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Here's What Birth Control Actually Does To Your Sex Drive

Pregnancy protection with a side of low libido? No thank you please.

You may have heard some people complain that birth control killed their sex drive. Maybe you've even thought it yourself.

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What's behind this, and how can you make sure it doesn't happen to you? We spoke with OB/GYNs Dr. Jennifer Gunter and Dr. Mary Jane Minkin to get more info. Here's what you need to know.

According to the research, some women report a higher sex drive on the Pill, some report a lower sex drive, and some totally stay the same.

Taking hormonal birth control can screw with your testosterone levels.

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Most hormonal birth control methods work by releasing hormones that stop ovulation. So if you're using the Pill, the ring, the patch, the shot, or the implant — you're not actually ovulating each month (yay, no babies). But your ovaries are also responsible for producing testosterone, which is thought to be involved in your sex drive, says Minkin.

Plus, the estrogen in birth control can increase sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which binds testosterone so that there's less of it circulating in the body, says Gunter. A 2006 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that birth control pill users had four times the amount of SHBG than women who had never used the Pill. So that might play a role, too.

Finally, shutting down ovulation means you won't get those mid-cycle spikes in testosterone that some women blame for being really horny when they're ovulating. Instead, birth control makes your hormone levels stay relatively stable all month long. Not everyone feels those highs and lows throughout their cycle to begin with, but if you used to be sex-crazed around ovulation before you started birth control, you might miss that once you're on it.

And birth control can also make it harder to get wet.

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For some women, being on a low-dose birth control method can make lubrication a chore. And while that's not necessarily a sign of low libido, it's hard to get turned on when it feels like the freaking Sahara down there.

Before you set fire to your birth control, keep these two major caveats in mind:

All that being said, here's what to do if you're on birth control and your sex drive just isn't what it used to be.

1. Consider any other factors that might be playing a role.

2. Consider switching to another pill that works better with your body.

3. Consider switching to an IUD, especially the copper one.

4. Consider lube.

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If dryness is your issue, keep in mind that lubrication and desire don't always go hand in hand. You might be ridiculously horny and just not getting wet for whatever reason (like you're on a low-estrogen pill). If that's the case, lube can be incredibly helpful in getting things going.

Bottom line: If your sex drive isn't what it used to be, it might not actually be your birth control's fault. But it's worth talking to your doctor about anyway.

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They can help you narrow down the causes and figure out the best way to fix it.