100 million women all over the world use the pill every day. Preventing pregnancy is the most common reason. This little pill, just about the size of a watermelon pip, has changed our lives forever, giving us a reliable option to control when and with who we have our children…

But like everything in life, there is a trade- off….With the pill, loss of libido or sexual desire can be just that….

The very thing that has contributed to our sexual freedom can be the cause of our sexual frustrations…..

Libido is a difficult thing…. Affected by so much….

We feel most sexy when we are relaxed or inspired, when stress in minimal, and when our families and homes are secure and all in order.

With our relationships…. Nothing creates desire more than “being desired”. When we are angry and resentful towards our partners, sex or sexual desire becomes the first thing to “hit the road”.

So it may seem unfair that yet another factor can be making the situation worse…..


The combined oral contraceptive pill contains 2 hormones. Estrogen and progesterone. Some pills will contain estrogen and cyproterone acetate(like Diane).Yet other pills contain progesterone only. They work to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation or egg production and thickening the mucus of the cervix to prevent the passage of sperm .

Another effect that the combination pills have, is to drop testosterone levels.

Now all women will have some testosterone. Our adrenal glands and ovaries are responsible for making it. The levels found in our bodies are not as high as levels found in men.

In women, testosterone boosts our energy , helps to define our muscles and makes us feel like having sex.

Too much of this and we get oily skin and hair, acne, hair growth in places we don’t really want , and in extreme cases, voice changes.

Bear with me while I use an analogy:

Imagine a road or highway system. The roads are your arteries which contain your blood and hormones. On the road, there are cars and trucks. These different cars and trucks are all your different hormones in your body. Only the moving vehicles that are being driven are “active” and can create an effect in your body. So testosterone would be a sports car on the road- the red Ferraris- Fast . Sleek. Sexy. Noisy. Causing all the trouble or “effect”.THE LIBIDO BOOSTER.

Also imagine that there are some trucks on the road. Those huge monsters that carry the shiny new red Ferraris on the way to the dealerships. Because these Ferraris are not being driven on the road by individual drivers, they cannot cause any trouble or “effect”. They are inactive.

What the estrogen in the pill does, is lead to more carrier trucks on the road. With the same initial total number of Ferraris. So what happens is that more Ferraris are on the trucks .That means fewer on the road and hence less of an effect.

For the medically inclined people reading this, the pill increases a protein product called SHBG(sex hormone binding globulin) which are the trucks in the story.

NET EFFECT: We get less oily hair and clear skin……But we want less sex.

The important thing to remember is that not everyone will have this problem. Some lucky women will no problem at all.

What are your options if this is you?

  1. STICK IT OUT: understanding the issue at hand and getting informed gives us the tools to deal with this.
  2. CHANGE YOUR PILL: discuss concerns with your doctor .Some pills will have less of an effect than others.
  3. CHANGE YOUR CONTRACEPTION: again speak to your caregiver. An intra- uterine device or a non hormonal method of birth control may be better for you. There are also patches and vaginal devices that can be tried. This process may involve some trial and error.


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