Here’s How Birth Control Can Affect Your Sex Drive (And What You Can Do About It)
So, you started the pill, figuring you’d have some extra peace of mind while enjoying yourself with your partner… only to notice that night after night, you’re just not ~in the mood.~ As our good friend Alanis would say, “Isn’t it ironic… don’t ya think?”
Don’t worry, it’s not just you. While most women on hormonal birth control don’t report a lower libido, there’s still enough of a correlation between birth control and sex drive that it’s something you should be aware of when starting the pill. Here’s the truth about how the pill affects your sex drive—and what you can do if you feel like your desire has taken a hit.
Birth control and sex drive
Birth control pills either contain a combo of estrogen and progestin or just progestin, depending on the type you opt for. These hormones work together to stop ovulation and prevent pregnancy. Since you’re adding more hormones into your body, it’s not unusual for your hormones to be a little off-balance while you’re just starting the pill (hence, why you might experience spotting in between periods).
And one of those possible hormonal side effects is that in combined birth control pills, that estrogen-progestin blend can potentially lower your testosterone. Yup, the same testosterone that’s in charge of regulating your sex drive, maintaining your clitoris’s sensitivity, and generally ensuring that your body responds to sex in a pleasurable way.
Aside from that, the hormones in birth control can also decrease the amount of fluid that’s released into your vagina when you’re turned on, which can make sex just a little less sexy.
But, one important note before we continue: the studies that have been done on this topic have found that most women who use oral birth control report no change in their sex drive. Twenty-one percent actually reported a higher sex drive after starting the pill, while fifteen percent report a lowered sex drive.
That said, if you feel like your sex life is lacking since starting birth control, that’s worth examining. With that in mind, here are a few things to explore if you feel like your libido is lower since starting birth control.
What to do if you feel like your sex drive is lower
Examine your current emotional state
Sex drive is related to a ton of things beyond just your hormones; stress, anxiety, depression, body image, and more can all make crawling under the sheets solo a more alluring option than with a partner. Are you in the process of a job hunt, or navigating a tricky relationship time with your partner? Those things might subconsciously shut your sex drive down.
Add lube to your playtime
If vaginal dryness is one of the symptoms you’re experiencing, a little assistance could go a long way towards putting you in the mood. We love a water-based lube, since it’s safe to use with condoms or toys; plus, clean up is hassle-free. If toys aren’t in use, silicone-based lubes are a lot slicker and able to be used with condoms.
Talk to your doctor
If, after a few months, you’re still noticing that you have less interest in sex and you're concerned about it, it’s time to talk to your doctor. She might switch your birth control, check for hypoactive sexual desire disorder (which is easily treatable!) or check out your hormone levels.
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