#77 Low Libido - Causes and Solutions

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"In practice, I've found that what causes low libido in females is typically a hormonal imblance in estrogen, testosterone, or cortisol levels. Estrogen is one of our sex hormones, which helps us to feel confident, outgoing, and sexy. Testosterone is a male sex hormone but females produce it as well. Testosterone is really important for sex drive and it peaks around ovulation, which is when we usually feel like having sex the most. So, if either estrogen or testosterone are low then our libido can feel low. Finally, if our cortisol levels are elevated and our body is in a state of stress, our brains will decrease the production of our sex hormones, so we can focus on keeping ourselves alive!"

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In Episode 77 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss what causes low libido in females and recommend foods to boost libido.

  • What’s considered a low libido
  • The main causes of low libido in females
  • Foods to boost libido
  • Rolling with your cycle 
  • Supplements for libido
  • Essential oils for libido
  • Sex post kids – expectations and reality
  • Tips for making sex work in your busy life

Intro 0:00
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:37
Hi, guys. Welcome back to the show. Kate and I just like had a really good chat before this, which we probably should have like turned on, turn. So, funny that I said turned on, and this podcast is about libido. That is funny there.

Kate Callaghan
It was relevant. Really.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, but I meant to oh, nevermind. Let’s let’s not. I won’t try and explain my way out of this fun. Today’s podcast, as I just mentioned is about libido, boosting libido for females in particular. But before we dive into that topic, Kate any like, what’s happening, anything to update us on?

Kate Callaghan 1:12
Um, well as I just shared on social media, my anxiety went through the roof last week as a result of the total lack of self-care. And then I kind of had a tummy bug and flu, and almost led to what I would say a nervous breakdown to the point of heart racing and shaking and it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pretty at all. And so over the weekend, I completely switched off. I took off the whole weekend off social media and emails, and I took my kid’s bush, and then we went on little adventures and I found that really really healing and I’m going to commit to doing that regularly. And as you just saw, I just got the new calming blend adaptive from doTERRA and far out I’ve become in love because I just covered myself in it and one with the capsules and I feel surprisingly calm and focused.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:07
So I wish we could like to send some through the actual screen like throughout of recording, so I could have some too. I really like that.

Kate Callaghan 2:15
I feel so good right now.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:19
So good. Well, first of all.

Kate Callaghan
What’s up with you?

Natalie K. Douglas
Wait, wait, wait. First of all, I think you’d like bring up a really good point about kind of getting to a point where, you know, you almost have a nervous breakdown or get to that, you know, breaking point, essentially. And I think sometimes we get sent those kind of more intense experiences to remind us that regular self-care and boundaries are so important. And like what do you, like what have been your takeaways from that experience in terms of what are you going to do differently in terms of actionable steps so that you don’t get to that point again because you’re so not the first person, myself included to have that experience. And I know there are always lessons on the other side of it.

Kate Callaghan 3:07
So I’m a really driven person. I’ve always been what my dad, my dad called me a doer.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:13
Yes, I’ve been labeled that one too.

Kate Callaghan 3:15
I just need to do do do do. And I need to stop doing all the time and just be for a moment or two. And it’s not fair to me, but it’s also not fair to my family but maybe just keep on going. And it might look amazing on the outset, people like you’ve got it all together, and you’re doing so much and achieving so much and like, I’m losing my fucking mind.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Boundaries, I’m switching off the phone from 3:30 till 7:30 every single day to just spend with my family, especially as we go into summer, spring and summer. It’s so beautiful here. So probably just spend a lot of time outside down the lake just hanging out. Weekends, I’m going to switch off as much as possible as well and try and do a little adventure. Each weekend, once a month, I’m going to take the day off work when the kids are in daycare, and just go on a big adventure by myself, climb a mountain or something just to clear my head and give myself that space not just for my mental health, but I also find when I allow myself that space, it also allows creativity and ideas to flow in. And I’ve crammed my life so full, that I don’t have space for the creative juices to flow. Exercise regularly as well and a variety of exercises this week. I’ve gotten back into my yoga practice and it’s been amazing. I realized today, I got a little pop up when I signed in and said I had two visits left and my 10 pass expires next month, which means taken me a whole year to get through 10 pounds of yoga.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Yeah, that’s what it is.

Natalie K. Douglas
That’s a reminder for you.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
A few of my things that I’m doing.

Natalie K. Douglas 5:10
I love that. And I think like, it’s, um, it’s good to chat about this stuff because you’re totally right. Like a lot of times from the outside looking in, you know, your life, other people’s lives can look like, you know, we’ve all got everything together and that we never get into these ruts of anxiety or low points or overwhelm, or all these different things. I think I was having a conversation with one of my good friends that is also a practitioner, the other day just about how, and I say this all the time, but just because, you know better doesn’t mean that you’re always going to do better. I think that you know, we are, just because, you know, we have all this knowledge and all this information about how the body works, and how stress affects different things and you know how not exercising regularly affects us or not eating quite well like, just because we know that doesn’t make it any easier for us to actually implement the changes and we still struggle just like all of you guys listening like we still have our own battles, we still have like our own stuff we have to deal with and we yeah, so we really, I think it’s so good to share that side of it as well. So that you know, no one puts anyone on the pedestal and we all recognize that we’re all in this together and that when we’re recommending stuff to our clients and to you know, whoever, it’s it’s stuff we’re trying to do ourselves but it doesn’t mean we always do it or we always get it right.

