An important scientific study published in 2006 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that women who have taken the birth control pill may find that, as well as having had low sex drive when on the pill, that this side effect persists even when they stop taking it. The researchers discovered that the impact the birth control pill has on women’s testosterone levels can cause them to have a permanently suppressed sex drive when compared to women who have never used the birth control pill.
While many of us are well-aware of the fact that the Pill can have the highly ironic side effect of making you less interested in sex, it’s not as widely known that, despite stopping the Pill, some women will not see their sex drive bounce back to what it was prior to the Pill, or to levels comparative to other women.
That might sound pretty scary at first if you are on the Pill or have decided to come off the Pill, but this study is showing what some women will experience if they just go off the birth control pill (as many do in the hope of losing the side effects) and do nothing aside from this to support and boost their sex drive. Although that situation is completely understandable - we assume the impact of any medication will stop once we no longer take it - there are definitely things you can do to make sure you are not one of these women who never see a return of their pre-Pill sex drive. Perhaps you’ve been off the Pill a while even, and you feel like your sex drive isn’t what it was, what you know it could be. It’s absolutely not too late to turn that situation around and get back the sex drive you want.
We’ve previously looked at the different ways the Pill can impact you sex life (including decreased orgasms and increased UTIs) and your relationships (including the type of men you’re attracted to), as well as the best way to approach transitioning off the Pill, but here I want to look at how to tackle this common Pill-related problem of low sexual desire. First of all, let’s look at why it happens so we can understand fully how to fix it.
How the Pill stops your sex drive
The birth control pill suppresses ovulation and replaces your body’s own natural hormone production with a consistent stream of synthetic hormones. As a part of this function, the Pill suppresses your testosterone production. It also increases the production of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). When you go off the Pill your body can start producing its own (and more) testosterone again, however the research study I mentioned above found that women are left with 4 times the amount of SHBG they would normally have. SHBG binds with your “free testosterone” in your bloodstream and lowers the levels of available, free, accessible testosterone overall. Free, unbound testosterone is essential for a healthy sex drive, as well as sexual enjoyment.
When you experience your natural cycle, your sex drive will peak around ovulation (and sometimes also pre-menstrually). On the Pill you experience none of these natural hormonal shifts.
How to bring your sex drive back post-Pill
I recommend a three-pronged approach to regain your sex drive after the Pill, whether you’ve only recently come off, plan to soon, or have been off the Pill for a a few months already. I have found this strategy to be effective with the many women I’ve supported in coming off the Pill through the Flo Living protocol. The first part of this strategy focuses on sex drive-boosting foods, the second part centers around sex drive-supportive supplements, and the third looks at adjusting exactly how you approach sex.
Part 1: Let food be your foreplay
You can support your endocrine system with the right foods that will help your body produce enough testosterone to give your sex drive the boost it needs. After coming off the Pill you will be depleted of some key nutrients that will also contribute to connecting issues like low moods and poor sleep. Eating a diet rich in hormonally supportive foods will be key in avoiding all the withdrawal effects of the Pill - including rebound hormonal acne, weight issues, infertility issues.
Focus on well-researched aphrodisiacs like avocados (full of bioidentical testosterone), honey (packed with hormone regulating boron), strawberries (an ancient remedy that really works), and dark chocolate (for feeling energized and content). You’ll also need to nourish your tired post-Pill adrenals and stabilize your mood - you can do this by avoiding the caffeine, eating regularly, and upping the essential fatty acids in your diet. Try mixing up my signature sex drive-boosting smoothie a couple of times per week - the Passion Pour.
Part 2: Get sexy with supplements
No supplement will change your sex drive on its own, but as part of a wider hormonally supportive diet, they can work wonders. Try maca powder in your smoothies - a well-researched root extract that will help increase testosterone levels. I also recommend adding Zinc, Magnesium, Evening Primrose and Rhodiola to your daily routine to improve your energy and mood, as well as increase your desire for and enjoyment of sex. These supplements will support your adrenals, up testosterone levels, give you bigger and better orgasms. Zinc and Magnesium are especially important for preventing the binding of free testosterone and keeping free testosterone available - the importance of which is shown in the aforementioned research.
Part 3: Take it slow
The third part of my strategy is to shift your approach to sex. Taking the birth control pill, especially long term, can change how we think and feel about sex. When you come off the Pill you will need to work with your new desire level in ways that will let you have the time you need to feel turned on and ready. The effects of the sex drive-boosting foods and supplements won’t be immediate and while you’re waiting for your testosterone levels to bounce back, you can start with this. It’s all about building a new pathway towards becoming aroused.
Focusing more on actual foreplay (not just food as foreplay!) with long make-out sessions with your man or indulging in some literotica to get in the mood can help. If you’ve gotten used to not having a lot of sex because you just didn’t feel like it, start practicing being sexual regularly in different ways. Our sex drive is something that can disappear purely through lack of practice! You might need to make a leap of faith that you will get turned on by starting out small and slow with sexual explorations - the more you do, the more you’ll want. Self-pleasure can certainly be a part of this.
Know that as your natural cycle phases return you may also want to Cycle Sync (™) your sex life to make the most of your shifting sexuality. Once you are fully living in your FLO, you will notice that how you feel about your partner and your interest in sex changes depending what phase you are in at that time.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this - the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, have you recently stopped the Pill?
Second, do you have low sex drive?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
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