If you’ve found yourself wondering whether birth control impacts your sex drive, you’re not alone.
While it doesn’t affect all women, the synthetic hormones in the pill and other hormonal contraceptives can make sex far less appealing to you .
Quick disclaimer: This is a complex topic and every woman is different when it comes to sexuality. Plus, there are quite a few disagreements when it comes to the effect of contraceptives on female sexual desire. But for those of you who want answers, we’ve gone to all lengths to try and find some.
Birth control and decreased libido: what's the link?
From a hormonal perspective, contraception and sex drive are related due to the changing levels of androgens, oestrogens, and progestin hormones in your body, which happen as a result of the birth control pill.
The combination of oestrogen and progestin hormones in combined oral contraceptives can lower your body’s testosterone levels — one of several hormones responsible for regulating your sex drive — and this could cause you to develop a lower level of interest in sex.
This can be super frustrating, and it’s likely you feel the blame when your sex life loses its spice and spontaneity (especially if you're in a relationship).
In a bit, we'll dive into what you can do to rekindle your sex life, but first, how does the contraceptive pill (and other hormonal contraceptives) affect your sexual functioning?
You lack sexual desire
Hormonal birth control decreases the amount of androgen hormones your ovaries produce.
Normally, they produce these when you’re ovulating — triggering a rise in your libido. Basically, your body is telling you it wants sex because it’s biologically wired to procreate.
Since hormonal birth control stops you from ovulating, you can end up with limited androgens to get you fired up.
You’re not feeling it down there
Literally. Your clitoris and vagina can become less sensitive due to the lower levels of testosterone flowing through your body. This makes sex far less pleasurable and quite frustrating for all involved.
Things get dry
The hormones in birth control pills can also reduce the mucus and fluid that usually shows up at the party when you’re aroused.
Dry sex is not comfortable for anyone and, although it doesn't change how you’re feeling, lube can be helpful here. Kin's pH-balanced lubricant is free from all the nasties you don't want down there — think glycerin, parabens, petroleum, and fragrance — so you can better enjoy your moments of intimacy.
Could other factors be contributing to my decreased libido?
The pill can impact your sex drive, but so can a range of other factors. Here are a few aspects to consider before assuming your birth control is all to blame for:
- Relationship issues
- Your age
- Medications, like antidepressants and high blood pressure medication 
- Alcohol and/or drug misuse
- Poor self-esteem
- Mental health issues, like anxiety or depression
- Other health concerns, like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease 
Should I change contraceptives?
There are different forms of hormonal contraception and some don’t have as much of an effect on libido as others.
Barrier methods, such as female and male condoms, are one option if you're wanting to ditch the pill. No hormones mean no side effects, so you know they won't affect your sex life.
You may also consider birth control methods that have higher androgen indexes, meaning they don’t have as much of an effect on androgen levels. Progestin-only birth control like the mini pill, for example, doesn’t affect androgen levels nearly as much as the combination pill.
But before you dismiss hormonal birth control pills altogether, it’s always best to weigh the pros and cons of each contraceptive method and speak with your doctor to find the best option for you.
With Kin Fertility's birth control pill subscription service, our doctors are able to help change your pill should you be experiencing any side effects like loss of libido. With our subscription, your pill is delivered straight to your door and all consults with our Australian doctors are delivered online.
What else can I do to boost my sex drive?
Whether or not you choose to change contraceptive methods, if you want to experience more sexual desire, there are other habit changes you can adopt.
Communicate openly with your partner
It may sound cliche but communication is key. If you're having issues with your sex drive, it's always a good idea to let your partner know, so you can work together to find a solution.
Eat healthy and exercise
Put simply: sex drive, junk food, and a sedentary lifestyle don't mix. On the flip side, having a regular workout routine can boost your stamina, make you feel more confident in yourself, and, according to science, improve sexual functioning .
Same with a healthy diet: eat plenty of lean proteins and vegetables, and you may just improve your libido.
Stress can negatively impact so many parts of your life — and your sex drive is one. Perhaps you're under a lot of pressure at work, going through financial hardships, or facing a big change in your life: whatever it is, finding healthy coping mechanisms can minimise side effects like a lower libido.
Get more zinc
Zinc increases testosterone levels and you can get it in your diet from foods like chicken, almonds, and shellfish, or by supplementing. Make sure you're getting enough protein as well, as that will make it easier for your body to absorb zinc.
Seek professional help
It's all connected: mental health can impact your sex drive, and a low sex drive can cause mental health issues. Speaking with a sex therapist or mental health professional may provide you with expert answers as to why your libido is lower than usual and, more importantly, what you can do to bring it back up.