Kate Callaghan 6:47
I think what we’re talking about before the call, is well not about us, kind of seeing someone, so we kind of work for ourselves and so we are, it’s on us to put these boundaries in place and especially as health practitioners, we, I think we often think that okay, we know this stuff so we can make ourselves do it. We shouldn’t need to go and see someone else. And this is this is for all health practitioners out there who are listening and and non-health practitioners. I think there’s a lot to be said for actually going and seeing someone, another health practitioner to help you with your health to be the patient or the client of someone else to get that objective view and also for that accountability and that kicking butt essentially.

Natalie K. Douglas 7:38
Yes, I so agree with this. I just like, so so so agree and I, like sometimes ego can get in the way for me, and like you said, like the story I might come up with as all well. I already know, like, I fix this for other people or help people, you know, heal in this way. So I should just save my money and do it myself, but I can tell you now most like, I think seeing someone is just so priceless. It’s everything you just said Kate being cared for bank account, like held accountable, having an objective opinion about like, you know someone else’s opinion about it. I think it’s so, so amazing and I just I love it. I just love it.

Kate Callaghan 8:28
Love it.

Natalie K. Douglas 8:29
Love it. Anyway, we should probably jump into today’s topic so we can get through some of our little questions and things we’ve come up with what we have been asked about and I think you guys would benefit from hearing a discussion around because it’s not talked about too much, at least not in the circles I’ve been traveling in. Well, definitely my friends, but maybe not generally. So, we’re talking about as I said boosting libido for females before we jump into that, I guess the first question that comes up in relation to this is, you know, what’s considered a low libido. And, Kate, I’ll get your opinion on this as well but my, my opinion is like, it’s, I feel like you just know like, I feel like as a female you know if your libido is low because I think everyone has a slightly different level of interest in sex and libido as a baseline. And then I think, you, most people generally know at least most women that I’ve spoken to generally know when you know, you’re just not as interested in sex like it’s totally fine. We’ll talk about you know, your cycle and how it works with your cycle. So, you know, shortly but it is fine that it fluctuates across a month, but I know Kate like I find this question really hard to answer. Do you have any more solid like an answer for people because I just struggle with this?

Kate Callaghan
You write the question.

Natalie K. Douglas 10:02
I know but I don’t have a good answer. I was hoping you did.

Kate Callaghan 10:08
Um, yeah, so there is no established diagnosis or, you know, if you don’t want to have sex, seven days a week, you have a low libido. I think it’s all very, as you said relative to the individual and in your normal. I think we need to remember that we have these basic primal needs as humans and you know, food is one, sleep is one, and sex is a primal need, really, and desire. And so if we aren’t ever wanting it, if we’d rather clean the toilet, than have sex at least, let’s say once a week. I think I think once a week is probably.

Natalie K. Douglas
I think that’s pretty fair.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah. Yeah. But then I think I would look into I’m not saying you definitely have low libido and you have issues. If you don’t want sex every single week because we do go through natural ebbs and flows. But if it’s consistently, you might only want sex once a month or less, then we look into it.

Natalie K. Douglas 11:12
Yeah, yeah, for sure because I think like, you know, there’s times or stages in in life or relationship when, you know, it’s like there’s natural kind of flux’s in interest or frequency of having sex but I just think that if you tune into your own gut and your own instincts on it, I feel like most women know the answer to that as to whether their libido is low or whether, you know, low for them or whether it’s normal for them, but there’s some good kind of general kind of, I guess, figures or parameters to kind of work within before you start getting too concerned. In terms of like the main causes of low libido in the females, Kate, what would you say are you know, one or two the most common causes you see for females that are just kind of starting to feel like they just are not interested in sex?

Kate Callaghan 12:07
Just one or two?

Natalie K. Douglas 12:09
Let’s go two or three.

Kate Callaghan 12:14
So, I see low libido all the time probably because I deal with women with hypothalamic amenorrhea. And generally when you have low estrogen and low testosterone, both of those together, or even one or the other, that’s going to contribute to low libido. So, estrogen is one of our sex hormones, which helps us to feel confident, and outgoing, and sexy. Testosterone, we know testosterone is a male hormone but females produce it as well. And it’s really important for sex drive, and it peaks around ovulation, which is when we usually feel like having sex the most. So those two, as well as cortisol, elevated cortisol. So cortisol too high or cortisol too low because what we’ve spoken about before with cortisol being elevated, that triggers that stress hormone release and that whole cascade of the brain perceiving stress and going into survival mode and switching off reproductive function and sex isn’t a survival. We don’t we don’t need to have sex to survive. So it just kind of switches off all sex hormone production and just goes no, it’s not an ideal time to get frisky.

