Sex Drive and Contraceptive Methods

When you show up for your first prescription or a renewal of your contraceptive method, your health care provider is likely to check your pelvic exam, see about any bleeding and review with you the effectiveness of your contraceptive method. What women really want to know, based on a study from the University of Utah is how your contraceptive method is going to affect your sexual experienced. Actually some of this research has been done on males. Males are much more likely to use contraception if it doesn't affect their penile erections, their sexual feelings, and their overall sexual performance. The study in Utah was undertaken and reported in November issue of OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY after studies from Europe and the Middle East actually showed improvement of sex drive in women using IUDs. Since some women have a fear of getting pregnant if they are not protected against pregnancy, many women will report a better sexual experience as they can 'let go' more easily. Sex drive is complicated. New partners can provide a spark, new positions, the first bikini wax, all can provide a boost to a woman's sexual performance, but to some extent arousal and performance is controlled by our hormones. We all want to understand how to keep that sex drive going at least in the top gear or two, and most of us realize that adjustments, even by contraceptives, to one's hormones play an important role in libido and sexual performance. Libido apparently can be increased as well as depressed by contraceptive choices. The research is conflicting, In many studies the progesterone only pills (POP) also known as mini pills increase sex drive. But in some studies the progesterone containing IUD decreases sex drive. The progesterone is similar in these two types of contraception, the mini pill and the progesterone IUD, but not the same. Androgen levels should be higher with these two progesterone contraceptives, than they would be on traditional pills or even in our normal cycles. And the male hormone androgen is linked to sexuality.. But are our androgen levels the only factor? There is still a lot of research to be done as to the 'how and why' sexual function changes with contraceptive use. One fact is certain, however, women want to be able to discuss this with their provider, so be sure you find one that you can open up to!

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