The Weird Ways Your Favorite Birth Control Sabotages Your Sex Life

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Sex

Well that's unexpected.

When I went on birth control I expected two results. 

The first, that no baby would be made inside my tummy no matter how much recreational sex I had. 

The second, that my libido might get really low, making recreational sex seem not quite so recreational. 

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For years birth control and lowered libido have gone hand in unsexy hand. 

After all, what's the point of taking control of your reproductive rights if it means sacrificing a healthy sex life? 

But when I started doing just a little bit of digging I discovered that the link between libido and birth control wasn't as clear or as strong as I previously thought.

That's right, I'm like Sherlock Holmes, but for your sex drive. 

So what's the deal, does birth control lower your libido or what?

Short answer?

Yes and no. 

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The truth is that studies about women's libidos and women and birth control are nowhere near as conclusive or as expansive as they would have to be in order to make one definitive statement.

Have some women reported feeling a lowered libido on birth control? 

Yes.

But have all women?

No. 

A recent study actually found that the relationship between birth control and libido might be a bit more complicated.

They tested two groups of women. 

Women using hormonal birth control (like the pill or hormonal IUDs), and women using non-hormonal birth control.

Women taking hormonal birth control did NOT report a lowered libido during sex with a partner.

Where did they report lowered libido?

During their private sexy time.

You know, their masturbation time. 

The second group of women, those women taking non-hormonal birth control?

They had no lowered libido during masturbation, but during partnered sex, they found their libidos were lower. 

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So let's change the way we're thinking of your changing libido:

With birth control, your libido isn't lowering, it's shifting.

At least, that's what that study I talked about above indicated. 

So what's causing this shift? 

A few different things (because nothing is simple). 

The first, every single hormonal birth control pill out there works by stopping your ovaries from doing their thing:

Ovulating.

You know what else your ovaries produce in addition to eggs?

Testosterone.

That's right, your ovaries are basically glorified internal ball sacks.

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You're welcome.

By limiting what your ovaries can do, we're limiting your testosterone which could explain why some women report a drop in libido. 

Some pharmaceutical companies have decided, rather than researching libido and going from there, to simply ADD another hormone (similar to testosterone) to some birth control pills to prevent a lowering of libido before it even starts. 

What this introduction of yet ANOTHER hormone into your system is doing is frankly, anyone's guess. 

The research just isn't there yet. 

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Some birth control pills produce the side effect of leaving a woman's entire vagina region feeling as dry and as cracked as the Australian Outback. 

For those women, lubrication is what's lessening their desire NOT a shift in hormones.

Nobody wants to have sex when it feels like slipping a wet body into a pair of dry jeans. 

I mean, until you're into that, in which case, more power to you. 

So if it isn't my hormones, what is lowering my libido?

Here's the thing, your libido isn't something that is easy to quantify. 

It's crazy, but even though we live in an age where you can spy on your kids with your phones and perform brain surgery with lasers, we still don't know everything that there is to know about the body.

WAY TO BE A PERPETUAL MYSTERY, HUMAN LADY BODIES, GEEZ. 

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There are so many things beyond your biochemistry that can be affecting your libido. 

If your sex drive isn't what it once was, it isn't necessarily your glorious birth control pill that is doing it. 

Your diet, your stress levels, your relationship with your partner, the one rib that gets sore when it rains ever since you fell on the treadmill, these are all just examples of but a few of the random triggers that can impact your libido. 

Choosing to exercise your reproductive rights does not mean you should have to sacrifice just how much fun you should be having when you're exercising them.

We tend to get squeamish when it comes to talking to our doctors about sexual pleasure. 

Don't believe that sexist hype! 

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If you think your birth control or something else is hurting your libido, talk to your doctor. 

It's about trial and error, and if one birth control option doesn't work, there is no law saying that you can't keep looking for the perfect fit.

Hey, it worked for Cinderella, right?

Granted, not for Goldilocks, but I think I've made my point in any case. 

Working together, the two of you (and your partner, if they're lucky) can work together to find the option that works best for you. 

Good luck and good sex to us all! 

 

 

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