Natalie K. Douglas 13:32
Yep. And I think like to add to that, I would say that low thyroid function can also affect your libido because if you think of everything in your body being slowed down. Like this is the simplest way to explain it is everything in your body is slow down when you do not have enough thyroid hormone. So that is a huge kind of part of it. The other one that I’d say that I actually see a fair bit which is gut issues and the actual way that I see it playing out most is because when you are feeling constipated, bloated, uncomfortable, and that really like yeah, I guess uncomfortable feeling in your body. Most people male or female, aren’t feeling that interested in sex because you’re not feeling comfortable in your body or sexy, or interested, I guess. And I think I, like I definitely have noticed that in pretty much all of my gut patients have low libido, there’s often other things going on and there can be other reasons because having gut issues can have other effects on things like your, your stress hormones, level of inflammation in your body, ability to actually produce some of your hormones in the right balance but the one thing I’d say is it’s a really obvious thing there just feeling uncomfortable would be definitely something I say, the other I would say which ties back into a bit of the cortisol story. You were, you know mentioning Kate is lack of sleep and purely because your your cortisol gets thrown off, you’re more lethargic and to be bothered to have sex, like most people are just like they they can’t be bothered and I think I definitely see that both in males and females actually in relation to not enough quality or quantity sleep for sure. Is there any other causes that you can think of that are super common that you see a fair bit of Kate?

Kate Callaghan 15:41
I would say in medications. So ironically the oral contraceptive pill.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan 15:47
Can cause low libido and that it does it because it increases something called sex hormone-binding globulin so it kind of binds up testosterone and making it unavailable for use and as we just mentioned before testosterone is really important for sex drive. Antidepressants it’s a well-established side effect of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, low libido, beta-blockers and starting cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering medications. And then there’s things like trauma as well, sexual trauma, emotional trauma, obviously out of our scope of practice.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Connection to other things as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 16:29
Yep. Yeah, I definitely think that it comes into play in a huge way or even just the dynamic between you and your partner in relationship in relation to if you haven’t looked into it, just like look into polarity and like the balance of masculine and feminine energy within a relationship can make a really big difference for your sex life because if you’re both heavily in one and not the other and there’s not this balance or you know, kind of dance between the two, it makes it really hard to have really good sexual chemistry. There’s lots of people, you know, talking about polarity and masculinity and feminine energy and that balance that you can look into. I think like some people that I love the work of in kind of like the relationship space would be Alison Armstrong. I would say there’s also Blake Worrall Thompson, who’s just released a podcast that he’s talked about it on a few episodes as well. His podcast is cool. Oh my gosh, now I forget, Living The Life maybe. Oh my God, I’m gonna butcher it. I’ll have to look it up. Well, Kate speaking next, but that Melissa Ambrosini talks about it in some of her podcasts, and I’m pretty sure in her book as well, the Open Wide book, there’s heaps of people out there talking about it, and it’s really. Esther Perel. I think I’ve named enough names. You guys can go and Google but I think that can definitely come into play in a huge way. And then yeah, as as Kate said, trauma is so incredibly important to deal with if everything else you feel like is in line and that’s something that you kind of have uncovered yet for sure. Okay, so let’s switch gears away from you know why it’s there and on to how we can actually boost it. So what about foods, like other foods that we can eat that will help boost libido?

Kate Callaghan 18:39
So there’s a few that are quite common that people know about. So one of them being oysters, mostly due to the high content of zinc but also due to their high content of amino acids which are the breakdown products of proteins and we need proteins and fats, especially for healthy hormone production. Dark chocolate has specific chemicals in it, love chemicals, other chemicals that release hormones and endorphins and or a beautiful dopamine that make you feel good and feel a lovey-dovey. Bananas, believe it or not, can be good for libido. I think eating enough food, so making sure that you’re eating enough calories and not depriving yourself. Obviously, if you’re going to be eating under-eating calories then again, your body’s going to perceive that as a state of stress, a state of famine, and it’s going to switch off that hormone production and focus on survival rather than fix. They would be my first ones that I would go to, what about you?

