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A common belief about hormonal birth control is that it lowers a person’s sex drive by lowering their level of testosterone, or because it makes the body think that it’s pregnant. Your doctor or healthcare provider might say that hormonal birth control doesn’t usually affect your sex drive. This is a hard question to answer.
In addition, we still don’t have a great understanding of the female sexual anatomy or female orgasm. 4.8Do you track your sexual activity in Clue? When using a hormonal birth control option or an intrauterine device (IUD), a person’s sexual experience may be impacted, positively or negatively, by: their underlying physiology, like their levels of circulating hormones and their sensitivity to changes in these levelsthe type and levels of hormones in their birth controlhow a form of birth control impacts the body’s production of hormones (does it suppress ovulation?)their cultural expectations for sex and sexual pleasuretheir partner(s), their relationship(s) with their partner(s), and their partner(s)’ thoughts about birth controlwhat types of sex they enjoytheir feelings towards the positive side effects of birth controlthe severity and level of importance they put on the negative side effects of birth control their feelings on the risks of engaging in sex without birth control (i.
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unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections) (1,2). Then, there’s the specific ways in which each of the above categories impact sex. Researchers and health care professional divide sexual complaints into four main categories:(or libido), which refers to interest in sex, which refers to the physical changes, such as lubrication, and emotional changes people experience when thinking or participating in sex(3-6)If a form of birth control decreased your desire or sex drive, but improved your orgasm experience, would you consider this method to have a positive, negative, or neutral impact on your sex life? If your method of birth control gives you unpredictable periods and tender breasts, but protects you almost 100% from unintended pregnancy, would the benefits outweigh the negatives for you? We can’t go through all of the side effects of each form of birth control here, but these are things to keep in mind when reading through the following research.
Studies into the effect of combined pills on sexual functioning do not all agree with one another. Most studies have found no impact or improved sexual functioning among users of the pill (1,2). In a 2013 review of studies published since the 1970s on the pill and sexual function, researchers found that more than 6 in 10 people using the pill had no changes in libido, more than 2 in 10 had an increase in libido, and about 1 in 10 did report a decrease in libido (2).
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Some studies have looked at more than just libido. A 2016 randomized control trial examined how people using one formulation of the pill differed, sexually, from people using a placebo (i. e. a pill that contains no drug) in seven areas of sexual function (8). They found that people in the pill group were more likely to report decreased sexual desire, arousal, and pleasure (8).
Both groups reported about the same number of “satisfying sexual episodes” and the same scores for questions about orgasm (8). One way CHCs may negatively impact sex drive is by lowering the level of testosterone in the body (1,2,8,9). Lower testosterone is thought to decrease sex drive, but the relationship between testosterone and sex drive is not well understood (1,2,9).
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In a 2016 randomized trial, researchers found that people using the pill had lower testosterone levels than they did at the beginning of the study, and lower levels than the placebo group at follow-up (8). Despite this difference, testosterone levels were not associated with any differences in sexual function (8), suggesting that the lower testosterone may not be the cause for the reported difference.
One potential benefit that the combined pill, the ring, and the patch all share is that they can be used to skip menstrual periods (14). It is safe to not have a period when on birth control, so a person who doesn’t like having sex during their period could use these methods to increase the number of potential sex days in their life.
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One study in the United States found that after six months of use, people using DMPA were 2 to 3 times more likely to report that they were “lacking interest in sex” than people using the copper IUD, which does not contain hormones (18). In a study conducted in Kenya, about 1 in 10 people using DMPA reported “reduced libido” during 6 months of use (19) and 2 out of 15 people who stopped using DMPA reported reduced libido (19).
Despite this, few people discontinue using the implant due to lost libido (23-28). One study reported improved overall sexual functioning and improved sexual satisfaction after 3 and 6 months with the implant (28). This suggests that the implant may negatively impact a small number of users’ sex lives, but for the majority it either improves or does not change their sex lives.
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The implant is the most effective form of birth control (29), with only about 1 in every 2,000 users experiencing an unintended pregnancy during 1 year of use. The implant also tends to reduce menstrual pain (14). There are two types of IUDs: hormonal and copper. The hormonal IUDs (e.
Even if you decide to use the implant or an IUD, you can always have them removed before they expire. If you’re otherwise happy with your method, you may want to consider if other things going on in your life, such as stress or your relationship(s) with your partner(s), may be causing your changes in sexual function as opposed to your birth control.
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However, it’s 100% your decision as to when to stop using a method. You don’t have to wait to change methods if you don’t want to. Whether you’re using birth control or not, you can use Clue to track both your sexual frequency and sex drive. Tracking can help you make an informed decision about starting, stopping, or switching methods of birth control..
