Q&A: Can birth control lower your sex drive?

Help! Birth control is killing my sex drive.  What are my options?

Though many women don’t have the experience of birth control dampening their libido, some do.  Hormonal birth control (such as the birth control pill, patch, shot and ring) all have the potential to dampen a woman’s sex drive. Fortunately, there are other options.

Condoms are an excellent form of birth control and some couples continue to use them for years. Trojan Ecstasy and Inspiral are two new-ish condom types that may not have been around when you used to use condoms back in the day. These types of condom can provide for greater sensation for men during sex. Add a lubricant (I like Good Clean Love) and you’re all set for more comfortable, pleasurable sex.

You can also use the withdrawal method – that’s right, “pulling out” is more effective for some couples than you may have heard in high school sex ed. As long as a man can easily control the timing of his ejaculation and pull out in time, your risks for pregnancy are very low. The cervical cap and diaphragm are also possibilities. They are inserted into your vagina, don’t involve hormones and can help to greatly reduce your risk of pregnancy.

Choosing a birth control method depends on many factors including how much of a pregnancy risk you’re willing to take, whether you feel you can use a method correctly and what your preferred balance of prevention and pleasure may be. Learn more about birth control options from your healthcare provider and by checking out PlannedParenthood.com.

[Originally published in a January 2010 guest column I wrote for The Nest]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.