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Does the pill decrease a woman's sex drive?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
Ask 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.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.