Have you noticed yourself losing interest in sex after starting birth control pills? You are not alone! While most people don’t report a change in their libido after commencing birth control, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a relationship between the two. In this article, we explore the possible reasons for a change in libido due to birth control and discuss some natural ways to increase it.
How can birth control pills affect your sex drive?
Birth control pills either include a combination of progestin and oestrogen hormones (combined birth control) or only progestin. These hormones halt ovulation by lowering your chance of becoming pregnant.
This happens because, as some studies suggest, hormonal birth control pills reduce the testosterone levels in your body. However, since testosterone is one of the hormones that affect your sex drive, you may develop a decreased interest in sex. In addition to a lower libido, decreasing testosterone levels can also make your clitoris and vagina less sensitive, making sex less pleasurable to an extent.
There is a caveat to this. Cristin Hackel points out that the majority of studies indicate that testosterone has no discernible influence on women's sex drive and that administering testosterone to them has no effect. Therefore, changes in libido probably might be caused by other factors.
For example, the hormones in birth control pills can also lower the amount of vaginal discharge while you're aroused, making intercourse more challenging. In other words, even if your libido is not affected, you might find it harder to get aroused.
Some people might also notice a stronger sex drive after getting on birth control. There are several reasons why this could happen, such as:
- You’re now less anxious: When not on birth control, you are more susceptible to getting pregnant, which is why it is normal to feel somewhat anxious about penetrative sex. After starting birth control, you are more likely to feel more confident about having sex without worrying about unwanted pregnancies.
- Lighter periods: Birth control tablets may boost your interest in sex right before your periods because they can result in lighter bleeding and reduced headaches and cramping.
Signs that birth control pills might be affecting your libido
There are many reasons why your libido can fluctuate. While there is no easy method of determining if birth control is one of the reasons, you can use the elimination technique to narrow down the probable causes.
Your birth control pills might be affecting your libido if you:
- Aren't going through a stressful situation in your personal or professional life
- Haven't noticed any physical or mental health symptoms that can disturb your libido
- Haven’t made any significant lifestyle changes recently
Keep in mind that many people who use hormonal birth control experience depression and other problems with emotional regulation. Although depression isn't often apparent, it can still significantly impact your interest in and desire to have sex.
If you have been experiencing low mood, lack of energy, or disinterest in your daily activities for a prolonged time, speaking with a mental health expert can help.
Natural ways to increase libido while being on birth control
If you aren’t interested in sex as much as you used to be and want to try and increase your libio, the following tips might come in handy:
- Masturbation: Masturbating regularly can increase positive sexual thoughts, allow you to discover what sensations feel good to you, and help you get in touch with your body. This might be a good time to introduce sex toys to solo (and then, partnered) sex as well!
- Communicate: If your libido has changed, talking about it openly with your partner is vital. Additionally, both of you can also discuss new fantasies, kinks, or positions to explore together.
- Lifestyle changes: Smoking and consuming alcohol can reduce your sex drive. Quitting these and forming positive habits, such as regularly exercising, can boost your libido.
It is important to pay attention to your body! Nobody understands your body as well as you do. So, if you believe that birth control pills are negatively impacting your libido, you might want to consider other options. After consulting with a doctor, you can explore the range of options available to you - rings, patches, or other kinds of pills. You might feel better if you take a pill with different levels of progestin or oestrogen.
You can always discuss alternative birth control methods with the judgement-free gynaecologists at Rocket Health for a more fulfilling and enjoyable sex life.