Sex Drive (Libido)
1 AnswerThe level of sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) remains well above pre-pill levels in women, even two years after stopping the pill. This means that even after stopping the pill, a woman's sex drive may not come back as it was before, or it may return slowly. Although it is obvious that there are long-term effects on SHBG, the question still remains if this elevation in SHBG is permanent after using hormonal contraception. Since a woman's production of testosterone starts to decline slowly in her 30s, this effect is more pronounced the older a woman is.
1 AnswerIn women, testosterone is produced both in the adrenal glands (found above the kidneys) and in the ovaries (yes, they are not just for estrogen!). Since oral contraceptives damper the hormone-producing action of the ovaries, a woman's production of testosterone is somewhat lowered when on the pill. In addition to this, and probably more significant, the synthetic estrogen from oral contraception increases the body's production of sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This is a protein that binds to the sex hormones (testosterone, estrogens, and to a very small extent, progesterone) as they circulate through the bloodstream.
Even though women have only about 10% of the testosterone level coursing through their blood stream than men do, testosterone is a main contributor to their libido and their sexual fantasies. Testosterone also is responsible for maintaining the erectile tissue of the clitoris and the glands surrounding the opening of the vagina that provide lubrication during sexual arousal. When testosterone is bound to SHBG, it cannot be free to be used by the cells of the body, and when there is an increase in SHBG, there is less free testosterone available. Being on the pill can increase a woman's SHBG levels by 200-400%, dropping their free testosterone levels drastically. This means that those cells, tissues, and systems that depend on testosterone will have decreased functioning. The result is a drop in desire, a decrease in how often women will engage in sexual fantasies, and decreased lubrication at the time of sexual activity, in response to erotic thoughts or direct physical stimulation.
2 AnswersAsk many women and they will tell you that after going on the pill, they noticed a drop in sexual desire, a decrease in their ability to lubricate, and an overall decrease in sexual pleasure. The pill can also decrease a woman's frequency of sexual fantasies and curtail their sexual arousal. Although oral contraceptives, as well as vaginal rings, work by way of synthetic estrogens, it is actually their effect on a woman's testosterone that causes these sexual side effects.
It is worthwhile speaking to your doctor about different alternatives if you find that you are experiencing these side effects after using oral contraceptives, or a vaginal ring-type contraception. If you find that your birth control pill is affecting your sexual desire, it does not necessarily mean you should stop taking the pill. Instead, changing the type of pill you use may relieve some of these side effects. Some women find that triphasic birth control pills (different amounts of hormones every week) have less impact on their sex drive than monophasic pills (same amount of hormones each dose). Other women find that they experience these effects regardless of what type of pill they use. Keep in mind that all hormonal methods of birth control can result in these sexual side effects. If you and your doctor decide to discontinue the use of the birth control pill, remember that you will need to use another form of contraception when engaging in sexual intercourse if you want to prevent pregnancy. Some non-hormonal options to consider are condoms or diaphragms.
1 AnswerPerhaps the best way to start a positive conversation with each other about mismatched libidos is to first honestly examine for yourself what is going on inside you. If you are the partner with the low desire, are you happy with your level of sexual activity? Do you underestimate or discount your ability to become aroused if you are tired in the moment? Are you uncomfortable with some aspect of your sexuality or your sex life with your partner and saying "no" in order to avoid confronting this discomfort? Do you have ideas that you are not sexy or that your partner will not be attracted to you? Do you see your partner's advances as an intrusion on your time and energy? Are you angry with your partner or thinking negatively about them? These are just some of the ways that a person may be allowing a low-level of sexual desire to continue in their relationship.
If you are the higher-level desire partner, you should also explore what may be going on inside of you or how you may be using sex. Are you initiating sex at times that you know you are going to have a greater chance of hearing "no"? Do you feel that sex is the only way that you feel that your partner loves you? Do you use sex to help you get rid of anxiety or help you fall asleep at night? Do you use sex to try to cheer you up or make you feel more attractive or good? Do you think that you may be using sex in a compulsive way?
When couples begin to talk about the differences they have in their libidos, they may find that some of these apply or that none of them apply. But as they talk about it, they can start to understand the other person's point of view. In that discussion, a couple can also talk about what other activities or variations they would be happy with incorporating into their sex life. For example, if a person is tired, would they agree to help their partner masturbate for a few minutes so that it would be an experience that they share together? Would a person consider having some physical touching to feel closeness, but not necessarily need sex? Would the lower-desire partner allow themselves to say "yes" to foreplay before making the decision as to whether or not they want to have sex?
