How Hormonal Birth Control Affects Your Sex Life

G Asks:

I saw you mentioned you came off the Pill. What are the benefits of that if you don’t mind me asking?

G:

I love discussing this! A lot of the information out there around birth control side effects falls into one of two categories. People who are pro-hormonal birth control tend to dismiss personal stories on the impacts of those hormones on people’s lives. Meanwhile, those against hormonal birth control demonize it and borrow the language of feminism to make their argument.

Both my experience and my professional opinion lie somewhere in the middle.

I went on the Pill at 16, after six years of brutal cramps and moodiness that kept me from school and work and hurt my relationships, every month. Birth control gave me my life back. Yes, I had a few negative birth control side effects on a few of the pills, namely mood changes and breakthrough bleeding. Overall, though, I had an easy run.

When I was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases, taking the Pill became a burden amidst my other healthcare needs. I decided to go off it, honestly hoping that it might reverse some of the autoimmune stuff as I was told it would (it didn’t). After two years of contemplating and preparing, including working with a Justisse practitioner, I took my last Pill in August 2017.

Here’s what happened for me:

  • My sex drive changed. Specifically, it spikes during ovulation 
  • My anxiety skyrocketed, especially the week before my period 
  • I experienced the worst panic attacks of my life
  • My frequency of PIV diminished, in part because of other health issues and in part because I’m terrified of getting pregnant and don’t love condoms
  • My hormonal acne returned, with a vengeance
  • I started planning my life—from workouts, to work tasks, to socializing—around my cycle, specifically the dips and peaks in energy 
  • I reduced my alcohol, caffeine, and soy intake, especially the week before my period

To be honest, going off birth control has been really inconvenient and stressful. Tracking my cycle, knowing when I’m ovulating or not, and managing the natural side effects of my natural cycle is less than fun. Yet, like my decision to start taking the Pill at 16, it was the best one for my life right now—and that’s what counts.

Learn the impacts of hormonal birth control on Blood + Milk

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