Natalie K. Douglas 19:44
Oh, I agree. I think everything you’ve said like and just gotten distracted because I was like, yeah, I do not want to have sex if I’m hungry. And my husband knows that. You know, we do not have sex if Natalie is hungry. Must feed her first but then allow ample time for digestion. Then maybe, there’s a protocol guys.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas 20:10
But it’s so true, no, look, I think, yeah, definitely eating enough food overall. I think considering like, it comes back to eating real food and eating enough of each of the macronutrients. A lot of the time because they all have their role. I would say, in terms of like looking after your gut health can make a difference as well because it has flow-on effects to so many things in terms of like how you’re feeling in terms of clear transmitter production, and also how you’re feeling just in yourself. I think from a point of view of keeping hormones imbalanced and clearing any toxins, you know, in a in a really efficient way. I think making sure you’re having enough fiber is really helpful. And also just have it making sure that you’re drinking enough water which again, sounds really, like overly simple, but you’d be surprised how many people just aren’t. So I think those those kind of would be the main things. I don’t think there’s anything, any like one crazy superfood that is just above and beyond everything else. I think it’s really about making sure you’re getting enough with the key nutrients that are responsible for producing your sex hormones. And, you know, getting enough food overall, as Kate said, so that you can actually, you know, be in a position where your body is like, yeah, I am ready to reproduce not saying that you have to but that’s how your body is going to, you want your body to feel in a way instead of just being in this really survival mode. So I think that that’s important. I think also, what I wanted to touch on is your cycle. So Kate, you kind of mentioned it before but in relation to our cycle generally we are going to feel most interested in sex around that ovulation period. So if you are, you know, if you are actually ovulating and you’re producing enough of your hormones, you will know and you’re tuned into your body, you will notice and very natural increase in interest in sex around the time that you’re ovulating. And the reason that is is because your body knows that that is the time when you are fertile. So, you know by nature, you want to have sex at that time because the end goal of it from a very biological, you know, primal perspective is to reproduce. So I think that’s another thing you can kind of tune into and and recognize in yourself it is a really good way to try and gauge where you’re at in relation to your hormonal health and whether you’re ovulating. If you’re on the pill that’s not going to be like, you’re not ovulating on the pill. So any kind of hormonal birth control but not every but and like the pill is definitely not going to allow you to ovulate. So you probably will not notice that very natural increase in libido but if you are not taking any oral hormonal contraceptives, then you should notice that kind of natural, subtle shift in your interest in sex basically. Kate, do you have anything to add to that?

Kate Callaghan 23:28
No, I would definitely agree and it’s not just going to be necessarily just one day but the ovulation point you’ll feel sexy and wanting some. It could be a week, it could be two weeks. Did you know that some women feel really aroused during their period. And I think it’s just society that tells us that we shouldn’t be having sex during our menstruation because of society.

Natalie K. Douglas 24:04
Yeah, because we’re told it’s, it’s gross and it’s something we need to hide. I totally agree with that. I think like, we’re very much taught from a young age like when you get your period it’s like a such a secret that you got it and then, you know, you have to make sure that, you know, you, you know, like I don’t know there’s always like language used around periods when you’re young and you know, growing up. That’s very like like it’s a secret and like it’s something that is an inconvenience that you need to keep people away from and I just think that that whole conversation definitely needs to change. It doesn’t mean that you have to have sex if you, when you have your period if you don’t want to, but I feel like normalizing it as you said Kate is is really important because everyone’s different and some people will feel naturally more interested in sex, and some people won’t.

Kate Callaghan 25:00
Totally and the guy probably isn’t gonna be grossed out about it. They’d be like yep, I’m giving sex.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:05
Yep, totally. You just might need some towels or some.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah, exactly.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:12
Shower sex that would work.

Kate Callaghan 25:15
Shower sex.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:16
Yeah, I don’t get that, you know. I’ve tried it but I just. It just doesn’t work for me. It’s too much. I don’t know, like it’s it’s maybe I need to try it again but I, it didn’t it didn’t work out for me.

Kate Callaghan
What about nature sex?

Natalie K. Douglas 25:33
I haven’t tried nature sex yet.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, it’s alright to-do list, okay? It’s gonna be in to-do list but the other day, not the other day, it was actually quite a while ago. I was walking along the beach and I didn’t have my glasses on which for anyone who knows me is not a good not a not a good idea.

Kate Callaghan 25:53
I’m not laughing.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:54
And I was like looking up like just looking around and I see like this, I didn’t know what they were, I just saw this movement. I thought it was like some kind of wild animal so I’m like staring at it. After a while, I realized that it’s two people having sex and I’m like oh, today it seems carry on but it was like broad daylight. It wasn’t my fault but I just.

Kate Callaghan 26:21
Was this in the shire?

Natalie K. Douglas 26:27
Yeah, it’s in the shire everybody. Stay out it’s wild here but I would just, I feel like I definitely stared for too long, like I stared like I was at the zoo and you were like observing some kind of animal that is supposed to be observed.

Kate Callaghan
I’m pretty sure that’s legal though to have sex in broad daylight in public.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
I’m pretty sure, isn’t that like nudity is.

Natalie K. Douglas
I don’t know but I think that’s silly. People should be able to have sex if they as long as it’s consensual. And I mean they were behind like, like although kind of behind a June of some sort, just not very, sup like, if I could say that I didn’t have my glasses on it they definitely weren’t being too subtle. But anyway, I don’t know how we got to that.

Kate Callaghan
Nature sex.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:08
Moral of the story, probably don’t don’t forget your glasses when you go.

Kate Callaghan 27:16
Sand sex as well. I don’t recommend sand sex.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:18
Yeah, I feel like you. Like you would or you wouldn’t?

