Can Birth Control Affect Libido and Sexual Drive?

Contraceptive pill blister pack hanging from line on pink background

When considering birth control options, there are many factors to take into account. Hormonal birth control, in particular, can vary in terms of side effects, as you are introducing artificial hormones into your body. There are many types of hormonal birth control, including:

  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Contraceptive Ring (NuvaRing)
  • Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera)
  • Birth Control Implant (Implanon)

While many women experience no negative side effects from their birth control, some women encounter problems. Adding hormones to your body can affect many aspects of your life, including your libido.

Some women find that their libido decreases while on hormonal birth control, while others find that it increases. The majority of women find that there is no noticeable change in sex drive.

Will my oral contraceptive reduce my sex drive?

Birth control pills contain a mix of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When taken every day, the pill will prevent your body from ovulating, therefore preventing pregnancy.

Depending on your individual body chemistry, you may find that your sex drive is altered by an oral contraceptive. Many women experience a subtle spike in their sex drive during ovulation, which no longer occurs when taking an oral contraceptive.

However, the majority of women do not report any significant difference in sex drive while taking an oral contraceptive.

NuvaRing and Sex Drive

The NuvaRing works similarly to the pill, in that it contains hormones that prevent ovulation. Rather than being taken orally every day, the NuvaRing is inserted into the vagina monthly to prevent pregnancy.

Most women do not report a change in libido when using the NuvaRing, but it is a potential side effect. Since the NuvaRing can be removed at any time, if you find that it negatively impacts your sex drive, you can stop use at any point.

Birth Control Shot and Sex Drive

The Birth Control Shot, or Depo-Provera, is an injection of progesterone. Depo-Provera works by convincing the body that it is already pregnant, and inhibits estrogen production.

Depo-Provera is a high dose of hormones and could lead to a decreased sex drive. Most women who get a Depo-Provera shot find that their sex drive decreases. This is not a universal side effect, but you should speak with your doctor before committing to Depo-Provera, as the injection leads to a slow release of hormones over the course of a year.

Birth Control Implants and Sex Drive

Birth control implants, or Implanon, work similarly to Depo-Provera. Hormones are released periodically over the course of a year or more.

Many women do not experience a change in their sex drive through the use of Implanon for birth control, but it is possible. While Depo-Provera is more commonly linked to a lowered sex drive, Implanon more commonly leads to an increase in sex drive.

Will an IUD affect my sex drive?

While a copper IUD will not affect your sex drive, many women find that hormonal IUDs either increase or decrease their libido. A hormonal IUD does not stop ovulation, and as the hormones are released locally into the uterus, many of the side effects that occur from the pill or other hormone-based birth control options will not occur with an IUD.

The most common change to the libido with an IUD is reported to be an increase in sex drive, but most women experience no change to their sex drive when using an IUD.

Understanding Hormonal Changes in Your Body

It is possible for any hormonal contraceptive to impact your libido. Choosing a type of hormonal birth control is extremely personal, and each product can affect a woman’s body differently. It is important to monitor any side effects of your birth control to ensure it is a good fit for you and your body.

If you are experiencing a decreased libido as a result of your hormonal birth control, you may want to consider a different option. If you are taking an oral contraceptive and it is negatively affecting your sex drive, you can consult with your doctor and switch to a different option. The hormone levels vary in different brands of oral contraceptives.

If you are considering a more long-term option such as Depo-Provera, an Implanon implant, or an IUD, you should be aware that these options have the potential of altering your sex drive. It is hard to predict how exactly each form of birth control will interact with your body, but our Virginia Beach OBGYN can answer your questions about your options and provide the guidance you can trust.

It is also important to note that changes in your libido could be the result of a number of external factors and cannot be solely attributed to hormonal changes.