanols shown to cause blood vessels to expand. Chocolate saves the day once again!


You should avoid soy for the same reason you should avoid edamame: libido-killing phytoestrogens. By mimicking a hormone crucial in women’s sexual and reproductive development, soy can throw your body and libido for a dangerous loop. In addition to edamame, avoid soy milk and tofu snacks when trying to protect your sex drive.

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Bottled Water

Of course, water is great for your health. Unfortunately, the plastic bottles it’s sometimes stored in may not be. These bottles commonly contain BPA, a chemical shown to negatively affect fertility in both sexes. In men, urinary BPA concentration has been linked to lower sperm count, concentration, and vitality. In women, high BPA levels were linked to lower rates of viable eggs. Keep reaching for water, but get it from your tap instead.

Trans Fats

If it’s been a while since you’ve enjoyed the big O, it’s time to kiss trans fats goodbye. They could be blocking your arteries, which decreases blood flow to areas where you really, really don’t want to decrease blood flow. Of course, there’s also the not-so-minor issue of blocking blood flow to your heart, and there’s nothing sexy about a heart attack.

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If alcohol is bad for your sex drive, beer is the worst culprit of all. First, the hops used to make beer contain phytoestrogens, which have been shown to mess with fertility. Second, you already know that beer never goes easy on your liver. When your liver can’t metabolize hormones at a healthy rate, your sex drive will suffer as a result.

Image of shrimps
Photo: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker


In this case, it’s not the shrimp that’s the problem but the pesticides that food companies apply to prevent discoloration. For example, 4-hexyl resorcinol is extremely estrogenic and an “endocrine disruptor.” In other words, it messes with your natural hormone imbalance, ultimately harming your sex drive. Look for organic options to avoid this and other harmful chemicals that will kill your libido.

Flaxseed Products

Flaxseed has been so effective in causing testosterone levels to drop that researchers once suggested it as a treatment for one woman with high testosterone caused by hirsutism. It worked— the 31-year-old woman’s total testosterone dropped by 70 percent. That’s great news for the patient but not so great news if you’re looking for a boost to your sex drive, in which case you should definitely pass on flaxseed products.

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Don’t panic too quickly. The momentary bliss of biting into dark chocolate can actually open up your blood vessels, which is helpful in achieving that greater moment of bliss later on. However, processed chocolates have been shown to decrease testosterone levels, so don’t be tempted to justify libido-killing sweets when you don’t have dark chocolate nearby.

Image of EDAMAME
Photo: Shutterstock/ Marco Mayer


If you’re looking for the perfect appetizer for your next sushi date, this is not the one for you. Edamame is soybeans, and soy really does a number on your reproductive system. In women, it’s been shown to diminish the hormones responsible for your sex drive and even harm your ovarian function. Men aren’t immune to the dangers either. One study found that even small servings of soy can cut a man’s sperm count by 40%.

Image of asparagus
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It’s widely known that asparagus can alter the smell of your urine, so it should come as no surprise that it can affect the way you taste down there as well. Pass on asparagus for the same reason you pass on other cruciferous veggies— it’s doing you no favors if you’re looking to get up close and personal with your partner.

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Microwave Popcorn

If you’re looking to Netflix and chill with your honey this weekend, you may want to pass on the microwaved popcorn. Chemicals in the bag’s lining, with impossible-to-pronounce names such as perfluorooctanoic acid, can both shut down your sex drive that night and cause harm to your man’s prostate over time. The risk just isn’t worth the mindless munching.

Low-Quality Meat

It should come as no surprise that hormones, preservatives, and antibiotics can lurk in low-grade meat. That means deli meat, hamburgers, and hot dogs contain hidden ingredients known to cause hormonal imbalances. To keep your hormones happy and healthy (and your sex drive in tip-top shape), opt for lean meats that haven’t been processed.

Image of mint beverages
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You’ve probably tossed a mint in your mouth in anticipation of a first kiss, but too much mint isn’t doing your big moment any favors. Menthol has actually been shown to lower testosterone levels. Avoid stinky foods on your next date night to ensure you don’t need a libido-harming mint to freshen up.



The good news: coffee has actually been shown to improve sex drives (and erections) in men. The bad news: many people find that coffee increases their anxiety levels, and there’s nothing like a rush of anxious jitters to kill the mood. If you’re one of the lucky souls who can drink coffee without feeling anxious later, go ahead and enjoy a cup. Otherwise, caffeine may not be the best way to prepare for your big night.

Image of cheeses
Photo: Shutterstock/ZI3000


Does your perfect date night involve casually brushing fingertips while sharing some delectable wine and cheese before dinner? Unfortunately, it may only slow the evening down. Cheese is made from cow’s milk, and cow’s milk in the US is far too often pumped with synthetic hormones that can mess with your naturally occurring ones— including the estrogen and testosterone responsible for a healthy sex drive.

Image of strawberries
Photo: Shutterstock/Yulia Daviddovich


Chocolate-covered strawberries are basically the unofficial treat of choice on Valentine’s Day, but unless those strawberries are organic, they may do more harm than good. Conventionally grown strawberries have been shown to have some of the highest levels of estrogen-mimicking pesticides, which are sure to confuse your body’s hormonal balance.

Image of PROCESSED FOODS in the fridge
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Processed Foods of All Kinds

When foods are processed, naturally occurring nutrients quickly vanish. For example, whole wheat contains zinc, and zinc plays a role in keeping men’s reproductive systems healthy and happy. Unfortunately, around 75% of that zinc is zapped when whole wheat is processed into white flour. For a healthier sex drive now and for the long haul, it’s best to pass on processed foods and opt for whole foods that still contain the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Diet Soda

Don’t let the word “diet” fool you. There’s nothing healthy about diet soda, and it may even shut down your sex drive. In place of sugar, diet soda relies on artificial sweeteners like aspartame to keep your drink tasty. Those sweeteners can lower your serotonin levels, which are the hormones responsible for feelings of happiness. When those levels drop, research shows that your libido can take a dive as well.


Hollywood loves to portray a glass of wine or fancy cocktail as a sexy precursor to a romantic evening, but science would suggest otherwise. Because alcohol is a depressant, too much of it can suppress libido for both genders. Even if you’re in the mood, men may find it difficult to follow through after indulging in too many drinks.

Photo: Shutterstock/Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley


You already know the power sugar has to wreak havoc on your body. From causing your tummy to store extra fat to decreasing that muscle tone you’ve worked so hard on in the gym, sugar only serves to disrupt your healthy living. As it turns out, it can also disrupt your date night. One study found that sugar can reduce testosterone levels. Plus, men with extra belly fat (again, likely caused by an excess of sugar) are more likely to struggle with low libidos and even erectile dysfunction—and there’s nothing sweet about that!


Cruciferous Vegetables

Ever quietly passed gas in front of your significant other and crossed your fingers that it went unnoticed? After munching on veggies like cabbage and broccoli, you may not be so lucky. The raffinose and sulfate in these foods can cause gas-producing bacteria to churn out some unpleasant odors once they reach your large intestine. They may also impact the scent and taste of your breath, semen, and more. Save the cruciferous vegetables for your next solo dinner instead.