Kate Callaghan
Wouldn’t. No.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, I thought just you just kind of sandy vagina.

Kate Callaghan
Good. Abrasive.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:26
Yeah, I feel like the idea of it sounds really good, like and then when you when you see it in like the movies, it looks so romantic and spontaneous but then I feel like the logistics of that sand like it just yeah, exfoliation is not supposed to happen there.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
On to that degree. Anyway, okay, so going with your cycle tick, we can, so start to tune into that guys if you’re listening and notice, you know where in your cycle you feel like you’re more interested in sex because that’s another really good way, especially if you have someone who’s been on the pill and coming off but and you’re really trying to get in tune with your body and your cycle. I was having this conversation the other day with a client who, who hasn’t had a normal or her own period in over 20 years. And it can be really daunting getting your period again, that’s actually your period and feeling all of these different changes in your body both on an emotional level, on an energetic level, and also in mucus patterns, and all these different types of things. And I think starting to know what you’re looking for is a really good way to get to know your cycle and I think noticing changes in libido is is one of those ones that’s a good kind of stepping stone to learning about your mucus patterns and your fertility generally across the cycle. In terms of supplements for libido, Kate, is there anything that you use for example in your HA patients maybe that are struggling with low libido supplement wise?

Kate Callaghan 29:02
Well, so with HA it’s more about focusing on the root cause of getting them, the hormone levels back up to boost libido. So getting those estrogen, testosterone levels back up by doing all of the things you do to heal from hypothalamic amenorrhea. So, making sure that you’re getting enough energy in, not too much energy out. Managing your stress levels, ensuring adequate body fat levels but there are a few supplements that I do work with, with clients who struggle with low libido. Some adaptogens are usually quite good. So one would be maca, maca powder and the other would be ashwagandha, both of those are really wonderful for libido. Zinc is incredible for women for healthy ovulatory cycles. It’s also really great for healthy sperm, especially for those of you who are trying to conceive. And then the other one would be, actually there’s two others. One of them is tribulus. So, tribulus is a herb that can increase testosterone and what I took back in the day.

Natalie K. Douglas 30:07
Oh, no. Not again.

Kate Callaghan 30:10
She’s gonna say it. She’s gonna say it. Testicle. What’s up now?

Natalie K. Douglas 30:21
I gotta start getting the image in my head that I get every time you say this.

Kate Callaghan
Not eating Aaron’s balls.

Natalie K. Douglas 30:28
I don’t even know about Aaron’s. They just balls. But like sitting down there were the dinner plate just like.

Kate Callaghan 30:36
I didn’t ate anyone’s balls. I didn’t ate anyone’s balls on my plate. They were encapsulated balls.

Natalie K. Douglas
I feel like it’s not improving. Yes.

Kate Callaghan 30:48
So what are you doing? Are you playing it? The testicle. Me, like a desiccated it’s all desiccated and dried and it’s really not going out of.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan 31:05
It’s in a cat bowl and it’s very removed from looking at balls on a bowl. And you just pop it down like a supplement and it’s very helpful for increasing libido.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes, yes. We’ll take your word for it.

Kate Callaghan
Look, look it works.

Natalie K. Douglas 31:22
Yeah. No, judgment. But it did. Oh, that’s funny. But yes, I agree with all of the ones you’ve said. The other one I’d say that I use but I mean I use this in in pretty much, everyone it’s magnesium from a really like, just it’s because it’s involved in so many processes in the body and also because it has such a good influence over stress and anxiety and tension. I think that can really, really help as well. But I agree with you, Kate. I think you know, a lot of the time when talking about you know, supplements for libido. The question we’re asking as practitioners is, well, why is it low in the first place? Like, you know, in relation to HA and well, you know, are you eating enough? You know, we need to boost your estrogen and your testosterone. Does that need some help? Yes. Or is it because you’re not getting enough sleep, or you’re anxious, or you’re feeling really uncomfortable in your body because you’re constipated and have gut issues? I think that there’s no kind of one specific answer across the board. I’d say zinc and magnesium come close to being a good across the board kind of kind of pointed in the right direction. But I would say apart from that, I think it’s so dependent on why it’s happening as opposed to just being you know, everyone take bulls balls.

Kate Callaghan 32:55
Just look, very safe supplement.

Natalie K. Douglas 32:58
Sounds really safe. No, I do believe.

Kate Callaghan 33:00
Not my vitamins and minerals, where you might need to check your levels. You just eat the balls, all right?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, eat your balls and then you’re good. Oh, it’s so funny. Things we do to heal.

Kate Callaghan
We eat liver, we eat kidneys, we eat heart and brain.

Natalie K. Douglas
You would be good on one of those like fear factor shows where you have to actually eat really weird shit?

Kate Callaghan
Hell, no. Hell, no. Not.

Natalie K. Douglas
I would be so bad. I couldn’t. I can’t do any of the creepy crawly things. I could not do any of it. I used to be so fascinated by it, but now I couldn’t. I couldn’t handle it but I can’t. I don’t like eating things that I don’t know what they are. Even just slightly weird things, I’m like oh, no. I need to know. Sorry.

