Increased Sex Drive: A Surprising Side Effect of Summer
People tend to feel friskier and enjoy a higher libido during the summer months, and there are a few studies that support this idea. Researchers from Villanova University found that sex-related Google searches spike during June and July. According to a survey conducted by the condom manufacturing company Trojan, people who live in very hot areas like Miami have sex more frequently than those who live in colder climates such as Seattle.
Why do people experience increased sex drive when the sun comes out? Of course, there are countless factors that could play into this. Sure, seeing your partner in revealing summer clothes may be tantalizing, but it's a little more complicated than that. Sunlight exposure has been shown to be associated with serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that lets us experience pleasure, so when our serotonin levels are high, so is our sex drive. Sunlight also decreases melatonin in the body, which is a hormone that can block the sex hormones responsible for sexual desire. However, one of the biggest reasons why increased sunlight leads to increased sex drive has to do with vitamin D.
More Sunlight Means More Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is present in very few foods. Although you can get it from fatty fish like salmon and trout, the vast majority of vitamin D in your body is produced by exposing your skin to the sun.
Vitamin D serves many functions in the body. Possibly its most notable function is that it works together with calcium for bone growth and bone maintenance. However, research also shows that getting enough vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Because most Americans don't get enough vitamin D, even those who live in sunny regions, that may explain why there is such a pronounced difference in libido during summer versus winter. The sudden influx of sunlight makes a big difference.
Why Is Vitamin D Important for Libido?
More research is needed to understand exactly why vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. A study of over 2,200 men, published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, found that men who had enough vitamin D in their blood had more testosterone in their blood as well. The researchers also found that vitamin D levels and testosterone levels peaked in summertime. There are other similar studies illustrating the link between vitamin D and the male sex hormone.
Testosterone is essential for maintaining a healthy libido. This isn't just a theory; scientific evidence supports this. One large study found that nearly one-third of men with low libido suffered from low testosterone.
Get More Vitamin D to Boost Your Libido
You might need an extra boost of vitamin D if you don't go outside much, live in a darker northern climate, or if you have dark skin. It is virtually impossible to get enough vitamin D through diet alone. To boost vitamin D, you can take vitamin D supplements. As a free alternative, you can spend more time in the sun.
Do not sunbathe or go to tanning salons in the hopes of boosting your vitamin D levels. While your vitamin D levels certainly will rise, so will your risk of skin cancer, which afflicts 1.5 million people in the US each year. 8,000 people die from melamona each year as well. Even if excessive sun doesn't end up killing you, UV exposure is responsible for 80 percent of skin aging.
If you want to get vitamin D from sunlight, do so in a safe and responsible way. Don't stay out in the sun without sunscreen long enough to start to get a tan or sunburn. You only need 10-15 minutes to fully replenish your body's stores. You also don't need to do it every day. Wear sunscreen or sunblock when spending time in the sun for longer periods of time.