Keto Sex Drive 
The Science Behind Your Low-Carb Lifestyle and Libido

Keto Sex Drive

It's the question everyone wants an answer to, but no one wants to be the one to ask: Are the keto diet and the sex drive incompatible? It's a legitimate question. After all, making such a fundamental change in the way your body operates must impact your libido to some degree. It wouldn't seem natural if it didn't. But precisely what is the extent of that impact and is it positive or negative? To understand the issue, we need to understand:

  • How fat consumption and the sex drive are related.
  • ​How hormones that regulate the sex drive are affected by burning fat for energy.

Most people don’t spend any time thinking about the link between fat and sex until it comes time to contemplate the keto lifestyle. Even then the effects of ketosis on the libido typically come up as a kind of an afterthought. People will be talking to a friend about what's going to happen to their body when they purge their diet of carbs and start consuming more fats and the friend will ask something like “So, what is the relationship between keto and sex drive anyway?"

The would-be keto dieter then stops in their tracks and, with wide-eyed concern, whispers "That's a good question." The bad news is that ketosis will likely have an impact on your libido. The good news is that the effects may well be more positive than negative. 

fit partners

The Correlation Between Fat Intake and Hormone Levels

Fortunately, we live in a time where if you can imagine a health and diet-related question chances are someone has already studied the implications of that question. Keto and sex drive are no exception. So let’s look at what’s been discovered.

Effects on Women

woman showing her meal plate

In a study conducted by the National Cancer Institutes some years ago (1) it was determined that when women reduced the amount of fat in their diet estrogen, estrone and estradiol levels experienced noteworthy reductions. As these essential female hormones are known to affect the sex drive reducing their levels would create a concomitant decrease in libido.

It would only follow then that increasing the amount of fat in one's diet would then increase hormone levels and as such also boost the libido. And the science bears out that notion as well.

Effects on Men

In the late 1990s, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study (2) wherein some men had their levels of dietary fat restricted while others had theirs increased. Similar to what was discovered among women the levels of fat in the diets of these men had a measurable effect on the standards of the male sex hormone testosterone. Less fat in the diet, less testosterone. More fat, more testosterone. Testosterone plays a vital role in regulating the male sex drive the implications of the study were clear.

The Weight Loss Effect on Sex Drive

While consuming a higher degree of fat in one’s diet is likely to produce an increase in both male and female hormone levels and thereby boost the libido to some extent it’s not the only reason why your keto and sex drive may cause you to start feeling the love more often and more intensely. The fact is the very act of slimming down tends to boost people's sex drive as they begin to feel more confident in their appearance (especially their unclothed appearance) and start contemplating possibilities that may have seemed previously beyond their reach.

What if You Don’t Experience the Keto Sex Drive Boost?

In some cases people may find that the pounds are melting away on the keto diet while they consume the essential healthy fats yet their sex drive hasn't either returned or been enhanced, whichever may be relevant for them. What might be going on in such cases? Well, there are a couple of possibilities:

  • You might still be in transition - If you have committed to the keto diet (as opposed to trying to achieve shortcut results with keto supplements), it's going to take some time to transition into a state of true ketosis. Sometimes that transition occurs over the course of 2 or 3 days and sometimes it might take a couple of weeks before a person has completed the development. You shouldn't expect to experience an increase in your sex drive while you are still going through the change. It's more likely you'll experience symptoms of the so-called “keto flu” which may include irritability, diarrhea, a lack of focus, sugar cravings and mild insomnia. But don’t worry, those too will pass.
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    Be Patient - You shouldn't expect to experience an increase in your sex drive while you are still going through the change. It's more likely you'll experience symptoms of the so-called “keto flu” which may include irritability, diarrhea, a lack of focus, sugar cravings and mild insomnia. But don’t worry, those too will pass.
couple inside the bedroom
  • ​Alcohol may be getting in the way - Some folks attempt to go keto without taking into consideration the impact their favorite beer or whiskey will have on their efforts. Mostly, if you thought you could achieve sustainable ketosis while still enjoying your favorite craft beer on a regular basis, you'll probably need to think again. Many beers are loaded with carbs which is what creates the legendary "beer belly." So if you're drinking beer or another alcoholic beverage that's packed with carbs, but you've eliminated most carbs from your solid foods you'll be taking one step up and one step back in your efforts to achieve ketosis, and you won't be able to enjoy the benefits, including the keto sex benefit.

​​10 Foods That Can Help Ramp Up Your Keto Sex Drive

Some keto friendly foods are more likely to produce a bump in your libido than others. The 10 best foods for this purpose are:

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    ​Pumpkins seeds
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    ​Dark chocolate
  • 10
foods that can ramp up your keto sex drive

To improve your diet on keto and sex drive, try to stay away from processed foods if you possibly can and limit the amount of dairy you eat.

Keto and Sex: Enjoying the Benefits

The keto diet and sex drive don't have to be mutually exclusive ideas. If you give yourself time to transition to ketosis and don't undermine your efforts by drinking lots of beer (or even soda for that matter), once you've made the transition you should experience greater sexual vitality and enjoyment. 

About the Author

Ryan is a personal trainer, athlete, health enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He is researching and expanding his knowledge about the ketogenic diet. He spends most of his time writing content about his new learnings of the ketogenic diet.

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