Kate Callaghan 33:46
But do you know what? So have you ever heard of the term Rocky Mountain oysters?

Natalie K. Douglas
No, do I want to?

Kate Callaghan
Also known as prairie oysters, is a dish made of bull testicles.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, my gosh.

Kate Callaghan 33:58
Deep-fried after being skinned, coated in flour, pepper and salt, and sometimes pound and flat.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:08
Oh, my God. Where do they serve that, so I could not go.

Kate Callaghan 34:13
It’s in Canada.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:17
Yeah, right. Oh, gross. No, I don’t. I can’t. I can’t do that kind of stuff. I just can’t.

Kate Callaghan
Sorry, great at that.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:20
Oh, okay, let’s let’s move on. Let’s move on to essential oils for libido. Is there any that? Huh?

Kate Callaghan 34:31
Much nicer.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:32
Yes, very much. Very, very much nicer. Essential oils for libido. Are there any that you’ve used yourself or recommended that you found to be effective?

Kate Callaghan 34:42
Yes, so there are a few that we like to use. It’s a little aphrodisiac method blend, sandalwood is one of them. Hawaiian sandalwood, ylang ylang, cinnamon, not too much cinnamon make it sure it’s like a bernie bits but you’re not putting it on your bits anyway, it’s just kind of a general massage just make sure that’s diluted. Lavender can be great to help with any stress or anxiety around the situation. Ylang ylang is more about, again, kind of helping you to feel confident and comfortable. Sandalwood that is great for boosting the testosterone. Clary sage can help with balancing estrogen levels so that can be really supportive as well. doTERRA also do a blend called passion which is great for libido.

Natalie K. Douglas 35:32
That one smells really good.

Kate Callaghan
It does.

Natalie K. Douglas
I really really like the smell of that. Yeah, I love I love that. I love it. Like because I think massage is generally can be amazing as an aphrodisiac but then adding oils to it is genius.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas35:48
I really like that.

Kate Callaghan
So good.

Natalie K. Douglas 35:52
I really like that. Okay, cool. Alright, so switching gears a little bit, which this is, unfortunately, a question that only you can answer Kate because I am not in the parent category yet, but what I wanted to open up a conversation around is sex-post kids or your sex life post kids and really around like expectations versus reality and how maybe like, you can share as much or as little as you want, but how you navigate this situation?

Kate Callaghan 36:23
Hmm. I think there are so many factors that play into this. And as we spoke about before, sleep can be a big issue with libido. If you’re sleep-deprived, your libido is going to be low. And sleep deprivation is kind of part and parcel of having kids especially in the early days, so I would probably expect that you won’t want to have sex for a little while. If you’ve had a vaginal birth, you might not feel comfortable with something going in so soon that something huge has come out.

Natalie K. Douglas
That’s very cool. Very fair.

Kate Callaghan
But you know, a lot of women also do suffer from quite serious trauma. And so that also needs to be addressed and that can take a lot of time. And to that, I would say, go easy. It’s not something that I struggled with. I didn’t have any serious tearing or any trauma to my lady garden. It came out relatively unscathed but I know a lot of women do and I would say really take your time, go and see someone. I would go and see a pelvic floor physio. I’d maybe consider also seeing a sex therapist as well to help you move through the physical trauma but also the emotional trauma side of things to get you comfortable again with that touch in the course as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 37:58
And how like, like, how what about like this outside of it? But what about, you know, obviously your body changes, you know, after giving birth and feeling sexy again, feeling comfortable in your skin, like, how did you, was that a challenge for you? And how did you navigate that in terms of you know, your body has changed and, you know, it’s now you’re like, I don’t know if it’s a story. I’ve heard women you know, speak before in terms of sometimes it’s the story you tell yourself that my body is changed. I’m different now. I’m no longer desirable like, how do you kind of address that before it becomes a problem?

Kate Callaghan 38:44
I think because I did so much work with my body image before conceiving, I didn’t really find it a problem in my, I have an amazing, supportive husband. And we also need to come back to as you said, Nat, it’s the stories that we tell ourselves and if you would to ask your partner, I could suspect they’d be like, I don’t care. I’m going to sex. They’re probably not going to complain, they’re probably going to tell you you’re being irrational as as, as real as it seems in your head. I think it’s important to communicate these things to your partner though so they can help you get through these these emotions. And then do the work yourself because yes, your body has changed. And I think you should let go of any expectation to get back any pre-baby body ever. I mean you can, I just don’t think it’s something that we should focus on. Your body will never be like you’ll never be able to have a flat tummy or anything again. I just don’t think it’s something we need to focus on. And I think we should focus on nurturing ourselves, and loving ourselves, and being present with our children and teaching them to be nurturing and loving too their bodies through role modeling it, ourselves.

