If you’ve noticed a decrease in your libido since starting hormonal birth control, you’re not alone. Here are some ways to fix it:
Libido is largely controlled by hormones, so when you start hormonal birth control, your levels of those hormones may change. This can lower your libido, especially in the bedroom.
1. Talk to Your Gynecologist
The good news is that your OBGYN has seen this before, and they are trained to help. They can recommend lifestyle changes, tweak existing medications or prescribe new ones, and provide therapy to help you work through any personal or relationship issues that may be contributing to your low libido.
It’s also worth mentioning any new bumps or lumps you might be feeling to your gynecologist. They can take a look and let you know whether it’s just an ingrown hair or if it could be something more serious, such as genital warts or herpes.
Another important thing to talk to your gynecologist about is any stress you might be dealing with, as this can also affect your libido. Untreated anxiety, depression or low self-esteem can also lead to low libido and make you feel uncomfortable around your partner in the bedroom.
The transition to menopause can also be a time of low libido. This is because estrogen levels drop during this time, which can affect a woman’s mood. Hormone replacement therapy can help ease the transition, by reintroducing estrogen through pills, creams, patches or sprays. This can improve mood and return a woman’s libido to normal levels. However, women should always consult their healthcare provider before starting hormone replacement therapy, as it’s not right for everyone.
2. Switch Your Birth Control
Even though research shows that on average, birth control methods don’t affect libido, the fact is that everyone reacts differently to hormones. So, if you’re on a hormonal pill that seems to be messing with your mood (especially combined pills), it may be time to switch.
If you’re switching to a different type of birth control, make sure that it’s effective at stopping pregnancy and is right for your body. For example, the minipill isn’t effective in preventing ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies that occur in the fallopian tubes—the ones that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus). The progestin in the minipill is also thought to increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
But, if you’re ok with the risks and the benefits of your new birth control method, go for it! Just be sure to avoid unprotected sex while you’re transitioning. It’s also a good idea to track your symptoms with an app, like Clue, so that you can talk about them with your doctor. Clue can also help you find a birth control that’s right for your body, your lifestyle, and your mood. Sign up for a free account today! And don’t forget to grab some lube.
3. Try Sex Therapy
Visiting a sex therapist may feel like a weird thing to do, but more people than you might think go to this kind of therapy. It’s actually just as normal as going to see a physical therapist for a broken leg, and it can be beneficial to couples and singles alike.
A sex therapist can help you work through issues around sexuality and intimacy, or can even help you to reconnect with your own body. They’ll likely ask a lot of questions about your current and past relationships, sexual history, and masturbation habits. They’ll also ask about any underlying mental health or trauma issues that might be contributing to your low libido.
While it can be a bit uncomfortable to talk about these topics, your therapist will do their best to make you feel comfortable. They’ll also try to address any specific needs that you or your partner might have. For example, they may be able to help you learn how to communicate more clearly about your needs and desires, or to overcome any trauma that’s been preventing you from feeling aroused.
Sex therapy is often done in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy, but some sex therapists are trained to work with individuals alone as well. Digital sex therapy platforms such as Blueheart offer sessions that are completely private and safe, and can be an excellent option for anyone who feels hesitant to talk about these issues face to face with a therapist.
4. Try Adding Lube
A bottle of lube should be a staple in every naughty girl’s overnight bag (right next to her favorite toy and extra pair of panties). Personal lubricant increases pleasure, reduces pain and discomfort during penetrative sex or masturbation, and is available in many forms that can be used on the vulva, in and around the vagina and anus, on the penis, or even with a sex toy. It’s also fun to use during foreplay and can even enhance sex when used in combination with a condom.
While the body makes natural lubrication, that isn’t always enough, especially with certain health conditions or changes related to getting older. And, as mentioned before, some birth control pills decrease libido by decreasing testosterone levels. Adding lube to your body is a simple and safe way to increase pleasure during sex.
Lube comes in a variety of forms, including water-based, oil-based and silicone-based. It’s important to make sure that whatever type you choose is compatible with the type of sex you want to have (or with any sex toys you might be using). You can also find lubes that are flavoured and/or sensual, which are great for taste and sensation play. And, if you’re using a condom, apply the lube just before penetration to help prevent friction that could tear or break it.