Dear Em & Lo,
When I was in my teens, I had a perfectly healthy (if not overzealous…) sex drive. Now, in my mid 20’s, I find myself totally disinterested 95% of the time.
I am trying to figure out if perhaps it could be due to hormonal birth control, as I am now on the P.O.P, or due to the fact that I am in a long-term relationship of the “love but not IN love” kind (that’s its own issue entirely,) or if I am just …dysfunctional. Really hoping it’s not the latter because I seem to remember that sex was kind of fun at one point. It makes me feel weird and broken and sad. I sometimes suffer from depression and this just makes it worse. The most terrible part is that I feel pretty resigned to it.
Help! It shouldn’t be this way, I’m a young, healthy, mostly well-adjusted human. What’s going on?
The short answer goes something like this: 1) Maybe; 2) probably; 3) probably not. To expand a little…
1) As far as your birth control goes, you really should discuss this with your own doctor. Tell them your concerns and see what they suggest. While the progestin-only pill does tend to have fewer side effects than other forms of the birth control pill, there’s still a chance it could be affecting your libido. In some women, the pill increases libido, in others it decreases it, and in still others it has no effect at all. It couldn’t hurt to try something else! (But, like we said, please do this in conjunction with a medical professional, which we are not.) By the way, when you discuss birth control with your doctor, you should definitely mention that you sometimes suffer from depression, as this will very likely affect their recommendations, too.
2) Er, you love your partner but aren’t in love with him? DING DING DING DING! You can’t expect to stay in a relationship that is flagging and still expect your libido to be in blooming health. The two are kinda connected, ya know? If we were betting women, we’d say that this is at the heart (or other vital organ) of your problem.
3) As we said above, we think your birth control might be dysfunctional, and we definitely think your relationship might be dysfunctional, but we see no evidence to suggest that you, dear, are dysfunctional. So don’t resign yourself to this state of affairs! Don’t even let yourself think about #3 until you’ve done all you can to clear up #1 and #2 first.
— Your Young(ish), Healthy, Mostly Well-Adjusted Sex Writers,
Em & Lo