Natalie K. Douglas 40:01
Yeah, totally. And I think, you know, sexy is a feeling, like, I come back to that over and over again because, you know, you even I feel like we know this intuitively ourselves. There are days for all of us where we feel more comfortable and confident in your skin and therefore more sexy and more desirable generally. And then there might be that might be followed by a day or a couple of days later, where you feel like absolute crap. And the reality is, your body physically has not changed in that time. And that is evidence like to you that it’s, it’s how you feel, and I don’t think that it’s realistic that you’re going to feel absolutely confident, sexy, like desirable 100% of the time, like we all go through, you know, times and days or feelings of feeling less like that, but I think it comes back to continuing to feel like safe and secure in your body, and at home in your body, and comfortable there and just riding the waves. And if you feel like you go through a period where you’re not as connected to your body or you’re not as comfortable in your body, often like we can kind of create this separation, like this mind-body separation, which I’ve definitely created for myself in the past and still work through. I think that separation creates less of a feeling of I guess like oneness is the only word I can have like to describe it. But I think the more you can feel at home in your body and comfortable in your body, the easier it is to access that feeling of feeling sexy, desirable, confident, and that is going to make a difference. And I think particularly when you go through periods of body change, you know through, you know, pre-pregnancy versus post-pregnancy there is changes in your body. And I think sometimes we have to go through a re-finding of of our home, like of our body, like this is now my new body and I’m not trying to get rid of this as it is now or get back to what it was. I’m just trying to get used to and comfortable with what it is right now because the more you can feel that the more confident you’re going to feel. I think in my, in my opinion. I haven’t had children but I’ve certainly gone through plenty of physical body changes and really had to do the work in creating that for myself.

Kate Callaghan 42:44
Yeah, definitely. And I think remembering that your partner is probably going to love you even more and have even more respect and be in all of your body’s capability because it’s just grown your partner’s child.

Natalie K. Douglas 43:00
Yeah, so bloody cool. Every time I think about it, I’m like, holy shit, we are freaking amazing.

Kate Callaghan 43:09
Yeah. It’s and I think it’s worth catching yourself in those moments when you beating your body up and stopping and going, holy shit, I created a human in my tummy.

Natalie K. Douglas
Like a whole human.

Kate Callaghan
And if you think about the intricacies of of a human being like the heart and all of its chambers in every little teeny tiny.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, my God. It just blows my mind.

Kate Callaghan
And hair and eyes and all of the things. You’ve created that in your body like that’s so cool.

Natalie K. Douglas 43:38
We are so cool.

Natalie K. Douglas 43:41
Oh my God, I just can’t even deal. Sorry, every time I talk about that. I’m just like, so it’s just so amazing what we are capable of. And I think the more you can come back to being grateful for what your body can do. It doesn’t mean that you’re never going to have you know, bad days in terms of how you feel about your body, but I think the more you hold on to that gratitude and come back to it, the easier it is to kind of stay in that state for longer periods of time or get back to it quite quickly. But it’s one of those things that you have to do the work like, it’s not going to happen overnight. You have to do the work. I’m still doing the work to this day, you know, and I think that it’s, it’s worth it because otherwise you look back and you think, wow, like, I wasted so many years, being angry at my body, being frustrated by it, hiding it, trying to change it. And for like, for what? I think if you put as much energy into loving your body, being grateful for. If love isn’t there for you yet then at least being grateful for it and accepting it. I think the more that you can do that, like it’s that’s the kind of stuff that you’re going to look back on and be like, well doing that allowed me to show up in so many more ways than hating on it all the time.

Kate Callaghan 45:06
Agreed 100%.

Natalie K. Douglas 45:10
Thank you. And on that note, if if you are interested, we did do a whole podcast on body love and overcoming disordered eating. And we spoke a lot about some of this stuff. So definitely go back and listen to that episode, if you haven’t already because I think it’s something that’s, you know, more and more common and in a lot of our history, so definitely go back and listen to that. Kate, what about tips for making you know, sex work in a busy life because we are all so busy and I think just so you know, guys, like, we are not expert. We are not sex therapists. We are not experts. We’re just people who are figuring it out too. But I, like for me, I know that we will kinda, I guess we have like a bit of an idea about how many times a week that we want to connect in that specific way and where I think being aware of each other’s schedules is is one thing. We have gone through periods in the past where we’ve been quite busy and so kind of like penciling it in with it being able to change if someone’s you know, feeling really exhausted, but at least making time for it. I find getting into bed earlier, or waking up slightly earlier with that intention of just connecting, like sometimes the pressure of oh, like, we must have sex at this time when we wake up or this time before we go to bed is too much and it kind of ruins the mood but having the intention of let’s connect and some sometimes that might just mean having a cuddle in the morning before you just jump out of bed and race off to work or it might be mean yeah, getting into bed earlier and sprinting for 10 minutes before you go to sleep instead of just you know, on your phones and then reading your book and then lights out. It or it can mean sex. I think that’s what’s worked to me is like being intentional about it a little bit more and also having conversations about it and I also make my partner aware of my cycle and where I’m at so he knows, you know, during this during around ovulation time, I am more interested in sex. Okay, great, like he knows that. Whereas during, for me during my period, I’m not I’m not I don’t have an increased libido. I generally don’t feel like having sex. And again, he knows that like, I feel like communication around this is really important as well. At least that’s been my experience, but Kate, I’m interested to hear yours, especially with two children in the mix as well because that’s another perspective.

