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Birth Control Side Effects – These Methods Will Not Affect Your Sex Drive!

May 4, 2022

Your sex life may be affected by the birth control side effects of your chosen method! This can be a big deal – solving one problem while creating another!

Updated July 2023

birth control side effects

In this post, let’s explore this situation and see which method of birth control does not affect sex drive.

Friends, the relationship between birth control and libido is complicated, to say the least!

If you watch my videos on this subject here or here, you will know – the desire for sex and arousal are complex issues. They are under the influence of so many different things:

  • Hormones,
  • stress,
  • busy work and family life,
  • body image issues,
  • the relationship with your partner,
  • some medical conditions,
  • mood problems,
  • medicine (side effects), etc.

Your birth control method is just one element.

But the way birth control affects libido is controversial!

Did you know some women feel birth control reduces their sex drive while others say: “No!” – it makes them feel even sexier!!

And another group of ladies say they feel no different from using that method.

To support the position of women in the second group, some studies show women have better sexual experiences. This may be desire or arousal on different types of birth control.

birth control side effects - lady and man of african background smiling playfully to the camera

Birth Control Side Effects that Cause Low Libido

If you believe your birth control affects your sex drive, likely you are on a hormonal method.

Examples are combined and mini pills or combined patches, rings, implants, or even depot injections.

Firstly, these hormones may suppress your natural Testosterone (yes, even we ladies have little testosterone).

And this is relevant because testosterone is one of the essential hormones responsible for sexual desire.

So with low testosterone levels, your libido may be lower than without the birth control method.

Another factor is that the hormones in birth control methods – especially Oestrogen, may cause vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness causes soreness or irritation and painful sex; of course, you don’t feel like sex in that situation.

So these are a few reasons why those hormonal birth control methods may affect sex drive in some women.

So if you are in this category, what can you do?

What To Do if You Suspect Your Birth Control Affects Your Sex Drive

First, before you blame your method – check out other lifestyle factors which affect libido more than birth control.

PLEASE go and watch this video to learn more. Because there are other things to consider.

Check you are not overworking or stressed from other issues like looking after family or work.

Are things ok in the relationship with your lover? And finally, HOW IS your diet?

High cholesterol from saturated fatty foods can LOWER your sex drive, so if this is you – ditch the junk food.

Chat with your doctor if you’ve gone through these lifestyle issues and if libido is still a problem.

They will check there is no medical or mental health cause.

Are there medical conditions that could explain your disinterest, like fatigue from Anaemia or an Underactive Thyroid?

Other birth control methods that do not contain hormones may be less likely to irritate your intimate parts. These may be good options to consider.

Birth Control Methods That Will Not Affect Your Sex Drive

  • Condoms have their pros and cons, but in this instance, their effect on libido can be a pro. (Of course, if you and your partner use it right). Plus, there are loads of condom options with different textures and other features that can help your experience during sex. The downsides are that it may interrupt the flow of lovemaking.
    • Because it’s not very effective, you may be stressed worrying about the risk of pregnancy. Who is likely to enjoy the sexual experience in this scenario?

  • Non-hormonal IUD (Intrauterine device) – This is also known as the Copper coil. It is one of the most effective birth control methods and is also the best form of emergency contraception.
    • If your birth control side effects come from oestrogen, which suppresses testosterone or causes dryness, the Copper coil may suit your needs. Plus, the benefits are that it can be kept in place for 5-10 years, depending on your chosen brand. If you get the coil after age 45, you can leave it in place until after menopause.
      • Using effective methods also frees your mind from the fear of pregnancy, making you relaxed and enjoy sex better. But the copper coil can cause irregular bleeding with heavy periods or spotting in some ladies. Therefore it may not be for everyone. And even though it does not have hormones, it may be associated with sexual pain! Some studies link the Copper coil with lower sexual arousal, lubrication and orgasm. More importantly, it may cause greater pain than women without contraception.
birth control side effects couple in bed with lady looking morosely at the man who is sleeping peacefully
  • The Cervical Cap is a barrier method like the condom. If you don’t mind applying this before sex every time, it might suit you. There are no hormones, and the same goes for the Diaphragm. However, with these methods, you generally use a spermicide that may irritate some women. This effect of the spermicide may have some downsides to your sex drive.

  • Withdrawal or pull-out method. This is a form of natural birth control, so we cannot blame the effect on your libido on hormones.
    • But the technique is not very effective. It also relies heavily on how quick your partner is at his pull-out game. So, if you are worried about getting pregnant, this method will not allow you to relax and enjoy sex. (Learn more here).

Rounding Up

So a few options are available for birth control side effects involving libido problems.

However, let’s go over the key points again:

  • Birth control can affect women’s sex drive differently.
  • If you are on a hormonal birth control method and it affects your libido, do consider other lifestyle issues, conditions and medicines
  • If you do wish to change your method, chat with your doctor so you can safely switch to an alternative method.
    • This is fairly easy to do – but note it can take up to 12 weeks for the effects of hormones to come off your system fully.

More Reading

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team

Disclaimer

All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and help promote quality healthcare. 

The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly

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Our educational content meets the standards set by the NHS in their Standard for Creating Health Content guidance.

Askawayhealth aims to deliver reliable and evidence based women's health, family health and sexual health information in a way that is easily relatable and easy for everyone to access.

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