Considering a new method of birth control? You’ve probably also spared a few thoughts (worries, even) for all those potential side effects you’ve heard about, such as decreased libido. It’s true that nearly every birth control method could cause some type of side effect. Yet for many people, side effects are relatively minor and worth the benefits of: Any type of birth control might affect libido, though the specific effects you experience can vary depending on the method you choose.Condoms might factor into vaginal irritation and other discomfort, while spermicide products could cause itching and other irritation.Hormonal birth control is incredibly effective at preventing pregnancy, but it can also contribute to some unwanted side effects, including decreased libido.
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All the same, a noticeable change in sexual desire may not necessarily be, well, desirable. When it comes to sexuality, your libido is only one part to consider. Physical arousal, the ability to orgasm, and any pain or irritation you experience during sex can all affect your interest in sexual activity.
A few possible explanations for why you may experience a heightened libido: It’s understandable to feel less interested in sex if you’re worried about getting pregnant. Birth control can help relieve those fears, which might then increase your desire for sex. Choosing a method of birth control you don’t have to use right before sex can make it easier to stay in the moment with your partner(s).
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For some people, these hormones might cause various physical and sexual side effects, including:Any of these side effects can leave you less interested in having sex. Some experts have changes in libido may happen because hormonal birth control . But researchers have yet to find conclusive support for this idea.
To sum up: Researchers haven’t come to any conclusions about how hormonal birth control might directly affect libido. Yet it’s pretty clear that many people do experience some changes. With nonhormonal birth control methods, you won’t have to worry about any hormone-related physical or emotional changes. But you could still notice some changes in libido.
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With perfect use, many of these methods are highly effective, but most aren’t as effective as hormonal birth control. Awareness of this fact can contribute to anxiety and unease that leaves you less interested in sex. With the sponge, diaphragm, or cervical cap, you’ll generally use spermicide, which could cause itching, swelling, and other irritation.
We still recommend using a condom every time you have sex, unless you and your partner(s) have recently been tested for STIs and made a conscious choice to become fluid bonded. Some people using the copper IUD increased bleeding, spotting between periods, and pain, none of which do much to boost libido.
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If there’s a possibility of pregnancy, it’s wise to have a backup plan for contraception, just in case you end up following your mood – which is totally OK. Your chosen method of birth control is far from the only thing that can dampen your libido. If you’ve noticed some decline in your usual libido, it could relate to any of the following factors:It’s also not uncommon to experience regular shifts in libido over the course of your menstrual cycle.
If you have a persistent low mood, lack of energy, or less interest in your usual day-to-day activities, connecting with a mental health professional may be a helpful next step. If you’re not as interested in sex as you used to be and that bothers you, there’s plenty you can do to boost your libido on your own.
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All perfectly normal causes of a higher-than-usual libido! There’s nothing wrong with wanting or enjoying sex, and you generally don’t need to be concerned unless your desire for sex begins to interfere with your daily life or relationships. That said, if higher libido causes you some distress, talking to a therapist or other mental health professional can help.
If they’re experiencing these negative effects, they might stop using contraception correctly or altogether. They need to know that there are options, such as lubricants or other sexual enhancement products that may help to alleviate some of the negative effects they are experiencing.”The research, presented at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Washington this week, suggests these women experiment with different forms of birth control.
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They hazard that’s a double standard.”A great effort has been made to make condoms more pleasurable for men,” the lead author said. “But you don’t hear about this same effort going toward reducing the negative impact of contraception on women’s sexual functioning.”.
Still, the pull-out method is better than no birth control if you want to have sex, but you want to reduce your chance of pregnancy. Your partner’s sperm has to travel from your vagina (where your partner ejaculates semen) to your fallopian tubes for you to become pregnant. Fertilization happens in the fallopian tubes.
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The reality is that many things have to go perfectly for best-case scenarios. Even if you’ve used the pull-out method for years and have avoided pregnancy so far, there’s no guarantee that the next time won’t lead to pregnancy. All it takes is one slight miscalculation on your partner’s part.
It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when ejaculation will happen. Usually – but not always – ejaculation happens right before orgasm, at the height of sexual pleasure. It can be challenging to switch on the logical part of the brain that says, now’s the time to pull out, when the pleasure is most intense.
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Even with experienced partners who can usually predict when they’ll ejaculate, distractions like stress or the influence of alcohol can lead to mistakes. Getting the timing just right is always a gamble with the pull-out method. Sperm can still enter your body even if your partner pulls out on time.