2 AnswersThe best thing that a couple can do when they find themselves with differences in levels of desire is to agree to talk about it. Too many times couples allow time to go by without actually discussing it, but instead try to initiate with hints, constant accusations, sarcastic jokes, or physical groping. This fuels irritation, and eventually, anger and resentment. On the flip side, if you are always rejecting your partner, they are left with frustration, loneliness, insecurity, and doubts about the viability of the relationship. If you are in such a situation, you can see that both sides are painful. The first step to negotiating these differences is to start talking about them in such a way that both parties work constructively together rather than in a way that ends in blame, judgment, or criticism. By talking about it openly, a couple can start to understand the other person's point of view and start to collaborate on strategies to help the situation.
1 AnswerIf you feel that your desire is low -- i.e., you don’t often just WANT sex, out of the blue or with only a little incentive -- try this:
Instead of aiming to desire sex, aim to be willing to have sex.
Say you’re not actively interested in having sex tonight. Okay. Would you be willing to have sex, if it were important to your partner?
If you’re not sure that your body will respond, but you’re willing to try, you can tell your partner, “I’m not sure I’m in the mood and I might really not want to have sex, but we could just canoodle for a few minutes and see what happens, if you want. But I might end up saying no, so just be aware that this could end with you alone in the bathroom with a box of tissues and a vibrator.”
Or similar. Just let your partner know you’re willing to try but you’re not making any promises, and get their assurance that whenever you say stop, they’ll stop.
Let your partner warm you up gradually, lovingly, affectionately. Spend 10 or 15 minutes on foreplay stuff -- no genitals -- and see what happens.
2 AnswersIf your partner consistently feels more sexual than you do, there are plenty of things you can do to change that.
Firstly, know that your sexuality is in there. It’s part of you, as much as your skin and your heartbeat and your vocabulary. It’s there. It’s waiting. You’re okay. Just because you’ve had no call to use the word “calefacient” or “perfervid” lately doesn’t mean it’s not longer available to you. Should the opportunity arise, there it will be, ready, waiting. Like the fire brigade. Like a best friend.
Try thinking about your sexual interest in terms of the sexual inhibition system and sexual excitation system. Identify the things that rev your engine and the things that keep your brakes on. Talk to your partner about minimizing those brakes triggers and making good use of the engine revvers.
Lots of folks find that self-consciousness about their body prevents them from being emotionally present for sex. If that’s you, try a few things to improve your body image.
Part of your experience of low desire might because you’re just not a “spontaneous desire” kind of person; you might be a responsive desire kind of person. With responsive desire, you begin to want sex only after you’ve already started to be stimulated. It’s quite a different experience from spontaneous desire, but it’s just as legitimate. Embrace it and make good use of it.
2 AnswersMadeleine Castellanos MD, Sexual Health, answered
There are many medications that can affect one's sex drive. One of the most common class of medications is SSRIs that are prescribed for depression. These can leave some people feeling zapped of sexual interest and desire. Tranquilizers given for anxiety and panic attacks can also take away people's sex drive.
Any medications that affect the production of hormones can also adversely affect a person's sex drive. Examples of these are hormonal birth control, medications to lower cholesterol, medications for polycystic ovaries, medications for endometriosis, medications given after breast cancer treatment, and also some medications given for enlarged prostate or for hair growth. As you can see, there are many different medications that can affect one's sex drive.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
2 AnswersHarris McIlwain, Pain Medicine, answered
Some psychological problems may bring a loss of sexual desire, especially depression. Some researchers found 75 percent of depressed people lose sex drive. Most of these people improve and have normal libido when their depression is treated and improved. Problems in the relationship with the partner such as anger can show up as loss of desire. In these cases, bringing the problems out in the open and counseling such as marriage counseling may solve the problem of loss of sexual desire.
People who have suffered previous sexual abuse may have problems with libido, with counseling by a psychologist or psychiatrist the most effective way to resolve this limitation on sexual desire. Certain religious beliefs may make it difficult or unacceptable to avoid a lessening of libido from guilt or other factors. Previous feelings of rejection by a sexual partner and anxiety created by fear of failure in sexual activities (performance anxiety) may lower libido as a protection against further rejection or failure. Counseling can help correct this cause of loss of libido.
1 AnswerHarris McIlwain, Pain Medicine, answered
Libido means your sexual desire, and in men, testosterone is the major player with libido. With loss of libido, men have less desire for sexual activity and usually have fewer sexual fantasies.
There may be many reasons for loss of libido in men. Many of the causes should be looked for by your doctor, who can be sure there are no specific medical problems causing a loss of desire. One of the most common easily treatable causes is a low level of testosterone. If this is found to be the cause, then treatment with testosterone can return libido. Testosterone levels normally decrease in men, even beginning to drop in the 20s. There is a continual drop, especially after age 60.Helpful? 7 people found this helpful.