Kate Callaghan 47:52
Yeah, so morning sex is out for us. That was my child screaming, it was my cat.

Natalie K. Douglas 48:01
Oh, yeah, I heard that too and I was like, I think it’s not there.

Kate Callaghan 48:05

Natalie K. Douglas 48:10
Maybe she’s killing. Maybe her libido is high, doing some kind of catcall.

Kate Callaghan 48:15
Yeah, so morning sex is not a thing for us because our kids wake us up. And we co-sleep. So, you know.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, also good to hear that from you. Understandable.

Kate Callaghan 48:28
This is probably going to sound really unromantic and I guess it is, but this is the stage of life wherein right now with a two and a four-year-old but we do schedule it in. It’s like all right. This is when we’re going to have sex each week.

Natalie K. Douglas 48:42
But you know what? Like, I think you’re, like this highlights the point of it has to work for you guys in the stage you’re at and the reality is, if you didn’t schedule it in for where you’re at at the moment, it probably wouldn’t happen. So I think like, you know, you can look at in it through lots of different lenses. So, I think that’s a good point to highlight is there’s there’s no right or wrong way to, you know, make it work or have a healthy sex life. It’s going to look different for every couple. I think communicating and trying different strategies is the key. At least that’s been my experience as well.

Kate Callaghan 49:21
Yeah. Absolutely. Not being hard on yourself.

Natalie K. Douglas 49:24
Yeah, no, definitely not.

Kate Callaghan 49:27
If you want to be somebody pornstar.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
All the time.

Natalie K. Douglas 49:31
Although it’s actually really interesting. I’m not going to, really interesting, but you probably really finish that sentence quickly, that I’ve actually treated men before in the past for low libido that, not libido sorry, difficulty with like getting and maintaining an erection due to over abusing porn.

Kate Callaghan 49:57
You know what? Actually a serious issue now with many teenage boys.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Inability to get an erection or just this anxiety around sex because they’ve watched too much porn.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. Totally.

Kate Callaghan
Because back in the day, we didn’t have like a lot of pornography videos and so.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
So many bow chicka wow wow.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan 50:20
So, we had like penthouse and stuff, which were just pictures and you make up played video in your head, essentially.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
But I think in women as well, they see this porn and have this expectation of how they should perform.

Natalie K. Douglas 50:32
Yeah, that can feel really intimidating, like, for both parties, like I think, you know, I just yeah, I think it’s a big, a big issue and I’ve I’ve seen it like seeing it being an actual issue for men in particular like I’ve definitely treated many females who it’s not can’t perform, but there’s definitely performance anxiety when they they’ve known that their partner in the past has watched a lot of it like, you know, we’re not saying oh, porn is bad or you can never watch anything or explore anything, but it’s like the, the extreme over you saw of it. You know, definitely, I think there’s even more and more research around it now. It’s just yeah, I found it really interesting but so outside of what I could even comment on, but just my experience in what I would say, in clinical practice, for sure.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah. craziness.

Natalie K. Douglas
Crazy. All right. So that was all we want to chat about with that if if it’s brought up any questions for you, or if any of the resources that I mentioned in the podcast are the wrong names, you can search them when they’re not that. Let me know, but I will pop a few links in the show notes and that’s it Kate, any final words? Comments? Anything to remind people of before we wrap up?

Kate Callaghan 52:04
Oh, next week there’s going to be an Essential Oil Hormone Summit will pop the link in the notes but they are going to be talking about using essential oils for hormones and libido and gut health and all the things so that will be the one to kick up.

Natalie K. Douglas 52:16
Awesome. Okay, we’ll do. And there was also a podcast we did with, I always saying name wrong. Can you say it?

Kate Callaghan
Mariza? Dr. Mariza Snyder.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. Yeah. And you know, she spoke a lot. Well, you guys both spoke a lot about essential oils and hormones and that was a really good podcast. So definitely go back and listen to that as well but I guess the underlying theme here is treat the root cause of why your libido is low. And if you’re not sure, then work with someone that can help you because it’s an, it’s your body wants to be fertile, it wants to reproduce, it wants to feel like it wants you to feel sexy and and all of that kind of stuff. And it has the tools as long as you kind of push it in the right direction, so I think come back to basics a lot of the time and you will find things to improve. Yeah.

Kate Callaghan 53:11

Natalie K. Douglas 53:12
Awesome. All right. Well, until next time, guys. Have a lovely day.

Outro 53:17
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find me, Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com, and Kate, at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

We also have the most practical tips on holistic and alternative health care too 😉

Have a question that you want answered on the podcast or want to be interviewed? Get in touch!


Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.

Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


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